One of the many reasons we adore Disney with our whole hearts is because we really love the characters. Most of us have grown up with Disney, watching movies on rainy Saturdays, begging our parents to buy us an Ariel Barbie doll for the holidays, and owning like a thousand Disney coloring books. We watched all those old-timey cartoons on weekend mornings while eating Fruit Loops, using Bugs Bunny’s tomfoolery, or Tom and Jerry’s love-hate dynamic as our way of escaping real life (which wasn’t all that bad when we were kids, let’s be real).

Whether your favorite character is Snow White, Bugs Bunny, or Goofy, you know that every single character is unique in his or her own way. Bugs will always have that permanently smug look on his face. Ariel will always appear way too curious for her own good. And Scar will forever wear that nebulous —but weirdly charming— facial expression. So, how did the illustrators make sure that all Disney characters had idiosyncratic faces? They leered at themselves in the mirror! Yup, these professionals scowled and laughed and snarled into their reflections until they captured JUST the right look. Check out some of these old photographs of Disney illustrators doing what they do best:

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