Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bill Tytla - Terrytoons - cute animation, is it such a bad thing to have appeal?

I think this is Tytla but whoever it is animated a super cute Mighty Mouse.


Big eyes and big pupils is a quick formula for appeal.

A little round tummy for a cute drunkard.

Cute is hard to define, but you can see the contrast between Tytla's drawings and the animator who did the next scene in the same cartoon.





How do you define cute and appealing in the first place? It's especially hard to now, because the whole concept has fallen out of style. Most artistic efforts are purposely unpleasant now, whether visual or audio.

The most general and obvious traits that make us think "cute" are big heads and big eyes.

Babies, kids, kittens, puppies are all cute to us because we are wired to want to protect the helpless.

These babies are generic cute. They say only the obvious.

This Chuck Jones kitten has the obvious traits too, but also is a very specific design which makes it even more cute because it appears more real.

Bugs Bunny can be bland, cute, funny or ugly, or some combination of everything, depending on who is drawing him and when he drew him.
Friz tends to draw him non-descript.

Jones draws him many ways. Here he is not exactly cute, but handsome. Taller proportions, but well designed shapes and good balance.He's a bit cuter and more stylish here.

McKimson is not known for cute. He has a tendency to draw his characters with tiny craniums and big jowls. His cartoons are hilarious, but I think he sometimes gets a bad rep for drawing the characters too "adult".

McKimson drew Porky with a huge head here, but still it doesn't add up to cute. See how hard it is to define what actually makes something appealing?

This is REALLY supposed to be cute. I love McKimson even though he has a tough time with cuteness. He is the Man's cartoonist.

This McKimson title card is more appealing than many of his drawings. I think it's a Scribner pose and Scribner has a natural appeal and cuteness in all his drawings-even when he tries to draw ugly.
Jones has an appeal in his characters when he doesn't get too cutesy.
This character is supposed to be ugly but is drawn with much appeal.

Cute and Weird is good too
FUNNY WEIRD AND CUTEClampett strikes an amazing balance of all at the same time.
Big pupils adds to the big eye effect. Clampett drew the biggest eyes of any animator in the 40s.

McKimson drew a lot cuter when he drew for Clampett.

Scribner too. The combination of him and Clampett makes for the ultimate cute weirdness.

Some pure cuteness is too much for me (like Disney babies), but when you add in other spices, like weirdness and twists it makes for a cute but sick combination and that's what I like best.

Rex Hackelberg is a perfect combination of cute, weird and great imagination.

Rex is one of the last few men who still have an eye for visual appeal. The last efforts to keep cute alive seem to be coming mostly from a handful of girls. You know who they are.

Young guys love ugly today-in all things, cartoons, music, pants, unshaven faces, you name it. They think it's not "cool" to have taste and pleasure. Thank God that girls have more sensitivity to pleasure and the finer things in life. Maybe they can save us from ugly coolness.

You can even draw ugly with cuteness and appeal, as Basil Wolverton proved.

Appeal and cuteness comes partly from the baby traits, but there's more to it. A real designer has a way with shapes and balance and those attributes are much harder to explain. I'll work on it.

It's especially hard to explain today, since the last 40 years have largely abandoned the concept of visual appeal so no one even knows what it is. I wonder when ugly girls will come into style?

Will CG animation EVER achieve appeal?

I'm curious, which of these do you think of as cute or appealing?


Scott said...

Hey John,

I'm gonna have to say that Remy from Ratatouille is pretty darn cute...

His big eyes, pose, and the way his hands are positioned so close to his's pretty adorable. Most of my girl friends seem to think so too.

All the rest however: ugly. I've never understood why any child would want to cuddle up with a Shrek toy.

Mike said...

i think the rat in the last one is cute, i like that low hips thing, i have always done that myself when i wanted to make cute stuff. i personally should try other proportionalities of cute stuff as its become a comfort zone.

El said...

I don't find any of those cute..
In fact I find the Shrek pictures downright frightening. The cat especially.

VincentVanGonads said...

yep, the rats have a very endearing scruffy cuteness. they're the complete opposite of mickey mouse's slick wankery. i think magoo is adorable too...aside from his sexually ambiguous eyebrows.

Mad Taylor said...

I'm not sure ugly has been explored enough in cartoons. Cute has been around, ugly/cute, and ugly in a sense of unappealing junk have been around too. But gross funny ugly is uncharted terrain. Sure girls can draw cute, they like that stuff and grew up on it. Us guys had cute too, but I find ugly fascinating. The still painting in Ren and Stimpy I think started it John. Those were a treat when those came up.

I think the cute folks in life don't offer as much fascination as ugly people do. I know it isn't nice to stare but ugliness is so fascinating and...well...cartoony. You just want to look and see what's working with what to create abnormalities in the way someone or something looks.

Will_B said...

John, can you post pics from Friz Freleng's 'I haven't Got a Hat'? That short positively oozes cuteness!

Clampett was said to have worked on it too. Maybe you could do a special on it. :)

Tooves said...

cg has already achieved appeal.

however you won't see much evidence of this in the mainstream "dreamworks style" films. take a look at the many many CG short films and student pieces on the net and you will find a lot of fresh, appealing characters with extremely inventive designs.

unfortunately a lot of great artists who need to pay the rent end up working on grotesque abbhorations such as "shrek the third", where everything is designed by commitee and there is no sense of a cohesive, believable universe that you can lose yourself in.

i do, however, find a lot of appeal in ratatouille. havent seen it yet, but from the trailers it looks very nice. some of the animation seems to be getting a little floaty, though. i think they may have gone a little too far in their attempt at "realistic" flowing motion. some of it seems a little arbitrary.

i think the most appealing mainstream cg film so far is "the incredibles". i find that film extremely hard to fault and have watched it many times, always in sheer amazement.

anyway, ratatouille should be a return to form for pixar after the bloated monstrosity known as 'cars'. now THAT was an unappealing film.

Sean Worsham said...

I like Magoo myself, he's adorable in a naive-stubborn kind of way. Very appealing too. I love the smile as well. I can't say I really like the rest though. The rats' are ok (but the design is kind of average), the colors are good though. I can't say much about the rest though.

Sean Worsham said...

Oh yeah I can say something about the rest: The cat from Shrek just feels too maninpulative to be cute. It's like they are trying too hard w/ a more realistic looking character. That expression just doesn't look right on that type of realistic look of the cat.

Sean Worsham said...

>Ugly women coming into style:

Although they are not ugly (more like unidealistic and at times gross) Robert Crumb's women have come into popularity. Look at Devil Girl for example. That's the closest thing that comes to my mind right away.

k9_kaos said...

I've always loved Mr. Magoo - he is one of my favourite UPA characters. I like the cat with the dilated pupils - my friend Bernard used to have that picture on his mobile phone. The rat from Ratatouille looks adorable, with his big, white eyes and little pink extremities.

I quite like cute characters, as long as they're not nauseatingly cute, executive-created abominations like Orbitty from The Jetsons. When I watch an episode I fantasise of cut scenes where Astro tortures him in secret. I haven't seen Shrek the Turd but I would have to say that he's the ugliest CG character I have ever seen. I know he's supposed to be in a way (being an ogre) but did they have to model him off Michael Eisner?

Gabriel said...

i don't really like any of them, but Shrek is the ugliest by far. The kitty is a bad rip off of that bugs bunny cartoon when he does the same expression (is it the one with the witch?).

Oh, that mighty mouse cartoon is awesome. I'm not very good at determining when an animator changes, but in that one it's really obvious!

Jeff Read said...

Yes. Remy is pretty darned cute.

I used to like Japanese cuteness, but these days even they are screwing it up. Back in the 80s we had popular characters like Minmay (Macross) with charming expressions and movements. (If you're watching old Robotech footage, study how she moves and put it on mute so the voice doesn't kill it for you.) Today they seem to think if you give it big shiny eyes and a big head, and random garbage like cat ears, it's instantly appealing.

Clinton said...

Hey John,

When I draw cute characters, i always give them big, more detailed eyes. I could draw a poo monster and make it look real disgusting, but put two big puppy eyes on it, and the piece of poo is adorable.

Rafi animates said...

that blue rat is the only thing that has some appeal out of the last five images John posted there. but he ain't got nuthin' on the mighty mouse drawings we saw at the top of the post.

Also, in that screengrab from ratatouille, the characters are posed in the most overused uber cliche seen-it-everywhere-a-dozen-times-before way.

Fco. de Borja said...

Obviously, the cat is cute, Just draw a kitten with big eyes and flickering big pupils, lift the eyebrows from the centre and you'll have the standard face of cuteness

Tasch said...

I might be a bit odd, but I think they're all appealing. (Then again I also prefer the McKimson Bugs to all but the Clampett Bugs.) But that's not to say that they're cute... Does appealing really equate to cute? I tend to think that more is appealing than cute and that something can be cute and not appealing and appealing but not cute. For instance, the Fantasia image above isn't something I'd characterize as appealing (my eye doesn't like the coloring), but I think it's cute. Maybe that's the purpose of this blog entry and I'm missing the point?

zoe said...

Yeah, I'm afraid I will also have to agree that Remy is extremely cute. He's generic as hell, and I am offended by his plastic, nostril-less nose, but he sure is cute.

Animal Qwacker said...

Space Ace: eh!
Anything with a Jim Baccus voice comin' out of it has to be appealing.
The Shrek close up makes me want to lash out at my monitor.
Ratatoulle I have to say looks pretty damn nice. And I'm a 2-D guy.

pinkboi said...

Of that list at the end, Magoo is kinda cute, and all the computer animation is ugly except the rats are slightly cute (they act and move a lot like real wops, too)

One really good combination of ugly and cute is the characters for Gorillaz. Messed up teeth, weird eyes, and yet they are cute somehow!

I also like how in many types of anime, most characters are appealing, even oozing, faux-ugly villians! The little girl in Spirited Away is quite appealing because instead of being a generic perfect Disney little girl, she looks like a very un-glamorous real little girl.

pinkboi said...

Oh yeah, and I'm one rare guy that's not afraid to do cute. The music I make is pretty and effeminate much of the time.. and my girlfriend is so cute it makes most guys gag (she's Japanese).

Franky said...

That Basil Wolverton image immediately struck a chord with me, John. I knew the style from my childhood.

There was this comedy/horror magazine that DC put out in the early 70's that I totally loved. It was called PLOP! and some of the covers were drawn by Wolverton. They were disturbing, alien, and organic at the same time. They immediately drew me in as a very young kid.

Tibby said...

You should highlight some of Katie Rice's works to explain cute. I think she is the master at cute, and appealing in animation! Preston Blaire also hase a chapter on cute - and he does say to follow the baby-face, baby proportions and he is totaly right. A lesson I am learning avidly, from Ms. Rice and Preston both.

Jeff Read said...

Also, John K., I'm sure you realize that much of this is a monster of your own making (though you probably didn't intend it).

After the runaway success of a cartoon about an emaciated Chihuahua and an obese blob of a cat with a huge, mucusy blue nose, ugly became the new cute.

Again, not because of the cartoon itself but because of a swarm of marketing execs who are only that creative in their most turgid of wet dreams, and only see the superficies of things. They say to each other over their pad thai in downtown San Francisco, "No really, have you heard? Ugly is the new cute! Haven't you heard of Ben and Stumpy? Beaver and Buffcoat? Ugly is so totally in, now. Let's do something ugly." Hence Shrek, hence Cow and Chicken.

Tibby said...

Also - for a really good deffinition of cute - check out this person's gallery site. She's on DeviantART, and she is one of the best.
Cuteness to the max
Sort of anime'ish - but a great example of how sweet, sweet can be. I love QoD on DA.

JohnK said...

Hi Jeff

I'm sure you are right.

There are a lot of ugly drawings in Ren and Stimpy.

They are meant to be weird-cute-ugly, but not every artist could pull that off.

And all the imitators imitated the parts of Ren and Stimpy I didn't like.

Maybe I should do a post about that.

Max said...

I do actually like Shrek, no matter what the appearance is like. I think Ren and Stimpy are cute in these scenes:
Stimpy's cute in this scene:
Ren is normally looks cuter to me when he hasn't got eyebrows ;)
I think this is Ren at his cutest =3

Anonymous said...

Stimpy is extremely cute in alot of the original episodes (even Games). I found that he wasn't as cute in APC and that was one of the things I missed (he was often cute in Altruists and NBF though).

The ultimate "make girls squeal with glee" movie, in my experience, is Bambi. Followed by that scene in Snow White where they forest animals all rescue her in the forest.

And that Shrek cat gets alot of 'em, like it or not.

But I agree...we need ugliness AND cuteness. If everything is just gross it doesn't stand out. I do like my share of gross out humor, but we need some ridiculous adorableness to balance it out.

Julio said...

Great! I got a cute link

Wutatool said...

unfortunately a lot of great artists who need to pay the rent end up working on grotesque abbhorations such as "shrek the third", where everything is designed by commitee and there is no sense of a cohesive, believable universe that you can lose yourself in.

i heard most of the artists at dreamworks hate working there and cant wait to leave.

Jordan said...

>>I found that he wasn't as cute in APC>>

Wow, I really disagree. I thought Stimpy was really adorable in APC, especially Firedogs 2.


Jim said...

The rats are ok.

Shrek is rubbish in every respect.

Bugs Bunny is not Cute. I hate sticking out teeth.

Mighty Mouse is not cute, I really don't like Mighty Mouse.

Infact I don't like the look of many Warner characters.

What does it matter what I think though?

Matters to me! Appeal doesn't have a universal rule. It comes down to someones preference.

Cuteness is perhaps different though, Preston Blair seemed to nail it on the head. Babies bring out the maternal instinct in us, wanting to protect them blah blah blah. Babies are pretty annoying though.

PCUnfunny said...

I found Stimpy to be really cute in "Naked Beach Frenzy".

Jeff Read said...

In addition to what I said above about ugliness becoming trendy as the new cuteness, Shrek is a special case in that he's meant to be a parody of fairy-tale tropes like handsome princes, beautiful princesses, and the like. This goes back to the original book, which is not really like the movies at all.

John, a post about what you least like about R&S, and what other artists copied, would be profoundly illuminating. I concur that the drawings were weird-funny-ugly-cute. Just like kids, who have charming faces but wipe snot on each other on the bus into school.

Chris Battle said...

The RATATOUILLE gang has tons of appeal. Great acting, great voice-overs, and solid characters. Remy, as lead, has most of the "cute" feel, without feeling saccharine or forced.

Please don't ever post a picture of Shrek ever again. PLEASE.

Chris said...

Hello John,

Very interesting that you keep a blog; lives and learns, don't you?

my personal opinion? I have found (in my extremely limited experience)that drawing cute has the most impact when you are drawing for a stronger character (like Mighty Mouse in your article)
If you take a character that has been a total hardcase for X amount of time and then put them in a situation where they pull a massively cute expression with all the subtlety of Oil Can Harry in a Vauxhall Nova it always raises smiles.

As I can see from [what's on my screen] you moderate your comments. It is with that understanding that I tell you that I am (shortly starting) a degree course for animation in the UK. I am sure you get this all the time but here it is again anyway: My biggest goal in life (apart from charting the female mindscape)is to tell my stories and bring my characters to life - and that is also the way that most of the guys and gals on the course feel as well (obviously) I would very much appreciate ANY advice, critiques or pub ammo you could offer me. My Email is

Feel free to delete this comment if you want; I've asked what I had to ask.

Toon_Geek_Kitty said...

the puss in boots one is pretty cute. cuter than some of the ones you posted above it. i guess true cuteness is what one sees. to one person, it is pure ugly, but to another, it is a work of art. :3

katzenjammer studios said...

Hey John! Do a post about Little Roquefort. Show how Vinci and Tyer can get appeal with loose drawings and wild animation (the antithesis to the examples you're posting).

Also, I'd like to hear your theories on how they pull of some of those abstract inbetweens.

Jeff Read said...

tibby, that "queenofdorks" person exhibits many of the negative anime stereotypes I've described: huge heads, huge shiny eyes, and cat ears or bunny hats or other random crap.

The talented artists of Studio Ghibli produce some of the cutest, and most organic, characters in the Japanese animation industry. I would say that artists like Haruhiko Mikimoto and Masakazu Katsura follow this ideal pretty closely. (Try going to the manga section of a bookstore and comparing a Katsura comic like Video Girl with some of the recent stuff put out by other artists. Odds are the Katsura work will make the other one look like flat, unemotional garbage.)

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Ratatouille looks cute to me too. At least in the image you're using as an example. I'm looking forward to seeing it. People complain about CGI but I think most of it looks a lot more appealing than what people were doing 15 years ago. Stuff like this. There aren't enough words to describe how bad it is, and there were dozens of movies that looked like that!

Shrek seems to be everything in the world that could possibly be tacky piled into movie form, I can't believe people fall for it. Reminds me of the whole Bling Bling culture somehow.

Tibby said...

As for the choices of examples -

I would have to say the first one and Rattatoullie(spl?).

The new CG rat movie is pretty cute. And I own pet rats, so, they appeal the most to me. Although Pixar's "rats" look too much like Mice more than actual rats. There is a difference between the 2 rodents. Rats are much bigger, longer and ... well, ugly at times. It is important that animators know their animal species. Unfortunatly I don't think Pixar really put enough thought into the design. They simply made some cute, fuzzy, genericly cute, mouse-like rodentia. Not actuall rats. They are slightly rat-like, but nowhere near a real rat.
THESE are rats. Be a zoologist first and the characters can be more convincing.

Nico said...

It looks like you might be alone in your thoughts of that last screenshot from Ratatouille... most of the folks commenting here love its designs, and I must say that I do too. I find Remy and most of the characters in Ratatouille extremely cute and appealing. The main villain, the human chef, is even ugly-cute to me.

But I whole-heartedly agree with all the other nasty images in that last batch. As soon as I scrolled down a bit and Shrek's assy face appeared on my screen, I out-loud said "uggh!"

I work at a popular bookstore chain, and we sell Shrek shit. Yesterday a little kid said "Look, SHREK!!" to his mommy, as they walked past the display. I am bewildered how anyone, especially kids, could fall in love with the most hidious design in cartoon history.

pappy d said...

If you can nail "cute" you'll never go hungry in this business.

Everyone loves babies. Pre-human parents who failed to pick parasites from their infants & let them scratch their chicken pox had less grandchildren as a result. We have bigger craniums & smaller jowls than our forebears & maybe we'll eventually evolve proportions like the Great Gazoo. That's because men (& women, except for a few days a month when their egg drops) favor cuteness in our mates.

The same process happened with Mickey Mouse. Over the years, his cranium, grew & his muzzle grew smaller. I'd sooner trust my kids to a Freddy-Moore Mickey than the Steamboat Willie version.

If Chuck Jones hadn't passed away, his characters would have imploded from cuteness.

I'm not sure if cute & appealing are necessarily the same thing, e.g. I'd call Hook appealing but never cute.

Space Jam: neither

Magoo: appealing, not cute

Shrek: neither

Puss: cute, not appealing

Rats: more appealing than cute

Roberto González said...

Yeah, I also find Remy cute. It's kind of generic but in a way I think it's kinda similar to Chuk Jones style, but in CGI. Certainly pretty good character design, especially if you compare it to the rest CGI movies out there.

I guess Puss is kind of cute, though a bit too realistic for my tastes.

Mr Magoo I find him a little appealing.

The rest, well, not.

I really like the way Jones drew the eyes, I certainly try to imitate the kind of eyes he drew pretty often. I can't imitate Clampett, though, his characters were amazingly expressive.

gonzobird said...

Mr Magoo is the only one there that I find really cute.

They tried way too hard to make puss in boots look cute in that scene, and personally I thought he was a lot cuter when he wasn't trying so hard. The superficiality of that particular shot just really turned me off that character, when he probably would have been one of my favorites if everyone didn't keep citing that photo as an example of his cuteness.

I keep hearing so much great stuff about Ratatouille- but the one preview I saw was so stereotypically Disney that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to see it. I think the character designs are pretty godawful, too. =/

Tibby said...

tibby, that "queenofdorks" person exhibits many of the negative anime stereotypes I've described: huge heads, huge shiny eyes, and cat ears or bunny hats or other random crap.

Jeff - Why don't you go tell her that to her face instead of barking at me about it? I have her DeviantART link if you would like to go say those things to her. I was merely trying to show something different, anouther artistic example of "cute".

Brian B said...

Ratatouille looks appealing and cute. It's got some line of action in it, the hand poses are nice, and the lower hips.

Shrek's cat is just an imitation, a sad parody of cute. There's actually no appeal though.

Pseudonym said...

I have to agree about the cat. I actually don't think it's meant to be cute at all. I think it's meant to be obviously manipulative.

Robert said...

Since "cute" is the topic... what's the story on the heavy drag show mascara Chuck jones was drawing on the WB characters in his later years?

Anonymous said...

I like Mr Magoo-what have you got against him? He's not the best cartoon character in the world but I sure wouldnt compare him to Shrek!

Marlo Meekins said...

Kali is cute

Marlo Meekins said...

so is mike

Gabriel said...

tibby, chill out, jeff said it to you because you pointed to the link.

Anyway, i don't agree with him. That girl's art is not my cup of tea, but what's wrong with anime is not that. The ugliest aspects of japanese animation are in stuff like this, or maybe this. My opinion, of course.

cemenTIMental said...

Oh yeah I can say something about the rest: The cat from Shrek just feels too maninpulative to be cute. It's like they are trying too hard w/ a more realistic looking character. That expression just doesn't look right on that type of realistic look of the cat.
I've never seen any Shrek movie beyond the trailers and don't want to, and certainly don't defend them, but what you described is pretty much the whole entire joke of that shot. Doesn't make it less rubbish, but the whole idea is that a non-cute character is acting stereotypically 'cute.'

Mike Thompson said...

Ratatouille looks incredibly cute and stylistic. I encourage you to look at the Art of Ratatouille book for character designs, etc. Pixar films are all very well-designed, and continue to improve by leaps and bounds. The Incredibles and Finding Nemo are also outstanding examples of good character design, and frankly, exquisite animation. In addition, the Sony Animation film Open Season has some well-designed 3-D characters.

Never cared for Magoo. The only Bugs Bunny cartoons/Looney Tunes that were worth their salt (to me at least) were those directed by Chuck Jones. It truly is subjective and each person is entitled to their opinion.

The GagaMan(n) said...

One character I found particularly 'cute' had to be Porky Pig in "Robin Hood Daffy". There were certain takes in that of him that were major cute.

I defiantly agree that McKimson was a bit rubbish at cute. His characters were always too lanky and flapped about too much with their long arms. Still good for what they were, but cute they weren't.

You can add me to the list of those who likes the Ratatouille Rat as well. There's one shot in a trailer I saw where he sort of shrugs that I liked best in the "cute" sense. He's not cute in every shot, only when he needs to be I guess.

willrmass24 said...

I agree with the first two posters on Remy being cute for many of the same reasons that they pointed out. He isn't as cute as some other character designs, in fact. It also depends on the scene too, i thought he was more cute with certain expressions (paricularly) in the eyes. I actually didn't mind Puss in Boots' design in Shrek, i think its appealing but hardly cute.

cemenTIMental said...

The ugliest aspects of japanese animation are in stuff like this, or maybe this. My opinion, of course.
The ugliest aspect of Japanese animation is the cargo cult western anime fan-art scene! :)

Even the cheapest generic anime shows are more or less professionally produced, on model etc, wheras even the best american attempts at "anime style" look hopelessly mutated. To many people trying to copy surface style without understanding the structure.

Tibby said...

Jeff didn't need to be so insulting to the artist directly. I happen to hold QueenofDorks in high regard because her work is unique and she's a very successful and popular artist. It's so sweet it does kinda make one nauseous - but in a compelling way - I think. And yes - she is partial to a Chibi-Hello Kitty Anime style. She is definitely not as shallow as Jeff is trying to make her out to be. Look at the overall composition - not just the parts. I don't like all Anime' and it is true that there are cliche's and formula in many Anime'. But - so as in many Western animations as John pointed out in some of his past lessons. Yu-Gi-OH and Dragonball and Naturo and the crap they feature on CN are not very good or shining examples of what Anime can truly offer. If that is all one watches or has seen - then I can totally see why some ppl find a reason to hate Anime. Look - I get that he doesn't like it and a lot of you traditionalists don't like Anime either. But if there is a common theme - then why can't I share some of the other stuff too? If he uses any more racial slurs on my blog about it like he did in the past - I'm going to straight up smack him in the face for it. It's not creative criticism at that point - it's just more animation industry bigotry. And THAT is what holds us back and festers the division between us and the Japanese animators more than anything.

I don't by any means want to make anyone like it if they don't. My intention was to share another example of stuff that is considered "cute". Regardless of what medium it happens to be. Teen Titans is not true Anime' - it is a poor imitation produced because that is what the producers "think" is popular. But it has no spirit in it and obviously is "fauxime". A poor attempt to compete and jump on the perceived band wagon. Really good anime like Akira, My neighbor Totoro, Spitited Away, and others can teach us a few things here and there. If we simply choose to respect it as an artform and alternate form of animation, and perhaps learn some thing instead of always trying to constantly bullishly compete with it. Then maybe we can revive our own brand of animation and regain our audience.

Jim Rockford said...

"Young guys love ugly today-in all things, cartoons, music, pants, unshaven faces, you name it. They think it's not "cool" to have taste and pleasure. Thank God that girls have more sensitivity to pleasure and the finer things in life. Maybe they can save us from ugly coolness"

Lets hope so,but I have to admit most of the "women" I see out in public today havent got much more class or style either...I wouldnt exactly call tatoos,noserings and sweat pants with "juicy" emblazoned on the ass..finer things.
But yes there are still a few folks out there with those traits.
Hard to believe our culture degenerated so rapidly since the late 50's.

As far as which of the photos is has the most appeal,its a hard choice with that selection,but I cast my vote for Mr.Magoo!

Mr. Semaj said...

The Mighty Mouse pictures are better than the sum of their parts.

The rats from Ratatouille may not be the general idea of "cute" (they are rats), though the movie does provide silhouetting contrasts to how a rat would often appear.

McKimson's drawings may not be cute, but I always loved the way he drew characters "mean". He seemed to be a non-conformist in that aspect.

The kitty from Shrek is obviously fake cute. A cliched ruse, nothing more. Who wants to cuddle with fake? :-/

Stephen Worth said...

Emulating anime is a dead end for American cartoonists. Instead of aping surface details, cartoonists would do better to work on the fundamentals of drawing and perhaps develop a personal style that reflects their own culture.

Most anime style drawings I see by students who come into the archive seem like the artistic equivalent of dressing up in a bear costume for Halloween. You may be furry like a bear and march around roaring, but you won't be snatching salmon from a rushing river or gnawing any hikers' legs off like a real bear would.

See ya

Matt said...

Mr Magoo and Remy are the only appealing images I see in that list. If anyone out there today is foxtering in any type of golden age of CG animation, it's Pixar. They know what they're doing and they do it better than anyone.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Actually I think anime/manga reflects more of a global culture than any Japanese cultural traits. The majority of the stuff you see in anime comes from American and European comic and cartoon influences.

The main problem with most anime and anime influenced art is that it's as inbred as Don Bluth and some of the worst American stuff. There's a lot of anime ugliness that comes directly from Osamu Tezuka's weaknesses (like realism) and just accentuates it.

Jack Ruttan said...

I think the CG aesthetic relates more to dolls and puppets than drawings. We have leeway with weights of lines, and a personal expression to make drawings. Harder to think of different animators and their CG style, because they're working with the already-designed figure, not interpreting it.

Neat post. I'm into cute, but my friend, who sometimes inks my drawings, is more into grotesque, so my girls look like hags or Transvestites with him, a habit I'm trying to break him of.

Little Tart said...

I have to say that I think Puss is very cute. Yes, his cuteness is forced, but that was the point of this shot in the film. Other than Puss all the character design in the "Dreck" films is for shit. I have no idea why those films are sucessful.

I always liked the Don Bluth male character designs. As a girl I always thought they were "cute". I think the arm/leg/body/head proportion is very similar to that of a teenage boy and thus very appealing to tween girls. Many of a childhood day was whiled away mooning over Dirk the Daring.

willrmass24 said...

Note to all anime fans, Don't talk about it here.
I love anime but it doesn't do any good talking about it here because
1. so few of it is of any real quality
2. to put it into proper context would require a lenghty and drawn out explaination of it's history, influences and subtletes that really few people are qualified to explain, plus frankly many western cartoonists just don't care.

For any who are interested in quality produced anime or just something different, read and comment on this blog

P.S. start from the beggining to appreciate the info more

Now let's stay focused. hm?

IgnorantBliss said...

I think Magoo is the most apealing, he has a strange kind of cute, its the baby proportions i think, and he's not too designy either