Cool works very rarely and in not many fields of entertainment.
It sometimes works in music. Here's the inventor of cool.
Elvis is naturally "cool", but he is not merely cool.
He earned the right to his 'tude by having extreme talent and skill and charisma. He has a really wide range of musical influences and styles. He invented all kinds of new ways to sing, not just "cool" ones.
He doesn't only shade his eyes. He has a million expressions and emotions. Cool is just one of them. Watch and see!
Robert Mitchum was cool before they started using the word to describe guys like this.
Again-he's not merely cool. You don't get the right be cool by just keeping your eyes half closed and having no respect for authority. You have to have amazing attributes to begin with.
Robert Mitchum is suave. He has an amazingly deep charismatic voice. He is weird looking and handsome at the same time.
He's rugged and manly. He can act. He can kick your ass.
Nowadays, everyone wants to be cool, but they don't think they need anything to back it up.
Even back in Elvis and Bob's time, not all amazing people were "cool". That is another attribute added on top of the rest of their talents.
There were lots of great musicians that were not what you would think of as cool. Same with actors.
Entertainment needs a wide range of character and styles. If everyone tries to be cool, there is no variety or contrast.
I have a theory that everyone who followed Elvis, up until this day wanted to be cool,so bad, that they gave up all other pursuits, just to cultivate an instant image and quick reward.
That's how we have music with no melody that has only one emotion-anger.
Or we have dark, ugly movies that are way too serious.
The worst medium to try to be "cool" in is cartoons. Cartoonists are among the nerdiest folks on the planet, and we are supposed to be the most honest and observant of the wide variety of human types.
"Tude" is the poor man's cool. It's the executive version of Elvis. As if you can just strike a rebellious pose and automatically earn the right to be thought of as someone who goes against the corporate herd. I think it's the opposite of actual cool.
When we try to be "cool" we abandon all our natural powers of observation, variety and strong humor-humor that makes you laugh out loud, rather than humor that makes you feel like you're part of the cool group.
Many cartoonists think being able to draw well is corny, in the same way that music with melodies or happy melodies is corny.
"That's my style" is an admission of wanting to be cool, instead of wanting to be able to draw a wide variety of characters and shapes and expressions, etc...
There are lots of emotions and moods that could be conveyed in every art, especially cartoons. We can heighten the range and emotions better than any other medium-as long as we don't wear blinders and filter our drawings through what we think is a cool "style".
When I search around Deviant Art or even some of my commenters' blogs I see lots of potentially talented young cartoonists trying too hard to be cool-drawing cool humans wearing baggy pants. Kind of Jamie Hewlett mixed with anime. There are tons of drawings by different artists, yet you would think it's all the same artist.
As if you can just copy the expressions and a couple angular shapes from Gorillaz and presto! You are as talented as Jamie Hewlett. Jamie can actually draw like a sonovabitch and it's his personal style. If you wanna be like Hewlett, learn to draw for real, like he did and make up your own style. If you are not actually cool, you don't have to draw cool. Draw funny if you're funny. Draw cute, or better yet draw many types of characters. Look at the world around you and many different cartoon styles and use your eyes and your knowledge to mix up the most interesting things you see.
Now think about it-how many people would want to watch cartoons with your cool characters in them? How entertaining is a cool cartoon? Why would they pick your cool human characters over the other million cool cartoonists' cool dude characters?
This is a very big subject and I would like to discuss it with folks over many posts if anyone's interested or has their own ideas on the subject.
To be continued...