Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Appealing or Unappealing?

Thanks everyone for the meaty comments! Some things I expected and a few surprises. I wrote my own theories below each style for you to argue with.

Here's your reward for participating in the subjectivity quiz.

1 Kookie

I think this is very appealing. Instantly caught my eye.
It's great drawing on every level.
It's designed and stylish all the way from the composition down to the details.
It has the kind of proportions that usually look bad in cartoons, yet the artist makes it work.

2 Jackson Heads
This is beyond retarded and to this day I can't believe that anyone in charge of a TV network, or a studio could approve any of it. How did the Jacksons approve it? They actually have considerable talent themselves.

Badly drawn vague "realistic" bland heads that are too big on tiny badly drawn bodies.

Wonky background adds to the unplanned accidental look of it.

3 Fur Blobs

This is beyond me too. Neither character has a distinct overall form. They are just shapeless blobs. Then the overall blobs are broken down into lesser indistinct blobs. The proportions are Godawfully unbalanced.

The little messy faced guy's features are too small, indistinct and too crowded together which makes it hard to see what you are looking at, and makes it hard for the animator to make expressions.

These remind me of Sheridan college student designs from the 1970s. Back when young animators had just discovered construction models from the 1940s and assumed from them that cartoon designs had to made up of lumps piled up on top of each other.

I have always hated that lumpy brow theory. The 2 poo shaped blobs above the eyes that appeared in so many Nelvana cartoons from the 70s and 80s.

4 Beautiful
Do I need to say anything?

5 Tyer

I have mixed feelings about Jim Tyer. I actually have this comic and I used this particular story as model sheets for the Bakshi Mighty Mouse Show in 1987.

When I first discovered his work I thought it was sloppy, but it grew on me. It's based on 40s general animation style, but is full of his own personal funny quirks. It's definitely funny, which is the number 1 most important visual element of a cartoon.

Tyer obviously has strong drawing ability but is full of impulsive wanderings from what he knows to be the "correct" way to do things. It's light hearted rebellion.

It reminds me of foods that take some getting used to, like pickles, mushrooms, spicy salami and the like. It isn't white bread and American cheese like Disney and other merely appealing styles.


6 Messmer

Instantly appealing and the essence of cartooning. Big eyes, frivolously fun happy style. Very clear staging. All the shapes are fun to look at -even the background shapes.


7 American Anime

This is a style I don't comprehend. It's less obviously ugly than 80s human proportioned shows like HeMan or Thundercrap. It takes those unanimateable proportions and simplifies the details, while glueing big Bambi cartoon eyes onto them - I guess to try to get some instant appeal. Putting big sparkly eyes on male characters makes them look pretty gay, and I don't understand the appeal of that.

The girl's forehead is too short - she should be a Fox News anchor.

The arbitrary pointy lumps all over the characters are irritating and distracting.

None of the faces show a shred of individuality. They are all the same bland human with cow eyes.

8 McBoing Boing

This is appealing to other designers. Big eyes, all the shapes are distinct; lots of contrasts in the sizes and shapes, good composition, happy looking. In theory this is very professional and appealing, but I can't see it appealing to kids, because it looks too simple and it's not entertaining. A kid might think "Heck, I can draw that good." and the designs don't indicate that the characters have any personality-they are well designed graphic symbols.

They should have had Dr. Seuss design the cartoon, instead of just write it.

9 Bambi

I'm surprised at all the negative reaction in the comments to this cute picture of Bambi and his friends.

The actual animators' drawings of the characters are more perfectly balanced as designs and that's Disney's goal in design - perfect cute balance of shapes. They don't always achieve it, but came as close as possible in the original Bambi and Song of the South.

The artist of this coloring book cover got some of the shapes and sizes a bit out of balance - which actually makes it seem more fun to me than the animation. A little imbalance is a lot more natural and "human" in designs.

10 Jones Cute

The drawings on this Jones model sheet are technically amazing. Solid construction, good balance of empty space VS filled spaces.

It's a cynical caricature of sappy cuteness. Everything about Jones -even at his best - comes off as cynical to me, like he doesn't have any love or respect of life or humanity. He is super skilled, but needs to be surrounded by other more light hearted cartoonists to influence him to be less cynical.

11 Live Action Cartoons

Holy flying crap. How can this even exist? A big human head with tiny human hands and a ball shaped body. To me there is nothing uglier than real humans trying to be cartoons. These movies are like freak shows. I can't understand why Hollywood pumps so much of this stuff out. Why not just do a real Dr. Seuss or Flintstone movie?
12 Furries
I don't know if modern-day furries even realize it, but this whole movement grew out of Disney fan art from the 1970s. Nerdy kids who loved Lady and the Tramp and Bambi and wished they could draw as well as Disney animators. They took the squirrel-mask face style, drew it poorly and stuck it on top of human proportioned bodies and then had nasty things happen.

Who ever thought this would grow into a full blown cult?

In the last 15 years or so, furry style has in turn influenced mainstream "decent" animation.

14 Pretend Cartoons
This looks like it was drawn by an 80s Saturday Morning cartoon artist with a gun to his head. Superficially trying to look like classic cartoons, it confuses 30s rubber-hose style with 40s pear and sphere style and gets every aspect of both styles wrong.

No clear distinct shapes in the design or poses. Everything is cluttered. The clothes don't follow the forms underneath - they bulge out in awkward wrong directions. It's not visually funny or well designed or remotely human. It's completely contrived, awkward and insincere. It screams "lie".

Here's a whole design category of its own:
I'll discuss this style in its own post.


Brubaker said...
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The Butcher said...

I don't know what's worse, the live action Gazoo, the live action Grinch, or those deformed people you posted at the end. I'm leaning towards live action Gazoo or whatever the hell his name is.

Roberto González said...

You are evil, using the same picture of Shifu I mentioned and stressing on his angry face.

1-Ok, the first picture is the most appealing to me. I don't know what comic is that, I don't remember you mentioning it recently and I don't think they published that in Spain, but I love the look of it.

2-Terrible stuff

3-You got me on this one, I think it's kind of appealing, especially for CGI.

4-Even less appealing than the actual movie, and that's difficult

5-It's appealing, alright, but I kinda prefer more "conservative"


7-Boring, though it could be worse

8-Pretty appealing

9-Appealing, but overly cutesy for me

10-Very appealing

11-Just shoot me now.

I guess most people would give similar answers, is that the intention of the post? Proving "appealing" is not so subjective?

And the rest of the pictures are the most difficult to decide for me...no, I don't mean the very last ones...

Justin said...

1. Appealing, though the perspective is confusing.

2. Unappealing. Horrible drawings and design

3. You obviously think this is unappealing. I think that the still is not particularly unappealing, but it's when you see these models in motion that you really get a sense of how unfun the medium is at this point.

4. Unappealing. Head and eyes are too small, right?

5. Unappealing. The drawings are not on model enough. I'd say the first 4 frames are appealing but mighty mouse's face seems to be made of jelly.

6. Appealing. Good perspective, fun design and colors.

7. Unappealing. Not fun at all. I hate anime.

8. Appealing. Though the more I look at it the more the symmetry seems like a bit too much.

9. Unappealing. The perspective is off and everythign seems flat. The Owl looks very much in the forefront while Bambi and Thumper are looking at something in the middle-ground to the right of the drawing.

10. Appealing. It's chuck jones for goodness sake.

I think that the pattern I'm seeing is that solid drawings are very important.

Roberto González said...

Now that I look again to that Bambi's picture, and yeah, after reading Justin's comment, I find it kinda ugly. The color and the skunk character in particular are not especially great and Bambi and Thumper have a very similar expression.

Also if you do find the Owl appealing here I think he looks worse than Shifu in the other picture.

I do find the characters appealing in the Bambi movie, though I can't stand the story for the most part.

Anonymous said...

1 Kookie- apealing

2 Jackson Heads- unapealing

3 Fur Blobs- unapealing

4 Beautiful- unapealing as a cartoon and as a real dude

5 Tyre- apealing

6 Messmer- apealing

7 American Anime- unapealing

8 McBoing Boing- apealing

9 Bambi- apealing

10 Jones Cute- apealing

11 Live Action Cartoons- unapealing

RAAA said...

Best to worst: 10,9,5,8,6,3,1,7,2,11,4
But how's this for appealing? http://www.raaacartoons.com/christmas08.html

PCUnfunny said...

Jesus Christ, I have never seen that Great Gazoo image before ! ARGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kali Fontecchio said...

Those last few pictures were quite insensitive.

All the beatniks are looking at me in the top pic.

patrick said...

I think they're looking at Kali on the Kookie comic

Ardy said...

The Jackson 5 picture made me laugh the hardest. Don't you think that unappealing design can at least be funny in an ironic way, and therefore appealing somehow? I mean it shouldn't dominate the whole industry, but I love watching those terrible Disco Droopy and Gary Coleman and Mr. T cartoons for their sheer awfulness. I don't know, maybe I only appreciate it now that it's years later and it's not a dominant trend.

JohnK said...

"The Jackson 5 picture made me laugh the hardest. Don't you think that unappealing design can at least be funny in an ironic way, and therefore appealing somehow?"

They must think so at Adult Swim.

Mattieshoe said...

I'll take a stab at some of the less obvious ones.

3. Unappealing. Lumpy, bland and lifeless designs hidden under some nice color choices. These characters look like they were designed by a computer programmer armed with a copy of The Lion King and a Cal Arts book.

5. Appealing in character design, but a few awkward, slightly "wonky" drawings detract from this. It's also slightly hard to read towards the end.

6. Wonderfully appealing, if only a bit stiff at times for me.

7. Unappealing. (alright that's pretty obvious) Too many reasons why to list.

8. Actually, pretty unappealing to me. the "Shapes" of the characters don't seem to mean much towards what they're portraying, and seem pretty arbitrary. I'm tempted to call it Wonky, but it does have design on some levels.

9. Unappealing. Stiff, symmetrical, ugly, features that float in space, cramped, dreary colors.

10. Wonderfully appealing, if a bit contrived in it's cuteness.

11. well, I know I'll get crap for this, but I find them sort of appealing, in an ironic way.
Kazoo, or whatever, has appeal simply because he looks so ridiculous, but not in an accidental way.

The Grinch wins me over mostly for the wrinkles. I love aesthetic facial wrinkles. but I also like the fingers, and the contrast of his realistically proportioned ass.

Maybe I'm misdefining "appeal" on that last one, but I still like them in a way.

Ambassador MAGMA said...

That Bambi Storybook is a tad too cluttered and has a very odd perspective. Bambi and Thumper have identical expressions/head tilts and Clover (? the skunk) looks like he's about to suck the blood out of some small woodland critter.

It still wins, hands down over the leaning towers of Jacksons and the blandtastic anime. Isn't it strange that American anime steals everything bad about Japanese design and none of the good?

And that Shrek is going to give me nightmares for a week. Thanks.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mr. Sean said...

The Raggedy Anne movie made me feel like i was on bad acid when i was a kid, i watched the whole part again with the Greedy or whatever it is, the hermaphrodite amoebic candy monster, great animation, really insane. But, kind of obnoxious & caustic at the same time. Live action cartoons are horrible, unless you're talking about the 3 Stooges & Little Rascals.

Mattieshoe said...
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El Chongo said...

The ones i thought were most appealing: Messmer, Bambi, Tyre, Huckleberry hound, that lion model sheet. Mcboingboing has nifty designs that are interesting and pleasing to look at but i guess not as much appeal, like that farmer/raggidy ann cartoon its appealing in a different way than Im used to and fun. first pic was damn good. loved the colors and design. Its the work of a highly skilled cartoonist but i dont know i find alot more instant appeal in Otto Messmers felix.

Mattieshoe said...
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Hans Flagon said...

Poor Richard Williams. So misdirected at times. But close to this iteration of his style, I thought his Christmas Carol worked. Would Roger Rabbit had been better on Twos?

Bill Elder has done so much better.

Thumper has Asimov Chops.

Boing Boing, in toon and in Story book form, worked. Not all UPA did.

My mental image of Felix, from TV, is flatter and with less dimension, but is it better? Felix running over a hill to me is like Power Puff Girls with thumbs and fingers. Sometimes Minimalism is your friend.

KungFu Furry was not as bad as Ithought it might be. The turtles expression was frozen. Zen idiocy, but I don't think intentional.

Kookie I like.

Jones Cute or Guisel beat Kerry, Opie and Rich Baker. Nothing against Rich Baker. Jones did not step on Seuss toes with Grinch. Maybe too much Jones in T&J, and Pogo Special.

j5 should have looked more like Beatles Toons More Cartoon Retro, and make them look different. At least Fat Albert had distinctive character design, if you are going to make talking head toons. Which would have been the other direction the j5 could have gone. The more busy the design, the less movement the producers feel is necessary. Not necessarily a good thing. This j5 is in the uncanny valley between Al Brodax and Iwao Takamoto, two opposing solutions to limited animation in the race to the bottom of the barrel. Would Clutch Cargo style been equally as effective/ineffective?

I like the elephant guy that is mostly brow. And prefer the Yogi Plush with the hypersymmetrical eyes rather than the late Fred Flintstone 'tude rolled eyes, Looks like Fred in a suit, so it has a bit of that FUBAR appeal. But it's not Yogi, if that were given to me as a kid wanting a Yogi I would revolt. Its like the Ben Cooper Costumes with a drawing on the front, charm of the misplaced.

I find Deitch Tom and Jerry's equally non appealing, yet funniest due to oddball design and execution. Atrocious though. I thought Chucks T&J was necessary but failed means to bring them back to normal, while popping a commercially successful style on them, but MGM T&J best.

Cummings as Gazoo had some shock value once.

Mattieshoe said...
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PCUnfunny said...

"14 Pretend Cartoons"

Yep, fake as fake can be. Cartoons made by writers who can't draw and the idea hatched by a man who dosen't know anything about animation.

Mattieshoe said...
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Hans Flagon said...

Lynn Naylor and Bruce Timms take on this American Anime style are purer and more appealing than this natural evolution to mediocrity shown here. And at one point, they were a relative breath of fresh air. Everything is relative.

The line weight and posing and expression here, no life.

Mattieshoe said...

Out of curiosity, is an Animaniacs cartoon written by Tom Minton still a fake cartoon?

Really, I just want a deeper view of your logic, if there is a deeper view.

To it's credit, It at least wasn't conceived by Spielberg like Tiny Toons was.

The Bible for the Warner's cartoons was made mostly by freelance cartoonists.

Still, Pretend is Pretend, and a cartoon like "Meet Minerva" is as "Pretend" as it gets.

But on top of that, Subjectivness is Subjectivness, and, as Rich Arons said, It really depended on the cartoon.

Correct me where I'm wrong.

Shawn said...

Hahaha! Holy crap!
Is this post even real???

James N. said...

Long time reader... rarely post... here's my impressions without looking at anyone else's:

1. Appealing

2. YECK.

3. Appealing. I like the design work in KFP. Don't get what's so bad about them.

4. Ugly.

5. Meh.

6. Appealing.

7. Bleh. Not great but could be a lot worse.

8. Appealing.

9. Appealing.

10. Very appealing.

11. UGGGGGGGHHH. The "Grinch" one is especially bad.

12. Blech.

13. Appealing.


Raggedy Anne may not be the best film of all time in terms of plot but a lot of the animation is superb.

Mattieshoe said...

But really, awesome and hilarious post, John. I can't wait to hear your takes on all these. Especially on the Live Action Cartoons and Furry Style.

Caleb said...

The Elephant Man is a great movie, but it’s painful to watch. I have respect for John Merrick, who was many things to many people. Appealing was not one of them. I like the wild animation in Raggedy Ann & Andy, but not a lot of appeal (is that why most people haven’t seen it?). Unbalanced googley-eyes on toys are always appealing. I think the furries (what animal is that sexy mama?) and American anime trends speak for themselves. The only reason I watched Kung-Fu Panda was because of Jack Black’s (appealing, comedic) voice.

Caleb said...

Oh, and thanks for the Pussyfoot model sheet. I think it may be the cutest character ever.

PCUnfunny said...

"Out of curiosity, is an Animaniacs cartoon written by Tom Minton still a fake cartoon?"

It's fake cartoon, period. And yes, I know who Tom Minton is. That cartoon was utimately run by hacks. No real artists controlled that crappy show.

"To it's credit, It at least wasn't conceived by Spielberg like Tiny Toons was."

And ? Animaniacs still stunk on ice.

I also wanted to comment on that "Gerald Mc Boing Boing" pic. Who drew Gerald's design ? He looked SO much better then his animated counterpart ! I also love the colors. The parents are still too conservative looking but the colors help.

Niki said...

2,3,4,7,11,12 and this is another for your gross collection, I think a majority of people have a sense better than that, Worst of all it's first showing is in my home town.

But I really like Kookie and Chuck's designs

but 8, and 9 also look kinda strange

Geneva said...

1) Appealing; the composition is pleasing, it's remarkably easy to read, the color scheme is warm and earthy without being pee pee.

2) I very literally laughed out loud at this

3) Unappealing, though I personally find the panda himself more offensive than the little guy. He's so doughy and sickly looking.

4) Oh god

5)If we're saying Tyre overall, absolutely definitely appealing, but I wouldn't say this is my favorite stuff of his of all time.

6. Very appealing. Felix is damn cute here.

7. Goodness no.

8. Appealing. Again-- warm and inviting, both in terms of content and aesthetic choices. Perfectly clear and simple without being stark.

9. Not exactly my favorite image of the Bambi characters, but overall, yes, Bambi is pretty much the epitome of Disney-style appeal. It's a bit dated and sappy, but I still really dig it.

10. Absolutely yes. Thank you so much for this sheet, by the way.

11. Never.

12. Horrifying.

13. I'm a bit torn. I did watch and like this stuff as a kid! However, now that I'm older and have a more critical eye, I should probably revisit it and see if it really was as fun as I remember it being. The drawings already seem a lot more insincere.

I would guess that this post is about some inherent objectivity in appeal, but it's difficult to get an answer unfettered by popular visuals from a layman. I guarantee if I showed these images to most people I know, a lot of answers would be flipped. I guess the real problem is trying to persuade the masses that they've been unfairly brainwashed into liking Shrek and Ben Ten-- in the same way I was tricked into liking The Animaniacs.

Mattieshoe said...

"It's fake cartoon, period."

"And ? Animaniacs still stunk on ice. "

See, that's the thing I need more clarification on.

Are we talking about whether it was any good, or whether or not it was "Fake"?

The former is simply a matter of taste and opinion, but the latter is more grounded in fact.

Also, and this may mean something or not, Tom Rugger himself WAS a cartoonist. (Albeit a reasonably crummy one) and I still find the cartoons he was in direct control of Stupid and "Ala Scooby Doo"

So in that view, is it a "Fake" cartoon, or just a "Bad" cartoon?

I'm asking you, John.

Anonymous said...

Circus freaks are definitely the most appealing!

PCUnfunny said...

"Are we talking about whether it was any good, or whether or not it was "Fake"?"

How can a fake cartoon be any good ? That dosen't make any sense to me.

Niki said...

I forgot to write that the Jackson kids, although the background curves, they stand at the same level. a 12 makes it more appealing to be a Eunuch.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mattieshoe said...

"How can a fake cartoon be any good ? That dosen't make any sense to me."

Let me put it this way: you take the people who wrote For Groucho Marx and tell them to write a cartoon about Anvils.

Not that I'm equating any Animaniacs writers to those guys, but it's a question of whether something makes a good Cartoon, Or just makes a good film.

Ukulele Moon said...

1: Kookie - Fantastic! Funny too!

2: Jacksons - nothing fits in that big-head, wobbly world.

3: Panda - indifferent.

4: Shrek - Yikes! Not much different than his cartoon counterpart.

5. Mighty Mouse - fun ... not great. MM looks high as a kite!

6. Felix - very fun. Good lookin' action.

7. Anime - I have yet to appreciate it, no matter where it's from. It's too weird ... and not the FUN kind of weird.

8. McBoing Boing - Perfection. All of it.

9. Bambi - weird translation. Not appealing.

10. Feed the Kitty - Appealing as hell.

11. Gazoo - kind of appealing as a halloween costume.

12. Grinch - why did this happen?

13. Furries: Come on, Really? Who likes this?

14. Tiny Toons/Animaniacs: when I was in 10th grade and I heard Spielberg was bringing WB back to it's golden age glory - I was SOLD! And then ultimately disappointed.
R&S would later heal the wounds.

PCUnfunny said...


I seriously suggest re-reading many of the posts on this blog if you can't tell what is genuine cartoon art.

craigp said...

the last image: that man is wonky and needs to be redrawn. he is the first wonky man. give him your love.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mattieshoe said...

Excuse my confusion over what a Cartoon is a few posts back.

The ability to make something come out of a pencil doesn't stop one from being a lousy Scooby Doo writer.

Diegogue said...

1. Apealing
2. Disgusting
3. Plastic
4. Disgusting
5. Apealing
6. Apealing!!!
7. Unauthentic and Unapealing
8. Apealing
9. Apealing

Bill said...

Furries are just poor in my opinion, its just (Lets give an animal human eyes and clothing!). American Anime and even some authentic mainstream anime styles are just appauling at times. Messmers comic was brilliantly drawn, simpicity at its finest. Also, Delgo has probably some of the worst looking 3D characters ever. You should add some Butch Hartman, Seth Macfarlane and Total Drama island pictures too, Hartmans work is at times acceptable while TDI looks very appauling and Seth couldn't make an appealing character to safe his greedy sell-out life.

Jim said...

1: Kookie - semi-appealing. Good overall character styling. Nice painting technique, but cluttered composition. Doesn't read clearly as a whole.

2: Jackson Heads - unappealing. No attempt whatsoever at caricature.

3: Fur Blobs - semi-appealing. I think the character designs are decent for CG. But like almost all CG movies, there's too much detail added to the characters. Makes it harder to appreciate the forms.

4: Beautiful - wtf? Can someone tell me why people like Shrek?

5: Tyre - unappealing. Sloppy drawing.

6: Messmer - apealling. My favorite in the group.

7: American Anime - unappealing. Modern-generic. Anime meets Filmation.

8. McBoingBoing - appealing. Great all-around. Epitome of "cartoon" in my view.

9. Bambi - unappealing. Colors are muddy. Poses and expressions are very uninspired.

10. Jones Cute - appealing. Cute

11a. appealing in a 1960s-Outer-Limits-episode kind of way. But this is purely based on that one image.

11b. unappealing. What are the movie studios trying to do to our children?

12. Furries - unappealing. There's a large group of artists out there that focus on technique. They paint still-life, landscapes, etc. and that's fine. But often times they have no idea how to be creative or origianal So they paint flowers and wolves, etc. and sell them at craft shows. This looks like an attempt at cartooning without understanding the first thing about them.

14. Appealing. Never really watched the show. But based on the characters themselves, I have to say it's all pretty solid.

Jonathan Harris said...

I wonder if anyone noticed the filename you gave the dramatic Shifu close-up...

I won't give my list since it'd tally pretty well with what everybody else said. I will say, though, that I am thoroughly baffled by the common furry art style, and how any human can find it attractive (I also notice that many people actually omitted that one from their lists...telling, I think).

This also reminds me that I need to see Raggedy Ann again. Actually, looking on Wikipedia I see that there were a whole bunch of animated versions! I presume that's the Richard Williams version you've posted (from the date, if not the ridiculous level of detail in that group shot and others; that man does love to show off).

Anonymous said...

well i dont know about you but the live action grinch was really appealing to me.

#1 Kookie,well blue and yellow make the words apealing and the blue and orange are complimentary colors so this gives the picture like a full feel,i dont like it at all though.

#2 Jackson Heads,the short ones head is freaking me out.

#7 is just completely retarded.

#9 bambi, i was drawn into the colors at first glance.

#10 jones cute, is just amazing , hes got extrmely pleasent looking drawings made me want to practice my drawing skills more.

The furries are just gross looking to me.

I just noticed that picture that have appealing colors that work together is really damn important.
jones without color is just as great.

Thanks again for this informative site.

Hans Flagon said...

Yes 1 Kookie
No 2 Jackson Heads
No 3 Fur Blobs
No 4 Beautiful
Yes 5 Tyre
Yes 6 Messmer
No 7 American Anime
Yes 8 McBoing Boing
No 9 Bambi
Yes 10 Jones Cute
No 11 Live Action Cartoons
No 12 Furries
NoSeeUms! Unlucky Number!!
No 14 Pretend Cartoons

Matthew Long said...

For me I think that the following are appealing: Kookie, Otto Messmer's Felix, Gerald McBoing Boing, Bambi (movie version not the creepy version here where they look demented, especially Flower), Chuck Jones' Pussyfoot, Animaniacs somewhat, and Kung Fu Panda for the most part was appealing except for the main characters other than Po, so I'm torn. I watched the movie and never knew what the heck Shifu was supposed to be and made a lucky guess, a red panda? Seriously?

Sagelights said...

1. The kookie one is funny and beautiful and I love the waitress's foot that's turned.

2. The faces of the Jacksons are kinda of odd, but I find it funny because its so bad. Especially the one in the wall and the one with the big face.

3.I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda. I liked how most of the characters looked except the two big cats they were kind of strange. I really liked Po's Dad the best.

4.LoL at the Shrek man. Kinda doing a Frankenstein thing there. Definite bad idea.

5.It's really cute and a lot is going on without taking over any one panel which is nice and easy to read.

6.I LOVE Felix the Cat he is always awesome

7. I hate Ben Ten, I took a drawing class with a girl who's dad worked on that show, so she had trouble drawing people as they actually looked and tried to give them box features. There's today's cartooning at work being passed down.

8. I love the furniture, it's a little too yellow, and I'm not really into that style of cartoons but I appreciate it when people draw them with skill. They are definitely a skill deal breaker style.

9.I love Bambi, and I like this book cover because for some reason I feel like with the bold lettering and the intense orange it's shouting BAMBI at me in a deep man voice. I find that amusing. I also think its funny how story book is emphasized twice.

10.That cat and dog own. That cat is too cute.

11.I like the live action people's as cartoons in these particular versions. I find the Kazoo and him creepy appealing. I like creepy things, I also like Banana Splits (but not the cartoons).

12.Furries are scary.

13. I liked the animaniacs, but Spielberg isn't an interesting person much less a cartoon so he can go away.

SoleilSmile said...

1. Appealing

2. Unappealing and unfinished. Would've been better if they went completely Peter Max or used the character designer for Sesame Street's Billy Joe Jive.

3. Appealing. I don't care what you say.

4. Unappealing


6. Appealing

7. Dead Eyes-unappealikng. Hopefully the genre will get better in time.

8. Appealing

9. Appealing


11. Unappealing

12. Unappealing. Not all furries are badly designed. I remember you liked one my drawings of Lola Bunny. And there is a difference between Furry ( anthropomorphic animal like Bugs Bunny) and Furvert ( what is displayed here)

14. Appealing

Raggedy Ann and Andy by Richard Wiliams. Corny Cole the great Cal Arts character animation department mentor the was the production designer on this. I think it's great. Then again I love 70's cartoons. Fredic Back, Allegro Non Troppo, Pink Panther..bring it on!

As for the last 3 images. John, you're on the web too much. Stoppit.

John, a random person who commented on my portfolio wedsite 8 years ago said they liked Spumco's style. It was cool. Old, but cool. Tastes are changing, and studios that cling to what audiences see as old will not survive. They are trying to keep up with the trends. A new hybrid style will show up in the next decade or so as the current green designers gain more experience. Be patient. American cartoons will improve.


Lucas Nine said...

1- Mhhh... Yes, sir. I like it.
2- Mhhhh... No, sir. I don't like it.
3- Mhhh... yes, sir...


Gudrød said...

Oh man, check out the character design in the new film 'Delgo'. BARF.

Yamavu said...

1) looks okay to me. expressions transmit well
2) no thanks. also helloooo composition?
3) I fear it's not appealing directly to me. This is really a problem with animatable 3d models.
4) Musicals have their own appeal. Characters need to be iconic while not ruining their char design.
5) rather unappealing, to many tricks that should make the characters cute
6) appealing
7) I like some examples of appealing "american anime"-style, but that's not appealing to me. some are more appealing than this, though they all have the problem of transmitting the actual feeling
8) there's some basic appeal in there
9) the battle of appeal vs detail
10) the appeal is more raw than the disney way, but it looks okay
11) see 4, grinch is okay
12) if they're stealing from the right people and understand what they're doing, they might be okay. This one's boring.
13) a hope in our modern world, though they're on the bridge when it comes to appeal

Anonymous said...

1) Appealing. It's full of fun. The colours are well done.

2) Awful.

3)I'm gonna be honest and say I'm liking the Panda's expression in this one but in general, these hollywood 3D animation cash-cows are mostly unappealing.

4) I went to see the stage production "Monkey: Journey to the west" a month ago (a friend got free tickets) that was designed by Jamie Hewlett and I hated it. The costumes were cruddy just like that Shrek.

5)The eyes in this are just dead. Like theyre staring into space. Completely unappealing.

6) Very cute. I like this.

7) Faux-anime is horrendous.

8) Same sort of appeal as Kookie. The use of colour is very appealing.

9) I can't say Bambi does much for me I'm afraid. It's not bad but I there are better examples of appealing out there.

10) Definitely appealing.

11) I could take it or leave it. Cartoons are better at being cartoons than real life trying to be cartoons (if that makes sense)

While we're taking about appealing characters -- Oliver Postgate needs a mention. He died a fortnight ago. If you ever want an example of pure appeal, you just have see his animation. Bagpuss and the clangers being prime examples of the sort of gentle, warm British eccentricity I doubt we'll ever see again on children's TV.

Putty CAD said...

I only find 5,6,8 and 10 appealing out of those. The first pic and the Bambi book cover seem a bit drab compared to other stuff you've shown us in that style.

I like the plush toys in the first and third pic as they are quite cute and have a retro charm to them, the middle yogi is too fuzzy though and makes him look like he's just come out of a tumble dryer!

Although I enjoy some of the live action films with my daughter it's mainly for the comedy rather than design. She loves "Cat in the Hat" and I'm pretty sure it got slated by critics and won't have any fans here! LOL

Peggy said...

Richard Williams: "This doesn't have enough detail to be a challenge to animate. Let's make it more fun." I dunno how they managed to rein him in on Roger Rabbit.

Also, seeing those model sheets from his RA&A film reminds me of the worst idea for a drinking game, ever: watch Raggedy Ann & Andy and take a drink every time something touches the edge of your kinks, even if it's one you really really don't wish you had.

Roberto González said...

I also don't understand why being a "fake" cartoon makes Animaniacs designs unappealing, cause they look appealing to me. You can say they're fake in spirit but they are solid drawings. They have decent construction, line of action, they look a lot like Mickey Mouse. Even Spielberg's caricature has sort of a friendly face.

I guess they lack some personal style, the style of drawing is similar to Looney Tunes in modern merchandising. Sometimes they are well drawn, but they look a little boring. Still, it's not enough to make them look unappealing (of course sometimes they are, especially the colors they use in gay Tweety posters, but I'm talking about the most decent drawings in the merchandise).

The designs doesn't make these cartoons inherently fake, and even if it is so apparent that they are not done by cartoonists in the designs (though they were at least drawn by cartoonist or animators) that doesn't make them inherently unappealing. The fact that some person who can't draw could possibly add suggestions for the designs doesn't mean they are going to look necessarily bad.

limaCAT said...

That Jackson Five still picture is completely wrong. You cannot tell who is who and the scene is unreadable: squinting your eyes you see three stilted trees and one erratical form (it has bad proportions for being read immediately as a child with a curly hairdo).

At least it is not a cluttered picture, even if the left-most character overlaps badly the left-most wall (reading this picture "correctly" he should disappear behind the wall). There is no line of action, and the rythm in how the characters are laid out makes this composition symmetrical (they are evenly spaced).

I would like to see if the Jackson 5 still would become more appealing if the artist corrected everything that's wrong in the composition, leaving the character design as it is.

Bitter Animator said...

My personal answers -
1- Appealing
2- Unappealing
3- Appealing (I see the problem here as more one of execution)
4- Unappealing (but pretty funny)
5- Unappealing
6- Appealing
7- Unappealing
8- Very, very appealing
9- Unappealing but rather close to appealing
10- Appealing
11- Definitely unappealing
12- Unappealing
14 - Appealing (like 3, the problem for me is in aspects of the execution)

And I seriously could have done without those last few pics. Unpleasant.

Bob Probst said...

1 Kookie -- yep
2 Jackson Heads -- nope
3 Fur Blobs -- I'll be surprised if you agree but I'm going with yes
4 Beautiful -- eek!
5 Tyre -- there's some good elements here but I find it unappealing as a whole
6 Messmer -- yep
7 American Anime -- nope
8 McBoing Boing -- yep!
9 Bambi -- tough, some appealing characters but the design reads muddy and confused
10 Jones Cute -- yep!
11 Live Action Cartoons -- nope
12 Furries -- Ze Goggles!
14 Pretend Cartoons -- yep

Jeffrey said...

Ugh! That "American Anime" kills me. You've discussed this before, John, but it's so damn angular. I guess what really annoys me is that "American Anime" steals from either out-dated 70's anime or from the worst of the anime studios working on "toy selling" anime.

I was watching the early 80's anime classic Macross recently, and while the jaw lines have mild squares or triangles, the hands and limbs actually look human. None of those square "glove hands". It's in insult to call that american style anything close to anime.

You can piss on this if you want, but what was America doing in 1984? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpMhISNFc1Q

.M. said...

Kookie - Very appealing
Jacksons - Undecided. It manages to gain points despite being terribly wrong and not being bothered with likenesses, but if the little guy with the strange head is Micheal, it's appeals in an ominously funny way.
Fur Blobs - Unappealing
IRL Shrek - Appeals to the funny only.
Tyre - Unappealing
Messmer - Unappealing
American Anime - Generally Unappealing. Ben 10 is a pedestrian offender in the category of American Anime. The boring, pedestrian designs must have been a hit with executive types and toymakers, but what about the me-too tripe that's popular at Deviant Art or better yet, New Transformers and Teen Titans?
If John has posted his thoughts already, can somebody be kind enough to supply a link?
Mc Boing Boing - Appealing
Bambi - Unappealing
Jones Cute - Appealing
Live Action Cartoons - Just No.
Furries - Between the furverts and the ...well, non-furverts, I just don't get it. Unappealing.
Pretend Cartoons - Unappealing

PCUnfunny said...

John, I thought you would classify the raggedy andy and ann as "cartoon hell".

Aaron said...

i guess, what I think about appeal is that it isn't subjective, but that its just so important it's kind of too broad. Appeal is a must. other aspects of animation may vary in degree, but if all goes well, the whole thing oughta be appealing or your just trying to make worthless imagery on purpose. of all the pictures the good ones, the ones that are fun and interesting to look at have appeal. or is it all the ones that have appeal are fun to look at? That's my point. appeal is not subjective and neither is quality and they're the same thing.

PCUnfunny said...

I think people are confused of what is appealing and what is merely easier on the eyes.

Aaron said...

and animaniacs and tiny toons are awesome and yall are crazy. any kid, flippin through the channels is gonna pick either of those shows over loony toons, because those they can relate to the characters and the storys easier. and thats all there is too it. loony toons is more universal though and less age-bracket dependant.

:: smo :: said...

1. incredibly appealing.

2. scary.

3. more appealing than other cg i've seen [shrek and the like], but still more creepy than appealing.

4. barf.

5. awesome! though the last few panels are pretty wonky and using weird cute conventions like eyelashes, and they're oddly lumpy in weird places. the knights and that cat are totally awesome though.

6. amazing.

7. well rendered, insanely boring mediocrity. even in this image i feel like the girls eyes are "swimming".

8. rubber hose graphic styles? depth and flat working at the same time. great!

9. again, cute conventions. this looks like it was drawn by an intern, sill it has the right idea of construction, or at least is trying to. but the colors and wonkyness of this make it gross and not appealing.

10. totally appealing.

11. barf.

12. ew!

13. ?

14. appealing on first glance and frustrating on second. no proportions, no depth, looks like an assortment of images pasted on top of each other. more appealing than the fake anime and jacksons, but missing something to make it really appealing. look like they were drawn by someone who saw one van buren cartoon and thought they could do better...but can't.

Iritscen said...

Dare I say there's too much thinking and too little feeling in some of these responses? I'm all for discussions of what is good art and what isn't, but if I respond from my heart, I can find most of these images appealing even if I can also hear John K's criticism of them in my mind.

1 Kookie

Probably works better for some people; not really my style, but I'll give it an "appealing".

2 Jackson Heads

Appealing... well, only if "makes you burst into laughter" counts as "appealing" even when the laughter is being caused unintentionally.

3 Fur Blobs (Master Shifu)

Appealing-ish. Didn't see the movie, but I don't really see the problem here. I look forward to hearing what is so wrong with it unless your real complaint is the overall "doughy blob syndrome" alluded to by a previous poster, which pervades most of the big American CG movies -- and which I am in agreement with you on, John.

4 Beautiful (guy playing Shrek)

Moderately appealing. Imagine the same guy wearing a Shrek mask so he could actually present Shrek's facial proportions accurately, and I think you'll agree the result is actually creepier.

5 Tyre (crazy Mighty Mouse art)

YUCK. Maybe John K will reveal some hidden genius here, but it's well-hidden, that's all I'm gonna say about it.

6 Messmer (creative Felix art)

Quasi-appealing. I love the small planet, but the art is stiff and absolutely chock-full of twinning.

7 American Anime (Ben 10)

Unappealing. I disagree with the poster that says it takes the worst of the designs of the Japanese; it doesn't take anything from Japanese design, it just imitates it and comes up short.

I would submit, however, that art aside, a show like this is also about telling fairly serious stories, so let's not bash the show even if we bash the art (unless the writing is bad, too...). It's not a traditional cartoon and shouldn't be held to the standards of classic animation.

(Also, let's not hold it against the show's producers that they aren't being given a budget to back up stronger model sheets with solid animation.)

8 McBoing Boing

Unappealing. Too contrived. I would find it more appealing if the light fixtures, etc., did not look like they were drawn by Picasso.

9 Bambi

Probably also contrived, but it's still cute. I love the details and the drawings felt solid at a glance. I refuse to nitpick it because that's not how the intended audience (*children*) would perceive it. If it holds up at a glance while using one's imagination to bring the characters to life, then that's all that matters, imho again.

10 Jones Cute

Most appealing stuff in the list. Awesome stuff.

11 Live Action Cartoons

Appealing. Kazoo is ridiculous and thus funny and thus appealing (in a better way than the J5 were "appealing"). The Grinch looks like I would expect him to look in live action. It's not his best medium, but I consider both of these as working on some level.

12 Furries

Unappealing. But, at the risk of defending furries, that's not the best selection to represent the, er, genre? style? fetish?

14 Pretend Cartoons (Animaniacs)

Appealing. I won't get into it on this one, I'll just say this: I understand your issues with this one as a creator of cartoons yourself, but if the cartoon is appealing to its intended demographic, it's appealing to me. I enjoyed it as a kid and it never felt insincere (uneven, though, yes). If it feels unoriginal to you, that's only because it was explicitly an homage to old-style cartoons. Like Roger Rabbit.

limaCAT said...

Also, thanks for letting the world rediscover Kookie, man. It's really fun.

Brubaker said...

1 - yes
2 - no
3 - Indifferent
4 - NO!
5 - Tyer in general appeals to me but the last 4 panel creeps me out.
6 - YES!
7 - No. Sorry Ben 10 fans.
8 - Indifferent
9 - Indifferent. Bambi will never appeal to me anyway.
10 - YES!!!
12 - Scratch that. THIS hurts my eyes more.
13 - ?
14 - Indifferent. If you asked me 10 years earlier I might've had a different opinion.

Aimee Inc. said...

1,5,6,8,9,10. Appealing. Good design, use of space/comp, color.

The rest, bah.

Kjorteo said...

1 (Kookie) - Very appealing. It's cleary old. I don't know enough about art and art history to say what about the style makes me think "this looks old," but it's actually almost...nostalgic? I like it.

2 (Jackson Heads) - Unappealing. Is this Hanna-Barbera? It must be, because I know of no other major animation studios that cut this many corners to make this terribly cheap (as far as both inexpensive and low-quality) animation. The one on the far left is standing inside the brick wall. The one on the far right has the exact same giant head as the others, despite having a much smaller (younger?) body, and therefore looks even more wrong than the guy standing inside the wall.

3 (Fur Blobs) - Unappealing, though I can't adequately explain why. It just seems vaguely ugly to me.

4 (Beautiful) - Well, cosplayers are always horrible, but I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to prove with that.

5 (Tyre) - Unappealing. I'm almost positive I'm going to be seeing that face Mighty Mouse is making in the final panel in my nightmares tonight. There's something about how that creepy manic grin is drawn as he's touching the girl that almost reaches "IT'S GOOFY TIME!" levels of implied sexual predation.

6 (Messmer) - I'm going to say this one's appealing just because I don't see anything wrong with it. Another one that's clearly old, though I can't quite describe why.

7 (American Anime) - Some western animation is better than others. I can't quite say this one's appealing or unappealing, because it's mostly plain. It's just kind of...there. Nothing wrong with it, though, except possibly the guy who dresses in a Nirvana-esque double-shirt combination and has a mullet.

8 (McBoing Boing) - Old, but also incredibly stylized. This one's highly appealing for the same reason Kookie is.

9 (Bambi) - You know, a lot of non-mainstream animators and people on the internet and such love to give Disney crap, but I actually really like this one. Granted, they probably cut less corners back then, but still.

10 (Jones Cute) - I honestly have no opinion on this one.

11 (Live-Action Cartoons) - Have always been and will always be horrifying. The least appealing thing on this entire list, by far.

12 (Furries) - Okay, I myself am a hardcore furry, and even I hate Falstaff. I'm going to very, very hesitantly call unappealing on this one, but I really think you chose a poor example. There's a tremendous variation in quality and styles, and things like http://e621.net/post/show/22172/ (NSFW due to tasteful artistic nudity) are gorgeous.

14 (Pretend Cartoons) - It really depends on the cartoon. The one in this picture is decent.

bob said...

does the success of a show tell how apealing it is to the people wachting it. because ben 10 had 4 seasons, and 2 seasons of a spin off show. could it do that if it wasnt apealing to alot of people.

perspex said...

KOOKIE is appealing.
umm. Chuck Jones, Will Elder, Jaime Hewlitt, Gerald McBoing-boing, even the Pink Panther stuff is appealing, mostly the backgrounds in the earlier ones [Psychedelic Pink]
i remember when i first saw the backgrounds in the Ren&Stimpy pilot at a Spike& Mike, my retinas exploded, and i knew quality was on its way back...

Larry Levine said...

10) Chuck Jones Cute: Unquestionably appealing!!!

Whit said...

The Jacksons cartoon series was done by Rankin-Bass, not H-B. The critics of the day proclaimed the Jacksons as great animation and loathed The Osmonds, another cartoon done by the same studio with a very similar look and feel. Maybe they just preferred the Jackson 5 music to that of the Osmonds.

Brubaker said...


The Jackson cel came from the animated "Jackson 5ive" series produced by Rankin-Bass Production.

The actual animation, however, was outsourced to England at Halas and Batchelor.

Halas/Batchelor did much better stuff. Trust me.

Jonathon said...

I think what my main difficulty with a lot of the images supplied that have been categorized as 'unappealing' (or were meant to be) is that they're very generic.

The images that come out the best are the people who've learned from those before them, but don't try to copy a 'style'.

Mattieshoe said...

Now that I look at that Animaniacs drawing... I have to agree.

It has more appeal than the Jacksons or Ben Ten, but it's still Saturday morning cartoon Art, and it Still Looks like a lie.

Like they took a layout artist from My Little Pony and told them to draw like Freddie Moore.

They looked much better at times in the Show Itself. Mostly when Animated by Startoons.

Tell me what's wrong with this drawing:

Not the best example, But one that was more typical to the show.

TMS gets too much credit for some of their work on Animaniacs.

Alot of it is just polished Saturday Morning Cartoon art, like the drawing in this post.

But it's a pretty good trick. It had me fooled for a bit. under all the polish, it's really only slightly more appealing than Ben Ten.

PCUnfunny said...

I like the designs of the Bambi cover but the colors turn me off.

Mattieshoe said...


Yep. I guess that's it.

Animaniacs and Tiny Toons are FAR better than Looney Tunes.

Really, Even I think that's like calling a Disposable Wine glass better than the Holy Grail.

I do Pray that you're trolling.

And I also pray that John stops letting comments like that through.

Kelly Toon said...

Yo, Kjorteo . . . I'm on your side, man, but that was not the best example of furry art to share, if you're trying to convince this crowd that furries are not all bad.

Zorrilla said...

1 - Nice
2 - Hilariously crappy (what's with the leaning, and that guy standing inside the wall?!)
3 - Crap, like everything Dreamworks does.
4 - I do like Shrek's design but hate all other designs in the movie
5 - Cute and honest
6 - Even cuter than 5. Skillful.
7 - ...
8 - Nice. Nice colors but a little cold. And also, this spawned the garish Cartoon Network corporate look...
9 - Bambi is one of the cutest designs ever
10 - Not very cute and moderately appealing, but very skilled.
11 - ...
12 - I don't get furries
13 - I love it! The most appealing cartoon design ever! (there's no 13 =P)
14 - Not appealing, but I don't think they even tried to make them appealing. (and that Spielberg is gross)

Caleb said...

Ahhh!! Delgo?! What did we do to deserve that? Let me see if I can predict the story: A weenie of a boy accidentally trips on a rock and discovers he has; mystical powers/ a pet dragon/ a quest to save all the land. He sets out on his “adventure” (more like a sequence of boring events). One of the female characters begins to develop feelings for the chosen weenie out of convenience and since all of the manly men are taken. Together, with the strength of their love (that was developed in 30 minutes) and the ‘artifact’; they conquer all that is bad, dark and ugly (forever). Children learn the important lesson of waiting passively for something to happen to them, and that everything can be easily categorized as good or evil.
Most CG movies have awful stories, they’re all a scrap heap of other plotlines from movies that understand how to make a yarn that you care about. Delgo has some good voice actors (that probably wanted to be part of something artistic and cool) that were likely forced to say bad dialogue and expected to make it better (the actor is expected to write a better story on the spot). When will CG special effects lose their sparkle, to reveal the naked emperor underneath?

Justin said...

'In theory this is very professional and appealing, but I can't see it appealing to kids, because it looks too simple and it's not entertaining. A kid might think "Heck, I can draw that good." and the designs don't indicate that the characters have any personality-they are well designed graphic symbols.'

I think one of the biggest problems with animation today is that it tries TOO hard to appeal to kids.

Besides, I don't think that most children would really be put off by a show because they think they could draw it.

Considering they watch shows like this:

I think that for some reason adults underestimate the gut instinct of children. When I was a very young child my favorite movies were Robocop, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future. The I don't think that I was really an example of the target audience, considering that I was born in 87.

To Aaron, who said:
'and animaniacs and tiny toons are awesome and yall are crazy. any kid, flippin through the channels is gonna pick either of those shows over loony toons, because those they can relate to the characters and the storys easier. and thats all there is too it. loony toons is more universal though and less age-bracket dependant.'

I disagree completely. When I was a kid I never watched animaniacs because I thought the show was annoying.

Mattieshoe said...

To be honest, John, I just can't see anything cute about that Bambi picture.

They look like they belong in a Smokey The Bear comic.

The Skunk is cute, but the rest are just too disjointed and awkward looking to me.

Bambi and Thumper take the "cartoon heads on animal bodies" thing to an extreme, like they were pasted on over realistic Rabbit and Deer heads.

oppo said...

I have never actually seen the Animaniacs "style" tried to be dublicated in any other show. Wierd stuff, it is.

And that furry picture huts my eyes more than the picture of Elephant man. I really mean that.

oppo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roberto González said...

>>The clothes don't follow the forms underneath <<

Really? I think they do.

Yakko's arm is a little odd and so it's Wakko's hand, but the clothes do follow the forms. Yeah, it's true that they bulge out (I guess I'm guilty of that charge too in my comic strips. Maybe I watched these shows a little too much as a kid but shirts bulging out is not an especially ugly element to me. I know it doesn't make sense but I still add it cause I like that form. It's true that Wakko's cap and long shirt look a little like an attempt to be "hip", though. But the rest of the clothes do follow the form of the body anyway, and the actual show, in the better drawn episodes, did look a little better than that promo pic.

Mattieshoe said...

Also, John, Wouldn't a just as valid example of Fake Cartoon art be the covers of the Looney Tunes Volumes?

Matt said...

1- (kookie) It's ok. A little too vintage and boring, though. Nicely done, but I wouldn't be enticed to pick it up.

2- (Jackson Heads) I agree with everything you said about this one. Horrible.

3- (Fur Blobs) Oh, John... Here you are, at it again. You love doing this, don't you? Taking the most indistinct, weakest in-between shot that you can find, then removing all the beautiful color from the shot to make your case that it's "unappealing." tsk tsk. I see right through that ruse. Admit it, the only reason you don't like it is simply due to the fact that it's CG. Your irrational bias is evident, yet again.

4- (Beautiful) Hideous. I'll agree that Shrek, in all it's forms, is ugly and unappealing, but the fact that it's CG (or in this case live action) has nothing to do with that.

5- (Tyre)- Appealing to a point. I hate Mighy Mouse's squishy face, here. It makes me want to punch it. The rest is fun to look at, though.

6- (Messmer) Too old and outdated... J/k, this is classic well done work. :-p

7- (American Anime) Bland and unappealing.

8- (McBoing Boing) Simple, but very nicely done.

9- (Bambi) Too cluttered. It doesn't look like much thought went into the composition or color. The Construction is ok.

10- (Jones Cute) Awesome. Jones was a master.

11- (Live Action Cartoons) Horrid, worthless, unappealing

12- (Furries) If I could kill it in front of its friends and family, then drink the blood from it's still-beating heart, I would. I detest the whole "furries" cult. What the hell is wrong with people?

13- (Pretend Cartoons) Boring and Bland, but that was the best we had, for the time it was on the air, unfortunately. Unappealing.

Paul B said...

I think that the "american anime style" started with the explosion of anime in america, so the stupid exects said: oh! this is working, if we do the same shit we are going to be BILLIONARIES!

but it looks fake american crap as hell!

Paul B said...

I totally agree with you in the 11 point, BUT i really like Jim Carrey in THE MASK.

gabriel said...

1 yes
2 jaja, no
3 yes
4 no? no
5 is ok, some kind of generic, but funny
6 love
7 ben ten (so so) but teen titan and avatar is in this category? then yes
8 more love
9 obviously cute, and appealing, but boring
10 obviously cute, and appealing and funny
11 big NO
12 nono
14 animaniacs freakazoid yes, human caricatures nono, tiny toons no, but depends, to many directors, but some are oka

sorry for my english

Patman said...

I saw an ad for that first CG movie in the newspaper. I really thought it was a PowerRangers promo movie or something. Ugliest cartoon ever.

Mattieshoe said...

Oh my god.

I thought Shrek was hideous, but...

Humanity is doomed.

mary said...

John, big fan of your work though never replied for some reason. I'm feeling brave today.

Delgo - I saw this commercial on tv and nearly cried. Stiff movement, wacked out body proportions (that... Lizard man looks like a budding anorexic with liver disease), I'm sure I could go on and on.

Kookie - The thing that appeals to me most about this style is the feeling of nostalgia, like all the picture books I read as a kid were drawn and colored in this fashion. Now I look at it and I appreciate the humor which I was too young to understand. The hottie-hobo. Nice stuff.

Jackson Heads - The copy past technique before anybody even knew what that was. Guy on the far left is floating over the wall. Wow.

Fur Blobs - Each pixar/disney 3D film has potential in my opinion. The characters are simple and appealing though usually not fleshed out to its fullest. If they spent a little more time on character design and trying not to make the plot and dialog like EVERY OTHER movie they make I would actually consider watching it without pausing it at intervals to cry my heart out.

American Anime - I like how their hair is just a blob of color and a shiny streak splattered onto their heads.

Jones Cute - Beautiful work. I haven't seen a better feline/canine character since (I'm looking at you, Bolt. Just get hit by a car forchrissake).

Live Action Cartoons - I love how hilariously ironic it looks like, I hate how serious they were when they designed it.

Furries - Interspecies Erotica.

Steven M said...

Kookie: Decent style, like a slightly less flat attempt at McBoing-Boing. Composition seems a bit awkward. Good use of colour.

Jackson: Nuff said, really.

Panda: Why did you desaturate the picture? The inbetween doesn't do the designs any favour, and the designs themselves are fairly inoffensive, save the faces. I've seen scans of concept artwork from the film that were very promising, but that always seems to be the way - the transition from pencil to screen.

Shrek: ...yeah.

Tyer: I think reposting the dinosaur comic would have made your point better. This definitely shows the weaker side of Tyer.

Felix: Quite good, really. Felix himself seems a bit stunted but the kids, the bear etc are very lively and appealing.

Ben 10: Seems like a rehash of Bruce Timm's style. It's interesting to look at, but I wouldn't really call it appealing.

McBoing-Boing: Inoffensive.

Bambi: It's probably just the eyelids, but that looks more like a group of would-be conspirators than a group of Disney-brand furry freaks. But yeah, Hong Kong knockoff.

Jones: You're dead right about the caricature of cute. I don't want to say he was trying too hard to make the designs cute or appealing, but... yeah. At least this wasn't 50's Jones.

Grinch: Having a live-action cartoon is like having an animated sitcom. What's the point?

Furries: That's just horrible. Don't even get me started on these things.

Animaniacs: bland Spielberg caricature. Warner designs are decent, but it seems a bit too rounded off on the edges and generally vague in shape. Composition's definitely awkward.

JohnK said...

"Panda: Why did you desaturate the picture? The inbetween doesn't do the designs any favour, and the designs themselves are fairly inoffensive, save the faces. I've seen scans of concept artwork from the film that were very promising, but that always seems to be the way - the transition from pencil to screen."

Roberto sent me that image as an example of appealing character design from the movie. It's a publicity image, not an inbetween. I desaturated it so you could focus on the design, not the elaborate color.

It has no design.Whatsoever.I explained why as clearly as possible in the post.

trevor thompson said...

Holy crap.

I'm sick for two days and THIS is what happens?

I'm sitting this one out. No one reads the 101st post anyway.

- trevor.

SugarPete said...

Huge suprise. Everything from the sphere and pear theory of design is amazing, everything outside of that is ugly.

Since you're so well versed in appealing design theory, John, why not do a design post about old R&S vs new R&S?

I think we'd all be interested to hear you explain why the new version is more appealing.

Iritscen said...

I can't really defend the Ben 10 art style -- as I said before, it's a bad derivative take on anime -- but it seems like it's almost inevitable for certain shows to end up looking that way today.

You take the lack of interest in giving animated shows the budget to use a decent studio, and you take a show like this one that aims a little older than kiddie cartoons, and it almost seems unavoidable that the designers will reduce their characters to a series of pointed shapes to help guarantee that (a) they won't end up looking all blobby because the studio's underpaid tweeners are loose-handed, and (b) they will definitely have some of that desirable "attitude" to them (because apparently "edgy" is to be interpreted literally these days).

Unfortunately the lack of faith in the guys doing the actual animating leads to the desired "attitude" being thrown in your face because they can't risk being subtler and having that lost in the animation process. Sad, really. It makes me pity the people who produce these shows more than anything.

Anyway, you criticized the sparkly eyes as gay on a male character; but wouldn't unsparkly eyes just make the overall design look deader to the eye? Those spots of light (I always call them specularity, don't know what they're called in the industry) are there specifically to add life to a character. Without them the faces in this kind of show would be even less interesting.

(Plus, I'm pretty sure tween girls like that kind of thing.)

PCUnfunny said...

"It's a publicity image, not an inbetween."

ARE YOU SERIOUS ? How the hell are you suppose to read anything in that scene ? You can barely even make out that little guy's face. Things are really this bad, wow.

Mattieshoe said...

But then again, visual "Style", in it's conventional sense, isn't something that Storyboards are meant to convey.

I think there need to be more posts on Golden age storyboarding and Layouts.

We just give so much credit to the actual Animators that that production stage seems to be largely ignored.

In Modern Animation, Layouts and Storyboards are all Cartoonists have to get their voices heard, since virtually no TV animation studios exist anymore.

We need more shows with the Ren and Stimpy production system.

Shows like "Rocko's Modern Life" look like they're the victims of giving the overseas animators too much credit.

Mattieshoe said...

Delgo (2008):

Budget: $40,000,000
Gross revenue: $596,207


gabriel said...

but, the elaborate color is a important part in this kind of design, i don't know, maybe this kind of design don't work in 2D but in 3D works.

some of traditional concepts can't work in 3D characters because is not a drawing.

Is closer to a stop motion character, but have a lot of other issues, and the designer in 3D character must consider this issues and turn them into advantages

Anonymous said...

I read the 101st post! This test was pretty awesome to read many different people's takes on, (including John's). Hope to see more stuff like this.

T.E.B. said...

1. Appealing.

2. Unappealing. What's going on here? Look at that ginormous head that little kid has on the right! Looks like he just ate a power pellet and he's gonna eat the three with his giant man head. Next thing you know their little tiny eyes are going to scurry around everywhere. lame pac-man joke ending now.

3. Some-what unappealing. I see why you made this black & white. Without color (which was alright I guess) all we see is the forms (edit: holy crap I was right!) Or at least I think I see the forms, it's hard for me to make out the characters.

4. *Sigh*... just no.

5. Weird. It looks thrown together but its still fun.

6. I don't have as much of a hard time looking at this than the Kung Fu Panda image. Easier on the eyes, instant appeal!

7. If it weren't for this awesome blog and many other blogs out there and cartoonists here who comment, I would end up drawing stuff like this and be convinced that it's "great, top notch stuff". There's a cartoon I really want to create that hopefully, shows kids how this lame anime stuff really is. A bonus would be making them feel dumb for liking it in the first place. Mwahaha!

8. Taking graphic design courses, I can see how this looks good. But if I saw these as a kid, I wouldn't want to draw them.

9. I find this appealing, I also like the colors used here. Well, there's that brown part of Bambi's leg between Thumpers ears that seems a little darker than it should be. Besides that, these characters read as cute to me.

10. Can something ever be too cute it hurts? Because this just oozes with appeal. By the way, this reminds me of something that happened not too long ago. My nephews come by house every so often, they watch Dora and all that other junk, but they don't really watch it, they do other stuff like play with toys or be in another room as the show goes on. So I thought I try an experiment, one t.v. had Nickelodeon on, the other t.v. had Chuck Jones "Feed the Kitty" playing. Take a wild guess which t.v. had my nephews full attention?

11. I appreciate the hard work and skill it took from the special effects team to bring those characters in the Grinch to life. That still does not change how unappealing it looks. Gazoo, Kazoo, I forgot, yeah wtf.

12. "Holy overused smudge tools, Batman! This is gayer than our 70's cartoon show!"

Remember that cartoon I mentioned, the one I want use to bury lame animes? Furrys too. Oh yeah, the image is unappealing.

13. ???

14. I haven't seen this show since forever. I watched it as a kid, didn't miss an episode. As for the image here, I don't really want nostalgia to give this a free pass from criticism so here goes: to put it blunt it's just not fun to look at.

And thanks for the Delgo poster, it's just what I always wanted. /sarcasm

Unless the meaning your conveying is that a poor cg movie with embarrassing character designs, dumb story I've seen hundreds of times, lame jokes, and using celebrity voices as a selling point is now one of the biggest failures in box office history, then it's just what I always wanted! /sincerity

Tom said...

The Delgo trailers look absolutely hideous. Here's some news that might warm your heart a bit though:


limaCAT said...

Delgo: hahaha, it's so wrong it even has white poo-poo trails as clouds.

I mean, how can you do clouds so wrong with computer graphics, when computers, even ones built 2 million of years ago, can do clouds well and better than that?

Roberto González said...

>>The little messy faced guy's features are too small, indistinct and too crowded together.>> That's true, though I think one can read the expression pretty well. And at least he has some space in his forehead and cheeks, so his face is not totally crowded with features.

>>I have always hated that lumpy brow theory. The 2 poo shaped blobs above the eyes that appeared in so many Nelvana cartoons from the 70s and 80s.>>
The "poo" shaped blobs are not so bad per se for me. I actually kinda liked Beetlejuice character designs in that Nelvana animated series. The animation and the colors were sometimes quite bad, but the designs were ok . I admit I am biased cause I love the Beetlejuice life action movie (that's sort of a live action "cartoon" that works) , but still. Also the blobs are kinda justified here, regular pandas and red pandas do have spots around their eyes.

I sometimes dislike the lumps, the brows of the human characters in "Bolt" look artificial to me.

How do you make 3d characters without lumps?

I can see what you say about the faces being a separate form than the body, but I guess it's as good as you can get in 3d designs.

Oh, and just out of curiosity, what would you think of this spanish CGI series for preschoolers? It's a kinda generic design, but I think it looks appealing.

Keunemeun said...

Delgo? haha wtf?! thanks for the 'reward' John!

Keunemeun said...

Thank goodness there is still some justice left: 'Delgo currently holds the record for worst wide release opening ever.'
I can not believe crap like this gets a 40 m budget. I suggest those blind producers give the money to you John. So you can make a new Ren and Stimpy season! Or a feature film; that would be sweet too :)

cemenTIMental said...

Old: Appealing!
New: Unappealing!

This quiz is easy.

Just kidding. :)

Anonymous said...

Delgo is hilarious. They look like a race of anorexic Don Rickles mannequin with tude.

Niki said...

Hilarious! I'm so glad you posted that horrid Delgo movie! It looks like those fakers tried to put some twist on the Disney face and screwed up more than usual!

But the thing about Bambi for me was the owl's vertically flat head, it made me feel like even though it looked nice the drawing was made free hand.

but on a good other hand check this out I think that her paintings have a lot of appeal on then and even better, there all hand made!

Niki said...

Dang I thought I would have to talk again but, I actually like the fact that even though Spielberg did it god awful wrong I actually have to say I like im' he at least tried to get it right, or seemed to be trying which would inevitably have inspired kids to learn to do it and do it funny. glad I didn't grow watching this.

Iritscen said...

Re Delgo: Hysterical. Thank you, John.

As soon as I saw a commercial for it, I thought, "John K must be flipping out." That was literally my first thought, in as many words. At the time, I thought that because of the designs -- "Pointless animal noses on human-like faces, ahoy!" ("pointless" is a pun, get it, get it?)

Having read about it, I can see now that it's a total comedy of errors beyond what I thought at first. The Yahoo article on its opening mentions that the development of the movie was an "underdog story". Yeah, because underdogs gets $40 million thrown at them. Also, the guy making the movie goes and hires celebrity voice actors. Way to use that money wisely.

A true underdog story would have been the production of a non-celebrity-filled, hand-drawn (non-CG) film with an original plot, made without major studio dollars. By the way, I can just imagine "Delgo" being the word for "turd" in some foreign language, seriously, who picks a name like that?

Well, no need to kick it around too much, right? Yahoo estimated there were an average of TWO people in the theater for each showing during the opening weekend. Wowzers. That's a record that won't be broken for quite a while.

Jimmy Jazz said...

you don't seem to like new animated action shows, or older 80's animated action shows, are there any you like? the 90's batman show perhaps?

Jimmy Jazz said...

you don't seem to like animated action shows or superhero cartoons around now or in the 80's (thundercrap) are there any you do like? the 90's batman perhaps?

Leeann H said...

I've never heard of Delgo until today, but from my first glance at that poster I was reassured that it may have died a quick and similar death as The Reef.

However Jones' cute lil' Kitty never fails to crack me up! :D

Thom said...

Heh...I was one of the happy animators on Delgo. We all had, you could say, "misgivings," about the character designs. I never figured out where they came from exactly; We had no input of course. But we had a good time and have moved on to other projects now. It's too bad it turned out the way it did...

Tom A said...

Disney fan art? I always figured it was the Robin Hood film that started all the furry crap, ie Disney itself.

Anyway I don't think that #8 wouldn't necessarily appeal to kids, what with children's book writer/illustrators like Eric Carle being so popular. I remember really digging the whole "cut out tissue paper" look as a kid.

Guy said...

Iritscen: Budget has nothing to do with it. They're horribly designed, horribly-drawn characters that should have never left DeviantART.

No artist, animator or otherwise, with any real skill would use them for anything.

Anyway, you criticized the sparkly eyes as gay on a male character; but wouldn't unsparkly eyes just make the overall design look deader to the eye?

They look completely dead already.

Amateur art (and I refuse to consider Ben 10 "professional"; there are thousands of artists on DeviantART just as good) will be greatly improved when the idea that shinies will make up for laughable anatomy, terrible poses, and faces that are a jumble of crude symbols goes away.

dandeco said...

Great post, John!

Being a furry myself (and damn proud of it, man!) I can tell you that Disney's "Robin Hood" and Don Bluth's "The Secret of NiMH" are both very influential and popular with the furry fandom. I've seen both films, and though I love them, I have to admit Disney pulled a Hanna-Barbera when making "Robin Hood," cutting many corners by reusing the same animation cycles over and over, while "The Secret of NiMH" had much more spectacular animation and a darker mood for a 1980s animated flick.

And have you ever seen some of Glen Kennedy's work? He is great with drawing bouncy Bob Clampett-esque animation designs and cycles, such as in Eddie Fitzgerald's "Tales of Worm Paranoia," and I dare to say, "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" (yes, that show is a guilty pleasure of mine!)

Keep up the good writing. I can learn a lot about cartoon-making from your blog! :)

Mattieshoe said...

John, you can't keep talking about Fake cartoons without mentioning the fakest, most vaunted cartoon ever made

Disney's "Bonkers"

at least ten times faker and less sincere than the worst episodes of Animaniacs.

every episode had "Toon" in it's title. it was the living incarnate of a Fake Cartoon. it needs to be revealed for the crap that it is.

Mattieshoe said...

By vaunted, I mean supportive of the Roger Rabbity, Imitation Tex Avery style that can be found in shows like Sonic The Hedgehog (Which I'll admit had a hilarious Robotnik desighn) or Super Mario World.

but at least those shows didn't have the nerve to put characters like "Bonkers Bobcat" along with classic characters like Goofy.

FreddyD said...

I'm guess I'm not cool enough to hate Animaniacs and Tiny Toons. Those were some of my favorite shows as a kid. I'll never have my own cartoonist blog at this rate.

But 'American anime' and most of the new cartoons are horrifyingly awful. Stuff like the Loonatics should have never been made.

Alvaro said...

To me the worst were 4 and 11 Ñ real action cartoons are the worst thing ever, those horrible films are ugly and weird,I can´t see why some people think that kind of things are good for children.
But I loved Chuck Jones cute designs.
Delgo...sweet Lord. That single picture is enough for me to stay away of it. It looks like that "straight to DVD " crap.

baronash said...

American anime what are they doing. This just goes to show that the big networks want to cash in on the anime subculture thats going on. Lack of national integrity nowadays

Martin Juneau said...

" John, you can't keep talking about Fake cartoons without mentioning the fakest, most vaunted cartoon ever made

Disney's "Bonkers"

at least ten times faker and less sincere than the worst episodes of Animaniacs.

every episode had "Toon" in it's title. it was the living incarnate of a Fake Cartoon. it needs to be revealed for the crap that it is.

By vaunted, I mean supportive of the Roger Rabbity, Imitation Tex Avery style that can be found in shows like Sonic The Hedgehog (Which I'll admit had a hilarious Robotnik desighn) or Super Mario World.

but at least those shows didn't have the nerve to put characters like "Bonkers Bobcat" along with classic characters like Goofy."

I agree with you.

I can't believe i watching that and loved as kid but it's sure a show i wish to never watch again and again. And i don't find the appeal of this crap if you jumble with existing characters like Darkwing Duck or the Mad Hatter. WTF?!?

At the end, this was a vulgar tentative to capitalise the Roger Rabbit success but without know why the original movie was actually good. Bonkers is one of the most biggest distortions in Disney's history.

Daniel Poeira said...

The deformed people pictures are very appealing, the same way a car crash is appealing. Appeal has nothing to do with prettiness or cuteness. It's all about catching the eye. Sometimes the bad guys are more appealing than the good ones, and weird stuff is always appealing. Animation can learn a lot from P T Barnum.

Al said...

14.You may not like Animaniacs...but I admit.It's better than most of the crappy television today and that's true.

12.Furries make no sense.NEXT!

11.Live Action Cartoons-I've seen worse!

10.Jones Cute-Chuck Jones IS GOD!

2.Jackson heads-Filmation is pretty bland to me.

Wattsink2009 said...

I'd like to know where Don Bluth fits in the mix. Most of his designs seem to have a lot of itchiness. But a few of his lesser films (particularly A Troll in Central Park) have some very appealing designs that animate very well.

SparkyMK3 said...

Delgo--Ugly as sin. I really wish i could put into words why it's so unappealing.

Kookie: Very appealing. Composition could be a little less cramped (i see some tangents here and there), but the designs are very well balanced, and the color is sumptous and tasteful. I can't see it appealing to kids, though.

Jackson Heads: Bland, flat and badly drawn. Poor use of caricature.

Fur Blobs: I see Andy Panda's long lost cousin, who still hasn't grown out of his "formless" phase. I also see Yoda's foriegn cousin, with Don Bluth-esque eyebrows. Kinda bleh, not very appealing.

Beautiful: The answer should be obvious, but i respect any man bold enough to go on stage looking like that. Plus, his face is kinda funny. I'd like to make a caricature ofit.

Tyer: Has a very cute, puppet like look to his drawings, even if they're a little off in terms of drawing skill.

Messmer: Very appealing, well balanced shapes with lots of contrasts in shapes, and beautiful composition. I love Otto Messmer's art style so much, it's uber cartoony and super appealing even though it's very simplistic. It's no wonder he's considered one of the founding fathers of cartoons.

American Anime: Bland. Just lots of trick drawing, with no real knowledge of the human figure or anatomy. Kinda wonky and lumpy. Stiff as a statue. Has a Cal Arts look fused with hints of Filmation and 70's Hanna-Barbera. I'm not sure where you got the idea that it's anime influenced, though.

McBoing Boing: Very cute and well balanced shapes, i'm sure my baby sister would love it. It's pretty conservative, though.

Bambi: This is an interesting case. It's still kinda cute, but it has a sloppy look to it (i.e. the lips are confused for the chin). I also dislike the incongruity of Friend Owl reading a book and having glasses in what is clearly a world that knows zilch of human culture.

Jones Cute: Well drawn, very cute.

Live Action Cartoons, Grinch and Furries: GAHH WHAT IS THAT?!

Pretend Cartoons: Don't care for it. Too wonky and cluttered.

Raggedy Ann drawings: Well drawn, but who cares when i can barely even tell what i'm looking at!

Itchy Drawing: Eh...don't care for it.

Animaland Stuff: Ok, what is so bad about this? It's just 30's rubberhose mixed in with West Coast principles.
Can you explain what makes this more "formless" than 30's rubberhose? I'm confused. I do notice the error of confusing the lips for the chin.

Dolls: Eh...bleh.

Tom and Jerry Poster: Badly drawn 40's pears and spears. I like Jerry's ears, though.

Coachman: Okay, what is wrong with this? It looks like a nice solid drawing! What's wrong with this?

SparkyMK3 said...

Okay, after doing some research on life drawing and asymmetry, i see why the Coachman and Animaland guys are formless now. I stand corrected, sorry 'bout that John.

Btw, I actually saw a design of the Coachman, except in drag and with even sloppier drawing, in the third Care Bears movie. I want to find a frame grab of it so i can compare it.

Harvey Rothman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Austin Reed said...

1 - Meh.

2 - Very unappealing

3 - Meh. Po is sorta appealing but Shifu is sorta unappealing.

4 - Kinda Appealing.

5 - Appealing

6 - Very Appealing.

7 - Appealing. Cloying-type and not really a cartoon per-se.

8 - Appealing.

9 - Very appealing!

10 - Very Appealing!

11 - Meh. Most are very unappealing, while the Grinch is appealing.

12 - Appealing. The specific one falls under "meh"

13/14 - Appealing. Cloying cuteness.

Did I win anything?