When Disney animators and fans think of "appeal" they tend to think about this kind of stuff, cuteseypie sissypants smooth tasteless stuff that's aimed at infants, moms, Cal Arts animators and adults who choose alternative lifestyles.
Cal Arts CuteThis is the modern descendent of Disney "appeal". It's not at all based on any true human feelings or experiences. It's merely the autopilot way of designing characters that follow what animators think is the way cartoons are supposed to look - animators who love Disney and let hardly any other influences into the medium without painting over them with big round wet sad drippy eyes.
For some reason, no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to make any human characters cute or appealing at all. It's a mystery to me.
By the way, I'm not against this kind of cute. It's great for 5 year olds. But we could sure use some variety in mainstream animation. This isn't the only kind of "appeal".
Alternative Lifestyle Animation Fan Cute
Disney would roll in his grave if he knew who his most ardent fans were and what his style inevitably led to:Now just who do they aim these modern Disney characters at?
Anyway, there are many more ways to achieve "appeal" in cartoons without resorting to infantile or effeminate cuteness.
Sardonic Man Appeal
I like a lot of cartoon styles that have a more observant and honest outlook of humanity.
These cartoons by Virgil "VIP" Partch really portray humanity in its rawest and funniest forms.
VIP especially understands men in all their appealing hairy, brutish ugliness.
It's ironic that VIP started at Disney's as a storyboard artist. I can't imagine what they were thinking hiring someone whose whole outlook was the complete opposite of Disney's.
Actual men in real life must have some appeal, even though most of us are nothing like what Disney cartoons consider appealing. We manage to get girls without looking like Bambi or Disney bland male leads. I think VIP captures exactly what it is about men that is appealing. I don't know why animated cartoons are so afraid to caricature life and true emotions and motivations. Instead they continue to slavishly copy one bizzare man's strange naive outlook of life - even decades after his death.
George Lichty is another great cartoonist whose outlook of life is more honest and observant than the general run of animated cartoons.
Don Martin also fits this cartoon outlook, as does Brant Parker. I wish I could find good examples of Parker's early Wizard Of Id Sunday pages to show you.
These kinds of cartoons appeal to more sophisticated and adventurous tastes than do Disney cartoons and their descendants.
When you are a little kid, you tend to like white bread and American cheese - anything without texture, contrast or strong individual flavors, but as you get older your taste buds get bored and crave spicier, more interesting and varied flavors. You start to like European salamis, pickles, sharp cheese, mushrooms and even crustaceans.
This stuff has more texture and may look rude, but it sure tastes better than baby food.
It's very odd to me that animated cartoons have stayed in the tasteless white bread stage for so long. Don't our retinas crave some more spicy varieties of visual flavors?
Like George Baker:
We have enough of a rich history of other types of cartoons to be inspired by - and lots of foods too.