Monday, September 08, 2008

The Canadian Bear

Is this the same bear? Believe it or not, it isn't. It's 2 different characters. It's the Canadian bear that appears in countless Canadian model sheet packs on sundry ultra boring shows meant to punish Canadian children who are too unique or lively.
Where did the Canadian Bear come from? Let us trace its roots...

Well first of all, probably 90% of animated cartoons around the world can be traced back to Disney. Disney cartoons had more influence on the world than any other more creative cartoons from the same period and earlier. It's gotten to the point where most animators can not even imagine straying from what they think the Disney rules of design and motion are (after 7 generations of copying and forgetting what the reasons for the style were in the first place).

Even Anime is a direct descendent of Disney design style. But the funniest imitation of Disney's blandness is Canada's. It's like a caricature in reverse. Canada has taken the weakest aspects of Disney and emphasized them, while leaving out all the useful and appealing parts.

Disney invented a particular style of cuteness in the late 30s and early 40s. Its pinnacle is the 1942 film Bambi.

This style serves 2 purposes:
1) Functional for animation

The characters are made of simplified forms that rotate well in space. They are very solid and at the same time organic. Two seemingly contradictory concepts perfectly combined into one design style.

When animated by experts like Frank and Ollie, Milt and the rest of the great Disney animators, it makes for a beautiful and almost magic visual experience.

When people copy Disney, they miss this aspect of Disney's design. - that it has construction and flow.

This is not the only way to design solid flowing characters, but it's the one that worked for Disney, and Disney convinced the world that they were the only animators who had any reason to exist.
2) To make Moms go "oooooooooooH!"

Besides being well designed for movement, they are also emotionally designed to be ultra cute.
Almost every character is the exact same character design. It is a generic but perfectly balanced set of huge cute eyes perfectly mapped onto a perfectly solid egg shaped head. A huge head compared to body size with a huge cranium relative to muzzle size.

Baby proportions, and thus cuteness to Moms.

The only real variance in design from character to character is the length of the muzzle and what kind of ears it has.

It's the same face on different types of animals. They all have rounded triangular eyes, that are mirrored by a light shape around them. Big-ass pupils that take up about half the space of the eye itself.

Here is the Disney formula character design and construction at its apex. This is where Cal Arts eyes degenerated from. The textbook animation design is right here and obvious for all to copy. More modern copies of these characters do not quite get it.

Here it is again. Exact same design; different beast.

As the decades wore on, the characters got less and less construction, and less cuteness - even drawing the same characters.
They added angles to the same designs in the 1950s and the pupils started to shrink.

By the 60s, the heads got much smaller, the proportions got blander, eyes got smaller, they lost the framing rings around the eyes and the construction started to melt as the animators got older and shakier. The angular style was still there, but a much milder, less daring version of it.

This eventually led to the tiny head Bluth style as the cartoons got less and less cute. You still see the same Disney construction formula. They are still the same designs they used in the 1940s - just way toned down.

Father and farther away from the source; still copying, but copying the previous copy, instead of trying to understand the original.

same same same same same....

From Disney Bears to Canada. A Journey towards blandness.

I've always wondered why when before they start animation on a Disney movie, they spend tons of money experimenting with variations on their stock design style.

All these preproduction drawings are much more interesting than the designs that finally appear in the movie. These are all still based on the stock Disney formula, but they experimented with the proportions at least.

Technically they are all beautiful animation drawings. They have all the fundamentals and some artistic flair on top of them.

In the end, of course they settle on everything in the middle:
Even though this is pretty generic and sappy, I still love the Bongo film. The animation and backgrounds is just so stunningly expert and at times beautiful, that it sucks me right in.

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Song Of The South is the same way. Disney has a small bear design and a grown up bear design, with some slight variations here and there along the way, but basically recycling the same designs for decades.


In the 60s, Disney took Winnie The Pooh and animated it
They combined their own cute style and construction with E.H. Shepard's quaint and charming style.

This eventually did serious damage to Disney's style in the 80s. It ushered in blander small-eyed bears by the hundreds.


By the 1980s, the drawing skills were gone and so was the cute appeal. We had a super bland even more generic version of Disney with none of the good things about the studio left. Now you think this is ugly?

Here is the Canadian copy of the bland 80s Disney.

No construction, no line of action, no silhouette, no animation functionality and really tiny unappealing eyes - yet this was sold on its "cuteness". And there's nothing remotely cute about it, except that it sort of reminds you of Disney from long ago. We've been trained to think even crummy 7th generation imitations of what was actually cute once, is still cute now.
Here's the same design in another show, only even lousier.

My gosh, aren't these adorable?

A great irony is that the success of these fake Disney shows in turn influenced Disney to steal from us Canadians.When characters are this generic and faceless it's impossible to sue those who steal from you.

So now you know how we got from here:

To here:
Imitators think that by imitating the superficial aspects of a 10th generation of other imitations, they will somehow absorb instantly the quality and appeal of the original.

That means this:

equals this:

This is the basic Canadian entertainment thinking. Whatever America does (or did 60 years ago) we will copy the copy of the copy of the copy of the copy, until there is nothing left. - Instead of actually trying to entertain with skill, knowledge, varied individual influences and experiences from our own lives and personalities.

Here is the modern insincere animation look. Just as we've seen the Disney character design style copied and mangled for decades, now we have spent almost 2 more decades copying (without knowing why) the Nickelodeon/ Cartoon Network "style".

Who do they make this look for? Each other? Certainly not a regular audience of humans.
I don't even know what these are, but it's obvious where they came from.

Postscript: I don't want other Canadians to thinking I am bashing them. I'm proud to be Canadian and there are many unique and wonderful things in Canada.

I also realize (as most Canadians do) that we copy American culture. And don't do it very well. And do it too late.

I'll do another post about this in more detail, but I find it ironic that Canada wants so bad to distinguish itself as having its own culture, but in the process destroys any chance of letting it happen.

The government has crazy complicated bureaucratic rules that stifle creative competition, skill and originality in entertainment and art, while thinking it is encouraging it.

I can say from lots of direct experience in both countries that if say anyone with money in Canada actually wanted to seriously compete with American animation, we would kill all competition. Not in a year, but easily within 5. The talent is there. We could be known as the leaders in quality creative money making cartoons all over the world and force everyone else to imitate us. Instead the whole business is set up to stay way behind America's own backwards business model and to badly imitate its every mistake and awful trend.

More on this later...


AdamYoung said...

I never understood the overblown success of the current Nick/Cartoon Network style. It started with Genndy Tartakovsky, who made some brilliant shows. Then years later Butch Hartman ripped him off and this disturbing trend of ugly angular character designs had blown out of control!

Toole said...

"This is where Cal Arts eyes degenerated from"
i've been reading your blog for like two years hoping you were gonna make a post on exactly what this "Cal arts" style is but you sort of drifted away from this kind of analysis for awhile. Now that you're analyzing this kind of stuff again I hope you might get to that after the canadian thing, which is also really fascinating. These kinds of posts are the real draw for me..

Brendan M said...

I'd like to hear about the Cal Arts style- I just started reading your blog about 8 months ago or so- and it's incredibly informative.

I'd also like to know how cartoon network/Nick "evolved" into these angular cartoons. It's maddening.

Ryan G. said...

Holy crap. Is that Teddy Ruxpin under blue Carebear? Pooo.

k.dubb said...

haha!! how ironic that i was JUST flipping through my Prestin Blair book TODAY.

man, you never cease to hit the nail on the head, John K. and that's speaking on both relevancy of your posts AND accuracy. in fact, i've been drawing for Disney for three years now (minor gig, not feature films), and i've been taught by some great ones (including George Scribner who directed Oliver & Company..haha). i've drawn all the classics more than anyone should. i can honestly back this formula you speak of because i saw it after only six months of drawing, drawing, drawing these characters! it's at the point now where i feel like i can draw any character anyone wants off the top of my head just by "adjusting the length of the muzzle and what kind of ears it has"... lol! and that goes for the princesses too :0)

great post. can't wait to read what's next!

vicki said...

come on canada, you can do better than this.
i know first hand, at least from an illustrative point of view, that there is so much bloody talent in this country, but as you said, money.
It's hard when the money isn't there, and in order to get the money, you have to bend a little, conform to what the audience is used to seeing, make them feel comfortable by seeing something familiar. and thus, people are stupid.
so so stupid. and stifling.
and since the US is in the lead, why not follow them, not put ourselves on a limb, and ensure a slow steady success for ourselves.
what happened to breaking ground and bravery? guts? balls?
come on canada, man up.
you're so right john. in time, there could be some serious amazing work coming from this country, but alas...

ted said...

As a designer working in Canadian animation, this post almost brought a tear to my eye. I was told today to reference a Disney villian for a character design!Everything you say is so true it's heartbreaking. I know that we Canadians could hold our own creatively against anyone in the world, but our third-rate farm team mentality is destroying us.
Having seen how Canadian animation is almost completely beholden to American financing, I have decided to follow Mr. Bakshi's advice in his recent interview.
Eary next year, I am beginning my own feature film. I don't expect it will be easy, but goddammit! at least it'll be something to be proud of!

Thanks for the great posts John! It does us Canadians good to get a little tough love from someone with a foot on both sides of the border.

SoleilSmile said...

I just thought all the people who worked on Care Bears and etc. were just "green". You know how it is, as a young animation artist you start out in TV and when you're all nice and seasoned, you move on to feature as a journeyman. That is, unless you get lucky and work with Bruce Timm or Spumco where your drawing skills are pushed as they would be in feature.
Runaway talent, you might say.

Bitter Animator said...

Adamyoung - I can only offer an opinion of course but on the Cartoon Network style, aside from just a bit of basic bandwagon-jumping, I think there is actually some merit to the flat angular style when it comes to television animation: it's easy to control.

Thing is, television budgets usually are pretty small (though the US budgets look massive to me over the other side of the Atlantic - I'd love to know where the money is squandered). If you take a great artists 'handwriting' or complicated construction or, like Mr.K does, encourage unique drawings and then ship them off to Korea or similar, the chances of you getting something back that doesn't look horrific must be pretty slim.

But the Cartoon Network style is so nailed down, rigid to the model sheets, so flat that dodgy angles aren't an issue that it is hard to get it wrong once the system is set up.

Ultimately, a flat rigid cartoon that makes it to screen controlled will likely look more polished to an average viewer than one that reaches beyond that but is badly realised.

It's unfortunate but, rather than nurturing talent and striving for the best out of every member of a team, the system seems to be based more on damage control - could the worst artist on the planet mess this up? If the answer is 'no', the risk is reduced.

That's just how I see it. I'm sure there are many other opinions on the matter.

David Gale said...

Ecchh! The designs on that Franklin show are atrocious. The turtles look like they have toilet seats on their backs. I also hate how washed out the colours are. It's like they eliminated the bottom third of the value scale because they thought it might scare the kids.

PCUnfunny said...


I would like to know what happened to Butch Hartman. He made some hilarous cartoons on The WHAT A CARTOON ! show during the 90's then he started using those broken glass designs. I guess he just devolved.

toole: John has made it pretty clear what the Cal-Arts style is. It is generally late 60's Disney and onward.

Hammerson said...

Fascinating post... and another proof how incestuous the feature and TV animation scene has been during the last few decades.
You also opened another interesting topic in this post, about the preproduction drawings and concept art for the features. The studios are wasting their time and money on the creation of interesting and original designs, only to discard them completely, or use the most watered down versions robbed of all the distinctive traits in the final product. Many of modern features (including the 3D ones) could have looked much better if the preliminary artwork has been followed more closely.

And by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I posted a special drawing and few other surprises on my blog :)

Zorrilla said...

What disturbs me more in the Cartoon-Network-and-derivates style is the expressions. The idiotic grins and "attitude eyes" make the characters look like morons I would't want to meet.

But... maybe they are a reflection of reality. I've met lots of people who act like that in real life, sadly.

Chris Rank said...

I'm with y ou Toole. I want to know exactly what CALARTS style is or isn't. Who is and who isn't in CalArts style. like a compare and contrast. i've been reading this blog for a while too, and have yet to see a definitive answer.

I do know John K. isn't. Genndy isn't. Bakshi isn't.

Also, my kids love little bear. My kids are 2 and 4. I never had little bear, I had Sid and Marty Croft, Spiderman,etc. Little bear drives me nuts, but keeps them sedated. hah.

John S said...

Before these posts, I'd wondered why you never stayed in Canada to advance your own culture instead of coming to America to advance ours directly.

The thing about America is, we seem to take our own culture for granted: comics, cartoons, music, you name it. Movies are the only exception. I mean, it took the British to show us how rich a musical culture we had! Aside from the Beatles being amazing in and of themselves, all the British invasion was was a repackaging of American pop music played back to us. And we had no clue that half the songs they were playing were American to begin with!

So, once again, it looks like it'll take a foreigner, a green- blooded Canadian even! to show us blind Americans who we are and where we came from.

Ryan said...

Toole: I had managed to garner a sense of what the "Cal Arts" style John complained about was. Now I'm starting to get a feel for what the "Canadian style" was. At least when it comes to character models. I don't think I could identify "styles" of background. (And this whole Canadian tangent was kicked off because of an off-hand comment he made about a background.)

Whit said...

Knowing where things come from should be a hallmark of the people running studios. It just ain't so. John K. explains it all for the overpaid frauds - yet again. The smart ones will take notes. The dumb ones will continue to destroy what's left of the industry while cashing their bonus checks for killing it.

Jeremy said...

These are great posts! It's really interesting how watered down animation has gotten over the years.

I believe that future animation has nowhere to go but up though.

Mr. Semaj said...

Happy Birthday, John! :)))

This is actually a good read.

As far as Disney bears go, Baloo and Little John are practically the same character, not just from their animators (Frank & Ollie), but also their voice artists (Phil Harris).

Sven Hoek said...

Song of the South is my favorite Disney movie(and I saw it for the first time only a few years ago after my wife got a copy from Japan, its been banned in the US for a long time in case you are wondering why YOU havent seen it yet) My grandmother would ready Uncle Remus stories to me when I was little and she would do all the crazy voices. I had no idea where they came from until I saw the movie.

If you havent seen it yet, it is worth the trouble to get it. I transfered it to DVD so I can watch it over and over. Its one of the only Disney movies I have seen more than once. Great characters and stories, get it.

I love Disneys art, but Im not a big fan of their movies, but Song of the South is great!

murrayb said...

to me, the "canadian animation style" you speak of is intrinsically linked to children's publishing. franklin, Magic school bus, Aurthur, busytown, babar, little bear, rupert bear, bearstein bears, benjamin bear(notice a tread here?!) are all stilted pseudo-european watercolor kids books that get the governor generals award for blandness. Nelvana and Cinar love to purchase book rights, "pre-existing success" is no risk.
Most of Canada's children's programming, distribution and broadcasting is run by one mother corp,CORUS.It's the Canadian viacom.

As for the modern broken glass CN/gendy style, I tend to think its subconsciously from the 8 bit sprites of the videogames the early 30 somethings who are making these cartoons played as kids. Most "modern" shows have a retro video game vibe, iconographic, sterile, unorganic and vagely japanese. I find they invoke memories of megaman and mario.And as bitter animator said, easy to control in production.Why is "control" a good thing? might as well make widgets!

JohnK said...

Hi Murray

the book stuff is just one aspect of the Canadian style.

No matter what style the Canadian shows are imitating superficially, certain Sheridan College/Nelvana habits come through:

Stiff poses. Characters standing straight up and down.

Dead squarish eyes.

A certain timing formula.

The same anticipation for every action. The one where the character hunches down too far, brings up his arms and shoulders and then overshoots the next poses.

TOO MANY ANTICIPATIONS Every pose is connected with the next by an anticipation and overshoot. Every single one! No one ever just moves from one pose to the next easily. There is no variance in timing or posing.

When I watch a Canadian cartoon I want to add sound effects to the "acting".

Everyone looks like they have Turret's Syndrome or the hiccups.

Jonathon said...

Hey John,

I don't comment much, but I'd like to thank you for posting this. Excellent, excellent. I'm an outsider to the industry looking in, but as a graphic designer (who, like many, had the dream of working as an animator for Disney once...), I see all the things you described, and it's very interesting to see how trends began, and how diluted they've become.

"I've always wondered why when before they start animation on a Disney movie, they spend tons of money experimenting with variations on their stock design style."

Most hilarious thing I've read all morning, but only because it's so completely true.

Keep up the good work, and keep inspiring us all :)

Frank said...

Happy Birthday John !

AuntieSocial said...

Lord, if only bad artwork was the only problem with those kiddie shows. The inane dialogue and the watered down plots made me wonder for years if I was brain-damaging my daughter by letting her watch them. Luckily, she's older and delights in some fantastically drawn comic books (I am not an expert!), so no harm, no foul.

El Siglo del Ruido said...

id love to hear your opinion on Russian Animation, its really one of my favorite styles and i feel its really close to UPA stuff.

Fyodor Khitruk's Story of a Crime and Film Film Film are some of my favorites.

murrayb said...

your right, the "antic, overshoot, settle" is the droning mantra of every animation supervisor I've ever met.Some of them even have a frame by frame formula to the timing of this.Im sure they'll make it an automatic feature of the next toonboom. "pop-take-smear settle-pose to pose> CTRL+P"

I believe a more apropriate sound would be "Bwooop-tha-WUNG!" (eat your heart out ,don martin)

Bitter Animator said...

If your "BOING BOING BOING SPROING!" is what I think it is, it can't be unique to Canada. I was talking through that only last week - I call it the "Antic/Settle Abuse System" and it's everywhere.

It's currently being employed to hide symbol transitions in Flash, and works too.

I passed through Disney in Paris many, many years ago when they were started preprod on Tarzan. A guy I knew there who was in clean-up was gushing about how much he was learning about animation. One of the things he learned was that every action and every subdivision of an action (including the individual body parts) must have an anticipation with a squash or stretch (whichever applies) and a settle that does the opposite. I totally took that on board thinking I had struck animation gold.

It's not that we hadn't learned about antics and settles in college but the idea of applying it to absolutely everything everywhere was the trick.

Years later, I thought I was having some sort of fit watching animation that just constantly bounced. Bounced, bounced, bounced. It drove me nuts and I could see it everywhere I looked - needless antic/settle abuse. Aside from bringing on seizures, it means that any impact from good use of them is lost.

Methods being passed on like Chinese Whispers.

Or... that may not have been what you were talking about, in which case ignore me.

Sam said...

Happy birthday ya crazy bastard.

Zoran Taylor said...

I know this is useless, since everyone has already said it, but I'll say it again anyway:

1) You're right.
2) Happy Birthday.
3) You're (kind of) my hero. (I have a few others.)


Emmett said...

Quite fascinating.
I am processing this as a canadian animator. That stuff about the bureaucracy of putting "identity" onto everything. Makes sense. I find every animated show being made here so safe that it makes it almost confusing as to what the show was ever about.
Mr K, your comments on "canadian timing" I think could be attributed to the domination of Flash for nearly every production here. Seems like a formula was figured out that sort of worked for a show 5 years ago...and it was settled then that it should work for every other flash there on out. Mostly animators are just afraid to draw and assume the designated flash pieces can do all the talking.
Oh man...I laughed out loud at that still from Teddy Ruxpin. And how sweet is it that they snagged Bruce Cockburn to play the them for Franklin...just drives it all home that much more.
You should do a post on some of the choicer NFB things made in Canada.

SoleilSmile said...

Ahhhh, so John, you're a VIRGO! That explains why you're so darn meticulous!

Happy Birthday you everything-must-be -perfect-picky-person you!

Anonymous said...

I take issue with murrayb's disparaging comments about, in particular, the great Richard Scarry (even though his pre-Busytown stuff was way better) and The Berenstein Bears.

The Berenstein Bears started in 1962 as a weird, Dr. Seuss inspired family of crazy bears. It wasn't influenced by Disney at all.

They went from looking like:

this, this, this, and this, to THIS and THIS.

Look how much better the 1962 version is over the 1990s version.

PCUnfunny said...


Yes ! Great point ! I loved The Berenstein Bears as a little kid.

SoleilSmile said...

I would love to see someone animate "Harry in the Incredible Whatzit" as a special.

Monsters in the basement are always good for a great story.

Caleb Bowen said...

There seems to be a common problem on any cartoon when it is looked at as a business or toy commercial. Immediately, they choose a 'safe' path(copy Disney!) and all creativity is locked in a cage. They focus on a certain bland style of cute instead of the goofiness of Disney characters.

Teddy Ruxpin was one of the most boring product roll outs I've lived through. As a kid, I figured out that if you flipped the guts of his cassette tape, you could get him to talk backwards and it would finally match his demonic eye movements- actual entertainment.

The newer style on tv right now makes the older Canadian stuff look gorgeous. Flash and Toonboom aren't the reason this stuff looks bad, it's flat out laziness. If they are lazy because they have to cut corners on cost, then kids are getting ripped off as viewers.

The hardest thing to look at is the poses: a half-turned head with a 3/4 face and feet going in opposite directions. Those simple shapes are supposed to be easier, right? Hieroglyphics look way better than this new thick-lined crap.

Another great post, by the way.

trevor said...

I love these kinds of posts, John! Thanks a bunch for a fascinating read.

And Happy Birthday!

- trevor.

Paul B said...

hey John, do you like Ronald Searle?

Adrian Liwanag said...

Can you do a review of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack?

Emmett said...

This is pretty tricky and distressing to to read through. The Disney/Bluth style is far more interesting and easier to look at than the Canadian Bear style. The Canadian Bear style....THIS IS REVOLTING!! I'M GOING TO BE SICK!!"

Mitch K said...

Oh man! I've totally turned on Franklin before, thinking it was Little Bear. Canadian cartoons are all for little kids, and they're the most conservative I've ever seen. Watching these 'cartoons' makes me feel like old bitties made them after a pie baking session. These shows are totally thought up by old baggy mother hens.

Hey John, don't forget about Disney's other influential bear, Humphrey! (and another, and another).

All of those old Disney designs at least had a tremendous amount of appeal and skill (as well as Disney humor, which is humor! unlike these new cartoons).

TO MURRAY: The worst part is when those bible rules of antic-snap-settle are taught to an entirely green crew. Then that's all you get out of them! Snap snap snap! And everyone seems to be pleased with it!..... !?

Aaron said...

People like that cartoon network nickelodeon style. And when it's done well, it's done well. Dexter's lab was really cool. Samuri Jack is georgous tv animation.

Aaron said...

Ronald Searle is the man, Paul B. That's all there is to it.

Paul B said...


The Snooper comics from Dan Gordon were an inspiration for the dog in Weekend Pussy Hunt?

Mister Zero said...

I think even Genndy Tartakovski ripped someone off... but it a more generic way. He just took what he thought was a cool style and made it more generic, as is the norm, it seems.

I'm glad you put this post up, people really needed to see this these days so we can get off this generic runaway train to shitsville. Thanks once again, Mr. Horse.

goodwitchy said...

Happy Birthday!
I like your honesty and that you share it.

I am from the states, but I would like to defend Canadian work (the big picture, i.e. independent art). In general, I think much more original art is originating from Canada and artists in the states try to, for example.

P.S. - I almost died laughing several years ago watching Ren & kidding. I had to slide (on my belly) out of the living room, away from the TV, and into the hall way to catch my breath.

Brendan Body said...

Wow! Very insightful John.

jhbmw007 said...

God I hate little bear and franklin- they are the most uninteresting cartoons. They are supposed to have educational value but I don't see what they are trying to teach- to make our kids as boring and bland as possible?

Sven Hoek said...

same thing happened to me when I saw Ren and Stimpy for the first time, I hit the floor laughing. It took me 10 minutes to catch my breath because it just kept getting funnier.

ByTito said...

amazing, I can not belevie nobody noticed all things about canadian bears course!!

LeoBro said...

Thanks for taking the time to put all those examples together. That was both instructive and hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I like Richard Condie's stuff, though (especially "Getting Started"). And Bob & Margaret was one of my favorite Comedy Central shows.

Gabo dela Cruz said...

Hi John,

Your lessons are very much appreciated allllllll the way here in the Philippines. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

lessons are nothing unless applied. I'll try to make it work here!

John Pannozzi said...

I'm not a big fan of Gummi Bears, but that show was loved to death by animation fans when it originally aired. Trust me, I've got Animato magazines to prove it.

Mattieshoe said...

"I'm not a big fan of Gummi Bears, but that show was loved to death by animation fans when it originally aired. Trust me, I've got Animato magazines to prove it."

I'm sure anything with a line of action would be loved at that point in the 80s.As far as transitioning the disney feel to TV animation goes, it did an OK job (aside from the ugly character designs) mostly because it was Animated by the great TMS.

Martin Juneau said...

It's true that Canadians animators prefered to copy the American culture than our own. Take a look at the horrible Total Drama Island character design. Did they give characters a life or they are just bland? Personally, i hate this angular lines looks made by Photoshop because they are too lame for inking with a ink.

Our generation is in a identity crisis. Thanks to open our eyes Jon, but i know it since a few times!

J.E. said...

By the way John, when you do examples of Disney Bear design you tend to leave out a couple of characters.

Mainly, these Disney Country Bear drawings that Marc Davis did:

But, its understandable since these characters never appeared in any form of animation. These were concept drawings for characters appearing in one of the robotics shows at Disney World. Of course, some of the robot models of the bears aren't 100% accurate to the Davis designs...

Here's a clip of the show so you can see what I mean:

Anonymous said...

Hello, one major reason why canadian cartoons are horrible is because all the animation and design tools have become computerized. It took a while for the super-computer-geeks to realize they could get good jobs working in showbiz, but now that they have, they're having huge influence because they can tell the producers "how about we make a kind of reference/library system where when an animator makes a good laugh, he can save it and it can later be retrived for another scene? We'll save tons of time and money!" The bigwigs like the time-savings and this is where the industry is currently going. It's against quality and expression in the extreme.

Ryan Henson Creighton said...

i'm a former Corus guy, from their web department. i can't abide Nelvana animation. It's over-safe and vanilla. i remember when they had to go through all of the Ruby Gloom backgrounds erasing skulls so that the show would be more marketable overseas - never mind the fact that one of the show's principals was Skull Boy, whose head was a giant skull. Ugh.

Here's another perspective on Franklin and its craptitude:

f r e Q a z o i d i a c said...

Teddy Ruxpin. How that is something that is dignified to loath.
That toy had a tape you slice into it's chest and then you get these
really horrible not even close to animatronics action with it's reading.
That TV show even to a 6 year old child is dispicable. Just like the
Toy bear it's plastic and a recording of the 7th generation.
Rigid. No natural or unnatural action. Why didn't they just take
photos of the toy and slide them around a field?

Oh. You know, I have to give Gummy Bears credit. Some sequences
were very well done with tons of fluid action and good line weight.
But it was seldom in that mode and the farming of animation
is very apparent after the first few of the 1st season. Maybe from the
start? I just remember watching it when I was a pre-teen and
found the first few episodes pretty decent. Probably the best Disney
output on TV from the 80's?

I remember about half of my class at Sheridan and in quite a few working situations - being cookie cutter
copiers. It's almost personality affiliated too. I'm sure it is.
The half would do those Bear styles. But they do it ON MODEL
so they get the marks and pass through the meat grinder.
ANutha Brik Shops The Malls. Don't worry 'bout the Canadiana reflection - those are truths that many people agree about. Sad thing is the rest, which are MOST are plugged into the margarine container.