Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Cute and Appealing: Introduction

What makes some cartoon characters more visually appealing than others?

Appeal is one of the "Twelve Basic Principles of Animation", famously outlined in the 1981 book, The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. While other principles like Squash and Stretch are mechanical and easy to analyse, Appeal is much more mysterious, elusive, and multilayered. Appeal exists in a character's personality, how they move, how they look, and how the audience easily relates with them. How does one begin to approach and understand this seemingly unscientific principle?

Cuteness is an easy road to take on the quest for appeal. If a character design or subject is lacking in visual appeal, cuteness can save the day. It is extremely easy to understand, analyse, and apply to art in an effort to make it look more appealing. 

Through the next few postings, I would like to explore a few of my insights on cuteness; how to identify it, and how to use it to solve problems in drawing.

Mind you, cuteness is only one of thousands of weapons an artist can use. It won't solve as many drawing problems as composition, proportion or colour can, but I believe cuteness is one powerful force to be reckoned with. It's a cheap trick to win the hearts of the masses!

About the drawing: Two real life dogs, Chewbie and Sachi, drawn from memory. I haven't seen them in about two months. I wonder how they are!

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