Artist Research: Animation Inspiration

2D animation, Animation, design, Research, U6_U12, U_5, Visual Studies

What inspired my animation style for my final major project film was a culmination of different animated shows and studios that were some of my favourites; from Cartoon Network, to Warner Bros, to Disney Television Animation and even European and French animation. Seeing how everyone’s styles stem from or are influenced by styles they’ve been presented with previously, it’s only natural to develop a hybrid of sorts among aesthetics. But from simple body forms from shows such as the Power Puff Girls to very stylistic shows like Samurai Jack to the hyper-realistic proportions of the DC animated superhero films, I decided to stick with the watered-down forms of animation commonly seen in most animated cartoon shows for the sake of keeping it all simple and easy to manage in the short 10 weeks or so that I had.

I had a look at a lot of current shows by people who I considered to be in the newer age of cartoons such as Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe and Patrick McHale’s Over The Garden Wall. I absolutely adore the simplicity of the character shapes. They were basic enough to be drawn over again and again easily, but still retained enough detail to be recognisable and distinct which I think is something that’s really valued in terms of design. The colour palette’s are masterfully done in both shows, adjusting and complementing to the mood and tone of the show brilliantly whilst still both being targeted towards the younger audience.

The backbone for the style that I developed for my short film mainly derived from an art style that I had previously experimented with and really enjoyed drawing. The red noses came directly from the Nintendo game Animal Crossing which I loved playing at the time, and the stick-man-like figured were simply me just using a basic body shape to practice dynamic poses with. I remember once getting a comment from peer who told me that, “your art style kind of reminds me of Don Bluth. Y’know, the guy who did Dragon’s Lair? Yeah – it’s the limbs I think, like the arms and legs.” I honestly don’t think my art style is quite that of Don Bluth’s, but I could sort of see where he was coming from.

When I moved to digital animation, I really wanted something like the cartoons I saw on television. Simple animations with a simple style, but with an effect performance and narrative. I turned to some animations that I personally really loved to emulate and revisited the webseries ‘Eddsworld’ created by Edd Gould. It was truly unfortunate that Edd passed away in 2012 because I really enjoyed the comedy and originality of his content and was always looking forward to his next animation. I kept following the Eddsworld Legacy series that started in memory of his work and fell in love with the animation. One of the animator’s that was hired to do the majority of the new work was an animator called Paul Ter Voorde, who coincidentally also works for Studio Yotta. The way that he was able to give such fluidity and dimension to really simplistic characters was something that I wanted to try and aim for.

To put it bluntly, I took the style of Animal Crossing, meshed it with the bodies from Steven Universe and tried to animate it to the style of the new, frame-by-frame Eddsworld. It’s a combination of various shows and styles that has influenced me over the years. With maybe some inspiration from the exaggerated facial expressions and comedy in Hanna Barbera’s Tom & Jerry. Nothing like taking from the classics!

TomandJerry_facialexpression