The More Things Change: My Original Cartoon Characters
I've recently been going through a lot of my old artwork, and I uncovered this old drawing I did in MS Paint a little over a year ago of a group of cartoon characters I invented. They were intended to be a parody of the Looney Tunes, but they eventually evolved into much more complex characters. Here's the drawing from early 2005:
Upon finding this drawing, I noticed that it looked startlingly primitive when compared to how I draw now (I've also become more skilled with a mouse, so my MS Paint abilities have improved greatly). I'd also invented two more characters since this drawing was done, so I decided to go back and redo it. Here's my remake from 2006:
In case you're curious about their names, from left to right we have: Commander O'Hare; Ken Kangaroo; Smelson Skunk; Vixen the Reindeer; Regulus Raven; Turbo Tortoise; Satchmo Salmon; Dawg E. Dawg; Bitty Kitty; Buck Beaver; Bra-ma Bull; the Whatzit; Rabid Rodent; Gunter Goat; Maxine Mink
It amazes me how much my style changed in such a short period of time. I guess my influences were the key - I'm heavily rooted in classic animation right now.
Mmm, I'll say this:
I admire the fact that you can draw this well on MS Paint. I wish I could have this talent.
Most of them look good, I actually prefer the designs on picture one, they're far more original, while in the second picture they look more generic, most of them have similar looks in the faces.
The only characters I think you should work on are the Rabbit, the Skunk and the Bull because they look TOO much like their Looney Tunes inspiration. If these are intended to be fully original characters you don't want people to think you're ripping something off.
I think the rat character is my favorite, the expression is great on both pics.
The bird on the first picture kinda looks like a Loonatics character. Dunno if you'll take that as a good or a bad thing.
What a Cartoon Review Blog - My own project where the goal is to write a detailed review to the original 48 WAC shorts.
"The lowest lifeform of all! A TV Executive!" - Plucky Duck
I know the faces on some of my guys are a little similar - that's one area I need to work on. I've toyed around in the past with ways to make Ken's face more distinctive, such as coloring his cheeks differently or giving him a Mickey Mouse-esque "mask", but none of those seemed to work right. But I did want to move away from the somewhat sloppier look that the characters have in the first picture - I really dislike how big certain characters' noses are in that one, and I made it a point to tone that down. It also took me a while to perfect the curvature of Vixen's face - I fiddled with that for a long time, and it wasn't until I studied a few model sheets of Fauntleroy Fox from the Columbia "Fox and Crow" cartoons that I managed to develop something workable (Vixen and Fauntleroy have very similar facial constructions).
I've received some flak before from folks who thought that Commander O'Hare and Smelson looked too much like Bugs Bunny and Pepe le Pew, respectively. While I'll concede that they do look somewhat similar, I think their personalities are distinctive enough to differentiate them - O'Hare is a vicious and brutal character who thinks nothing of walloping those who would do him harm, while Smelson is a nebbishy and self-conscious little guy who usually doesn't fight back until the chips are down. You can't see it in the second picture because he's hiding behind Ken, but he's so concerned about his stink that he wears a diaper to conceal it. (I've never had anyone make a parallel between Bra-ma and the bull from "Bully for Bugs" before, though - probably because I tend to not color him in when I draw him on paper, so this is the only occasion on which his fur is revealed to be black.)
And I wasn't too happy with my initial design for Regulus Raven, actually, but it had nothing to do with "Loonatics" - I was too focused on making his body bend in this continuous swooping shape, with really narrow features and everything tapering to points. It was an attempt to make him look evil, but it limited his mobility, so I rounded him off a lot and put some more weight on him to make him look less wispy. I changed the shape of his beak, too - by giving him more clearly defined cheeks, I was able to expand the amount of mouth shapes he could convey.
Glad to see that you like Rabid Rodent - he's really my only criminally insane character, and he's a lot of fun to draw.
Your work is awesome, Jesse! I wish could draw as good as you.
Great work. Looks like it's done by a professional. That Reindeer looks really cute.