For initial designs and research I looked into some of the characters from the Golden Age Years of animation, seeing as the style we are most interested in is that of the fallout series, which draws it’s inspiration from older cartoons and, we are rather interested in the animation style of this era.
Below is a mood board I’ve created in reference to some character designs:
Some of the studios researched were Fleischer studios (Top right) responsible for characters such as Betty Boop, Coco the Clown, Popeye and Olive Oyl, Bimbo and Superman. Fleischer’s most successful characters were humans, and unlike other studios, Disney etc. Fleicher characters were rough, rather than refined.
Another studio was United Productions of America (UPA) responsible for Gerald McBoing Boing and Mr Magoo. UPS’s characters seem a little more simpler than those of Disney, this is due to the fact that UPA only included what they needed to within the design of the characters, UPA were inspired by traditional masters of art such as Matisse, Picasso and sophisticated artists of the New Yorker.
“Caricature is as much about knowing what to leave out as what to put in, and the UPA artists did it exceptionally well,” Pixar art director Ralph Eggleston said. “They put in just what they needed to tell the story, with nothing getting in its way.”
The design of Mr Magoo’s legs is particularly interesting, they look at though they are separate and detached from his body, the long clothing garments cover up where the legs would join to the body…
Hanna-Barbera also feature above as a source of inspiration and reference, particularly The Jetsons. The Jetson’s also have a simple and artistic style but still manage to create a sense of appeal for the audience, the artists through the designs of the characters successfully managed to create a futuristic element to the art with the sharp shape of the designs.
Paramount Pictures Little Audrey is another design reference, again she is of simplistic design – theres not too much detail but despite this there is still something very appealing about her and the other characters to look at…
However one of the more appealing characters that I found, in my opinion was Charlie Brown. The range of expression shown through this character despite his very simplistic design is impressive. The sometimes, messy outline adds to his appeal as it reminds the audience that he is hand drawn, it even helps add to his emotions.
Also included in the mood board above that are worth a mention would be the characters from Death in Space and Fallout. The spacemen from Death in Space can be seen as more detailed designs as they are more polished, refined designs but in actual fact they still don’t have too much detail, there isn’t anything unnecessary to the design. Obviously I’ve mentioned the style of Fallout, one of the major influences to our own style, including the design of the characters, they too have that appeal factor despite the fact they are quite plain in design.
From the research above it’s pretty clear that we are heading towards a character of a rather simplistic design, one that won’t cause any distractions from the action on screen. We find this 2D, flat, simplistic character design would fit well with our idea of creating a couple of comedic episodes – the animation style we are currently aiming for would visually, suit these flat designs much more than full blown, realistic characters and textures.
As a group we also found that we enjoyed researching these old golden age cartoons, after all they are our childhood cartoon memories. As mentioned before we want to have fun and enjoy what we are making this semester and what better way is there other than paying homage to the cartoon’s that entertained you as a child?
Below are a few screenshots of research I collected through Pinterest, of characters that aren’t necessarily from past Tv shows, but instead just designs from other artists, some of these may prove useful when we start to create our character…