Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Quality Over Quantity?

DISCLAIMER : All artwork shown, I sketched myself. However, the cartoon characters are the sole property of their creators.
***I claim no ownership of these characters.***
I was looking at some cartoon characters today and noticed how very rudimentary a lot of the most popular ones are right now. Especially those that inhabit the Cartoon Network.

Many of them are reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy, but more so, these days I see a lot of them following in the footsteps of Scooby Doo.

I took out my sketch book and started seeing how easily I could recreate the most popular of these cartoons (I wanted to make sure I only took seconds on these things, so they are not perfect, by any means)...I was surprised.

(I uploaded them and darkened them up a bit.)
I will say this. I had the most trouble with Winnie the Pooh. I am not sure if it was a mental thing because I have loved Pooh all my life, or if his proportions messed with me. The second hardest was the GINGA character from the Beyblade cartoon. I am not familiar with manga-style artwork, so the proportions on that one took a few minutes to figure out, as well. The others took seconds to draw.

I am not saying I am so much better than these artists, but it amazes me that so many of us kill ourselves trying to make entertaining AND quality art, and here are these people mass-producing elementary artwork. (And making millions off of it in branding items for children.)

Then I began to question WHY these cartoon characters are drawn in such simple formats? I came up with a few ideas...
  • The simplest drawings can be reproduced by just about anyone. They can have a team of artists on board who can draw any given character to mass-produce this stuff.
  • Cost-effectiveness. For the most part, this is not Pixar (Pooh and Phineas & Ferb are Disney, though). These cartoons are mostly owned by Viacom and although successful, they aren't a multi-billion dollar company staffed by the likes of ~150K people.
  • The creators are focused more on the writing. (I cannot believe some of the stuff that comes out of these cartoons sometimes. I don't even know how kids follow some of this humor.)
  • They are easy to draw so that kids CAN reproduce them! (Hey, if you can get kids to draw this stuff all over their notebooks, they become walking advertisements!)
There are probably many reasons.... You aren't paying $10 a ticket to see a two hour movie with these characters (except Pooh). I think it's more about the writing and mass-producing.

Still, stinks for me. I want to create quality work, but because of that, it takes so much more time and energy and therefore, costs a lot more if I want to sell it and make any kind of profit.

Ah, well. Back to the drawing board. (Har har)

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