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The Difference Between Two Drawings

The Flintstones

There is a huge difference between the two Flintstones drawings above, and not just superficial stylistic differences. Animator Will Finn (Iago in Aladdin, Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast) explores the contrast between these drawings in a monumental post on his blog:

For one thing, notice that in the more recent picture, the layout “rakes” the perspective of the floor line a bit, creating a diagonal that forces the composition elements into something of a diamond. Normally, a diagonal can create a sense of dynamism, which is often desirable, but here it is arbitrary. The figures, after all are literally, self-consciously “posed” in static positions to accommodate the idea of the whole family having their picture taken…In the first series, more often than not, the floor line is a relatively straight horizontal line, somewhat irregularly drawn. The irregularity goes with the organic feel of the concept of a largely organic world, and the horizontal quality lends maximum space for the stylized figures to appear in. It also allows props (like the piano) to have a slight diagonal witout being forced into paralell perspective like the couch.

This is a continuation of an earlier post Will wrote about the uppermost Flintstones image. There are some who might say that Will is being too picky, but I commend him for his vigilant eye. Animation has long suffered from the “it’s just a cartoon” mentality, and fundamental drawing principles are routinely ignored. As a result, amateurish and incompetent artwork that wouldn’t pass muster in any other illustrative medium is considered acceptable in our art form and disseminated to an unsuspecting cartoon-loving public. Even still single-frame artwork that is meant to be viewed for extended periods of time, such as the Flintstones image above, is carelessly crafted. Finn’s critique is a timely reminder to all of us that individual animation drawings lie at the heart of this medium, and the least any of us can do is to respect the value of each and every single drawing.