Donald Duck Orange Juice???

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I spotted these in a supermarket this morning. I’ve never seen or heard of it before, but apparently Donald Duck Orange Juice been around for a long time.

Surely a throwback to a simpler time in licensed marketing seeing as Disney’s current faces include the princesses, major characters from whichever film is the latest release and the child actors in their kidcoms.

All the same, it’s good to see that Donald Duck still has some kind of resonance with today’s kids.

Why Disney + Threadless = Happy Fans

Via: Threadless

The other week, Cartoon Brew featured a post about a competition then being held over at online clothing site, Threadless. The gist of it is that people were asked to submit their design for a new Donald Duck T-shirt with the winners having their design made into an actual article of fashion.

This is a great idea, but there seems to have been little discussion about the significance of such a competition. Beyond simply crowdsourcing a design.

Professional designers may decry the blatant use of free labour in order to obtain a design but that is overlooking the many benefits there are to be gained by both sides.

First of all, it’s proof that Donald still has many, many fans, and that they’re willing to use their talents for his benefit. Through 12 pages of designs, there are a few bad apples, but the vast majority are something that I would love to wear (see the three examples, this post)

Secondly, the official sanction from Disney is good in that the winner is (or rather ought to be) guaranteed a fair deal for their work. OK, so it’s not like they were commissioned in the traditional way, but the winner should be adequately compensated for their work. While everyone else is out of luck, they at least have used an opportunity to stretch their skills and can still use their design in another place.

Via: ThreadlessHow many times do we see smaller (or even larger) studios encouraging and cajoling us into buying merchandise that they think we, as fans, want? Why not let use tell them what we want and let them sell it to us? (It’s a bit crazy I know, but right now that’s essentially what Hollywood does with its films).

Competitions like the Threadless one build good relationships between the studio and the fans by giving them a hand in the game and making them feel as if they are valued; a tactic that Adventure Time has done since it’s beginning to great success.

While care must naturally be taken, there is no reason why studios can’t interact more with their fans in this way, especially since the rise and ubiquitous use of the internet has broken down so many barriers to communication.

Fans have and will continue to be, the lifeblood of studios large and small, and the sooner we see closer collaboration between the two, the quicker both sides stand to benefit.

I'm sorry, but I find this one simply hilarious.

Via: Threadless

Describe Your Personality in 3 Cartoon Characters

Spotted over on Reddit this morning, I thought it was a pretty blasé kind of thing that you find on the internet until I actually tried to think of the three characters that would describe my personality. All I can say is that it wasn’t quite as easy as I had anticipated, but nonetheless, the results are accurate.


Yup, It’s

There’s also the alternates.

How would you describe your personality in three cartoon characters? Leave a comment below! 🙂

You Should Watch Donald in Mathmagic Land

Via: The Big Cartoon Database

Your task for today is to check out Donald In Mathmagic Land and to ponder the superb visual style of similar education films of the era. It’s available online if you know where to look.

 

Attitude in Animated Characters

Via: The Simpsons Black & White

Yesterday, Michael Sporn posted an opinion piece that expresses his dismay at not only the repetition present in Glen Keane’s artwork but also the continued presence of attitude in them. I had to go back and read it twice just to be sure I understood. Surely attitude comes from the character themselves not the way they look, right? Eh, no. As it turns out, you can pull plenty of faces that can be read as having an attitude.

The main point of Michael’s post is that Keane seems to have become comfortable with a series of repetitive character designs and an overwhelming knack for drawing them in poses that seem to shout rather than speak.

All of this got me thinking, where does the attitude of an animated character come form? Yes, their look has something to do with it, but actions speak much louder than words.

Think back to the original contemporary bad boy of animation, Bart Simpson. Look at the character model below (that took me an age to find):

Now we all know who Bart Simpson is, we all see his exploits and we all know that the picture above belies little if any of his character traits. Having said that, there are plenty of other pictures out there that can attest or allude to his mischievous behaviour. Perhaps the Simpsons isn’t the best show to use as an example. The characters are relatively simple and the show has relied more on plot and knowledge of the characters in order to elicit emotions from their characters, In other words, if Lisa is sad, she will cry, Homer’s eyebrows will furrow and he will clench his teeth if he’s mad and Bart will normally result to physical acts for a range of emotions.

Personally, I believe that attitude should come from inside the character. Think about Donald Duck. There’s a guy with some serious attitude problems yet they only came to the audience’s attention when they came up from below the surface. Outwardly, he seems like a genuinely charming duck, not the violent menace he often becomes in his short films.

What the Simpsons did do quite well was display the over-arching desire of some folks in the industry for their characters to display attitude outwardly. The classic episode of Itchy, Scratchy and Poochie is an excellent, satirical observation of this practise.

During the creation of Poochie, the executives constantly bombard the animator with ideas about how the character should look in the belief that form follows function. The last comment made is that the character should have more “attitude”, with the result that he gains a pair of sunglasses. Naturally because of the “attitude” that Poochie displays, he is immediately written off as one of the worst characters ever made.

When it comes to something like animation (and this is something that has been known for years), the former limitations of the medium (the traditional type anyway) meant that actions and noises were pressed into service as a means of displaying emotion.

My point is that the limitations of animation meant that characters had to convey their character as it were, in more ways than just the visual alone. With contemporary CGI technology it has become possible to mimic the muscles in the human face, thus allowing much more accurate replications of nuanced human reactions. This should become a crutch however, and traditional animation would do well to cling to the tried-and-tested methods of displaying attitude through other means rather than relying on looks alone.