Character Sundays: The Goth Girls of Cartoons

No, this post isn’t about one particular character, but it is about a specific type of character (which I can justify because November in Irish is “Samhain” which began as a pagan festival to honour the dead). While I was nosing around the internet looking for pictures of Mandy for the post from a few weeks ago, I stumbled across the Goth Girls of Cartoons blog and found it quite amusing.

It’s not a regularly updated blog but a static one instead. On it, there are various list posts on different kinds of goth characters. Such as the ones who only appeared in one episode, ones who where main characters in their respective shows, characters who weren’t normally goth but became ones for a short time and heroines who just happened to be a bit on the dark side.

Overall its quite an interesting collection of characters who share certain traits. I don’t particularly get goth culture, but I have found that such characters in cartoons tend to be a bit more interesting than others because they are generally bestowed with a strong sense of who they are and what they stand for and believe in. For better or for worse, it at least makes them stand out from the crowd.

Each character featured on the blog comes with a fairly good description with just a tiny bit of personal subjectivity, but that doesn’t distract from the overall usefulness of the information.

So go ahead and have a peek, you might be as surprised as I was!

A Character’s Clothes: Something That’s Often Overlooked?

Yesterday, Aaron Diaz (a.k.a. Dresden Codak) tweeted a few things about what a character wears:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/dresdencodak/status/57481963342278656″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/dresdencodak/status/57483163085180928″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/dresdencodak/status/57483596939792384″]

It was a pleasure to meet Aaron this past weekend at the  MoCCA Festival albeit before I discovered his insanely superb tumblelog and it was also a pleasure writing this blog post until the computer crashed and took the previous version with it, but what can you do.

Aaron is spot-on in his analysis. The clothes a character wears can say a lot about them as does the wardrobe they keep. Take for example, Marge Simpson:

Marge in normal clothes

Marge in formal clothes (yoinked from the Dead Homer Society)

Although she is wearing two different outfits, they can both readily be identified as belonging to Marge.  How about another example, Sam from Danny Phantom:

Sam in normal clothes

Sam in formal attire

Both pictures are clearly Sam yet if you saw the clothes by themselves, you would still be able to associate them with her. The clothes really do maketh the man (or woman).

In animation, it is obviously desirable to have a character wear the same thing most of the time. If they didn’t, there sure would be plenty of opportunities for animators to make mistakes!

A great exception to this rule was My Life as a Teenage Robot. Although Jenny (XJ-9) doesn’t wear clothes (on account of being a robot), her colour does change quite a few times throughout each episode. While this has a far less effect than changing clothes, it does help establish the mood for a particular scene. Generally, cold colours for quiet scenes, hotter colours for action/drama scenes.

This is a complicated topic for sure. I personally think that some character designers in animation deserve just as much credit as their live-action counterparts when it comes to clothes, especially in feature films.

So take note and don’t just slap a T-shirt and jeans on your character, they (and your audience) deserve much more.