12 Principles of Animation – Appeal

Appeal deals with the, well, appealing look of your character. The character you design and plan on animating should be pleasing to look at, the character should have some charismatic aspect to like about them.

This applies to all characters, whether it’s the hero, villain or any other character. Appeal doesn’t just mean good looking, it also means interesting. So when it say your character should be likable it doesn’t mean that their personality should be likable it means that they are interesting to look at.

However this is hard to do since everyone has a different standard for what is appealing, for example some people would find classic Disney characters appealing whereas others would find manga or anime style art more appealing.

However, even though you cannot please everyone, giving your character a dynamic style can greatly boost its appeal.

There are 3 clear cut ways you can do this.

  1. Use a variety of shapes
  2. Proportions
  3. Keep it Simple

Use a variety of shapes; try out different shapes because you can go as crazy and wild as you want with the characters designs. Every good character design starts with a clear shape.  This also links to our second point

Play with proportions; one style that commonly messes with proportions is cartoon. Cartoonists often magnify the things we find interesting and shrink the things we find ugly or boring. Finding the aspect of a character that defines his or her personality and blowing it up, can often create a more appealing design. This again relates to our next point.

Keep it simple; too much clutter on a character can overcomplicate the character and can restrict animation of the character. This is the difference between drawing for illustration and drawing for animation. Pick only the necessary details when animating a character as you will be drawing them hundreds of times.

A good example of appeal is the Powerpuff Girls, created by Craig McCraken. They have been simplified so that the designs are simple and easy to animate, they have clear basic shapes used for the head, body, arms, legs and details and their proportions have been changed to give them more of a cute design and to clearly show that they are young girls with the big eyes, larger head and small body. Other examples of his work are, Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Wander Over Yonder. Below are some Designs for the characters in these shows showing the use of the 3 rules above.

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