Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In Pursuit of Cuteness

I came across Lynne Chapman's video on "How to Create Animal Characters for a Picture Book", where she advised moving and exaggerating facial features to make the characters look cute. So I thought I'd try bumping the cuteness factor up on my animal characters. But how exactly does one define cuteness, in drawing terms?

Below are my attempts at sketching "cute" animal characters. I asked my 8 year old if she liked any characters in the first sketch and she frankly said she only liked the hippo. Personally, I thought the blue pig with the orange short was cute (and cool). The hippo being my last pick as it's nearly cross-eyed for one. But she stood firm on her choice. Hippo. Maybe it was the big eyes?

So on my second sketch, I drew the eyes bigger and rounder and asked her again. She liked the bear and the rabbit but not the cat. I asked her why. "Well, they're just cute", she replied dismissively. Well, the kitty is cute too, I whined.

Sadly, the whole concept of cuteness still eludes me. How exactly do we determine something to be cute? Smaller size? Bigger eyes? Wider faces? Smaller faces? Softer colors? Fluffier attributes? Or all of the above? and much more? I guess I'd have to keep sketching to find out.

More about Lynne Chapman: According to her blog profile, Lynne is based in UK and have illustrated 30 books. Although I'm not familiar with her work, she seems to be a prolific illustrator and is good at teaching and sharing her craft. I find her youtube videos very helpful. Below are links to her blog and her youtube video on creating animal characters for picture books.

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