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The Fall of Cartoon Art

Updated on January 13, 2021

What are you talking about?

Come on, don't deny it. There as been a noticeable drop in cartoon art, bare in mind I am not trying to smite the cartoons themselves, they are each a brilliant piece of work in there own right. In fact I believe that this "drop" is in fact an intentional choice that not one but many studios have undertaken. To better understand what I am talking about, we can look at and compare several cartoon revivals that have taken a alternate turn in the art department.

Teen Titans

Teen titans Go on the left and Teen Titans on the right
Teen titans Go on the left and Teen Titans on the right

This is probably the most obvious example to come to mind. The 2003 Teen Titans cartoons were something to behold in animation quality and art design, while they where much more simpler then then say He-Man or the old Superman cartoons, they still looked good and presented vary detailed characters and backgrounds. It's no wonder why people felt sort of betrayed when they first saw Teen Titans Go, just looking above Go Cyborg is nothing compared to 03 Cyborg. This change is so great that the cast of Go will often times point out the faults themselves, but before I discuss that any further lets move on to the next example.

Ben 10

Ben 10 2006
Ben 10 2006
Ben 10 2016
Ben 10 2016

much like Teen Titans, Ben 10 was never meant to be the most artistic show on the air but the characters looked good the scenes where always very detailed. I have too be honest, I had never actually seen any episodes of the 2016 series because the design of the main character Ben Tennyson was just so unappealing. This artistic change was meant to be the beginning of a whole reboot of the Ben 10 series, and seeing that the series is still going and even closing in on 200 episodes, I guess they did something right, just not character design, at least not for me but perhaps one day I will give it a try and if you had any doubts about anything on this list, perhaps when I am done you will give a try too.

My little Pony

My Little Pony 1980s
My Little Pony 1980s
My Little Pony Friendship is magic
My Little Pony Friendship is magic
My Little Pony Pony Life
My Little Pony Pony Life

This one is good as we got an 80's version to compare along side, Now say what you will about character design, the art of the old 80's cartoon wasn't The change into friendship is magic was to make the everything more appealing and to make the whole thing easier to animate, and that is not to say that MLP FIM is a show that lacks detail in fact to has quite allot of detail it's just very colorful and cute. Pony Life on the other hoof (See what I did There) lacks allot of the same detail going for far simpler backgrounds You can see it with the two Rarity designs. I don't mind, but I know some people would.

Same Studio?

Silly thing of course not.
Silly thing of course not.

No, each of the three above are handled by different groups WB Animations for Teen Titans, Man of Action for Ben 10 and Hasbro Animations for My Little Pony. and even disregarding them comparing new projects like Steven Universe to something old like He-Man you can see that change in character design, and everything just took a complete nose dive, but why? Why did so many studios that used to do such detailed pieces of art and turn them into animated works of art suddenly decide on a 2 color back ground consisting of the sky a and whatever color was the ground today?

Well What is it then?

It is a complicated question that I can split into two answers,

1, Cartoons is entertainment and art and like anything of both genres, they are ever changing, next year it's action, next it's dark and edgy and sometimes what's "in" stays "in" for a really long time or might be different depending on the intended audience.

2, I hate to say it but budget is everything, animation is expensive and obviously if they can produce something that brings in more money then what they had spent, then they are going to do it.

Believe it or not we have seen this before, We started with things like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse and then later had things like Yogi Bear and The Flintstones. However I like those old cartoons, they are funny in there own right and Teen Titans Go took a very different approach to appeal to a different group bringing in a wider more diverse fan base and same can be said for Pony Life When compared to Friendship is Magic. I think that each cartoon should be judged on it's own regardless if they use the same characters or not. But what do you guys think please leave me a comment in the section below, I'm Wanderin Jim and I hope you all have a super happy Day.


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