Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Character Designs for Kid-friendly Cartoons

Cartoons always depend on their characters for success. For all the talk about the latest in 3D animation, the saturation of vivid colors, and the rendering of frames, most children will still notice the heroic character over the detailed background. Children will still idolize the funny character over the most realistic of environments. This is why for animators interested in creating their own intellectual properties, they should invest in the characteristics of the lead roles.
Here are some effective character guides which you can use for your characters to appeal to the kids – particularly the demographic of the toddler years. These characteristics can be used to help children identify with your characters:
1. Cute and cuddly. This one never gets old. Of course, children will always prefer huggable characters which they can turn into their pillows and playthings compared to hideous and scary lead characters. The point in creating a lovable cartoon charcter is to let them relate with the children – and we all know how cute and cuddly kids are.
Moreover, to get a maximum impact for the cuddly designs of your lead cartoon characters in mind, have them possess vibrant colors in their clothes. Cartoons, after all, are always about keeping the attention span of children and what better way to do that than attractive colors. Examples of enduring cartoon characters which perfected the cute-and-cuddly template are Winnie the Pooh and the Teletubbies.
Here is an example of a cute and cuddly cartoon animation series for pre-schoolers, Katakune. Created by our team here in the 3D animation studio, Mediafreaks:
2. Perky. This does not have to resort to the realm of slapstick. Characters which are perky and which possess a high energy level are more than likely to get the attention of kids. Dora the Explorer perfected this peg. Characters who are always happy will not only attract children, they can also teach them valuable lessons such as being optimistic.
3. Courageous. Adventure narratives are always a hit with children and a good way to teach them the virtues of self-reliance and perseverance is to come up with characters who glow with courage in such obstacle-ridden situations. Characters who do not fold in times of adversity will help show children that they should do the same. Of course, for toddlers any message is not easily conveyed – but at least it exposes them to the right values.
Our 3D animation studio team here at Mediafreaks tried this character peg with our lovable team of pooches led by the courageous Sedo Dog:
4. Friendly. Lead characters who are friendly exhibit plenty of positive social skills which toddlers will eventually need as they first step into pre-school. Simple tasks such as greeting a friend, helping them out during difficult times and having fun with a group of friends will help imbibe to kids the value of interaction. This will help them avoid the pitfalls of being a loner or of being too selfish. This also helps nip the causes of bullying in the bud.
These are just guides to a lovable character. If the characters you create become successful to children worldwide, it can open doors of opportunities for character licensing deals for your intellectual properties. This is how you can assure the longevity of your cartoon animated series.
It surely helps to put one’s self in the shoes of children. After all, children does not know how it feels like to be an adult – but adults have no excuse forgetting the feeling of childhood (except maybe if they are like Benjamin Button).
But in any case, knowing that cartoons can greatly contribute to the growth of a child should be a motivation for animators to give their best to their craft.

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