Creating cute works of art can be a very difficult goal because the creation of cute art is attempt to create specific emotional reactions, which requires solid draftsmanship, and a real understanding of what is cute. Generally we all know what’s cute when we see it, however this does not mean that we have understanding of what makes something cute.
Ham Luske one of the nine old men of Disney showed the other Disney artists as they strove for realism that cute is often made easier through simplicity, by having less lines, less external anatomy one would have an easier time of drawing a cute picture. Cute in this case is a reduction and a rounding of what is normally seen.
For Ham Luske also pointed to the rounding of forms as a means of reducing lines and creating cuter pictures, this is what Fred Moore did in order to perfect many of Disney’s cute characters including Mickey. Indeed if you examine many of the greatest creators of cute art you will notice that the forms of their characters are very rounded Samuel Butcher’s work for example creates cute pictures by making his forms rounded and less detailed. His work is of special interest because it translates well to three dimensional objects. It is often difficult to have drawings translate well into such objects, as shown by the attempts and failures to make Curious George a 3D animation. Part of the difficulties those attempting this ran into was flow. Cute art flows together its lines and shapes form well into one another and compose with each other better then other objects.
Another important aspect of cuteness comes from compacting baby elephants are fairly large, yet many consider them to be incredibly cute. What makes a baby elephant cute is both the knowledge that they are a baby, and in visual terms that they are compacted much more then older elephants. Examining the proportions of a child we will see that these being more compacted in nature helps other compacted things to gain cuteness through association.
In this case then such compactedness is in association with other things, a baby giraffe for example is cute though less compact then many other creatures. However knowing what a giraffe looks like allows us to judge the cuteness of the baby giraffe based on the older giraffes. Further the giraffes flow and method of composition is fairly nice. Emotion and mental associations are however a big part of what makes us think of things as being cute. This is way artists such as Ezra Jack Keats create such wonderfully cute drawings, because their art though not necessarily in keeping with many of the rules so far established as cute have an emotional quality, the are sentimental, reminding us of our childhood, or of childhood in general.
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