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Submitted on
April 7, 2012


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Hey there guys!

Ya know I'm the one who brings out the strangest topics, but here I have a question for you...

What do you think define Disney's style the best in terms of drawing?

I'm asking because I'm trying so much to have a disney-ish style, mainly inspired by the 90's movies such as Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Aladdin and so on, but sometimes it happens that people (not necessarily on DA) still classify it as "manga", or "too manga"... please note that it's not that I hate manga or something, but when it comes to jobs and professional matters this thing sometimes turns out to be no good, at least for the experiences I've been having 'til now.

Moreover, Disney style is totally my favorite and somehow it's always been my main point of reference, even when I was younger, or in the period in which I was only drawing manga, and I want to improve in that direction. Since when I truly started applying with it, is the one that has given me more satisfaction so far while drawing :D so it's more of a personal matter to me. I would like people who look at my drawings to recognize that Disney is my main inspiration! :> (luckily, it already happened sometimes!! XD)

So I just would like to know some opinions from you guys about the subject.

I've always believed that style is a matter of target- I mean, Disney movies are directed to kids first (even though they have multiple levels in which they can be read - just think of  The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Treasure Planet...), and so are most shonen manga, so there is...something about the styles that is similar, in terms of graphics. For example, Eyeshield 21 (especially in the middle of the story) or Gurren Lagann (in this case an anime), I think, have something that resembles a bit Disney in terms of characters' eyes, characterization, and in some case even expressions.
So I think that it's wrong to always separate the two things and keep on saying "It's too manga here", "It's too manga there"... =___= influences most of the times are unconscious and their mix is what define an artist's personal style, after all. :)

But I would like to know if you guys spot some "true" differences between Disney style and a so called "hybrid" (a mix of manga and other styles, usually Disney, in facts), something that really characterize Disney...
I'm doing this kind of research all the time (seriously I've watched SO many Disney movies SO many times in the past year, and I still do! XD) and I think that I'm heading on the right direction considering the stuff I did just a year ago (was much more "manga-ish"), but it's always good to hear other people's opinions and tips, if you have some! :D I still have a long way to go and hearing what you think could help me improving or personalizing my current style...
IT'S KNOWLEDGE POWER :iconallthethingsplz:

Do you think my style is still... too manga? I really want to understaaannnddd!!

Thank you very much, and sorry for the weird questions... °_°
  • Mood: Isolated
  • Listening to: All Coming Back to Me, Son Of Man
  • Reading: PK, Will Eisner stuff, various Star Wars comics :D
  • Watching: Supernatural, TCW, Tarzan (...always)
  • Playing: SW Ep III for PS2....JUST AWESOME
  • Eating: I WANT A PIZZA
  • Drinking: I need coke or something...
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EldritchSaga Featured By Owner May 13, 2012
In my opinion the Disney style bodies and hair are more simplistic then anime whereas the faces are the oppisite. Hair tends to be solid chunks with internal lines to add volume and definition, and the bodies are only hinted at because they tend to not show the musculature or go overboard with definition. Look at the princes and you'll notice the abs are only implied with a single line. Facial characteristics are larger and more expressive however. Their mouths are wider and fuller, the noses are more defined and the eyes are both larger, show the irises and pupils, have fuller and solid eyebrows. You can see what I'm talking about here [link]
For Girls these two links will explain it better than I ever could so:
and there is another artist who does the Disney stuff here
and I always have to suggest Mark Crilley's how to draw stuff here
RedHandedJill44 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think one of the biggest things about "Disney style" is the eyes. There is something about the eyes that's similar in most of the 90's films. Not to say they're anything like the Dreamworks eyes [[link] but rather the animators put a lot of emphasis in making the eyes human and relatable. Even in the Lion King, there is a humanness to the eyes of the lions, and that similarity is found throughout their movies. Of course the style changes from movie to movie (Treasure Planet is vastly different from Tarzan, Atlantis, and Beauty and the Beast) but I feel that the eyes remain somewhat constant.

I also think their inking and coloring process has a lot to do with their style. From a forum poster (that I agree with): "But the polished look is the main reason something looks "Disney" to me. In every Disney film, and even in some of the recent direct-to-videos, like Cinderella III, the characters have beautiful colored outlines that are thin but smooth, and they stand out. In these images, the outlines look like pencil lines!"

I guess that's a rather poor answer for such a large question, but I hope it helps!
larsterkk Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Just having a quick look at your gallery I can see the Disney influence. However, referencing Disney can be so much more. I am an animation student and if I want to strive for a realistic animation I reference the 12 principles of animation- these animation rules were coined by two men who worked for Disney in the Golden Age. Pretty much every Disney classic you have watched will have all these prinicples in, so referencing them can't be a bad thing at all.. for animation, drawings.. anything!
CookArt456 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Student General Artist
It depends on the character designs and also the animation. With Disney, they exaggerate their body designs and simplify the face while as anime, they try to achieve realism and add too much details. Look at "The Princess and the Frog" (Disney) compared to Sword of the Stranger" (Anime) and you'll see the differences in styles and animation.
Anime will always have huge eyes, big heads, plastic skins and also that the characters all look the same.
While it's true that Anime was inspired by Disney's past films, they try to make anime more unique in story, characters, and also putting everything what fans wants which is why anime is more popular.

While I do see the Disney drawings that you mention, It's good to try more different styles and say "what would disney do". I love your drawings but try to mess the faces a bit more and the body tones. Draw them in a way that their Caricatured (simple and stylish) and go on from their.
AteMozzarella Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Disney has more expressive faces. A lot of manga may have the same big eyes and wide grins, but they don't express properly. They don't have the subtle shape of lips or curve of cheeks or brightness of eyes that make the Disney style so likeable. A lot of manga just seems too artificial where Disney seems more natural.

The round shapes and curves probably also play a part. Curves=natural, points and straight lines=artificial.
BCM00 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I've held back from posting a reply to this in the hopes I could come up with a satisfactory answer. However, I haven't been able to come up with one.

Your work has always appeared to me to be the western, Disney-esque style; I never considered it "anime." You attractively stylize your characters, but you don't hyperbolize them with giant eyes or spiky hair a la Akira Toriyama. Your color palette is much more subdued and natural, not like the bright colors I typically associate with anime (sorry I can't provide specific examples).

I know this isn't exactly the response you were looking for, but I hope it helps.
avelarion Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I always thought your art had a Disney sorta feel to it. I think it's just really common lately for people to assume everything with big eyes is anime/manga influenced without giving it a whole lot of thought. Your art doesn't really remind me of manga at all. No more so than any Disney movie ever has.
Renny08 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :D
And yeah, I'm starting to think that as well .__. it's either super realistic, super cartoony, or it's manga =__= nobody seem to consider the middle way and that really makes me sad!
LalaAdanwenB Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012   General Artist
Really an interesting question!:nod:

And quite funny, because the same happens to me all the time, people keep saying "that looks so much like manga"!:XD: Itīs not that I donīt like manga, after all Sailor Moon is what really started to get me intro drawing and has greatly influenced my style, but I also feel that many people see it as a slightly negative and infantile thing. Besides I want to move on and I adore Disney style more, like you!:aww:

When I started to read this, I thought: "What defines Disney style are the big eyes", but then I read on and you mentioned manga, and I was like "Dang!":D Theyīre similar, I agree. You mentioned the 90īs movies, but I think itīs also important to look where Disney came from. When you look at the first movies, like Snow White and Cinderella, they have their roots in classical, western painting style from the renaissance or greek antiquity (I once watched a docu about Disney, thatīs where I got the awesome knowledge from, but I immediately saw what they said.:D). They look more realistic than manga. The eyes are big, the noses are small, but theyīre not exaggerated. And theyīre not as rectangular, but softer and more round, at least thatīs my view.:)

So of course the style in newer movies has quite changed from that (just look at Hercules (my favourite Disney movie with Mulan) - that style is completely exaggerated but different from manga style, because it exaggerated greek style), but Iīd still say that Disney style in general is more realistic than manga style and draws from western beauty ideals (when you compare Disney to western comic style, as in Marvel etc., thatīs a completely different cup of tea of course! But I donīt want to digress too much :XD:).

I think the Disney character with most manga influence is Jane from Tarzan. When you look at a profile picture of her, thatīs 100% manga! I needed some getting used to that but now I love her character design. Anyway, Tarzan is totally different in comparison. Heīs almost a bit Marvel-ly.:XD: Very rectangular, lots of edges, strong jaw, etc.:) So I guess Disney style is also very variable.

Another thing I love about Disney style is how it really gets the key characteristics of faces from different ethnicities, for example Pocahontas, Mulan, etc. Theyīre all abstracted cartoon faces but you can still see where they come from and I try very hard to spot the important details and learn from that.:aww: Iīm not an expert in manga design, but maybe thereīs not so much variability in it? Manga characters neither lookreally japanese nor really european or anything else. Theyīve got blue hair, purple eyes, etc....maybe itīs more fantastical than Disney.:)

Pheeew, all right thatīs all for now, though Iīm sure Iīll think of a hundred new aspects after Iīve sent this!:D Either way, I absolutely LOVE such discussions! Please bring more such questions to us in the future!:aww: :happybounce: And I hope I could help a bit.:heart:
Renny08 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
Thank you so much for your interesting comment!! :la:

I agree with everything you say; to me, it's kinda inevitable that we are influenced by manga, they are everywhere after all, and what's fascinating about them is the fact that their narration style is similar to movies'. American (or Italian for that matter :XD:) comics are usually faster in pace, and that's not always a good thing. Then again manga are often TOO slow, but the way the stories are told, with all the big panels and everything, is surely fascinating! :D

The middle way once again it's Disney's movies; not too long, not too short, and with that AWESOME drawing style, always!
And yeah, there's really a difference between Disney oldies and the 90's :D back then, I also believe Disney was trying to achieve a style of their own, and even after they kept trying that, just think about the Aristocats and Sword in The Stone, they look similar :D in the 90's each movie has its own atmosphere and style and I think that's awesome! <3

About Disney being more realistic, I totally agree! What's great about Disney, is the way the exaggerate things by keeping them realistic!! I always bring the example of Tarzan's character (which in terms of drawing, expressions and so on is probably my favorite, even though my favorite movie is totally Hunchback and my fave Disney character is totally Quasi :dummy:): he's so damn cartoony, with those expressive, round eyes and the big mouth! Still his nose is awesomely realistic, and his expressions are SO alive! Not to mention that, in general, you never spot a facial feature out of his place for the sake of an expressions, they manage to do everything perfect and expressive by keeping everything anatomically right and that's one of the main things in my opinion *__*
Because when I draw the mouth, it often happens that I put it too much on a side of the face or something x°D

Haha yeah, I think you're right, even when I was a child it took me a bit to get used to Jane!! X°D Somehow I was already driven to Tarzan (I even insisted for having the school bag and a pencil case haha!! X°D Good times!) but Jane just exaggerated to me!! Maybe it was because I didn't read manga back then, just watched some anime like Pokemon or Digimon. So it felt a bit strange! x)

And I do agree with the fact that they keep the facial features so well!! I mean, in Mulan, the character have all black hair and the oriental eyes (of course x)), I would find very difficult to be able to characterize their faces SO well like they did! <3
That's for sure, manga usually don't characterize features so's often said that manga characters, infact, tend to look pretty much the same. There are exceptions of course, especially in shonen (again, Eyeshield 21 and Gurren Lagann -the anime! :D) but apart from that... :I

Thanks again for you comment!! :la:
Haha! Yeah, it's good to talk about this stuff, it's funny and you can learn new things! 8'D
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