Aww, aren’t they just ADORABLE?!

This photo sums up how Disney keeps the cuteness in all of their characters.

This photo sums up how Disney keeps the cuteness in all of their characters.

Why hello my fellow Dreamers, Ti here! So, in one of my art classes, we have to choose an object or illustration to draw and animate in a program called Flash Professional. Of course, I choose to do an illustration of a character that I am going to create. Because Disney is the company I want to work for, I began looking at their characters for hopes of inspiration. And what I noticed is that Disney does cute like no other. Some of their characters literally melt my heart and I just fall in love! But then I wondered, what makes a cute character? It is a surprisingly common question in many art students who have the hopes in creating cute characters. So after many long days of watching wonderful Disney animated films, studying them, and doing a little bit of research, I have found some tips of what makes a character adorable!

Baby Rapunzel: she has the cute factor! The big head, big eyes, and adorable disposition!

Baby Rapunzel: she has the cute factor! The big head, big eyes, and adorable disposition!

Why do we think of things as cute?

Well without making it sound boring, I will make it simple. Think of a newborn baby: a head that is proportionally bigger from its body, facial features that are both big and small, the look of pure innocence, and it is just small!! This is a good way to start with a concept of a cute character. Think of things that make an object, person, or animal seem cute. You have the image in your head, right? Good! Keep it in mind as I explain the tips.

Head

It is true! The bigger the head, the cuter. Anything that appeals to be cute has a big head, from human babies to animal babies. You want to keep the head nice, big and round! The head should be bigger than the rest of the character’s body, even if it is just slightly bigger. As long as there is a noticeable difference that the head is larger than the body, it should work.

Face

This is probably the most important aspect: the face! With any character, whether cute, frightening, or goofy, the face and its expressions is what makes the character. It is the easiest way for us to connect with the character and figure out what its mood and motives are. The eyes can be either big or small, depending on how you set up the rest of your character. Personally, I like big eyes. I tend to draw my characters with big round eyes. They tend to pop, which makes them extra cute, but I have seen artists use small eyes and they get the same effect.

The ears can be small or big, again, depending on how you set up your character. The design may require small ears or huge, Dumbo ears. But keep in mind, to add more of a cute effect, the eyes and ears should be proportionally low in  the face.

In this fan art of Stitch, his eyes are huge. His mouth his right below his eyes and his nose is right in the middle. His ears are proportioned low just like his eyes are.

In this fan art of Stitch, his eyes are huge. His mouth his right below his eyes and his nose is right in the middle. His ears are proportioned low just like his eyes are.

The mouth should not be big. Having a character with a big mouth implies danger or harmful. It is best to go with a small mouth. Also, in the mouth, if you want to add teeth, keep the teeth simple and round. A good example is like a child’s tooth when they have milk teeth. They are cute and child-like nature to them. The mouth should also be closer to the mouth as well, not far away from it. The nose can be either big or small, that is more of a personal preference.

Also, you want to make the forehead appear huge too! This looks great with the low eyes and mouth.

Arms and Legs

The arms should not be long. Remember, cute usually involves things that re short and little. For the hands, keep them fat and stubby. Also, to create a better fat hand, leave out a finger! Don’t think it works? Well look at the infamous, lovable Mickey Mouse! Try to keep the legs short and plump. It not only gives off the impression of being clumsy, but it makes the character appear passive and relaxed.

See how using light colors and pastels add to the cute appeal?

See how using light colors and pastels add to the cute appeal?

Color

When it comes to colors, you have more freedom, but here are some tips to keeping the cuteness in your character. Try your hardest to stick with warm and friendly. They attract the feelings of inviting and friendly. Use bright and light colors. You want to stray away from dark colors. Pastels are a good route to go, especially if you are stuck on color choices. These colors on the color wheel keep the character looking soft and smooth.

Extra Tips

I’m sure you have noticed I kept emphasizing the use of round shapes. Having a character with more round features allows it to appear harmless. If you use sharp edges, it will make the character seem harsh. Avoid sharp edges. Instead, stick with thick outlines and round shapes. Even if the character has a triangle shaped face, keep the edges rounded, It really does help up the cuteness factor!

Keep the designs simple, especially in the beginning phases of development. A cute character should not be complex. It should be short, sweet, and simple (literally!)

Always try to stay with the little and lovable design. It makes a world of difference and can even turn your scary vampire into an adorable one!

Also, once you have developed a character that you like, try combining elements that are cute with ones that are not. It will definitely be an interesting twist to your character and can also add more cutie points to your character as well.

You can turn any character into a cute one. Why, look at Mike and Sulley! Two terrifying monsters are now these cute, adorable ones!

You can turn any character into a cute one. Why, look at Mike and Sulley! Two terrifying monsters are now these cute, adorable one

Well, that pretty much sums it up with adding the cute effect on your characters! I hoped this helped and that you give these tips a try the next time you create a new character. Even if cuteness is not your style, I still recommend it is worth a try! Stay tuned for more!

“When we do fantasy, we must not lose sight of reality.” Walt Disney

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