Inkblot Cartoon Style

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Merrie Melodies presents Foxy!
"Mickey had to be simple. We had to push out seven hundred feet of film every two weeks. His head was a circle with an oblong circle for a snout. The ears were also circles so they could be drawn the same, no matter how he turned his head. his body was like a pear, and he had a long tail. His legs were pipestems, and we stuck them in large shoes to give him the look of a kid wearing his father's shoes. We didn't want him to have mouse hands, because he was supposed to be more human. So we gave him gloves. Five fingers seemed like too much on such a little figure, so we took away one. There was just one less finger to animate. To provide a little detail, we gave him the two-button pants. There was no mouse hair, or any other frills that would slow down animation."
Walt Disney describing the design of Mickey Mouse

Inkblot Cartoon Style is the cartoon style most prevalent from The Silent Age of Animation. Most historians refer to this as Rubber Hose Animation because characters' arms, legs and pretty much everything else are usually animated as if they were made of rubber tubing and without elbows or knees. In many cartoons in the very late Twenties and early and mid-Thirties, not only does everyone dance to the background music, everything dances to it as well. The style sometimes falls into Accidental Nightmare Fuel territory because of the its tendency toward surrealist humor.

Characteristics of Characters of the Inkblot Cartoon Style:

If this style is used in a cartoon that was made after the 1920s/1930s, it results in Retraux. It often, but not always, goes hand-in-hand with Rubber Hose Limbs, which originated from this style.

Examples from the 1930s and earlier:


Retraux Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Music
  • The music video for "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" by Squirrel Nut Zippers is done in this style, with look-alikes of Buddy and Cookie being tormented by ghosts at the Hotel Paradise.
  • The music video for Moby and the Void Pacific Choir's "Are You Lost in the World Like Me?" An apparently ironic choice, since the video is actually a critique on modern social media.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • The Futurama Season 6 finale mocks this art style.
  • Toot from Drawn Together.
  • Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner from Animaniacs are this, even though they don't have Rubber Hose Limbs and their eyes look somewhat Animesque.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart's Comet", the Couch Gag is the family drawn in this style.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy parodies this in the episode "Hill Billy".
  • In a Cutaway Gag on Family Guy, Peter was waxing nostalgic about him and Brian in the old days; they were drawn in this style for the flashback.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "The Good Ol' Days", Timmy's Grandpappy Turner comes in to baby-sit him. After bonding with him over their mutual love of old-fashioned cartoons (and old-fashioned cartoon violence), Timmy is inspired to make a wish that causes the whole world to look like this art style for his grandpa.
  • The "Old Timey" universe from Homestar Runner.
  • Dennis the Duck from House of Mouse, who is basically an avian version of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • One episode of Spongebob Squarepants featured a scene drawn this way, with Spongebob singing "I'm Ready to go to Work!" during the entire scene.
  • A number of the drawings in ChalkZone are drawn in this style. They've been shown in "Mellow Drama Falls" and "The Label Police" as well as the music video segments "There You Are" and "Time to Go Home".
  • Cat and Dog's shared dream in the CatDog episode "It's a Wonderful Half-Life" is done in this style.
  • In Gravity Falls, when passing through one of Bill Cipher's "balls of pure madness," Gideon and Ghost Eyes temporary turn into this. They scream silently, followed by an intertitle that says "AAAAAAAAAUGH!"
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries, the flashback scenes of the Yucky Mart are drawn in this style.

Alternative Title(s): Rubber Hose Animation

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