Animation style characterized by visible heavy black borders around characters and objects. This style began being used by a few animation companies in the early 1950s (mostly UPA, of Gerald McBoingBoing and Mr. Magoo
fame), and became dominant in American TV animation during the '60s and '70s, eclipsing the more naturalistic style used in most animation during earlier decades. It was phased out during the early '80s, when more naturalistic styles again became dominant in American animation, but then became the standard yet again
(on television at least) during the late '90s, and so it remains to this day. Shows animated in Flash
tend to look good in this style.
This is sometimes considered to be among the most defining traits of modern day American animation, mostly when contrasted with the similar "anime
=big eyes" notion to emphasize the differences between U.S. and Japanese animation. When this art style does show up in Japanese media, it tends to have uneven lines and crayon shading in imitation of children's doodles (rakugaki
Compare and contrast Limited Animation
, Web Animation
Anime and Manga
- A Jell-O commercial featuring Alice talking with the Griffin and the Mock Turtle used this. The animation recycled from Alice's movie even had the outlines thickened to match.
Western Animation - Television
- Penny Arcade used to have thick outlines (especially in the 2000-2003 strips), up until about 2008-2009, in which the outlines slowly became thinner.
- 2004-2006 VG Cats comics. Almost nowhere to be seen in later comics.
- Hanna-Barbera had an appealing style such as this in the late '50s to early '60s. Their resurrection after several years in the wilderness in the '90s led to the renaissance of the style and its increased use in modern animated series. Their earliest shows used this style to show up well on small black and white television sets.
- Clerks: The Animated Series
- Duck Dodgers
- Star Wars: Clone Wars
- The Fairly OddParents
- Wander over Yonder
- The Venture Bros.
- The Mighty B!
- Danny Phantom
- Atomic Betty
- Kappa Mikey: Played with, where only Mikey is drawn this way; his Japanese costars have thin outlines and are Animesque.
- The Henry and June shorts on KaBlam!! (though more often in later seasons)
- Xiaolin Showdown
- Yin Yang Yo
- Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
- Class of 3000
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Has it with it's wobbling animation which makes it unique.
- Brandy & Mr. Whiskers
- The Replacements
- Spongebob Squarepants (Normally only Squidward)
- Wayside School
- Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures
- íMucha Lucha!
- My Life as a Teenage Robot went out of its way to look like 1940s animation as much as freakishly possible.
- Kim Possible
- King Arthur's Disasters
- Teamo Supremo
- Ren and Stimpy
- Total Drama Island/ Action/ World Tour/ Reloaded
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold
- Blazing Dragons Season 2 had thick lines (along with some radical changes in character design) that was a sharp contrast to the cleaner look of season 1.
- The Secret Saturdays
- Jimmy Two-Shoes
- Time Squad
- The early seasons of Codename: Kids Next Door had this.
- Adventure Time Season 1 had this.
- All of the marine animals from Fish Hooks.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses a variation with colored outlines instead of plain black.
- Symbionic Titan
- Invader Zim, uses this in a few episodes; Zim's antennae are noticeably thicker than usual in them.
- The Looney Tunes Show
- Almost Naked Animals
- Some of the 2D-animated characters from The Amazing World of Gumball
- Clone High almost looks like it shares the same character designers as Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls.
- Any season one episode of Tiny Toon Adventures animated by Wang Film Productions and—due to inconsistency—Kennedy Cartoons.
- Good Vibes
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series, moreso in the episodes by Sun Min Co., Walt Disney Animation (Japan), Sunwoo Entertainment, and Koko Enterprises.
- An odd variant with Nelvana's futuristic shows Blaster's Universe and Cyberchase: The animation of the characters and objects tends to have black bold outlines, but the backgrounds are so heavily vectorized and detailed that they feature no outlines whatsoever, making it seem that they don't match with the actual animation.
- Teacher's Pet, though only in the Toon City episodes.
- The New Adventures of Nanoboy
- Drawn Together, with its mishmash of art styles, has internet flash parody Spanky Ham animated this way.
- The Mr. Men Show, though only the characters have these. The objects have no outline at all.
- Steven Universe
- Clarence, but only in the opening titles.
- Teen Titans Go!
- Gravity Falls
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
- ChalkZone on a few occasions. Sunwoo Entertainment did this in the show's second season as a result of inconsistency; they switched to the show's thinner outline look in season three, and Toonzone Entertainment and Yeson Entertainment gave the show thick outlines during season four (albeit colored instead of black like the show used for the first three seasons). The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "The Amazin' River" had thicker outlines than the rest of the ChalkZone shorts (and season one), due to it being storyboard artist Bob Boyle's regular style (he later went on to work on The Fairly OddParents and created Yin Yang Yo! and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, all three utilizing thick line animation).
- Maisy is a prime example of this. Based on simple picture books by Lucy Cousins, the characters and objects are all black lines with generally bright, cheery colors filled in to appeal to the youngest audiences.
- Esurance insurance commercials.
Western Animation - Television
- Ditto for later installments of the webcomic Mac Hall.
- Faye's flashbacks in Questionable Content.
- The entire run of Garanos.
- Cast of Homestuck is normally represented by chibi-like "sprites" with outline, but lose it and gain normal human proportions when in Hero Mode.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Despite being a cel-shaded game, there are no outlines whatsoever, adding to the uniqueness of the particular style of cel-shading the game uses.