Illustrative Styles Research

As we will be creating a 60 second animation as part of our brief, we will need a uniform style that allows each member of our group (4 members doing 15 seconds each) to create something that when stitched together, will mesh nicely and not appear too dissimilar. In this post I will explore a range of styles from numerous notable illustrators and from various genres.


While researching illustration styles online, I stumbled across an article on, about an illustrator called Mike Holmes. Holmes is a cartoonist for shows like Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors and he created a series known as Mikenesses in which he drew himself (often accompanied by his cat Ella) in the styles of more than 100 different cartoonists and animators. It’s a neat study that shows a real understanding of the styles, and it’s also incredibly charming.

I am not going to show each one as this post would be insanely oversize by the end. But here are some of my favorites.

The style of Quentin Blake
The Powerpuff Girls
The TV show Archer
Nicholas Gurewitch
George Prosper Remi’s Tin Tin
Tim Burton…who else?

You can find the rest of the work at Mike Holme’s page on Flickr.

While these styles may be somewhat ambitious for our group with only 3-4 weeks left to animate the entirety of our video. It has given me a valuable insight into the way various  styles can be utilized to turn the same content (Holmes and his cat) into such a vast array of images, situations and atmospheres. Clearly styles are created to suit the narrative they tell.

George Prosper Remi’s Tin Tin tends to be in general, an adventure series with high stakes and tension. This reflects in the rather life like approach to character creation. Not that they’d pass as real, but clothes, bodily dimensions and expressions are complex and made to be accurate-ish to reality. This is sharply juxtaposed with the angular, block colour designs of The Powerpuff Girls. They employ a lighthearted anime like style full of exaggerated light and movement to appeal to children. In the same vein, Tim Burton’s Gothic style relies on us to fill in the gaps, it cares little of reality but delivers a hugely stylized set of characters. It is dark and Gothic, which is ideal of the genre of films and media Tim Burton is responsible for. It adds to the narrative.

My Thoughts

From my research so far I have come to understand more of the importance of illustrative styles, the aim of the style is to compliment a narrative. The tone of the story is established and the illustration is an effective way of complimenting that tone and feel and enhancing the audience’s experience and immersion.




Author: David Rothwell

I am a Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design If you like any of my work, have feedback (good or bad) or would like to get in touch, please do

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s