When I'm drawing in a "stylized" manner, meaning I'm not trying to recreate what's in the natural world but trying to make an animal a character, I have a criteria going on in my head as I'm drawing it. I try not to be too comic-y, I like to see how many natural features can stay in my version and still be what I want. Like a slide bar that I adjust.
I hadn't realized what went into what the creation of my criteria until I started watching some very old (and suprisingly non-disney) animated films. I'd whined about getting too many obscure, weird, arty movies (that yes I enjoyed mostly, but it was feeling onesided), so Mike bumped up a couple that I alone picked and really wanted to see: The Last Unicorn and the Secret of Nimh. I was watching them going, "Aha! That! That look, those eyes, the fur, ect..." Not that I set out to model my characters after those movies, but it's like the kid in me can believe in the aspects of those characters so I want to draw with those qualities in order to be genuine.
It's quite a revelation for me artistically. Like a buried source of inspiration I didn't know I had still in me.
Given that I was such a disney fanatic, isn't it odd that I gravitated around probably the only 2 non disney movies that made it in the 80s? And they were so non-kiddie, too. I mean, they curse in both of them! Who did that back then? (who does that now, come to think of it) You can see a manga style in the Last Unicorn. Nimh just had great animal anatomy and proportions. I also miss the hand painted and lengthy process of the old animation. You can tell scenes took forever to draw out and render in those older movies.
Well, off to bed. I wonder what other old movies I should dig up: Bednobs and Broomsticks, ooo Return to Witch Mountain (no animation, but I loved that movie!)... hmmm...