Animated Cartoons: Term Definition and History

Although it is widely believed by many art historians, that animated cartoons appeared only in the twentieth century, it should be mentioned that even two thousand years ago people succeeded in creating moving pictures. Certainly, the advent of animated cartoon is closely connected with the arrival of cinematography.

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Animation, being a part of visual arts, also has the stages in its development. To a certain degree, it evolves according to the laws, which are characteristic for art in general.

As regards modernism, the cultural and artistic movement, dominant in the twentieth century we can say that its principles found its reflection in every visual arts and cartoons were not an exception to this rule. The influence of modernism can be analyzed from different points of view, for example in terms of technique, coloring, movement.

Perhaps, it would be more prudent to substantiate this statement by some examples. For instance, if we take “Wackiki Wabbit”, directed by Chuck Jones, it will be quite possible for us to see that this cartoon has some typical features of modernism. First, it is worth mentioning that the palette of “Wackiki Wabbit” consists mostly of very bright colors. Probably the main purpose of this phenomenon is to recreate the atmosphere of an island. The cartoon is full of abstract backgrounds, which mostly remind futurism. These backgrounds mostly futuristic are the peculiarity of Chuck Jones. He tries to break away from the traditional Walt Disney tradition. Though in terms of movement “Wackicki Wabbit ” reminds earlier versions of Bugs Bunny Cartoon.

Another example of animated cartoon, which was strongly influenced by modernistic movement, is “The Tale-tale Heart”, directed by Ted Parmalee. It must be taken into account that it is based on the novel of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Regarding the technique, employed in this cartoon, we can say that it is mostly based on the interplay of light and shadow. It is aimed at creating the atmosphere of suspense. The animation is done mostly in sketches. The creators of this cartoon make the viewer look through the eyes of the main character, the murderer, though he never actually appears. The palette is full of dark colors, which only intensify the effect.

Speaking about the presence of modernism in cartoons, made in the middle of the twentieth century, we should definitely mention the famous “Rooty Toot Toot”, directed by John Hubley. It is considered to be one of the best animations ever made in the twentieth century. Its most peculiar feature is the combination of visual effects and music, which produce an unforgettable impression on the viewer. In terms of movement, this cartoon is mostly based on gestures, which help the viewer to understand the inner world of the main characters. The cartoon is mostly based on the interlay of three colors black, red, and white, the most essential colors. Psychologists believe that they are commonly associated with such abstract notions as life, love, and death. Thus, we see that palette represents the key motifs of the cartoon.

. Having analyzed these three cartoons, we can arrive at the conclusion that the influence of modernism is very noticeable First, the palette plays a symbolic role, it correlates with the plot of the animations. Moreover, the abundance of abstractions is also the typical feature of modernism or futurism, to be more exact.

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"Animated Cartoons: Term Definition and History." StudyCorgi, 9 Oct. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Animated Cartoons: Term Definition and History." October 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Animated Cartoons: Term Definition and History." October 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Animated Cartoons: Term Definition and History'. 9 October.

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