It’s Amazing What a Few Blocks of Color Can Do

(click to enlarge)

I love this picture because to some it will just be some random blocks of color that don’t make any sense, but to most of you who read this site, you will immediately be able to see iconic cartoon characters without further prompting.

You don’t really think about it, but it is kind of funny that cartoon characters literally wear the exact same clothes in every scene for the most part. Why is that a unique phenomenon to the genre do you think? Why do live action shows not do the same when trying to create iconic characters? I just find it rather curious. They must do laundry a LOT.




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  1. It’s just lazy animation…

    Kim Possible was one cartoon that actually avoided the “same clothes” trope in its later seasons, giving her a few different outfits.

  2. There’s lots of live action characters that wear the same “iconic” outfit most of the time:

    Indiana Jones
    Han Solo (unless he’s on Hoth)
    Darth Vader
    Jesus Quintana, aka “The Jesus”
    Wolverine, in the X-Men movies
    Conan (the Barbarian, not the O’Brien)
    I’m assuming Harry Potter (never seen any of the films)
    The droogs from A Clockwork Orange

    And these are just a few.

  3. I’m going to say that’s it’s because of the first films that concentrated on short stories and quick action. Cartoons evolved out of old films, and they were mainly one-off affairs that weren’t deep enough to portray a longer passing of time (read: days) and so cartoons were short-sighted with their characters; they didn’t change at all, so why would their clothing change? Cartoons weren’t made to be realistic, and that departure from realism is still held over from then.

  4. I always gave anime credit for actually giving their characters a variety of outfits. You won’t see it in every show, but there are quite a few that do that.

    Also, a work friend of mine always said it was weird to see people outside of work because we’re used to seeing everyone in their work clothes (which are the same every day, like cartoon characters)

  5. In a live action show, to get characters to change outfit you give them different clothes.

    In a cartoon to get characters to change outfit you have your character design a new outfit, have a new model sheet drawn up. Have the model sheet shipped over to korea where the animators then have to learn how to draw that specific outfit from every possible direction and pose etc. It’s a fair bit of work.

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