I recently decided that I wanted to enter the rich and rewarding world of making children’s cartoons, primarily because it looks so piss-easy. Having got this far, though, I quickly realised I was at a complete loss as to what to do next.
After some swift research into the kinds of things that kids throughout the ages have apparently liked (the Wiggles, the Teletubbies, In The Night Garden, Bagpuss, Pokémon, The Magic Roundabout, The Muppet Show), I came to the conclusion that there were certain key features any successful franchise aimed at children had to have, especially in regards to the main characters:
- The characters should be animals. Quirky, independent animals with a strong sense of individuality are favoured. Cats, dogs and various rodents are possibly over-represented. (Note to self: Frogs? Goats?)
- The characters should, ideally, not be recognisable animals, but rather a composite or amalgam of various kinds of animals.
- The characters should have some similarities with human beings, including but not necessarily restricted to standing on two legs at all times, a severely limited, garbled, or grammatically atrocious language, accessories such as hats, bags and masks.
- The characters should frequently demonstrate inexplicable magical powers.
- The names of the characters should hint at their nature, but not actually mean anything explicit. Bonus points if it sounds as though the character’s race have managed to name themselves with their own awful English. (Note to self: Tatty Molasses — perfect!)
- The characters should be as amorphous as possible. Round, blobby shapes are ideal. If they cannot be amorphous, make them disturbingly asymmetrical. If they cannot be asymmetrical, make them gangly and over-excitable. (Note to self: surely the ideal character would combine all of these aspects?)
- The narrator should adopt a tone of amused chastisement of all times, e.g.,”What are you doing there, Tatty Molasses? Oh! Oh, silly, silly Tatty!”
- The characters should largely avoid interactions with humans. Interactions are brief, and tend to serve the characters’ own ends.
- Episodes should attempt to teach children how to deal with day-to-day life. (Note to self: What kind of character would have limited understanding of human society, rarely interact directly with humans, but still hang around places frequented by humans? Think motivation, Jimmy, remember writing class!)
- The settings should either be charmingly antique, characterful places brimming with nostalgia, or hyper-colourful bright and pastoral locations. (Note to self: Tatty Molasses sounds more like the former than the latter)
- The budget/technical proficiency should be visibly awful. This will ensure misguided nostalgia from adults who should know better, and extra sales of DVDs to the lucrative stoner demographic.
- And finally, the entire thing should have the atmosphere of a fairly unpleasant trip on a hallucinogen of moderate strength.
With that in mind, I have created what I believe to be the ultimate children’s comic strip — prepare yourselves for The Adventures of Tatty Molasses!
Tatty Molasses Goes To The Antiques Store
Tatty Makes A Friend
Some might say that these were the hideous and incompetent doodlings of a man half-mad with the power that comes from having his own blog (his very own! You can’t tell me what to do now, society! I am holding all the keys and guarding all the locks!) — it is quite evident that this accusation springs only from jealousy and the frustration arising from a less-than-satisfactory love life. Superficially, these images might look as though I crudely photoshopped a monstrosity together using easily obtainable “creative commons” pictures and called it a day.
However, in actual fact, these strips are as close to an objectively perfect children’s cartoon as we can come using the scientific techniques available to us today. I eagerly anticipate either the Cartoon Network or Disney getting in touch re: animation rights. I mean, it should be easy enough to animate, the characters hardly move unless they’re disappearing into the background.
In conclusion, children are terrifying, nightmarish creatures who should not be allowed to choose what they want to watch, because what they want to watch is invariably wrong. Also, I can create really really terrible designs and characters while hardly even trying, which has to be a skill that will come in handy later in life. Perhaps companies could pay me not to design logos for them?
Injecting soy sauce straight into my veins.