Cartoon Cute Animals
Christopher Hart’s latest how-to-draw book, Cartoon Cute Animals, is subtitled “How to Draw the Most Irresistible Creatures on the Planet!” but I would have called it “A pose book for ripping off Chuck Jones”, since all these adorable kittens and puppies and chipmunks look like they stepped right out of one of his cartoons.
There are plenty of examples of expressions and poses, with chapters determined by animal type: cats and dogs, bears, woodland creatures (including chipmunk, beaver, raccoon, rabbit, mouse, and for some reason, porcupine), birds, sea life, and “animals of the jungles and plains”. That last one had me speculating on which movies spurred their inclusion. The giraffe was definitely Madagascar, while I doubt meerkat would have been mentioned without Disney’s usage.
What really annoyed me, though, was the single page entitled “Feminizing Animals”, which states several requirements for making a girl version: wispier whiskers, fluffy tail, bows or flowers or other accessories, and the must-have almond-shaped, tilted eyes. I hate these kinds of lazy shorthand, but I hate more that, by these rules, all the animals drawn in the book are boys. Why is that kind of stereotyping necessary when we’re talking about cute animals, which are androgynous by definition? (The publisher provided a review copy.)