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Submitted on
May 5, 2013


117 (who?)

Chuck Jones Quotes on Characters

Journal Entry: Sun May 5, 2013, 10:04 AM
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"If you start with character, you probably will end up with good drawings."

"As you become acquainted with a character you are creating, you add parts of yourself that are pertinent to that character."

"Each character represented a trait that resides in me."

"I have come to know Bugs so well that I no longer have to think about what he is doing in any situation. I let the part of me that is Bugs come to the surface, knowing, with regret, that I can never match his marvelous confidence."

"The whole essence of good drawing—and of good thinking, perhaps—is to work a subject down to the simplest form possible and still have it believable for what it is meant to be."

~Chuck Jones, director, animator, cartoonist, and cocreator of characters we know today as the Looney Tunes


I got trolled last year about how you should not pour traits of people you know or yourself into your characters. It makes it too personal, they said. It's unprofessional and stupid, they said.

I am telling you right now that this is false. If you ever get someone online or in real life who is not a professional telling you that you shouldn't pour yourself or people you know into your characters, they have no idea what they're talking about. Chuck Jones often said that Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck were representations of himself, in a more comical way. Bugs Bunny was his more optimistic side, only with a touch more confidence.

Glen Keane, a longtime animator for Disney who is known for animating several characters including Ariel, said that he begged to animate the mermaid because she reminded him of his wife. He poured his wife's quirks and actions into Ariel, giving her the personality we know today.

So if anyone tells you that your characters are too personal, stamp a Chuck Jones quote on their foreheads.

Because characters like those ended up going down in history.

Just Ask Bugs Bunny. ;)

words of encouragement so you don't go through the same confident bust I did.:heart:


  • Mood: Affection
  • Listening to: P!nk
  • Reading: Draw the Looney Tunes
  • Watching: Looney Tunes, AFV, PnF
  • Eating: fruits
  • Drinking: water
Add a Comment:
KIA-13-7 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
true true. Characters that have personalities, real ones, have stood through the change of generations. The reason being people can somewhat relate to them but, more importantly believe in them. Just as a child would.
LJ-Phillips Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Professional
Very true :) One's characters reflect different aspects of one's self or should. The alternative is flat stereotypical character which lack inner life. Empathy is one of the keys t creating vivid characters and of course, we only create that bond with our characters by imbuing them with characteristics f our myriad selves.
Hinata-teh-Lefty Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Student Photographer
Amen! <3
I didn't know that about Keane, though. In fact, I kept misreading that as "he was begging Chuck Jones to do the mermaid", which would have been a freakin' amazing interpretation, btw, but when I finally got it, I thought that was really cool he did that! Definitely an awesome tribute to his wife. <3
HectorNY Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Hobbyist
How true. And how often do you traits of the voice actor or actress in the characters. I've seen that quite often in Disney films.
Marcusthehedgehog Featured By Owner May 11, 2013
That's most important.
animegx43 Featured By Owner May 10, 2013
Good attitute. Why take the opinions of stupid kids when you can take the opinions from skill, professional people like good old Chuck Jones.
AzabacheSilver Featured By Owner May 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
People who say "You should not pour traits of people you know or yourself into your characters" probably are pointing out "motes in your eyes" while they hope no one notices "Wooden beam" in theirs.

Using parts of yourself and others is something called LIFE EXPERIENCE. I nearly bust a gut laughing when some Junior High Student tells me I shouldn't use any life experience. Like writing is some arcane art only known to the "talented" like themselves.
DannoGerbil Featured By Owner May 10, 2013   General Artist
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd say that if you're creating a long term character it's almost impossible NOT to put part of yourself into it, after all you're the creator. I think putting other peoples traits comes in if you're specifically designing a character to be that person, or if that character fits the traits of someone you know well after a while. Either way I think it's all part of the creative process. Authors do it, why can't artists? I have two characters in my strip, one cynical the other dumb. Both are traits that come out in me fro time to time.
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner May 9, 2013
Awesome journal entry! I totally agree: if you don't inject a little of yourself into your characters, then they don't seem human.
GuzuGuzu32 Featured By Owner May 9, 2013
If I remember correctly I believe he designed Tweety after himself as well. Tweety Pie or Tweety Bird as he would come to be known was inspired by Chuck Jones when he was a baby. I don't know why anybody would say something so ludicrous. In my writing and drawing courses I have always been told to write or draw what you know. If a creator has no personal connection to his craft he/she will soon lose interest. Looney Toons is such an inspiration because the characters are not static. They are dynamic, flawed, they have their good and bad traits and that what makes them so endearing, they have behaviors that real people have. Many artist, animators, illustrators, writers, etc. will tell you their material comes from their experiences. Experience is the best teacher.
Lytrigian Featured By Owner May 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Tweety Bird was created by Clampett and Freleng, not Jones.
GuzuGuzu32 Featured By Owner May 10, 2013
My mistake but if I am not mistaken, I believe he is the inspiration behind him.
devilkais Featured By Owner May 11, 2013
Actually , Tweety was based on a photo Clampett's mother had of him . So Bob created the little bird after that.
Ronjah-Sarran Featured By Owner May 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Could not agree more. I've done that since the beginning of my career as an artist.
TheAngelAvenger Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I couldn't agree more!
Now, I could type a whole paragraph about this, but I'll sum it up.
I think that adding parts or yourself or of someone you know to one of your characters, is what gives that character life. You know, even if others don't, that your character is, in a sense, real, and has personal aspects to it that you can connect to.
Maximilian-McMonkey Featured By Owner May 8, 2013   General Artist
Funny that I should stumble upon this now, I was just thinking (and talking) about this exact thing (among other things) last night. I sort of figured this out myself, in a way. I noticed that it seemed that all cartoonists have their main character be similar to or even blatantly based on themselves, albeit exaggerated.

I also kind of have a little head theory that all successful characters in general, not just cartoons, are a parts of the author's personality. Even when it's not obvious or apparent. Or perhaps what the author would like or expect to see.

I'm still working on my own characters and haven't really done much of anything with them. I'm still working out what I want their personalities to be like. I'm trying to balance them being archetypes with them being more unique and complex. I think there really are good arguments for both.

I'm also trying to figure out which aspects of myself to give to which character. XD

Sorry for the huge comment. You touched upon something I'm seriously thinking through that's pretty important to me. XD
RobbieMelrose Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Student General Artist
That's a very great advice, Ash. It would apply to me whenever I make my own characters.
ReaperKing Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Student Artist
I have several friends who would do well reading this journal and it does help me feel better about a certain habit I have of imparting my personal traits onto some of the characters I've made. Chuck Jones is one of my favorite classic cartoonists.
Strudel--Cutie4427 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013   Writer
You shouldn't listen to trolls. I put myself into my OCs all the time, I get into the mind of characters that exist - if you can't know what makes the character themselves, you'll never succeed in character creation, because said character seem two dimensional and kinda off...

Sorry, just getting my 2 cents in.
Strudel--Cutie4427 Featured By Owner May 7, 2013   Writer
Also, if you turn someone you hate into a character, you can do to them what you wish to do to the person they're from, and more :evillaugh:
ItsCursorBby Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So much agreement.
This is why it helps to have a sadistic harmlessly release violent thoughts.
RandomInsanityOfDoom Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
miswels Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Student Writer
You made me favorite a journal! THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME. :ohnoes:
MINECRAFTSTEVE Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I thought you said "Chuck Norris"

KimberlySueDeBalts Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Heaven Yeah! Viral High Five!
kungfu-blaziken Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Amen to that.
DSlayerMinster Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Isn't animating a form of acting? If so, isn't it impossible to have a good performance if you make everything sterile? Like, duh, that's so UNprofessional.
i-haz-a-doodle-plex Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This is so encouraging ^^
twinhouse Featured By Owner May 6, 2013
Who was trolling you where are they WHERE why when i get my hands on 'em. seriously though i dont care what other people say YOU are my favorite artist/writer on deviant art.
Indieanju Featured By Owner May 6, 2013
Oh, Kicsterash, Chuck Jones was amazing, and so was Glen Keane....
....but honestly, you mean a lot more than they do to your watchers.:hug:

Thanks for posting this!
Romulan64 Featured By Owner May 6, 2013
Quite the new perspective on things, Ash...

Thanks a lot! :happybounce:
Artie-stico17 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amen, Kics. My character "Michael Frederick" it's a pour trait of myself, and i'm proud of it.
mysterychik Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Omygosh...I needed that <3
WanderingSketch Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Gorgeous encouragement. :3
Cake-the-Kitty Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
That is lovely
Carol-Lizzy Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student General Artist
I totally agree. I like how you pour a bit of yourself into your characters in particular. They turn out more original.
SnapCentino Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Professional Writer
HELL YES! Those trolls don't know WHAT they're saying! Don't they know ANYTHING about the creative process?

AsherTye Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Sorry you got trolled with bad advice. The most entertaining characters always have. Bit of their creators in them. Its what grants them a life of their own.
Cheliseville Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
I agree. :)
DragonArtist2454 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Amen. Artists need references, and personality is no exception. Anyone who says they don't need references for anything, anatomy or personality, is lying to you and to themselves.
Silverlegends Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:salute: Will do chief... Will do...
cari28ch3 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
the more of yourself, or someone you know, becomes part of a character, the more human and relatable the character becomes
KicsterAsh Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Exactly :)
ZippyDee20 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student General Artist
:giggle: That is what I've been doing since I first started creating my own characters when I was ten XD Every one of them has some part of my friends, family, teachers, or my own personality :giggle: I still need to work harder though :giggle:
Thanks for the encouragement ! :glomp:
tlegg Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
interestingly enough Chuck Jones seems to be more based on willie coyote. reading mark twain roughing it pretty much took something the coyote partly because it was the same size as him when he was eight. he took the coyote ineptitude at catching food ( because their scavengers. as well as his own at being handy man ( he was known for breaking thumbs and windows alike while putting up paintings.) to create one of the most popular warner brothers characters ever. to some. i never really like Willie
KicsterAsh Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Professional Filmographer
I think I forgot to mention Wile E. I do recall Chuck saying that he was a lot like him as well. :shrug: I've read so much about him this past term that I may have forgotten XD
I personally liked Wile E. He's a great character.
shieldmaiden5678 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I always draw inspiration for my characters from myself and friends. It's definitely the best source. Accurate journal is accurate.
AmyNChan Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That's what I've done, but I still need to work on them. Thanks for the encouragement! *^_^*
LadyKnightDianna Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah pretty much any character is based off of someone you know or yourself. maybe they take that thing at the end of movies that says any traits that represent someone liveing or dead is purely coincidental to seriousely. people have that in books and movies to keep someone from jumping on them accuseing them they are makeing fun of them or something or that is my oppinion why they say that but if you ask authors and people who do cartoons there based off people they know or themself and it not ment to be hurtful. you can't just make up a person based on no one you know personaly or about your own personality.

sorry for misspellings some words I'm not sure how to spell so hopefully you can still read it and understand what I had written.
Fallliingmoon Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That is... some great advice. I do find myself falling into that step, adding traits of myself into my characters and changing myself as I do. I'm glad to know I'm not awkwardly being to much of a... weird, I guess that's the word, writer in doing so. Thanks for the inspiration. He really seemed to be a great guy, huh?
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