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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
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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.
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