Okay, so now that we’ve laid out what abstract image making is, let’s look at how it’s applied in contemporary American culture.
One really cool cultural read on abstraction is the perception of images that are usually made up of simple shapes. Depending on a few very subtle factors, a simple abstract image can give off two completely different vibes: Sleek/professional or child-like.
Can we appreciate that for a second? Based on a few little tweaks, an image can be read in completely OPPOSITE ways. You can see it clearly from Disney, who wants to be read as both professional and child-like, depending on the situation.
Today I’ll be discussing two principles of visual design and how they are utilized to create effective characters. The two principles can be thought of as two ends sides of a spectrum: Abstract and Realistic.
Abstracted characters are often times considered very cartoon-y and simple. Because it is barely tethered by the rules of physicality, it allows for the most visual freedom. The basic building blocks of character creation for abstract characters start with shapes. To fully master abstract character design, it requires knowledge of iconography. Frequently, abstract designs have the most iconic silhouettes, however it can also carry a cultural burden of being “childish”.
Examples of mostly abstracted characters: Mickey Mouse, Pac-Man, chibi anime, etc.