John K. wrote an interesting post on his blog about the garish color scheme that too often plague American cartoons, and the lack of color theory in general. I posted some comments earlier in the morning, and decided I should share them here:
If the color schemes of these cartoons are hideous and garish, there's a reason - these cartoons themselves are hideous and garish.
There's something just opressive about the way animation is illustrated on video and DVD boxes. The colors are oversaturated, with that syrupy gradiation. Everything looks like it's been pumped full of happy pills. It not only looks uninviting, it looks a little scary.
Perhaps that's just my thinking, and all that influence from reading Orwell. But I think the situation for animation in this country is somewhat oppressive, and is dictated more by corporatism and consolidation (isn't it nice when Disney owns everything?) than any true artistic sensibilities.
I wonder if artists and animators really understand the basics of color theory and composition and how to effectively use lighting and tone and texture. I think they're merely copying the accepted formula, a formula that is dictated purely by marketing. Bad Disney Video X sells, therefore everyone should copy it.
As Pauline Kael once noted, they think the grosses are proof that people are happy with what they're getting; that it's what they want, instead of what they're merely settling for. If we were given the freedom to present the public with actual choices, we'd see that play out.
I'm not sure how we'd change things, apart from re-educating every artist and animator that you work with. The medium has to stop being treated like the red-headed stepchild.