These Cartoons Might Just Blow Your Mind
Including an environmentally friendly dormouse and a lovably goofy British dog…
We asked some artists we love—including one on-staff designer, and a few talented creatives who contributed to our #ConnectedByLemonade project—to reflect on the cartoons that had shaped their young minds.
Tiny Toons Adventures
selected by Jack Dylan
“I was a total TV junkie, and lost my mind early to shows like Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice, but it was Tiny Toons Adventures that really elevated things to art,” Jack Dylan explains. “It was highly imaginative and very well-drawn, with a self-referential meta-humor that was way ahead of its time. It satirized celebrities and culture that its audience was still yet to discover, and had a surrealist dimension called the Wacky World. It also deeply celebrated its medium… the main characters in the show were portrayed as animated actors playing a role, drawn by animators who sometimes themselves appeared—usually in the form of an eraser from above, God-like.”
Les Enquêtes de Chlorophylle
selected by Rozalina Burkova
Okay, so this one involves puppets, not cartoons—but we didn’t want to skip such a gem based on a technicality. Les Enquêtes de Chlorophylle, Rozalina Burkova says, was a French-Canadian kid’s show that she saw growing up in Bulgaria.
“It was about a dormouse called Chlorophylle living in an old slipper, trying to prevent various environmental issues,” she says. “His main antagonists were a rat called Anthracite; his mum, called Malaria; and a mink called The Elegant. They were all part of a crime crew called La Rafia…. I loved it so much because it was kind of purposefully disgusting, and that’s quite fun as a kid: the colors, all browns and greys…the topics…the rat dolls.
But the main thing that stayed with me were the catch phrases, which I still use sometimes. The gang-rat Anthracite would always exclaim ‘Miasma and boils!’ which in Bulgarian was translated as something like ‘Yuck and diseases’ (quite fitting right now, I know). I found it hilarious as a kid.
I’m not sure that it has informed my creative work in any way — I use bright colors and avoid drawing yucky stuff—but I think it got me keen on protecting the environment quite early on.”
Wallace & Gromit
Selected by James Curran
“I was 6 when the first Wallace & Gromit film (A Grand Day Out) was released, but I didn’t get really obsessed until The Wrong Trousers came out when I was 10 years old,” James Curran recalls. “I watched them so many times that I think I’ve found every single detail already, and watching them now I still remember the timing of every movement and sound. It’s embedded deep in my memory.”
“This show was one of the earliest things I remember that got me into wanting to create characters. I built the Wallace and Gromit characters out of clay over a very basic armature that I could use to put them in different poses, but they didn’t last very long before they fell apart,” Curran says. “I’ve never really done any stop-motion animation myself though, so maybe that experience taught me that I was better off sticking to digital animation…”
Selected by Ivyy Chen
“Doraemon is an iconic Japanese cartoon—like an Asian Mickey Mouse,” Ivyy Chen explains. “We see an ordinary boy, Nobita, who encounters a blue machine-cat from the future (Doraemon) who has no ears and is scared of mice. Every character has flaws [on the show], but we see them growing through their mistakes and binding stronger friendships. What I love about this cartoon is it gives everyone a second chance to overcome their fears and fix their mistakes.”
“I was never the smart kid in school and in fact, I was just like Nobita — ordinary, forgetful and a bit clumsy,” Chen adds. “Watching Doraemon after school is almost a rite of passage for every young Asian kid living in Asia. Nobita often wants to solve his problems the easy way, but gets carried away and ends up suffering from a new problem…. He often gets himself involved in situations that he can’t solve on his own and ends up needing Doraemon’s help. And of course, I also dreamed of Doraemon being my childhood best friend.”
Selected by Lemonade designer Adam Koon
“I loved Schoolhouse Rock’s use of big, bold, hand-drawn type, mixed with illustration,” Adam Koon says. “It had me interested in doing doodles like that at an early age. I loved how they combined different illustration styles into the same look and feel. Each character had very expressive and overly exaggerated features that all seemed to flow together. Most of all, Schoolhouse Rock’s great use of color would entertain you in itself.”