Alternatively, a profile take might appear: ©

Then the inbetweens would be: 4- 5

How Draw ViolentExaggerated Animation Facial ExpressionsSquash Cartoon

With a violent take, there is great anticipation in all the movements. If, for example, the head stretches up, it must first squash down. If the head stretches forward, it must first squash back.

An even more exaggerated take is the double-take. Quite simply, a double-take uses the same basic positions as the standard take, but has extreme and eccentric inbetweens. If the keys are:

Then the inbetweens would be: 4- 5

Note that the head swings violently from the left to right as it rises to the stretch position. The more extreme the action, the more violent the take will appear.

Images Doubletake Animation

moves up, as in the breakdown drawing (4) on page 109.

take is achieved in the same way as a facial ©


In cartoon animation, however, you can have much more fun if you vary the action. You may choose, for example, to hold the head in the first position to increase the emphasis on the facial expression (see drawing 3 or page 109). The head could remain down longer as the rest of the body moves up, as in the breakdown drawing (4) on page 109.

Animations Runners Body

Alternatively, you might put a double-take on the head as it is rising. Indeed, with a take, anything can be thrown in to create the out-of-control effect that a violent reaction precipitates. In addition to squash and stretch, drag, distortion, and overlapping action are valuable tools when creating a believable and entertaining take. With drag, one part of the action is delayed—for example, when the Road Runner's head remains in the shot after his body has run out! With distortion, scale and proportion are exaggerated—for example, when a face moves close to the screen and is drawn exceptionally large to create a wide-angle lens effect. It is the ingenuity of the animator that separates one take from another.

Keep in mind, however, that stretch and squash are used in an extreme way only for cartoon characters. With flesh-and-bone, anatomical characters, there should be little visible stretch and squash; otherwise, the characters will look rubbery and unreal. To overcome this limitation, you can use exaggerated positioning, even when adhering to reality.

Stretch And Squash Animation

The sneak is another traditional animation technique for exaggerated action. Like walks, sneaks vary from character to character, and from animator to animator. The basic action of the sneak, however, falls into two distinct categories: the fast sneak and the slow sneak.

The fast sneak is what is often called the tippy-toe sneak, it is used when the character is moving fast, but trying to make as little noise as possible and not be noticed—for instance, when a character is rapidly sneaking up on a victim. There are a million examples of the fast sneak in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons. Basically, the fast sneak is characterized by the character's pose and the speed with which he moves. A typical fast-sneak pose is:

Note that the character is all hunched up (indeed, he is as compact as he can be, so that he can move unobserved). Also note that he only moves on the tips of his toes. The steps can be extremely fast and perky, with the character moving with a definite objective in mind. The average fast sneak is animated with anything up to 10 to 14 frames per step. There can be a great deal of up and down of the body during a fast sneak.

In contrast, the slow sneak is undertaken at a far more leisurely pace. It is usually used when a character is quietly trying to escape a situation—or rival—without being seen. The basic; action of a slow sneak is much more forward and back than any other walk movement, but, again, the character remains on his toes to create a silent effect. The basic positions of a slow sneak are:

A suitable breakdown position might be:

Generally, a slow sneak is animated on at least 24 frames per step; the minimum, however, tends to be 16 frames per step. To obtain the necessary smoothness, it is advisable to animate the action on ones.

The backward sneak is an alternative to the slow sneak. It should be approached with much the same feeling and timing as the slow sneak, although the action has to be slightly modified.

It is important to stress that in every sneak the character is trying to move without being seen or heard. No matter what the animator attempts in terms of sophisticated movement, if the audience does not get this message, the action has failed.

After you have absorbed the basic principles of the sneak, try to inject some personality into the movement. The sneak of a tall, thin man, for example, will be different from that of a short, fat man. And a confident extrovert will move in a totally different manner from a nervous introvert. Interpretation is what separates top animators from the rest.


Staggers contribute to the dynamics of the action. When, for example, an arrow hits a target, if it vibrates—or staggers—on impact, the effect of the hit is all the greater. Basically, staggers are more a doping technique than a drawing technique, although there can be exceptions. When an arrow hits the target (as on the left below), if it vibrates, the extremes of movement will be as shown on the right:

To get the desired stagger, you chart the inbetweens:

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