The art style of early cartoons from the 1920s-1930s era is known as “Rubber Hose”. It refers to the bendy limbs of cartoon characters from Disney and Fleischer Studios, such as Felix the Cat, Betty Boop and early Mickey Mouse (or Steamboat Willie) and their associated antagonists. Other characteristics that give the cartoons of the silent era their distinctive look include black bodies with white faces, pie-shaped eyes, and three-fingered hands in white gloves. In today’s inspiration showcase I present 30 modern day character illustrations which are inspired by the art style of ’30s cartoons. See how those visual traits are incorporated to give the illustrations a familiar vintage appearance.

No Menace by Alan Oronoz

No Menace by Alan Oronoz

Barbajan by Alan Oronoz

Barbajan by Alan Oronoz

Oronoz 2018 by Alan Oronoz

Oronoz 2018 by Alan Oronoz

Misfortown by Alan Oronoz

Misfortown by Alan Oronoz

Nothing Matters by Keystone Studio

Nothing Matters by Keystone Studio

Super Friends! by Rogie

Super Friends! by Rogie

Gangsta Sh*t by Scifuentes

Gangsta Sh*t by Scifuentes

The Long Arm of The Law by DXTR

The Long Arm of The Law by DXTR

No Hope / No FVTVRE by Steve Crack

No Hope / No FVTVRE by Steve Crack

20s Cartoon Punk Poster by Roww Design

20s Cartoon Punk Poster by Roww Design

Cheapskate Gypsies by Marc Pilgaard

Cheapskate Gypsies by Marc Pilgaard

Brightly Colored Eyes by Nemanja Bogdanov

Brightly Colored Eyes by Nemanja Bogdanov

Kids Who Won’t Vaccinate by Taxali

Kids Who Won't Vaccinate by Taxali

NO by Taxali

NO by Taxali

Vote by Taxali

Vote by Taxali

Wild Forever by Taxali

Wild Forever by Taxali

Summertime Treats by Taxali

Summertime Treats by Taxali

Happy Halloween by Shawn Dickinson

Happy Halloween by Shawn Dickinson

GarterBelts and Gasoline by Shawn Dickinson

GarterBelts and Gasoline by Shawn Dickinson

Bierhaus Cat! by Shawn Dickinson

Bierhaus Cat! by Shawn Dickinson

El Fauno! by Shawn Dickinson

El Fauno! by Shawn Dickinson

Booze Doodles by Shawn Dickinson

Booze Doodles by Shawn Dickinson

The Spooks by Shawn Dickinson

The Spooks by Shawn Dickinson

Haters Gonna Hate by Marko Purac

Haters Gonna Hate by Marko Purac

Acrylic Paintings on Wood by Brian Taylor

Acrylic Paintings on Wood by Brian Taylor

Acrylic Paintings on Wood by Brian Taylor

Acrylic Paintings on Wood by Brian Taylor

I See Colours by Tony Riff

I See Colours by Tony Riff

My, What a Big Bat! by Jublin

My, What a Big Bat! by Jublin

Many Strange Legends in the Amazon by Jublin

Many Strange Legends in the Amazon by Jublin

They’re coming to get you, Barbara by Jublin

They're coming to get you, Barbara by Jublin

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15 Comments

  1. Chris, your depth of research and immense generosity (your compilations must take a lot of time) is greatly appreciated. These samples of a bygone era, resurrected by today’s artists, are priceless. I especially admire the authentic-looking letterpress off-register effect by Taxali. Here’s my version of what I remember printing looked like in the 50s and 60s:
    amperart.com/21-new-improved/

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  2. Wow — what a great post.
    Any chance of some of these being downloadable and useable?

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  3. Cool collection of artwork. Definitely has that old cartoon feel! Thanks for taking the time to put together another awesome selection Chris.

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  4. Hi Chris,
    I am a research fellow living in California. I know How much time consumed to research and find out something extraordinary. You have done a great Job. 1930 to 2019, too many years. But In your article, all the amazing things are Infront our eyes. Great Job. Thank You.

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  5. These are amazing. Any way for you to create a tutorial on how to make these type of effect (the vintage used style)?
    If you have one already, I apologise.
    Thank you for these showcases. You’re the man Chris.

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  6. Thanks for this fun showcase, Chris. There’s something that draws me to the cartoons of that era…and these updated pieces are so inspirational! And kudos to the illustrators. What a great gallery.

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  7. Such an awesome, and interesting, topic for you to approach!! Thank you!

    This art style was prevalent in my own childhood. I REALLY like the cartoons that gave animation to plants and other inanimate objects, “Merry Melodies”, for one.

    youtu.be/5BqM8nU7-b8

    Great read, my friend!! Thanks!!

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  8. What a great collection! In Mexico there are great illustrators that make art something like those you showed us: Mr. Kone, Chema Skandal and Dr. Alderete.

    Best Regards

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