First, some teal deer:
1) You have to know what the rules are before you break them. Art has a ton of fundamental "rules" (or "guidelines") that you as an artist must learn, just as a writer should know spelling, grammar, character archetypes, basic plots, a touch of literary history and so on, before he or she ever writes their first story. Look in the art portfolio of anybody famous, regardless of art style, and you'll find tons of practice art using the rules before they go experimenting.
2) "Distinctive style" implies an internally consistent set of rules, either on top of, or in place of, rules imposed by other styles. Mickey Mouse, for example, looks nothing like an actual mouse, but ol' MM as an iconic character has very VERY strict rules about how he should look. I got to visit an animation studio that did a lot of Disney's gruntwork for "Micky Mouse Clubhouse", one of their 3D cartoons. Pasted all over their walls were tons of reference pictures for how Mickey should look and move. The animators had to redo scenes all the time because somebody somewhere got the tiniest thing wrong. Or, if you think Disney are a bunch of dogmatic evil overlords, take the Looney Tunes for another example. Yes, they break the laws of
physics everything all the time, but only as part of a gag does common sense get thrown out the window, and sometimes not even all at once. In the non-comedic scenes, the normal rules of reality are generally implied to have their hold on characters. In fact, what's the biggest joke of "What's Opera, Doc"? That unlike every other Bugs vs. Elmer short, Elmer succeeds in "killing the wabbit", but is stricken with grief as a result. Then Bugs "wakes up" briefly at the end to deliver the punch line: "Well, what did you expect in an Opera? A happy ending?"
3) Think 3D, draw 2D. Things that exist have actual volume. To give verisimilitude to your character, you should think about how they would take up space as a real person. That means, again, learning the fundamentals of perspective, negative space, and composit
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