As more and more advertisers seek to incorporate animations into their marketing plans, many are struggling to answer this basic question: What makes for a great cartoon? Along with skilled animators, sound plays every bit as important a role, which is why  talented voice artist (or cartoon voice actor) is also essential to a successful animation project.

Industries Using Animation and Cartoon Voice Overs are Growing

The first cartoons were voiced by their animators. Consider animation featuring Mickey Mouse voiced by none other than his creator, Walt Disney in Steamboat Willie. However, it has become more common to hire a professional voice actor to voice the characters in animation. This is because a professional voice actor can bring your characters to life.

Animation spans many mediums including film, television, internet and mobile. Characters tend to pop up in a number of settings. The reach of cartoon characters is also expanding to a wide array of industries. Although the word animation or cartoon may make you think of children (e.g. education and toy manufacturing), cartoons are now taking over in sectors such as finance, manufacturing, healthcare and tech. Everyone wants to get animated these days – just look at explainer videos and text-to-speech avatars. In these industries, cartoons usually serve as advertising tools, although they may also be used in staff training videos as well.

What to Look for in Cartoon Voice Over Talent

Above all else, the animation voice artist must possess a wide vocal range. Voice over actors who can make their voices sound younger tend to be hired most often for cartoon voice over jobs. However, many older professionals have also been able to market their skills for use in cartoons and animations.

The best cartoon voice over candidate will have an energetic voice and plenty of inflection. Believe it or not, voice acting is not just about the voice. Oftentimes, voice actors involve facial expressions and physical movements to get into character, and read the script with the appropriate tone and emotion. There are many other ways that physicality can play a part in the sound of the voice.

Creating a Successful Cartoon Voice

A successful cartoon voice is one that is able to engage your audience and create longevity with your brand. This is why it’s important to hire the right professional voice talent – who will be available for the long haul. The voice of the characters is important in creating a connection and sense of familiarity with your audience.

In order to create this connection successfully, you want the voice to be aligned with your brand and your target audience. Think about the role the voice will play and the way you want the voice to sound. Are you speaking to a younger audience? If so then you may want to look for voices that sound more youthful and energetic. You should familiarize yourself with the styles and types of voices that are most popular based on what the end goal of your animation is.

For many creative professionals who work in the field of animation, films can serve as a source of inspiration. When looking at the Oscar category for ‘best feature film,’ specifically, at those who had won, it was discovered that an appreciation for voice over work seemed to set them apart. Over half of those who had won an Oscar had also had tried their hand at voice acting. Learn more about what makes an Oscar-award winning animated film.

If you’re interested in learning more about cartoon character voices and love the world of audio, be sure to listen to the Voice Over Experts podcast episode on Clarifying a Character Voice


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