Do You Watch Cartoons? You, Will, Know Why Do Cartoon Characters Have Only Four Fingers

Why Do Cartoon Characters Have Only 4 Fingers?

cartoon finger

In addition to cartoon physics, there is also cartoon biology – this is cinematic biology in pedal-to-floor mode, where the survivability of the characters is increased many times over. However, this is not the only feature of cartoon biology. Cartoon heroes have different anatomy from ordinary people. In particular, many of them have not five, but four fingers on their hand.

The fact that cartoons have one cartoon finger less than humans is usually explained by the laziness of cartoonists. They say, of course: constantly drawing four fingers cartoons is easier than drawing five. At the same time, the fingers of toons are, as a rule, chubby; five of these will hardly fit on your hand. However, the tradition “why do cartoons have only 4 fingers” is older than the animation itself.

She was led several centuries before the creation of animated pictures – even in puppet theaters. Even then, the craftsmen noticed that a large hand with five fingers looked unnatural – like a rake or a tree branch. Therefore, they began to equip their characters with only four fingers five don’t use in multiplication.

And this is by no means a Disney tradition. After all, without saying a word to anyone, the authors of Soviet animation also drew four fingers on the hands of cartoons. Pay attention, for example, to the hand of the Soviet “Karlson”

Interestingly, in Disney cartoons, human characters often have four cartoon fingers, while animal heroes have only three fingers on their hands.

Some animators are gradually moving away from this tradition. But, for example, the creators of “The Simpsons” remain faithful to her and retreat only in exceptional cases – when they show God.

The most attentive viewers of cartoons, in particular Disney studios, have probably noticed that most of the characters in them are endowed with only four fingers on their hands. In animation, nothing happens by accident – in fact, it is a completely deliberate decision that has its own explanation.

A Couple of Theories Why Do Cartoon Characters Have Four Fingers:

why do cartoon characters have four fingers

Puppet theaters are to blame

It is believed that the four-fingered “hand” is older than animation. She appeared long before animated films.

Puppet masters have noticed that a hand with five fingers looks like a rake. She’s too big, unnatural, and intimidating. And to watch performances for children. So we decided to leave 4 fingers, one finger cartoons less.

One Finger Protects Several Million

Many people attribute why do most cartoons have four fingers to an economic factor. At the beginning of the 20th century, when technology was not yet at such a high level, four fingers were easier and cheaper to animate. The fewer small details, the easier it is to create a cartoon.

For example, to create a 6.5 minute short, Walt Disney needed 45,000 drawings. So imagine how many millions (millions, Karl !!!) his studio saved on animating hands with four fingers.

Artistic Point of View

I will share some observations. In cartoons, most often the fingers are quite plump. If you add the fifth finger, then you get not a hand, but a bunch of bananas of some kind.

For some reason, I can’t even imagine that Mickey Mouse had five fingers. Or, for example, at Karlsonchik and the Hare with the Wolf from “Well, wait a minute!”.

The Hand Is a Complicated Thing

The brush is a rather tricky element for drawing and further animation. Take even the painting of the Renaissance: then it was also not great as reproduced.

Give free rein to the animators, they would generally portray everyone in “mittens” as the American Winnie the Pooh or Piglet.

Evil Valley Effect

This hypothesis states that someone who looks and acts like a human (for example, a robot), but is not an exact copy of him, is disliked.

Thus, cartoon characters become more attractive to us when they look less realistic.

Of course, this does not apply to princesses and princes, because they are not just humanoid creatures, but real people.


The big hand with five fingers for most cartoon characters looks unnatural and ugly – like a rake or a tree branch. Therefore, cartoonists began to equip their characters with only four fingers.

According to Disney himself, 5 fingers on Mickey Mouse’s hand would resemble a bunch of bananas and would look awkward.

Animal Paws

Most Disney cartoon characters are anthropomorphic animals. Therefore, their “hands” must in a certain way resemble the paws of animals. Take, for example, the paw of a cat: we see only 4 fingers on it, while the 5th is hidden from our eyes. This is the main answer to the question: why do cartoons have four fingers?

Pinky Oath

According to one version, this tradition goes back to a criminal organization in Japan called the yakuza. One of the rituals of its members was cutting off the little finger for a misdemeanor and breaking an oath.

And in Japan, there is a children’s oath on the little fingers. During the shocking and frightening decisions and their owners could be associated with criminals or oath-breakers.

Then why in Japanese anime are heroes traditionally endowed with all five fingers?

Ominous Number 4

In East Asian culture, people pay a lot of attention to numbers. The number 4 is considered bad because it sounds like death. That is why such a number is almost never found in the everyday life of the inhabitants of East Asia. It would seem that such an insignificant detail, but they say a lot about it. That’s many Asians know why do cartoon characters have four fingers. I guess it doesn’t matter how many fingers the cartoons have. The main thing is that the audience likes it!

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