A few years ago Bob Flynn created this entertaining exercise: see if you can guess who these comic characters are based solely on their silhouettes. As a cartoonist, he saw it as an important demonstration of form.
I see it as an important demonstration of Deviation. These characters are outliers. They are originals. Most characters are not this iconic, or memorable. Most comic and cartoon characters (and there are thousands of them) cannot be recognized in full colour, never mind as a silhouette.
What sets these characters apart is the fact that they have character. Pink Panther looks cool, Daffy looks cocky. Spongebob looks kooky. Taz looks crazy. They are infused with personality. They are not trying to be the same as everyone else. They have distinct and exaggerated personalities and the shape to match.
The next time you are worried about being original, about creating distinctive art, think about your own personality. Amplify it. Exaggerate it. Become a caricature. What would a cartoon version of you create? This forces you to distill your personality into an essence, and it is this essence, however distorted, that makes you an original.
So stop trying to fit in and start trying harder to stand out. These characters couldn’t change themselves if they tried. And if you did change them, they wouldn’t be special anymore. The same goes for you.