We've seen it all the times in the entertainment media that sometimes characters just have the same face. South Park, for instance, if we took off the hats of the main characters and imagine them bald, you will not be able to tell them apart. The same goes with some Japanese media, for instance, http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/show/50083/
I've read more about this issue here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OnlySixFaces and what I am interested in achieving: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...stOfSnowflakes
Real life human faces have a lot higher variation. It's very complex and offer uniqueness to each individual. If we need to draw realistic arts, then fine, follow the nature. But when it comes to simpler drawing, such as those in the animation, then, this can be a bit of trouble. Right now, I am thinking that non-realistic art style does not mix with this.
Sure, we can design characters, give them clothes, put all uniqueness to them, while having them sharing similar faces, and the audience can still distinguish them apart. But can we do anything about this for the simpler art style? If we have a scene where all characters must take off their hats and clothes, this may spell troubles.
Again, simplicity may not permit this. For instance, the mouth. Most of the time, I see artist draw the mouth as a simple identical line on many characters. In real life, our mouths have different volumetric sizes. Some got chubby mouths. But when we look at our very mouth, what do we see. Little pink-red shade with many vertical strokes with a big horizontal stroke, perhaps. Now, it goes without saying that drawing this kind of mouth will not work on characters with simple design. If Cartman from South Park got this kind of mouth, it would be disturbing. After all, these simpler drawings are simplification from a very complex realistic shape, yet, simplification seems to erase out many distinguishable details.
But again, when we say "simple design", this is normally what we must defined "how much simple" in the first place. More complexity should allow more variation, yes, no?
Or is the statement "Designing face for a simple design while avoiding identical face" an oxymoron? What are some of the possible things we can do in this case? Art style is critical here, as some styles are not flexible enough. Combining various styles can give you distinguishable faces, but that may make the characters as if they are from different titles, or worse, making them out of context, distracting the audience.
There are already several solutions passively proposed by many mangaka and western artists, from the given link above. But I still would like to hear from you guys too: what do you guys think about this issue?