When cartoons were wholly crafted by hand animators used all kinds of tricks to speed up the process, and one of their tricks made a character's hands more visible, emotive and easier to animate-they put gloves on 'em.
This small change made a world of difference for early animators who were discovering rounder was better in a character design, and simplification saved precious time during production.
This toon-tastic video by Vox shows how gloves became an iconic part of a cartoon's character design, and how Mickey's gloves started it all.
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