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I did a no-outline version of the elephant, which is closer to the style I'm planning on for the backgrounds (bold colours, sharp edges and no outlines).

I expected this to by the final style, but I actually prefer the one with the thick black outline. Oddly enough the outlined one also looks better when placed ontop of my background mockup - I have no idea why, I suspect that the outline makes it stand out enough so it looks like a proper character, rather than just more of the background.

So I think I'll be sticking with the outlined version. However that means I've got to animate it with the outline too, which could get somewhat tricky.
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Have you tried using a vector drawing program for your elephant? It might be easier to animate those exterior lines with vectors.

At least I hope so for my sake; I'm using vector graphics and will be getting to animation in a week or so [grin]

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The black outline seems to give it a bit more dimension (at least to me). It's more noticeable between the two right legs, where you get a sense that it actually has a stomach.

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The difficulty with the animation (which I'll have to elaborate on in another entry sometime) is that I'll be doing my own 2d skeleton stuff - much like the old snes/megadrive bosses that were made out of multiple sprites, but with actual bending and warping of individual sprites. Adding an outline means that I've got to find a way to warp the individual sprites (eg. the legs and body would be separate) but still keep the outline unbroken. This probably means having tight control over where the sprites join and how they flex.

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