How to Be a Cartoonist
Checking out the venerable tradition of comic strips Getting political and in-your-face Editorial cartoons Going gaga over gag cartoons Looking to the future webcomics artoons are as old as man. Just take a look at the walls of early cave dwellers. Although you don't find any talking woolly mammoths, you do find something intrinsic to all cartooning simplification. The very heart of cartooning is the simplification that allows an image to communicate across almost any barrier race, gender, culture, and beyond. And therein lies the power of a cartoon instant familiarity. A cartoonist uses this kind of shorthand to achieve an entire spectrum of effects from primitive doodles to detailed comic book art. It's astounding when you think of all the permutations the simple cartoon has spawned. The major categories are single-panel cartoons, multipanel comic strips, editorial cartoons, humorous illustrations, and comic books. But with subcategories such as journal comics, webcomics, clip-art...
But they don't have to look one-dimensional. Drawing your cartoons with the illusion that they exist in more than one plane is part of the art of cartooning. In this chapter, I give you the tools to take your characters and cartoons from flat images to two- or three-dimensional drawings, adding depth, realism, and interest to your artwork.
One of the best ways to become attuned to the vast number of cartooning markets is to invest in a few books that give you the ins and outs of the industry. And one of the best ways to become a better cartoonist is to study the work of some of the foremost practitioners in the field. Books by any of the following cartoonists
If you dream of being a successful cartoonist, one of the best arenas you have an opportunity to succeed in is the world of comic books. The comic book industry has grown faster in the last decade than any other cartooning-related industry. Comic books were once thought of as something read by nerds or geeks, but those nerds and geeks are laughing all the way to the bank. All you have to do is look at how many movies have been made in recent years that were based on popular comic books Superman, Batman, Hellboy, Spawn, Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, Sin City, and the Hulk, just to name a few. DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, and Todd McFarlane Entertainment are some of the biggest comic book publishers, and they're always looking for new talent. But you've got to be really good to get a job there If comic books are your passion, why not start at the big kahuna of comic book conventions To demonstrate how much the comic book industry has grown, all you have to do is look at...
The pen is mightier than the sword is a phrase from a play coined by 19th-century British playwright Edwards Bulwer-Lytton. This quote sums up the nature and power of editorial cartoons better than just about anything ever said, except for the well-known phrase, A picture is worth a thousand words. Editorial cartoons exemplify both these statements together they define the long tradition of biting satire and social commentary that makes up the blood and guts of editorial cartooning. To be an editorial cartoonist, you have to be able to express your opinion, which means that you have to have opinions and be willing to expose them to a sometimes less than adoring public. To be an editorial cartoonist and express your opinion, you follow this daily routine to come up with your cartoon It helps if you actually have opinions before becoming a political cartoonist, because people will look to your cartoons for a particular slant. Every issue or news story has a story behind the story. A...
The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) (www.reuben.org ) is the world's largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. The NCS was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops during World War II. They found that they enjoyed one another's company and decided to get together on a regular basis. Joining the NCS has many benefits for professional cartoonists as they begin their career. These include Learning the business from some of the biggest names in cartooning (networking is always beneficial it really is true that it's who you know, not what you know, in many business situations). Today, the NCS membership roster includes more than 500 of the world's major cartoonists working in many branches of the profession, including newspaper comic strips and panels, comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazine and book illustration, and more. Membership is limited to established...
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (http editorial cartoonists.com ) is a professional organization concerned with promoting the interests of staff, freelance, and student editorial cartoonists in the United States. It's the only formal organization that includes and represents editorial cartoonists exclusively. Joining an organization like the AAEC can have many benefits for an up-and-coming editorial cartoonist. These include making valuable contacts, learning the business from seasoned professionals, and getting constructive feedback on your work. The AAEC was officially formed in 1957 by a small group of newspaper cartoonists led by John Stampone of the Army Times. It was created to promote and stimulate public interest in the editorial cartoon and to create interaction between political cartoonists. The annual AAEC convention is held around June of each year in various cities around the country. These conventions are popular and allow cartoonists to meet with...
You should know the proportions of a comic figure. Since comic figures may be such gross exaggerations, the proportions of the limbs and torso may vary much in various types, especially between slender and corpulent figures. Note the proportions of Figures 3 and 5 on Plate 9. However, in the average figure, the torso and legs are of equal length with the knee midway of the leg J, exclusive of the foot. The hands should reach midway of the thf fr and the elbow half way of the arm, which makes the elbow near the hip when the arms hang vertically.
Every imaginable phase of cartooning is explained and illustrated in full* School and college students can turn their art ambitions into profitable channels, and even the professional cartoonist will find this a reference book worth many times its price. Comic Figures and Simple Cartoons. Sports Cartooning. Political and Editorial Cartooning.
Computer programs are an important tool for cartooning in a digital age. It's safe to say that in today's world, most cartoonists whether they draw comic strips, editorial cartoons, panel cartoons, comic books, greeting cards, webcomics, or animation use computer programs in some fashion. The following sections focus on the three most commonly used software programs available. Photoshop is the program most cartoonists use. It enables you to do all sorts of cool things to alter images like photos, downloaded icons, and scanned artwork. Altering an image includes changing its colors, modifying its size and scale, and putting one picture within another. Image alteration or modification also includes technical adjustments such as changing the mode of image compression from one type to another, or changing the number of bits used per pixel. Painter, a program produced by a company called Corel, is very much like Photoshop. And like Photoshop, it's gaining popularity among cartoonists....
If you're contemplating becoming a professional cartoonist, you have many factors to consider. Most important, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and really ask yourself whether you can handle the pressures involved with a career in cartooning. Pressures, you say How can drawing a three-panel cartoon be that difficult Well, take it from me. Cartooning isn't as easy as it looks. When you evaluate yourself, ask yourself the following questions time Typically, a syndicate offers a new cartoonist a ten-year contract. That's seven cartoons a week for ten years' ten years' worth of daily deadlines that you can't miss . . . yikes Can you handle the pressure of a daily deadline A deadline is like a bottomless pit you have to keep feeding it new material and you can't ever say enough is enough. Coming up with fresh new material is a vital part of being a good cartoonist and is often considered the hardest part of cartooning. If you feel confident that you have the passion and endurance...
On the other hand, you may not want your cartoon characters to look too realistic (although some cartoon strips are drawn in this style, such as the old Mary Worth cartoon), because part of the fun of cartooning is the opportunity to caricature your characters draw them with realistic but exaggerated qualities to give them personal style and flair. It's a matter of personal drawing preference, though caricature your characters to the degree that feels right to you and to the degree that fits each character.
In addition to a professional cover letter and resume, you need to send good clean samples showcasing the best examples of your work. Think of your submission as a long distance job interview you want to impress them with your professionalism and show them you're qualified. Obviously, choose samples that represent your very best work. This may be a one-time shot, so you have to put your best foot forward. You may want to show your samples around to friends and family to get their feedback, especially if you have friends and family who work in the cartooning business If not, send only samples that get a universally positive response a halfhearted chuckle or huh isn't a positive response The size of submissions Each sample needs to be proportional so that when it's reduced it will be the correct size. Most comic strip cartoonists draw their daily comic strips 13 inches wide by 4 inches tall. Most single-panel cartoonists draw their daily panel 7 inches wide by 7 inches tall, not...
Every professional cartoonist gets asked two questions more than any other Where do you get your ideas and What kind of pens do you use When creating your cartoon's lettering, choosing the right pens is a crucial decision. Most cartoonists use a specific pen to letter with, one that differs from the pen they draw with. When selecting your pens, base your choice both on personal preference and the type of results you're looking for. The pen most cartoonists choose for lettering is capable of achieving the small detail work required for lettering. One of the most popular series of pens to come along in recent years is the Pigma Micron pens. The unmatched quality of Pigma Micron pens makes them the preferred choice of professional cartoonists and illustrators looking for precision. See Chapter 3 for more about the different types of pens used for cartooning in general.
Layout and design are crucial to the storyboarding process, and you should view comic strips in the same light. When designing your comic strip, think about layout as if you were making a movie. Layout is basically the collective relationship among the characters, backgrounds, how you decide to show each individual panel, and how these components all work together to tell a story.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of perspective lines, the short definition is it's a means to create three-dimensional objects easily and accurately. I could go into great detail about the various types of perspective lines you can create, but you can find many wonderful books on drawing that explain the technique far better than I can in this book. Be sure to check out Chapter 16 for one of my personal favorite books on drawing comics.
The cartoon animal world extends far beyond dogs, cats, and goldfish. Family pets aren't the only animals in comic strips any animal, insect, or creature from your imagination can be the star of the show. If drawing common household pets isn't your thing, branch out into other animal cartoon characters.
The great thing about the world of cartooning is that you can give personality to anything. The key is to add human characteristics to objects, including the way the object moves and how you make the object express itself. You can humanize any object by giving it eyes, ears, and a big mouth. By humanizing inanimate objects, you can create offbeat and unique cartoon characters to give your comic a life of its own. The next sections look at a few examples of how to draw and humanize inanimate objects. In cartooning, you can take anything such as a car and make a talking character out of it. For example, Disney's very popular movie Cars took car models from all around the world and turned them into talking characters that acted and interacted just like people. The cars all had facial features and expressions created by incorporating the headlights and grill into a face. Remember the following when cartooning talking cars Cars aren't the only inanimate object you can bring to talking life...
Most of the time, you won't be drawing cartoons with just a single element chances are you'll be drawing objects in relation to other objects around them. Consequently, it's important to demonstrate how multiple objects work in connection to one another in two- and three-point perspectives.
Like most things in the world of cartooning, you won't find fast or firm rules when it comes to creating a nose. Choosing a shape and size is up to you, but the nose should be appropriate to the character and his personality and should be in keeping with your own cartooning style. As in the real world, nose shapes and sizes are often specific to men and women, the young and the old, and the fat and the thin.
Lettering is a crucial part of the overall composition. Good cartoonists make sure that their lettering complements their style and doesn't fight against it. Lettering should be easy to read but also organic it should flow with the rest of the art. Certain types of lettering flow naturally with certain cartoon types others clash because they say different things. Cartoonists have numerous options when incorporating the lettering with the art. The following sections explain this in more detail.
You can add as much show and fervor to your comics as you like, and doing so with a handwritten font is easy. Everybody is familiar with the classic comic book action-style words like BOOM , POW , and WHAM These words and the way they're drawn create a sense of action and add drama to the visual story line. They can also serve as an important artistic element to the overall cartoon.
M n order to be able to draw cartoons on a regular basis, you need a little area devoted to your craft. Although drawing cartoons at the kitchen table is perfectly okay, having a dedicated area set up for drawing is not only more efficient it's also more fun The right lighting, a well-appointed drawing table, a comfortable chair, and the proper tools and supplies which today include a good computer and artist-oriented software make cartooning easier and the results more professional. This chapter helps you set up your workspace and helps you decide which tools to buy to make your cartooning simpler and more enjoyable. If you're serious about making cartooning a career or even a serious hobby, invest in the best table you can afford. If you want something that will last for years to come, I recommend buying a sturdy, commercial-type table. The long-term benefits will outweigh any initial costs. Trying to keep your workspace neat and organized is important. Doing so is particularly...
One of the great things about being a cartoonist is the ability to take liberties with reality and create your own interpretation of the world around you. This is especially true when creating unique and out-of-this-world characters literally and figuratively so you may want to include aliens, robots, and other creatures in your cartoons. Because nobody has ever seen an alien (unless you believe the UFO conspiracists), your aliens can have any look you want them to have one eye and antennae aren't required This section walks you through the different steps on drawing these extraterrestrials. The strip had an unrivaled influence on so many cartoonists, including Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County), Jeff MacNelly (Shoe), and Bill Watterson (Calvin andHobbes).
One of the most fundamental principles in the comics industry is that good writing always trumps bad art. Basically, you can spend all the time in the world drawing your comics and sketching your characters in all sorts of elaborate and wonderful ways, but unless you can come up with innovative and fresh ideas, write well, have good comic timing, and have something funny to say, you're bound for the trash heap of history. The history of cartoons is filled with the carcasses of dead comic strips and characters that lived a very short life, died, and were quickly forgotten. The primary reason These comic strips weren't well-written or funny enough on a consistent basis, and even fantastic art can't save poorly written cartoons. In comparison, many comic strips that have been around for decades have art, backgrounds, and characters that are drawn in a very simple style. Yet some of these comics are very successful. Some examples include Peanuts, Dilbert, Cathy, and Pearls Before Swine....
You draw the body of all these characters in the same way. First you draw the basic body and the head, add the arms and hands, create the legs and feet, and finally add the accessories that make the character who he is. If you've never drawn characters before, check out Chapters 6 and 7 first they show you how to sketch the basic face and body. In this section I take a closer look at some of the male characters that are standards of cartooning and describe how to create the details that make them easily recognizable.
Every good action pose should have a suggestion of sweep. Perhaps I can best describe sweep by saying that the movement which immediately precedes the pose is still felt. On the following pages I have tried to show this sweep or the line that the limbs have just followed. The cartoonist can add terrifically to the sense of motion by drawing his sweep with lines back of a moving hand or foot. Fix in your mind the whole sweep of action and make little sketches at this point. At times you can help the action with a bit of blur, some dust, a facial expression. The cartoonist can write in, Swish, Smack, Zowie, Bmg, Crash, but you may not.
Some cartoonists age their characters over the years, but most of the time, characters don't age. The Simpsons has been on TV for more than 20 years, and Bart Simpson is still a 10-year-old kid. Charlie Brown should be retiring to Scottsdale by now but doesn't look a day over 9, and SpongeBob hasn't aged a day
The first topic we'll cover is perspective. Perspective is not difficult, it just takes some time to understand what you are seeing and know that you are capable of representing depth on the page. This happens after understanding the traditional ways of drawing it. I learned perspective in junior high first, then from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, and then, most importantly, from the four years of architecture I studied in high school. The cube or box is the beginning of understanding structure in space.
To draw teeth, utilize the center guideline so that the upper row of two front teeth line up in the middle with the center of the face. The left teeth should be on the left side of the vertical guideline, and the right teeth should be on the right side of the guideline. The top row of teeth is generally larger than the bottom, and the width of teeth gets slightly thinner as the teeth move toward the corners of the mouth. Figure 6-23 has a variety of styles and shapes of teeth for you to consider and study when creating a set for your own characters. Who knew cartooning and cosmetic dentistry could overlap
Editorial cartooning has classic and genre-specific characters that editorial cartoonists regularly use as metaphors and symbols. These classic characters are easily recognizable and have become American icons. They include the symbols for the Republican and Democratic parties, along with Uncle Sam, just to name a few. This section looks at some of these characters in more detail and the step-by-step process to creating them.
One of the primary functions of an editorial cartoon is to make a strong point to the reader. One of the best ways to accomplish this is known as visual shorthand or the use of metaphors to get the point across. Metaphors are comparisons that show how two things that aren't alike in most ways are similar in one important way. Editorial cartoonists use metaphors to make their cartoons more interesting and entertaining. To use a metaphor, you need to find one visual scenario and apply it to another in an effort to make a broader point. Figure 11-1 shows a classic example of how you can use a visual metaphor to convey the message. The economic crisis of 2009 has President Obama promising to enact another round of stimulus to help the economy. Great news, right Well, the downside (and it's a biggie) is that the U.S. will have to borrow the money to fund the stimulus, which Obama says will be in the form of tax cuts. Basically, that's feeding the growing national debt. Bingo. That last...
As you look around the real world, everything you see is from a three-dimensional viewpoint. So for your cartoon world to look like the real world, you must draw objects in proper perspective. When you're drawing cartoons, the term perspective refers to the technique of drawing that creates the illusion of space and depth in a flat panel. Drawing cartoons with some perspective looks better than drawing them without. Drawing cartoons with some perspective looks better than drawing them without.
J.M re you a budding cartoonist, or would you like to be a professional cartoonist someday The world of cartooning is more diverse and interesting than you may realize. In this part, I explore the world of cartooning, including the different types of cartoons and the tools you need to draw them. I also give you tips on how cartoonists come up with their ideas, and I help you find humor in everyday life. After you know where to look, you'll have more ideas than you'll ever be able to use.
Rejection and failure can be a good character builder in more ways than one. For example, when the legendary cartoonist Bill Watterson submitted his first comic strip about cute little bugs, it was rejected across the board by all the major syndicates. Watterson took the opportunity to reevaluate his idea and come up with something totally new . . . and that was Calvin and Hobbes. Revise what you submitted and come up with a new story line using the same characters. Many cartoonists need to revise and polish story lines several times over before hitting on an idea that resonates with editors. If you love your characters, keep trying out new ideas until you find something that strikes a positive chord with editors. Even Bill Watterson (the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) had to revise his story lines several times before having his strip accepted by Universal.
This chapter is aimed squarely at the new wave of digital artists out there who pick up this book. Maybe you're the person who always dreamed about drawing comics but didn't know where to begin. Or you could be the person who received this book and a copy of Manga Studio as a gift (if that's the case, Happy birth day Chris tmas Kwanzaa Chanukah Festivus or whatever) and aren't sure where to go from here.
The old way of cleaning up your art required you to erase all your pencil lines after the ink dried so that these small lines wouldn't show up when your cartoon was reprinted. Typically, a cartoonist would sketch out the drawing with light pencil lines and then move to the final phase of the drawing known as inking. Using the light pencil sketch as a guide, the artist would either take a pen, nib, or brush and go over the pencil lines, creating a nice crisp final drawing. After the ink dried, the cartoonist would erase the light pencil lines. Artists have done this for several hundred years of newsprint production, and it generally works pretty well, except for the following problems
Getting your artwork from paper to computer is known as digitally formatting your art. To get artwork from paper to computer, you need a basic piece of equipment known as a scanner. Scanners, or more specifically, flatbed scanners, are absolutely essential to cartooning today, because without one, you can't digitize your artwork.
One of the great things about cartooning is the ability to stretch and distort things in a way that helps give life to the art. You can distort your character's head to convey emotion, expressions, and exaggerated reactions to what's happening around him. If a character is yelling, for example, exaggerating the length of the head as the character's mouth widens and opens can visually express to the reader how loud the yelling is.
The most frequent question professional cartoonists get asked is, Where do you get your ideas This question is asked so frequently that I know several colleagues who provide canned responses like, There's a guy in Newark you can write to for ideas. But he won't send you any unless you promise him your sister. The other famous retort is, From the Idea Fairy.
Before you take the plunge and try to make a full-time career out of cartooning, I also suggest you show your work to other professionals to get their feedback. A professional cartoonist will probably have nice things to say about whatever you show them just to be polite, as well as to be encouraging to a fellow cartoonist. However, professional cartoonists will probably also want to be honest with you, because they were once just starting out and can appreciate that honest, straightforward feedback is the best thing for you in the long run. If you don't know any professional cartoonists, look up contact information for your favorite cartoonist and call him up. Some have Web sites or blogs that make it easier to contact them. Cartoonists are often willing to talk to beginners and to chat about the cartooning field. After you make contact, you can ask if it's okay to put together samples of your work and mail it to him. Mailing is preferable to e-mailing because the files may be too...
Lettering can be a tedious task, because creating legible, consistent lettering takes time. After a while you may dread lettering your cartoons. You're not alone if lettering makes you nervous, or if the thought of hand lettering a text-heavy story line makes you cringe. Many cartoonists find lettering a boring task that takes away from the actual joy of drawing.
The ability to create and develop interesting characters is one of the best parts of being a cartoonist. Although the possibilities for character development are endless, common characters tend to fall into certain stereotypical categories. Consider creating a character that you can relate to or may have some insight into.
One of the first steps to breaking in to the cartooning business is simply to make the decision to try. You envision yourself drawing a successful cartoon. To do so, you first have to sit down and try. You can't reach your dreams if you don't take the first step. Stop making excuses and jump in. After you start drawing, polish your work before sending it out, and remember that your competition is enormous but don't let that discourage you completely. Every famous cartoonist started out as an unknown.
If you want to get a better feel for what a successful cartoonist needs to do, you should check out perhaps the most popular cartooning Web site Cagle's Professional Cartoon Index at www.cagle.com. News junkies and cartoon fans won't want to miss this great site, which is updated daily with the latest cartoons. Part of the MSN MSNBC Web site, it showcases the best editorial cartoons from all the top political cartoonists in the world. You can find thousands of cartoons covering the latest issues in politics and pop culture there.
Drawing cartoons can be a fun hobby, one you can enjoy for years. When you think about turning pro, however, just being good isn't good enough. Becoming a professional cartoonist is like becoming a professional writer, actor, athlete, or musician. Cartooning is a nontraditional profession that can be a dream job for many, so the competition is tremendous. Getting even a foot in the door requires a lot of hard work, talent, and just the right timing.
On the other hand, if the syndicate likes what you sent, it may offer you a contract to create the strips on a regular basis. If you receive this special goodness in the mail, then accept my congratulations Remember that you're one of the few to reach this point. However, you're not going to be making tons of money. The contract usually offers a 50 50 split between the cartoonist and the syndicate. Fifty percent of your income may seem excessive, but syndicates do a lot to earn their half. To earn its 50 percent, the syndicate edits, packages, promotes, prints, sells, and distributes your comic strip to newspapers and Web sites around the world. Basically, a syndicate is responsible for bringing the cartoons from the hand of the cartoonist to the eyes of the public. Today it's common practice for new comic feature contracts to stipulate that the cartoonist owns his feature and the characters he or she creates. It's interesting to note that Charles Schulz didn't own the copyright to...
K oti Plate 1 was made with a small camels hair brush, which every cartoonist should have. L is also drawn with the same brush. Lines such as these are sometimes used to stripe trousers. See Fig. 4, Plate 10. N is dots drawn with the brush, and M is termed Spatter, which will be explained later.
One tried and true method in the field of editorial cartooning is known as a two-fer-one. Quite simply, this means taking two separate issues and tying them together to get one idea (and one cartoon). This method works particularly well when you want to talk about a current event and tie it to another, unrelated current event to come up with a new perspective on an idea. Using your sketchbook, you can do a series of quick doodles and some word association that may help you find something in common between the two events (see Figure 5-7).
Grasping the role of editorial cartoonists Coming up with ideas and getting them across to readers Sketching realistic and iconic characters Editorial cartoons dissect the issue and break it down into its simplest form using visual metaphors to represent the cartoonist's opinion. So you don't think anyone will listen to your political views Express them in cartoon form and more people will take a look because of the visual appeal of cartoons. In this chapter, I discuss all the aspects of political cartooning, from caricaturing public figures to dealing with public criticism.
This toolbar (see Figure 15-3) is full of features that are helpful for cartoonists. To be able to fully utilize Photoshop and all its bells and whistles and to get the most out of the program, you need to familiarize yourself with this toolbar. Here are the main tools and what they do Learning g to use the toolbar is essential to becoming an efficient cartoonist.
Physical likeness - for me this is probably the most enjoyable - if you follow some simple rules and ask yourself and others the questions the cartoonist asks himself every day. Silently ask yourself (in the presence of the sitter) what are the most distinguishing characteristics. Then ask yourself the same question later in with the sitter absent. Try and remember some aspect of the person like thick eyebrows, wavy hair, big ears etc Also try and remember a mannerism like, a pose, smile or use of hands finally return to the sitter and experiment with some sketches. If nothing happens don't despair just keep trying and make some more simple sketches to help you. If all this doesn't work start your painting regardless
Improving your character and technical drawing Looking at comic creation from a different perspective Finding inspiration from the past and present Selling your work through on-demand publishers Displaying your comics on the Web Turning to community Web sites for feedback
Another way to break in to the cartooning industry is by taking a stab with magazines. Take a quick glance through many magazines today and you'll be surprised to discover that all sorts of them run a cartoon or two in their monthly issues. Cartoons are published in a wide variety of magazines, ranging from Road & Track to Better Homes and Gardens. H Magazines typically run what are known as gag cartoons, also called panel cartoons, which are cartoons that use only a single panel and are usually more sophisticated than comic strips. Magazine cartoons also rely more on the caption and punch line to tell the story and less on the art. Consequently, many of the more successful magazine cartoonists draw in a simple, minimalist style that highlights a sense of sophistication and is less cartoony than other genres.
Webcomics have some definite advantages over print comics. Webcomics allow the cartoonist great freedom and leeway regarding creativity and subject matter, and anyone who can afford a Web site can publish his own cartoons. The creator of a webcomic has more control over his feature than a traditional cartoonist does, but he also must bear more responsibility. Webcomic creators are like small businessmen. They're responsible for not only writing and drawing the comic feature just as if they partnered with a syndicate but also the Web site design, advertising, marketing, and sales of related merchandise. The upside is the webcomic creator keeps 100 percent of the revenues instead of giving half to the syndicate. Typically, syndicated cartoonists have looked to the Internet with a mix of confusion and mistrust. After all, these are people whose professional income is based largely on syndication to newspapers, and the Web is steadily eroding the newspaper's ability to land daily readers....
Cartoonists need to have a good eye for design, and lettering is a part of the design. You can choose to letter any way you want. The only real requirement is that your lettering is legible to the reader. When actually creating the lettering, remember that the letters should always be large enough for the reader to see without dominating the composition or overshadowing the line art itself. Many amateurs use fonts because they're impatient or because they lack the skill to hand letter correctly. But lettering that's sloppy, badly spaced, too stiff, or illegible gives the impression to the reader that you may not know what you're doing. The best remedy for this is to practice. If you're a cartooning newbie and want an easy solution, go with the computer font and check out the Going the Simple Route Picking a Type Font section later in the chapter. If you want to try your hand at crafting your own lettering, check out the Going the Hand Lettering Route section.
In the digital age, keeping up with the cartooning world with news and inside information from cartoonists' personal Web sites and blogs is important. You can find thousands of cartooning Web sites and blogs out there just use your favorite search engine to search for cartooning blogs to see what I mean. The Daily Cartoonist (dailycartoonist.com) A great resource for news and the inside scoop about cartoons and comics. From Richard Thompson, the creator of the new comic strip Cul De Sac. A revealing look inside his cartooning process. Journalista (www.tcj.com journalista) The Comics Journal Weblog, a great blog to keep you up-to-date on the latest inside news regarding cartooning.
The art of lettering doesn't always come easily to cartoonists. The ability to letter clearly and legibly, and to make the lettering appealing and not stiff or forced, takes time and practice. Lettering is a separate skill from drawing, and you shouldn't neglect or overlook it. As your skills progress, you'll become more comfortable lettering and more confident at it.
How funny are you Are you an opinionated type You might be a cartoonist in disguise. Cartoons are great drawing practice, and you don't have to have a lot of skill, as many of today's cartoons reveal. The trick with humorous cartoons like comic strips is consistency, making your characters look the same from frame to frame.
You may also choose to do cartoons specifically for your site. Many cartoonists are opting to publish Internet-only comics on their own sites, forgoing newsprint altogether. The advantage to this is that you're your own editor and you don't have to tone down content for a family-friendly newspaper. As time goes on, webcomics will continue to grow in popularity.
Becoming a legal and legitimate business has many advantages for a professional cartoonist. Starting your own business requires a little work on your part but it's well worth it, and the IRS actually requires that you do if you want to get paid. You can take the following steps to ensure you meet all the criteria
Exploring the various cartooning genres Understanding some drawing basics Considering the future of cartooning o you want to be a cartoonist Or maybe you already consider yourself a cartoonist and a darn good one but you don't have the slightest idea how to market your work. Or perhaps you just enjoy drawing and you'd like to become better at it. If you want to draw cartoons, you're not alone. Right about now, thousands of budding cartoonists are doodling on any scrap of paper they can find, dreaming of breaking into the cartooning business someday. And who's to say you won't be the next Charles Schulz or create the next Garfield One thing's for certain If you're a cartoonist with something to say and you get your point across well, you can thanks to the Internet be published anytime and anywhere, even if it's just on your own Web site or blog. Many people draw well, but they aren't sure how to adapt their drawings for the cartoon or comics market. Others have new ideas, but they...
Another great way to get your foot into the cartooning business is through greeting cards. Greeting cards are a popular item and offer promising opportunities to an aspiring cartoonist. Someone has to draw all those amusing sketches, sight gags, and one-liners on all those humorous cards. Why not you
The first step to creating an editorial cartoon is coming up with an idea. Being a news junkie is almost a prerequisite to being a good editorial cartoonist. To form your ideas, you have to regularly read and listen to the news. Finding ideas isn't overly difficult because of the influx of news sources on TV, in print, and online. Just keep these simple steps in mind as you formulate your ideas and come up with your opinion This sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Everybody in the course of going about their daily lives hears bits and pieces of news throughout the day. Chances are you hear these stories and form some kind of opinion in your head. Then you meet your fellow coworkers at the water cooler as they're talking about the very same story. By this time you have some idea about how you feel about the issue and express it to them. Editorial cartoonists do the same thing, except they express their feelings through their drawings (and, hopefully, get paid for them ).
To succeed as a professional cartoonist, you have to grasp the importance of syndication. You can't make it in newsprint cartoons without belonging to a syndicate. Syndication simply means selling the presentation of cartoons to multiple users. Syndicates represent cartoonists and sell their work to newspapers and magazines. Syndication is every cartoonist's goal, but few really understand what a syndicate is and how it works. For more on syndication, check out Chapter 1.
When you're cartooning anything, think in terms of taking a regular picture and using Silly Putty on it. You may have done this as a kid. Take Silly Putty and press it down over a photograph in a newspaper or magazine. When you peel it off of the paper, the image appears on the bottom of the Silly Putty. You can stretch and distort the picture into all kinds of fun shapes. As you do this the image becomes exaggerated while still being recognizable. This principle is the key to the art of caricature.
The United States has about a dozen major syndicates, and most of them handle comic strips, along with columns and other specialty features. Some of the major syndicates are United Media, Universal Press, Creators, Scripps Howard News Service, King Features, Tribune Media, and the Washington Post Writers Group. You can do a quick Internet search to locate each company's Web site, which contains more information about them, as well as the current comics that each is currently promoting. Because syndicates are in the business of selling comics to subscribing publications, they're always willing to look at new comic features for possible syndication. It's the ultimate dream of many cartoonists to get syndicated throughout the world and get paid truckloads of cash, not to mention becoming famous. But it's also very difficult to achieve, particularly these days, as circulation numbers drop and newspapers and magazines cut back on the amount of outside material they purchase. Many...
Clothes and costumes identify people in the real world, and it's no different in the cartooning universe. Your characters will probably wear clothes, unless you're drawing an adult-oriented cartoon (a bit beyond the scope of this book). Your character's clothes need to fit her persona, and almost anything goes in the world of cartooning. However, you should follow a fundamental guideline so that your characters have a universal appeal and readers understand what you're trying to communicate and that's to keep it simple
The eyes are very important to your cartoon characters and play a major role in communicating to the reader and the other characters in the strip. The eyes are certainly the windows to the soul, but in the cartoon world they can also be the window to wackiness You can draw eyes in a realistic fashion and then distort or enlarge them to show emotions like terror or frustration. Distorted or exaggerated eyes are a cartooning hallmark. This section walks you through how to draw basic eyes and how to distort them for full effect.
Plate represent more of a kindly old gentleman, but even in them one can discern that he is no weak person by his stern features and prominent jaw. It should be interesting for the student to study some of the caricatures of Thomas Nast, if he can acquire reproductions of same, even though cartoonists of today do not go as far as Nast did.
Little noses, jutting chins, receding chins, narrow heads, wide heads, flaring jaws, and what not. Have some real fun while you arc at it. You may or may not l c interested in cartooning, but it is fun to draw characters, and you will find that you can do better than you might have thought possible. Watch the perspective and construction as carefully as you would in drawing any head, but exaggerate all you can. A good way to experiment is to jot down l eforchand a little description of the character you wish to draw, then try to draw the head you have described. Next, ask someone else to give you a description of a character. Try that. Such practice means that you can, at an early stage of your knowledge, begin to create, as you would if you were an illustrator. Stick fairly close to outline heads just now, but try to create the type you want.
Lettering is necessary in most forms of commercial art. The student of Commercial Art, Cartooning, or Caricaturing should acquire some knowledge of this subject. Therefore, this short chapter is included so that the student may know the first steps in lettering. Oily the most important points in lettering can be treated here, for lettering is a long subject, enough for a book in itself. In fact there are many books published on lettering and the student is advised to obtain a good one on this subject and learn to do good lettering.
Nowadays, tone is indispensable for drawing cartoons. Make sure that the manuscript paper is free from dust and erase residue. If it sticks to the tone paper you won't be able to use it. The sheets are packed individually in clear plastic bags. They should be put back after use. This 61 refers to Letraset 61 and tone of this dot size is called Screen-Tone. Letraset 684 looks like sand therefore, it is called sandy dot.
How this works is that each comic has a base price on the site. This price helps the company cover the cost of printing and distribution. Because you control the price of the book beyond the base price, you set your own royalty rate. This can be a few cents or a few dollars. But those profits are yours, and you don't have to worry about rushing down to the post office to bulk mail your comics and hope that they make it to your readers.
Layout is such an important facet of drawing cartoons. You don't want a flat and boring cartoon, so make sure your cartoon world is as graphically interesting as the real world. Experimenting with different perspectives, angles, and background details can help improve your story line and increase your cartoon's visual impact. A daily comic strip layout is limited in space. The most common strip size that cartoonists use to draw is a horizontal strip that's about 4 x 13 inches. Then the strip is sent to the syndicate, which formats it and reduces it down to run in the newspapers. This size is challenging for cartoonists to work with because they simply don't have a lot of room to draw and tell a story. Being creative in this format requires the cartoonist to use the individual panels efficiently. The Sunday features are also horizontal and reduced down to fit on a newspaper or magazine page, but they're not reduced as much as daily strips. They're usually drawn at around 10 x 14 inches...
This book is aimed at those who want to start drawing cartoons (or comics) or those who are at a certain level but want to study it more seriously, or those who are already serious but do not see any improvement. In other words, this book is designed to help all non-professional people, from elementary school pupils to adults to improve their technical skills.
In such places lettering and other detail may be used in cartoons. For compositions representing outdoor scenes, outdoor details may be employed, as clouds, trees, smoke, automobiles, houses, fences, etc. For indoor detail, pictures on wall, windows and curtains, doors and furniture may be used. On the plates in this book, note how large open spaces were avoided by the placing of the comic figures, lettering and other detail.
Most cartoonists nowadays use mechanical pencils. Some cartoonists say that they use light-weight pencils when drawing small cartoons for putting weight on pin-points,, and larger-gripped ones for drawing large cartoons with a lighter hand. You should choose a suitable lead hardness HB, B, 2B and so on by judging the pressure that will bear on the pencil unit. Use B or 2B for weak pencil pressure. Blue lead pencils and mechanical pencils are both very convenient. Blue does not show up when printed therefore, cartoonists use it to specify tone to their assistants, and or to show where tone is needed, where there is no shade or drawing.
In 1896 a New York newspaper cartoonist James Stuart Blackton interviewed the inventor Thomas Edison who was experimenting with moving pictures. Blackton did some sketches of Edison, who was impressed by Blackton's speed and drawing facility and asked him to do some drawings in a series. Later, Edison photographed these - the first combination of drawings and photography. In 1906 they publicly released Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. A man puffed a cigar and blew smoke rings at his girl friend, she rolled her eyes, a dog jumped through a hoop and a juggler performed. Blackton used about 3000 'flickering drawings' to make this first animated picture - the forefather of the animated cartoon. The novelty brought explosions of laughter and was an instant hit.
MMyhen you first start cartooning, you may be concentrating on the draw- ing aspect, getting all your characters to look just right. However, the best cartoons in the world are pointless unless they say something. Generally, your characters need to speak, and because they can't speak out loud, they have to speak with printed words.
Outside in - in painting a 'genre' picture or mural (small figures in a large painting) I carefully draw the shapes and figures and fill them in rather like (cartooning) painting an ancient fresco. My drawing in such circumstances must establish a rhythm and place (reality).
Chapter 2 Looking at the Different Cartooning Chapter 12 Putting Everything in Your Comics in Part JV Cartooning 2.0 Taking Your Cartoons Chapter 15 Cartooning in the Digital Chapter 16 Making Cartooning Your Chapter 18 Ten Secrets to Breaking in to a Cartooning Career 321
Another thing to consider when writing scripts is how to pace the dialogue in relation to the art. Typically, comic strips are drawn in a horizontal, multipanel strip form made up of several individual boxes. The key in writing the script is to pace the dialogue so that it fits the respective boxes in a manner that flows. The longer you write in comic strip format, the better your timing will get.
Drawing Cartoons & Comics For Dummies Brian Fairrington is a nationally syndicated, award-winning editorial cartoonist and illustrator and one of the few U.S. cartoonists whose political leanings are conservative. Brian began his career in the mid-1990s while he was a student at Arizona State University, where he began drawing cartoons for the student newspaper, the State Press. Arizona State University is home to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, one of the more prestigious journalism programs in the country. The newspaper is part of that program but is independently operated by the students. During his undergraduate years at the State Press, Brian won every major national award, making him one of the most decorated cartoonists to come out of college. His honors include the John Locher Memorial Award, given by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and the Charles Schulz Award, given by the Scripps Howard Foundation. Brian is also the two-time winner of the...
Part IV Cartooning 2.0 Taking Your Cartoons to the Next Level 3 Following familiar characters Comic Chapter 2 Looking at the Different Cartooning Genres 15 Getting Funny with the Standard Comic Editorial cartooning An American Web Drawing stick figures Cartooning Cartooning Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink 160 Editorial Cartoonist Chapter 12 Putting Everything in Your Comics in Perspective 229 Part JV Cartooning 2.0 Taking Your Cartoons Chapter 15 Cartooning in the Digital Age 275 Chapter 16 Making Cartooning Your Livelihood 295 Chapter 18 Ten Secrets to Breaking in to a Cartooning Career 321 Jumping into the World of Comic Joining the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists 325 Being Part of the National Cartoonists Reading about
A very good thing for beginners is to study the expressions used in some of the better comic strips. Popeye, and Moon Mullins are especially good in this respect. Expression should be suited to action and vice versa. For example, a head and face with an expression of fright should have a body with the characteristic action of fright that is, fingers far apart, feet off the ground, etc.
Crosshatching is a technique best suited for applications in which other forms of shading may not reproduce well. This is especially true with regard to newsprint. Most newspapers print their pages in black and white, so shading your art using a gray wash or even color won't turn out well. Also, newspapers have a tendency to run images smaller than the cartoonist originally intended. If you color your art or use a watercolor wash, when the image is reduced down and reproduced on the page, the shading technique fails as the area appears solid and the image may lose any tonal quality. When a crosshatched image is reduced, the quality of the reproduced and scaled-down art is much better. This is one reason why crosshatching became popular among editorial cartoonists and newsprint political illustrators.
Action is all important in cartooning. It is the item that creates greatest interest in a cartoon, or cartoon composition. Of course action is exaggerated in cartoons just as expressions and forms are exaggerated. In cartoons, even though the figure is not in motion, it is necessary to have what cartoonists term action. On Plate 10 is illustrated this kind of action. In Figure 1 the man is sitting erect and has little interest about it, except just its comical appearance. In Figure 2 this has been improved by having this man sit more on his spine and moving his knees up by putting his feet on a footstool. Note also the difference in Figures 4 and 5 on Plate 10. Figure 3 is another example of action without motion. Do you not tJiink this is a better cartoon than it would be if the sailor was standing erect, and the crows nest was larger. However, there is much room for improvement in the drawing of this cartoon.
MM hen I first started drawing comics, I was pretty sure I understood how WW the system worked 1 would draw all my art and word balloons within the borders of my 11-x-l 7-inch piece of bristol board and then send my stack of pages away to be printed. No problem It wasn't until 1 first saw my work in a book that I realized I did something drastically wrong. Panels were cut off Important pieces of art were nowhere to be seen What happened