Using an eraser

You've probably been using an eraser since you were in kindergarten. Erasers are pretty easy to use to take care of small mistakes. You need to include a traditional rubber eraser as well as a kneaded eraser in your arsenal of tools to meet any erasing challenge. A kneaded eraser is a pliable material that has the consistency of putty. It doesn't wear away and leave behind eraser crumbs as a result, it lasts much longer than other erasers. Kneaded erasers can be shaped by hand for erasing...

Keeping accurate records

Keeping good records not only helps you at tax time but also helps you do better business. You need to be able to put your hands on client's records, to keep track of when you sent submissions and to whom, and to have a place for contracts so you can refer to them easily if questions arise. Not to mention keeping track of your income and outgo so you can see if you're making any money With your cartooning business, you want to keep the following accurate Banking records Keeping accurate records...

Finding Ideas and Forming an Opinion

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 1. Tune into a wide variety of news outlets and look for an interesting...

Giving Your Characters Personality

Your character's body is an integral part of his personality. His body helps define who he is. You can choose to identify your character by giving him a stereotyped look the jolly fat guy, the brainiac little kid or you can play against the stereotypes, creating a muscleman who's really a big wimp, for example. Both realism and whimsy go into making characters that are unique but also universal. This section gives you an idea of how important a character's body is in showing your reader who the...

Getting comfortable with using a brush

Before you can get a firm grasp on inking, I have one important piece of advice Make the brush your friend and use it. To get better at inking, you need to practice and practice some more. It can be frustrating at first, but you'll find that the rewards far outweigh the suffering you go through trying to master this tool. A fairly inexpensive good brush to start with is a Winsor Newton Sceptre Gold II watercolor brush. This brush has a pretty standard bristle size and is good for detailing as...

Keeping Track of Your Spacing

The spacing between your words and letters is important, whether you choose to use a type font or letter by hand. Keep the following in mind to keep your spacing looking good If you hand letter The tendency is to run the letters or words too close together. The end result is sloppy lettering that may not be easy to read. The best solution for this is to draw out guidelines so that each letter and word has a baseline. As you write out the text, you simply line up the bottom of each letter along...

Joining the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

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...

Penciling It

After you develop some story lines and write your scripts, you're finally ready to start putting your ideas on paper. Begin by lightly sketching out a rough idea with your character's shapes and background elements. You don't want to go to dark with the pencil lines if you plan on erasing the sketch after you ink your line art. If you're drawing your comic strip in the basic, horizontal, multipanel format, you need to block this area out. You do this on a large piece of paper with a pencil and...

Marketing to Greeting Card Companies

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 Greeting cards come in a wide range of designs and cover all sorts of holidays, events, and special subjects. Many of these cards showcase cartoon gags or funny characters to deliver a message to...

The Skinny on Cartoons and Comics

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,...

Doing rough sketches

Rough sketches are the visual note-taking of the cartoon world. Just as a writer jots down many, many notes in preparation for writing the next great American novel, the cartoonist draws many, many rough sketches. Rough sketches should be just what they say they are rough. Don't spend too much time on them, because they're just meant to capture the basic idea and layout of your composition so you have it when you want to develop the idea further. Making rough sketches doesn't require you to...

Crosshatching

If you want to create a tonal quality using black and white, you can use a technique called crosshatching. Just as the name implies, crosshatching means to draw vertical lines in one direction and then cross over them with diagonal or horizontal lines. 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...

Meeting the criteria to call yourself a business

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 1. Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Perhaps the most important thing you can do is form an LLC, or Limited Liability Company. An LLC is a business structure that combines the...

Why being on the Web is important

By having your own designated Web space, you can market your work and potentially reach people who may not see your materials if you market only in the traditional ways of local newspapers and syndicates. You can showcase your work that people can't find anywhere else in newsprint, like your full-color and animated cartoons. You can also direct people to your site if they want to see the type of work you do. You may also choose to do cartoons specifically for your site. Many cartoonists are...

In This Chapter

Using a scanner to digitize your art Getting started with Photoshop Tapping into Photoshop's advanced techniques Finalizing your work artooning has changed in the last few decades, thanks to the power and creative ability of computers. Computers can make just about every aspect of cartooning easier, from creating and editing your art right on the computer to sending files to clients or newspapers almost instantaneously. Computers can make you a better artist. Granted, the computer doesn't...

Spending time perfecting your skills

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. Begin by sitting down with a pad of paper and practice drawing out your lettering. As you practice, you may want to use a ruler...

Getting a Grasp on Photoshop Basics

Drawing your cartoon is the first step scanning it into the computer is the second. Step three is using a computer program, such as Photoshop, to transform your cartoon by cropping, editing, enhancing, lightening, darkening, shading, adding color, or just about any other editing graphic you can think of. Because Photoshop is by far the best program for working with digitalized art, I focus the rest of this chapter on using Photoshop. Photoshop is a graphics editing program produced by Adobe...

Creating Tone and Texture

Tone and texture help define the shape you're drawing and add depth to the art. Without tone and texture, the line art looks flat and bare and may not covey the right perspective, dimension, or relationship to the other elements drawn around it. This section shows you how to do both techniques. You can use shading to add depth and dimension to your sketch. Shading is the process of darkening an area of your sketch to give the impression of depth. The specific shading technique you use depends...

Checking Out Cartoon Blogs

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. Here are just a few Internet sources to get you started The Daily Cartoonist (dailycartoonist.com) A great resource for news and the inside scoop about cartoons and comics. The Comics Reporter...

Designing the Setting

Your characters, like everyone else, need a place to live and hang out. Before you actually start sketching, select the setting for your strip. The setting includes major elements like the background and surrounding environment in which your characters coexist. Designing the right setting goes a long way toward creating your strip's overall look. The setting should complement the characters, reinforce the theme, and reflect your style. The backgrounds and setting should enhance what your...

Knowing the differences between handwritten and computer fonts

Ballon Circus Type Font

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. You basically have two options when creating lettering handwritten or computer-generated fonts. Each has...

Linear body shape

Drawing a linear body shape, or one that's boxy and has sharp angles, is easier to line up to a vanishing point than a nonlinear body shape, simply because the nonlinear shape has no defined or obvious angles to line up to the vanishing point. To draw a linear body shape, you first need to break down the character into three main body parts The head and neck area (the top) The torso and arms area (the middle) The legs and feet area (the bottom) Break these areas down to three box shapes The...

Thinking outside the box versus conventionality

Creating funny ideas often requires that you look outside the box of conventional thinking, which means you have to employ unconventional ways of looking at things where conventional thinking may fail. Thinking outside the box has its caveats, however Unorthodox thinking has recently become so popular that thinking inside the box is starting to become more unconventional. Basically, what was once new is now old and what was old is now new again. In an effort to come up with something so new and...

Starting with the Drawing Basics

Practicing simple shapes and rough sketches Inking your cartoons Using shading and crosshatching to give your cartoons tone and texture Correcting your mistakes M**or many artists, drawing is instinctive they pick up a pencil and can m easily draw impressive sketches. If you're like that if you already have a firm grasp on drawing basics then this chapter is probably a tad simple for you. However, if you weren't born with natural drawing ability but you've always liked to doodle or wanted to...

How to make a splash on the

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...

Being Part of the National Cartoonists Society

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...

Selling Your Work to Magazines

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...

Table of Contents

1 About This Conventions Used in This What You're Not to Foolish How This Book Is Part I Drawing Inspiration Getting Started with Cartoons and Part II Creating Cartoon Part III Cartoon Designs 101 Assembling the Parts 3 Part IV Cartooning 2.0 Taking Your Cartoons to the Next Level 3 Part V The Part of Icons Used in This Where to Go from Part I Drawing Inspiration Getting Started with Cartoons and Chapter 1 The Skinny on Cartoons and Comics 7 Understanding the Different Following familiar...

Turning Your Hobby into a Business

Deciding to turn your hobby into a money making (hopefully) business is more complicated than sending out a few submissions. Although immediate financial success is unlikely, you have to be prepared for the possibility by having a business plan and an understanding of the legal steps you must follow in order to keep Uncle Sam, and more importantly, the IRS happy. Are you wondering why The IRS defines being self-employed or starting your own business as an attempt to make a profit. Turning a...

Becoming acquainted with your toolbar

Figuring out how to use Photoshop starts with a thorough understanding of all the features it contains. After you open your cartoon in Photoshop, several control panels appear on your desktop, one of which is long and narrow. 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...

Drawing

Drawing Cartoons & Comics For Dummies 111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 Copyright 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published simultaneously in Canada No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States...

Understanding the Pens Strength What an Editorial Cartoonist Does

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...

Drafting Editorial Cartoon Characters

Grasping the role of editorial cartoonists Coming up with ideas and getting them across to readers Sketching realistic and iconic characters amditorial cartoons (also known as political cartoons) exist to make a point, and often a very barbed point at that. Although editorial cartoons may also amuse or entertain, their primary purpose is to create social or political commentary that simplifies the subtle and often complex underlying issues of a news story. Editorial cartoons dissect the issue...

Writing Your Scripts

Before you can actually draw your cartoon, you need to write scripts. Similar to a movie's screenplay, the comic script is the basic foundation for the rest of the production. The movie director and camera crew would have no idea what to do without a script to follow, and you won't know what to draw without a script, either. Chapter 5 gives you the nuts and bolts for writing your scripts. Keep a notebook to keep track of all your story lines. You may also want to set aside a certain part of the...

Taking Action When the Ideas Run

Coming up with fresh, funny ideas isn't always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes you just won't be able to think of anything new or fresh, and it may seem as though the idea well has run dry. But that's the time to really get creative when coming up with new ways of looking at things. This section helps you uncover some ideas even after you're at your wits' end. One tried and true method in the field of editorial cartooning is known as a two-fer-one. Quite simply, this means taking two...

Drawing a basic nose

Before you can sketch a nose, you need to know a nose's parts. The basic nose is made up of two distinct parts The bridge of the nose (or top) 1. Start with the bridge and draw a line down and then a sharp turn under to form the basic nose shape. This shape is generally a 45-degree angle, but it can vary depending on how you draw it. When drawing nostrils you can simplify things by curving the bottom line of the nose back around so that it forms a small c shape. However, as shown in Figure...

Welcome to success but dont expect much

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...

Contents at a Glance

1 Part J Drawing Inspiration Getting Started with Cartoons and Chapter 1 The Skinny on Cartoons and Chapter 2 Looking at the Different Cartooning Chapter 3 Getting Your Workspace Ready to Chapter 4 Starting with the Drawing Chapter 5 Coming Up with Part JJ Creating Cartoon Chapter 6 Starting from the Chapter 7 From the Neck Chapter 8 Designing Human Cartoon Chapter 9 Giving Inanimate Objects Chapter 10 Exploring Anthropomorphism Creating Animals and Other Creatures That Chapter 11 Drafting...

Adding accessories

You can draw different accessories for your characters to demonstrate different characteristics and to add authenticity. For example, if your character works at an office, he probably has to wear a tie. We explain how to draw a collar on a shirt in the earlier section, Drawing your character's garb. Now we tell you how to add a tie (see Figure 7-26). 1. Draw a diamond between the two collar points. 2. From the bottom of the diamond, draw a straight line down to the middle of the belly. 3. From...

Details make the difference in a scene

You want your cartoon's setting to be accurate and believable but also to have personality. You want the setting to reflect the style in which you draw the characters so the art has a synergy and is appealing to the reader. You can really create an interesting scene by all the little details you add. Just open your eyes and look at the hundreds of details around you. Details add a sense of authenticity to what you're drawing and give readers more interesting things to look at. It doesn't matter...

Jumping into the World of Comic Books

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...

Creating your scene

Much if not most of the time, the setting you choose is predetermined by your story line. If your story involves a new bride cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, you're not going to use a national forest for the setting. Or if, for example, you have two characters walking and talking throughout the entire story line, you may want to set the scene outdoors so they can walk and talk for as long as you need them to, as showing the characters walking around and around the house would get...

Deciding to Go Full Time

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. You may notice I didn't include luck on the...

Dressing for the occasion

However, clothing doesn't have to be too specific. You may choose to dress your characters simply so they're easier to draw. Use your imagination and creativity and see what works best for you. Although dressing your characters the same way every day is easier, varying the outfits is more fun just like it's more fun to vary your own Your characters won't complain if you never change their clothes, but you may get bored drawing the same outfits every day. Giving your characters a closet full of...

Using bitmap

In my experience, scanning in your black-and-white cartoons as a bitmap is almost always best. You can always convert it to grayscale or CMYK later. Bitmap images are pixel-based. To understand what a pixel is, imagine an image of a beach ball drawn on a grid of 800 columns by 600 rows. Each cell of the grid represents a pixel of the larger bitmap image. Scanning in line art as a bitmap ensures that the lines are crisp and the detail is clear as long as you don't increase the size of the art....

Looking at the Most Popular Cartoon Site on the

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...

Understanding Why Developing a Regular Cast of Characters Is

Before you can create your cast of characters, you need to know what they mean to the viability of your cartoon strip. Typically, the characters in your cartoons take the form of people. Although the same people may not appear in every strip, many characters appear frequently over the life of a long-running cartoon. The characters need to be consistent so your readers can identify with them on a regular basis. If they're not believable, your readers won't be able to relate to them and, in the...

Creating a Winning Submission Package

Standing out from the competition starts with your first submission package. A syndicate may get ten to fifteen thousand submissions a year they wade through looking for the gem in the rock pile, the comic strip they feel is marketable and potentially profitable, for you and them. Out of all the submissions each syndicate may receive a year, only about a half dozen are selected for syndication, not great odds. Your chances of winning the lottery are a little lower, but not much. In order to...

Selecting a Photoshop mode Bitmap grayscale RGB and CMYK

When you scan in your artwork, you need to make one more decision. When using the most common software, Photoshop, you have to choose the correct mode because this helps format the item being scanned in for optimum reproduction. Photoshop offers several different settings to choose from bitmap, grayscale, RGB, and CMYK, each one appropriate for different purposes. If you're not using Photoshop, then the program you're using will have its own mode setting. However, it will also have bitmap,...

Reading about Cartooning

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. Many great books are out there, but here's a list to get you started Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market (edited by Erika O'Connell Writers Digest Books) contains a wealth of information, including names and...

Mastering cut and paste

After you ink your drawing, you may discover that you don't like the way a part of it looks. You've probably invested several hours in the inking process, and you may have done so using expensive drawing paper not something you want to throw out unless you have to. If so, you can cut and paste a new sketch over an area you want to change. The quickest way to do this is to redraw the portion of the cartoon you want to edit on another scrap piece of paper. Simply cut out the image and paste it...

Defining Editorial Cartoons

An editorial cartoon can address any issue, be it political or social. But it must make a statement or take a stand on an issue or it's not an editorial cartoon. Editorial cartoons can be any of the following II Funny Humor can give an editorial cartoon an extra punch, but only if the humor still allows the real issue to be understood. Poignant Cartoons that use powerful images that evoke emotion. The memorial cartoons that followed the tragic events of September 11th are good examples....

Lending a hand with fingers

You may want a little more detail for your characters. Animators used to draw hands on their characters with only three fingers for the simple fact that it was faster than drawing them with four To draw basic cartoon hands with fingers, do the following 2. Add the fingers and thumb corresponding to which way the hand is facing, as in Figure 7-20. If the palm is facing inward, the thumb goes on the inside of the hand, toward the body. If the palm is facing outward, the thumb goes on the outside...

Making your characters mirror your style

In cartoons, you can exaggerate and distort body types to create a unique set of characters that reflect your own sense of style. However, you also want your characters to be believable so that your reader can relate to them and find them appealing. If you're creating a comic strip about an average family, for example, it's important that they all have one head, two arms, two legs, ten fingers, and ten toes . . . unless the family lives on Mars. You may find that the characters and cartoons you...

Why constant sketching keeps you sharp

Going Across Bridge Cartoon

When you turn on a hot water faucet, the water usually takes a few minutes to warm up, depending on how cold the pipes are. But if you turn the faucet on again soon after, the water gets hot much more quickly this time. Creativity is really no different. The longer you let the creative juices flow, the hotter the ideas are that come pouring out. The next time you turn on your creativity faucet, the easier the ideas flow. So to stay creatively sharp, sketch often and sketch everything. By doing...

Exploring Anthropomorphism Creating Animals and Other Creatures That Talk

Adding pets to your cartoon world Including other animals in your comic strips Putting out-of-this-world characters in your cartoons m artoons don't have to be realistic, so anyone and anything can be part of your cartoon world. Humans aren't the only characters you find in cartoons animals are very popular cartoon characters. Although dogs and other household pets predominate in family cartoons, any type of animal can be a supporting character or even the main character in a comic strip. Some...

Sketching the basic eye

Think of the eyeball as a sphere set into and under the lids, but don't draw an actual eyeball. Beginners often make the mistake of drawing the eyeball. The eyeball is merely suggested by how you draw the eyelids and surrounding elements. The center of the eye includes the pupil, iris, and the cornea. To do so, draw a thin, dark ring, a colored ring, and a black circle in the middle. Draw the tear duct on the corner and the eyelashes. The tear duct is very important to the look of a realistic...

Grasping How Syndication Works

Everyone well, your mom at least tells you you're ready for the big time, but how do you even begin to market cartoons or comics Before you get ready to send your art out the door, you need to understand syndication and the ways that syndicates rule the modern cartooning world. 1. You, the aspiring cartoonist, draw a month's worth of comic strips and submit them to the dozen or so major syndicates in the country. 2. The submission arrives at the syndicate's office in New York, where it goes...

Eyeing some dos and donts to writing believable story lines

Writing funny story lines creates characters that people can not only turn to for comic relief but also will become attached to over time. Interesting story lines allow your characters to develop into individual voices that, when separated from the bunch, can offer insight and subtle humor, but together offer real synergy. In other words, the sum is greater than the parts. Whether your comic strip appears in the newspaper or on the Web, you may have to create a new story line on a daily basis....

Getting Started with Drawing

To begin drawing your cartoons, you need decent quality supplies and a designated workspace. Chapter 3 goes into the art of setting up an office, cubicle, or corner for your art and which supplies you need. Before you go to the store and spend any money on supplies, keep in mind that although expensive drawing tools are great, they won't help you at all if you don't have a little talent and a strong commitment to practice. Your best bet is to try different drawing supplies to see what works...

Crafting the mouth The howto

The mouth is one of a character's most expressive facial features. To draw a mouth in various expressions, follow these guidelines Smiling or smirking To draw a mouth with a smile, begin by drawing a line directly under the nose that curves up gradually on both ends. At the corners of each side of the mouth, pull back the laugh lines and connect each side of the mouth to them, as in Figure 6-22a. Sad To draw a mouth on a sad face, begin by drawing a line directly under the nose that curves down...

Making the Decision to Pursue Your Dreams

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...

Putting in a fax and separate phone line

When you want to contact a business you pick up the phone and dial its number. When people want to call you up to do business, they should be able to do the same thing. This means it's probably a good idea to have your own business line. The other thing that you may want to consider is getting a designated fax number as well. If budget is a concern (and when is it not ), then you can use one phone line and purchase a fax that automatically answers when another fax signal is calling. The only...

Preparing to Letter

Most cartoon characters speak using printed words that are often (but not always) surrounded by a frame. You can draw the best cartoons in the world, but they can fall flat when combined with lettering that's substandard, illegible, or sloppy. Lettering is crucial to the art as a whole in several ways It affects the cartoon's visual appearance. It allows your characters to communicate. It contributes to the story or gag line by making it comprehensible obviously, if people can't read your...

Urban planning setting the scene outdoors

Setting a scene outdoors requires you to understand the urban landscape and all the trappings of a modern society. Take a stroll outside and take a good look around. What do you notice In addition to trees, parks, grass, bushes, and so on, you may notice sidewalks, roads, power lines, billboards, signs, shopping malls, and all the other evidence of a commercialized, urban environment. This phenomenon has another name urban sprawl. Although this sprawl may inspire you to put on a pair of sandals...

Creating Your Characters

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. For example, if you're a parent, you may want to create a character who's a parent. If you're terrible at all sports except bowling, you may want to incorporate that trait...

Attaching a straightforward cover letter

One of the most important pieces to include in your submission package is a clear, straightforward cover letter. A simple, businesslike, professional resume and cover letter do more to impress a syndicate editor than a coconut that needs to be hammered open and contains your 400 original samples of a comic strip about a group of island castaways. I would venture to guess there's a 100 percent chance that that coconut will go right into the trash, with your submission still in it. The cover...

Scanning your work into the computer

After you purchase a scanner, you're ready to start scanning in your artwork. Before you do so, you need to connect it to your computer, which is a simple process. All you do in most cases is this 1. Use a USB port or other connection method and follow the manufacturer's instructions to connect to the computer. 2. Install a scanner driver by inserting the CD that comes with the scanner into your computer's disc drive and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the software disc. 3. From the...

Grasping the Art of Inking

Inking is the final stage in the black-and-white drawing process. Inking is simply taking the pencil sketch and using it as a guide to complete the illustration, so that the finished product is a crisp, clean, black-and-white line art drawing. You can use a brush and ink or a pen to ink your work which tools you choose is a matter of personal preference. Experiment to see what works best for you. The purpose of inking in cartoons relates mainly to reproduction. Cartoons are generally reprinted...

Setting the Scene

The sets you design in a comic strip setting serve the same purpose as in movies. In a movie, the set designer creates and builds the sets in which the actors interact with one another. With a cartoon strip, you don't construct actual sets, of course, but the background is just as important. You want to capture the appropriate details and objects to make the set look realistic while also making the art interesting for the reader to look at. This section covers how you can create amazing scenes...

Deciding whether cartoons have to be funny

When writing your cartoons, don't fall into the trap of thinking that everything has to be funny. Cartoons are also very effective when they're thought-provoking or poignant. A cartoon doesn't always have to be roll-in-the-aisles funny to be effective. In determining the tone of the cartoon, you first must determine what you want the cartoon to say. If the story line evolves into something on the more serious side and the story line is strong and compelling, then perhaps being funny may not be...

Mailing Your Art Files

Formatting your files correctly for e-mailing is just as important as saving them in the right format. If you're working in Photoshop or another art program, your finished file may be quite large, especially if you use lots of layers or filters, even after you flatten the file. If your file is large, you can attempt to e-mail it as is, but many e-mail providers have limits as to how big a file can be. (Think of it as having created a beautiful piece of furniture, only to discover that it won't...

Appreciating the role lettering plays

Lettering plays a crucial role in the success of your cartoons and comics. The lettering you choose to use should reflect and enhance the tone of your cartoon. The wrong type of lettering can create an incongruous or jarring effect, so lettering is one thing you want to get right. You can create lettering styles in a variety of line widths ranging from very fine to heavy (see Figure 13-1 for some examples). However, you want to create your lettering with a line width that's consistent with and...

Going the Simple Route Picking a Type Font

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. If lettering your cartoons is causing your blood pressure to rise, one solution is to type out the text after you scan the cartoon...

Tying two topics together

Associations can help you combine two unrelated topics. associations can help you combine two unrelated topics. What if you show Batman filing for unemployment What if the Batmobile gets repossessed What if the Batcave gets foreclosed on All these ideas could potentially work, and depicting them can be a clever or funny way to relate something to readers. I thought it would be really funny if I showed Batman sitting up on a building while the night cleaning lady sticks her head out in an effort...

Checking with the professionals

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...

Drawing characters in the correct scale

You want to make sure your characters are drawn to the same scale as their environment, or they won't look realistic. Although you may occasionally want a character to be out of proportion with his surroundings, usually to exaggerate a point, most of the time, you want the environment and the characters to look as if they're living in a cohesive, balanced world. The scale you draw your characters to depends on whether they're in the foreground or background of your cartoon. The decision to...

Using loved ones to test your material

When writing story lines and dialogue for your characters, it's easy to get caught up in the work and lose perspective on whether what you're writing is really funny to other people or just your own private inside joke. Having someone else take an objective look at your work can be helpful, allowing you to see whether you're going in the right direction. This is especially important if you have a particularly warped or unusual sense of humor. So as you're writing your jokes and text, test your...

Moving circles for different looks

Circle Shapes With Lines Coming Out

Although the classic cartoon character typically has a large head and small body, you can simply move those basic shapes around and use them as the building blocks for a totally new character. The example in this section shows you how to move your circles to create the tough guy character I show you at the beginning of the chapter someone with a big, wide chest and a small waist. By changing the position of the circles, you can give your character a new look and feel. Just follow these steps 1....

Fitting in your lettering

Finding the right spot to place your lettering depends on how busy or complicated the art is. The more text you have, the less available space remains for the art. However, sometimes you can't avoid using a lot of text in this case, just be sure to leave plenty of space when you're sketching so you don't have to erase any art later. When you write down an idea for a cartoon strip, comic panel, or editorial cartoon, the idea comes without regard for spacing or the layout challenges you face when...

Getting Inspired for Storyline Ideas Just Open Your Eyes

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. The real answer to the question is almost as silly as these responses. The truth is, ideas are free. All you have to do is open your eyes...

Looking for and keeping track of ideas

Coming up with good ideas isn't really difficult. You're sitting on some right now and don't even know it. You just need to realize that almost anything in life can be funny if it's presented correctly. If you can't think of anything funny off the top of your head, try looking at any of the following sources for some ideas. Just be receptive and keep your antennae up Newspaper and magazine articles Things your parents did, once upon a time start really listening to their stories Things your...

Starting locally

One way to sell your work and at the same time test-market it is to sell it locally. Contact your local newspaper features editor by putting together a professional sample package and mailing it to her with a cover letter. Emphasize the fact that you're a local resident in your cover letter local newspapers love to showcase local talent and know that a locally drawn comic strip appeals to readers. Successfully getting your comic strip into a local newspaper helps you in three important ways It...

Knowing what pencil and paper to use

You may be ready to pick up a pencil but have questions about what type of pencil to use. Is any old pencil you pull out of the junk drawer okay If you're planning to get serious about drawing, choosing a pencil and paper is a matter of personal preference. Go to an art store, ask the sales associate for some assistance, buy a few types and experiment until you find what feels most comfortable to you. The best bet is to try out many different types to see what works. You'll probably be using a...

Placing your lettering

Lettering incorporated inside the art can help the story line flow. Lettering incorporated inside the art can help the story line flow. Lettering placed outside the cartoon's composition allows for more space to draw in. Lettering placed outside the cartoon's composition allows for more space to draw in.

Drawing the Head

Chances are that when you begin to create your cartoon character, you start with the head. The head is a vital element to character design because it's probably the most frequently drawn part of the character. When you draw characters in full form, you draw them in a head and body shot (for information on how to draw the body, check out Chapter 7). But if you have a multipanel comic strip or webcomic and your character has a lot of dialogue in one panel, the only thing you may choose to draw...

Building the Body Drawing the Standard Character Type

As you begin to sketch your cartoon character's body, every decision you make conveys a little bit of information. You can express the character's emotions and actions through facial expressions and body language. You can convey an amazing degree of animation and information just by the way you position your character's head, by how he holds his arms, or by how he bends his legs. For example, a character with a wide neck, large shoulders, humongous arms, and tattoos probably isn't going to be...

From the Neck Down

Understanding the importance of your character's body type Using circles as the basis to draw your character's body Drawing arms, hands, and legs Dressing up your characters MMyhat could be more fun than creating a new body Not for yourself for your cartoon characters (if only it were so easy to change our own bods with the flick of a pen ). Choosing the right body type for your cartoon creations defines their character and gives them personality, animates them, and conveys action even when...

Animating appliances

You can make appliances amusing just to create a more interesting background, or you can give them a speaking part in your cartoon world (for instructions on drawing talking appliances, see the Making the toaster talk section later in the chapter). Remember the following when cartooning household appliances They have lots of buttons and switches. They're often retro-looking, because such appliances are easy to caricature. They should look like a specific appliance and not be generic-looking. If...

Starting from the

Starting with the head Sketching the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth Giving expression to your characters The part of your cartoons that readers will most identify with is your character's face. Even the shape of a character's nose and the placement of her ears say a great deal about her personality and way of thinking. In other words, facial characteristics express feeling and attitude. Faces give your readers insight into your character's inner being they're a nonverbal shorthand into your...

Manipulating after you type

One way to make the font look more handwritten is to manipulate it after you type it out in the computer font you create. You may want to go back and move random individual letters or words just slightly so that they no longer line up rigidly on the baseline. Doing so allows you to create text that has a more organic appearance, similar to if you had written it out by hand (see Figure 13-7). If you decide to go this route, know that it's very time-consuming it may take as much time as it would...

Wearing glasses

Glasses set the mood of a character and help convey certain things about her personality. Classic characters with glasses are usually thought of as intelligent, like the class bookworm or nerdy brainiac. To draw glasses, you simply find the center guidelines and position the glasses so that each lens falls on one side of the vertical center guidelines. The left lens falls on the left side and the right lens falls on the right side. This is true no matter what position the face is in. Always...

Dealing with the Ups and Downs

After you mail your submission to each of the syndicates, you can expect to hear back from them in about 12 weeks or so. Rest assured that these will be the longest 12 weeks of your entire life. Don't just sit around waiting to hear, or assume that you can stop working now that you've got your stuff out there. Keep working you may be amazed (or dismayed) to see how much your work improves over the 12-week waiting period. Getting picked up by a syndicate isn't easy, and you're probably going to...

Exaggerating and distorting the head

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. Figure 6-5 shows an example of a distorted head at rest. A head...

Coloring with Photoshop tools

Photoshop has several tools that make coloring your cartoon a breeze. The following are the three primary coloring tools. I recommend you begin with the Brush tool, because after you start coloring your cartoons, this is the tool you'll probably use the most. The Brush tool This tool applies color to your document, similar to the way a traditional paintbrush would apply paint on paper or canvas. You choose different brush options by selecting a brush size and shape from the brush palette. The...

Creating visual drama

You can also experiment with your cartoon's layout and create visual drama in a comic panel. Some of the ways to add visual drama to your cartoons include Drawing things from a dramatic perspective. Drawing buildings or cityscapes from dramatic angles helps create scale and can have a dramatic impact. For more information about drawing things in perspective, thumb through Chapter 12. Showing foreground objects in extreme close-up. Not everything in your layout has to be the same size and scale....

In this part

Choosing characters that you enjoy drawing and don't mind drawing over and over is an important aspect of cartooning. In this part, I explore some of the different types of interesting characters you can create and the step-by-step process of creating them, along with characters that are out of the ordinary, such as household appliances and creatures from outer space I also cover the often tough, dog-eat-dog world of editorial cartoons, and I explain how to survive a career that includes...

Small scale characters in the background

Characters in the background of a drawing appear smaller and smaller the closer they are to the vanishing point on the horizon line. For example, the character sitting in the chair on the left in Figure 12-23 has no background or foreground objects to indicate any type of scale. The same character on the right is shown sitting on a chair in the background of the drawing. Taking the same character and placing him in a setting demonstrates the importance of proper perspective and scale. The...

Developing an Idea

Think you have a great idea for a comic strip Everybody has ideas pop into their head, but how do you know the difference between a good idea and a bad idea Knowing the difference may prevent you from going through a lot of trouble and frustration later. Here are a few things to consider when mulling over an idea for a comic strip Choose a subject that you find appealing. Otherwise, you may find the idea tedious and dread working on it down the road. Choose a unique idea. Try and find something...

Including supporting cast

Most of the time, your core group consists of relatively normal characters so that your readers can easily identify with them. Every cast, however, also includes supporting characters. The supporting cast includes the characters who usually aren't the main focus of the story line. A good example is the next door neighbor who pops in occasionally. Supporting characters offer lots of fun chances to create odd or unusual characters, the kind you may not see every day but who really spice up the...