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Cartooning: How To Draw Cartoons

Mar 4, 2008
Cartoons are fun to read or watch. If you aspire to being the next Walt Disney or even just want to draw something neat to liven up your blog, here's how to learn to draw cartoons.

1. Choose your medium

Are you going for single cartoons, cartoons strips like the Peanuts or are you getting ambitious and want to produce a full scale movie? Each of these will affect how you start out. And if you are just starting out, I'd suggest that you leave the movie until later!

2. Decide on your main character

Are they human or animal? Think of the features they will have. Quite often, cartoons exaggerate certain features and almost ignore other ones. They aren't photographs, so they have much more freedom to do this.

3. Start with a sketch

If you've ever seen a storyboard for a movie, you'll know that it just shows a rough outline of what is going to happen rather than full blown detail. If you're aiming to draw a cartoon strip, it's good to plan out what will happen in each of the three or four frames that will likely make up your final cartoon.

4. Work on your main character
Don't worry about getting things perfect. It's far better to draw something than to agonize over the exact positioning of every line. Check out an early Mickey Mouse cartoon or even an early episode of the Simpsons and compare them with more modern versions. You'll see the characters have developed over the years and, in the case of that famous mouse, are almost unrecognizable when you look at the early and newer versions side by side.

5. Add expression

A cheeky grin or some raised eyebrows go a long way to giving your new creation some character. Unless your main character is supposed to be completely expressionless and unmoving, it pays to give them emotions. If they're angry or scared, you can emphasize that in the next step.

6. Add color

Assuming you are going to display your cartoon on your website or print it off on your color printer, add some color to your drawing. This gives variety for people to look at and helps to bring the cartoon to life. Again, we're not talking reality here. So that purple dinosaur like the one in the Flintstonesis fine!

7. Add shade

A few lines of shading go a long way in cartoons. Our minds will fill in the blanks, so there's no need to draw every hair on a hairy leg, just enough to give us some hints and let our imagination join the dots. This is surprisingly effective and will allow you to help your readers imaginations.

8. Add background

Like the shade, this doesn't need to be too detailed. An outline of a pyramid shape if your cartoon is visiting Egypt will do fine. There's no need to draw the complete Sphinx unless your storyline calls for it.

9. Add your caption

Cartoon characters can speak - even animals normally. Will your caption be in the form of a speech bubble or a line below the cartoon?
About the Author
Learn more about how to draw cartoons and start to develop your skill as a cartoonist.
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