BACKGROUNDS and PERSPECTIVE
 
The backgrounds in cartoons are much like the sets in a stage play. They are there to set a time, place and mood for the characters, and like stage props, they should be kept simple. The background should be able to be understood at a glance so as not to confuse the general idea of the cartoon. Is it outside, in an office, on a beach, in a kitchen?
Backgrounds only need to be ‘suggested’ so don’t need to be detailed or accurate.
 
Image the cartoon characters to be actors on a stage. You are aware of the props indirectly. This is the way to view a cartoon when you devise it.
 
So keep backgrounds simple but clear.
These are some samples, create a dozen of your own.

 

Perspective
This is a very complex subject and we’ll keep it basic for these lessons. Fortunately cartooning does not have to be strictly accurate, but it still needs to ‘feel’ generally right.
 
The basic elements are the ‘horizon-line’ and the ‘vanishing point’.
The ‘horizon-line’ is higher or lower in a picture depending on the height of the ‘viewer‘.
The extremes are usually called ‘worms-eye view’ and ‘birds-eye view’.
 
                   worms-eye                                                             birds-eye


 
The ‘vanishing-point’ is that point where two parallel lines running into the distance seem to meet or disappear. Draw some examples.

 

Even when objects are closer and there is no ‘horizon’, the same ‘vanishing-point’ rules are followed.
Lightly draw in the theoretical horizon and vanishing-point in pencil first, erase later.

 

 

As exercises, draw a country road, then a corridor, then a simple town street.

Go to Lesson 9

 

 

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Lesson 9

Lesson 10