1: Starting Out

EQUIPMENT: All you need at this stage is pencil, paper, eraser and felt-nib pen. 1. Take your pencil or felt-nib and dozens of scraps of paper and draw ovals, hundreds of them. IMPORTANT Keep your wrists off the paper. The purpose of this is to help you ‘loosen up’....

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2: Eyes

EYES Eyes are the most expressive part of a cartoon face, so these too need lots of practice. But simple expressions are not difficult to create. First draw lots of pairs of circles and oblongs as below, add dots, don’t make the dots too small. Then add eyebrows. Do...

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3: Bodies

BODIES We’ll start with ‘stick-figures’. Practice trying to get the general proportions right. Though exaggerate the size of the head. This allows you to get facial expressions that can be easily seen. ‘Body language’ is an important part of the figures. Exaggerate...

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4: MEN, WOMEN and CLOTHING

MEN, WOMEN and CLOTHING Body shape and clothes play an important role in portraying in a shorthand way the stereotypes of characters, eg by profession, (like a lawyer, teacher, baker, farmer etc) or ‘type’, ( surfer, conservative, bikie etc). Observation is the best...

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5: FACES

FACES Faces come in an endless variety. Just by changing a hairstyle, glasses, or adding moustache or beard you can come up with an enormous number of versions of the same character. Start with a basic ‘profile’, then vary the hair etc. Do 20 of your own. Do the same...

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6: ANIMALS

ANIMALS Animals feature in cartoons in two ways; often as a ‘prop’ (eg as a background farmyard animal, like a horse being ridden, a dog being talked to) and sometimes as the central character of the cartoon, (eg Mickey Mouse, Garfield, etc). Cartoons of animals do...

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7: HATCHING and CROSSHATCHING

This is a technique to give form to bodies or backgrounds. It needs to be sparsely and carefully used. Practice. Hatch                                                                    Crosshatch A wonderful example is this drawing by E H Shepard from “Winnie the...

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8: BACKGROUNDS and PERSPECTIVE

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...

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9: CARICATURES

CARICATURES The technique in this lesson is to exaggerate facial features, but facial features are only part of good caricature. Body shape and “language’ also need to be convincing. This comes through practice. Here we shall look at faces. Look at the subject...

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10: THE IDEA

THE IDEA The drawing is only half of a cartoon, perhaps less. The rest is the ‘idea’. Where do ideas come from? Albania, Turkey, Mars ? Who knows. It comes with practice, and this practice can be learnt. Take a topic. At this stage keep it basic. Eg it may be a word,...

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