In southwestern France, near the village of Montignac, you will find an ancient cave system of Lascaux. It is known to have Paleolithic cave paintings that are 16,000 years old. The images of animals are realistic and have multiple legs depicting different states of motion in animation. This is one of the earliest evidences of the usage of animation techniques. One of the first animated films is that of French caricaturist Emil Cohl’s movie ‘Fantasmagorie’. Made in 1908, it consisted of 700 drawings.
During the period between 1930 to 1960 with more advanced techniques and technology, short theatrical cartoon shots of 5 to 10 minutes were introduced before movie screenings in theaters. They were produced in large numbers by big studios like Disney, Warner Brothers, MGM and Paramount. Today we have plenty of cartoon strips, books and animated movies which use advanced software and require specialized skill sets. Some of the popular cartoon strips are Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts. The most popular cartoon animation characters, series or movies are Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tom & Jerry, Tweety, Bugs Bunny, Superman, Spiderman, The Phantom and Batman.
Drawing cartoons comes easy to those who have a broad imagination, chaotic creativity and a good hand. There are simple techniques that could be used by everyone to learn how to draw cartoons. Find ahead a few tips to make drawing cartoons easier.
Drawing A Cartoon
- The basic technique and open secret to drawing a cartoon is to first draw ‘stick figures’. Stick figures are outlines of the basic shape of your character, whether it is a person, animal or thing. Once you have the layout you could add in detailing to make the drawing look more realistic.
- When drawing from a photograph or picture, we need to draw what we ‘actually’ see and not what we think we need to see. It is the difference between using your eyes and brain. To break away from our conditioning, you could hold the picture upside down to jumble reference points of our perception. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Try making two minute sketches. Take a pencil, paper and stopwatch. Set an alarm for two minutes and draw whatever you see. Now try another two minute sketch of something else that you see around. This may be a bit discouraging at the beginning as all you will have are incomplete drawings. But if you have patience and practice this regularly, this is considered to be one of the best techniques in capturing images and ideas as they are.
- Another way to draw a cartoon of a real life picture is to break it into quadrants. It may be helpful to cover the quadrants that you are not focusing on.
- Try to imitate lines, curves and shades you see rather than the overall picture. This will make it easier and you will get a better result.
- Sometimes it is also good to focus on the white spaces or ‘negative spaces’ rather than black lines. By looking at the picture intensely for a while, you will be able to blur the white or black spaces accordingly.
- If you feel you have made an error, learn how to improvise rather than erase and over draw. This improvisation technique will help you learn to be more creative and guide you to move outside your box of conditioned perception.