How to draw cartoons

Cartoon Planet founder shares the secrets of the trade

How to draw cartoons

To learn how to cartoon, first we have to understand what we mean by ‘cartoons’. According to ‘Foundation Course of Cartooning’ by John Richardson, its origins can be traced as far back as the ancient graffiti created by the Romans and they can vary from strips to political satire, children’s illustrations and graphic novels to manga. It can be serious or humorous, have a message or none at all.

In order to learn how to draw a cartoon, whether it’s a political statement, superhero or an illustration, it’s important to know the tools. Tools of cartooning can be divided into two main types – modern and classic techniques. The modern technique uses electronic tablets using a digital pen and by this method you can easily attach the tablet (for example Cintiq) to your PC in order to draw and directly edit your cartoon through a computer software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, SAI or Manga Studio.

However, the tools of classic cartooning are more readily available and accessible, and still widely used by international artists.

Modern and classic cartooning tools
• HB pencils, erasers, sharpeners and rulers.

• Inks: black inks, brush pens, dip pen, brushes, quill.

• Papers: A4 and A3, preferably on the thick side.

• A scanner.

• A desktop computer with Adobe Photoshop installed.
If you don’t have the technology, you can basically colour with Cpoic Markers or Sharpies in any colours you prefer or simply keep your cartoon in black and white.

Types of cartoons
• Political or social cartoon (like the ones we see in newspapers).

• Illustration (a poster, book cover or children’s books).

• Comic (strips, floppies and graphic novels).

• Animations (in 2D and 3D).

Newspaper strips are a good example of when to use classic cartooning techniques. The components of a classic cartoon are as follows:
• Main objects such as characters, animals or talking subjects.

• Motion to show that the cartoon is alive.

• Sound. This can be shown by texts or sounds like ‘Boom!’, ‘Boing!’, ‘Smack!’.

• Bubbles, whether these are talking bubbles, whispering, shouting or anything else that suits the cartoon scenario.

• Background, i.e. a city, buildings, home interiors or any other background related to the idea.

• Credit. This should include the cartoonist’s signature, website, blog or Instagram for example.

• Balance of objects.

How to get started:
• Prepare a work area which is comfortable and offers a lot of drawing space.

• Think of a topic such as the environment, unemployment or poverty for example.

• Come up with the idea and scenario. Imagine how the story should look like.

• Start sketching! Do it on another paper before penciling.

• Begin penciling it.

• Ink it using several thicknesses of black inks.

• Erase any pencil lines that aren’t necessary.

• Scan it.

• Do the colouring in and computer editing (if you’re using a PC).

• Write in some text and conversation between characters.

• Publish and share it! You must publish a cartoon either on social media, a blog, in magazines or newspapers.
Cartoon Planet are hosting workshops at this year’s IGN Convention being held from October 24-25. Ticket prices are BD7 for one day or BD12 for two days. Open Fri 1pm-10pm; Sat noon-10pm. Bahrain International Circuit, Zallaq.

Cartoon Planet

Mohammed Al-Mahdi set up Bahrain’s first ever company to focus solely on creating animated cartoons. They offer consultancy and creation of all manner of animations from colouring books to caricatures, covers to posters. And they also offer lessons which include workshops, courses and private sessions on how to draw, edit and publish cartoons. On top of all that, they offer classes on ‘Adobe Photoshop Fundamentals’ for beginners.
Visit or call 7700 8449 / 3679 1878

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