How To Draw Cartoons for Dummies Step-by-Step

How To Draw Cartoons for Dummies The Easy Way

Political Cartoon For Show to Beginners
How to Draw Political Cartoons. Getty Images

Cartoons are a great way to express creativity and can be a way to earn some extra money. Of course, anyone just starting out cannot be expected to immediately achieve fame and fortune through cartoons, but it is relatively easy to get started. Cartoons have an allure with people of all ages. Cartoons can be juvenile and funny. They can also be political or socially relevant, and still be funny. In fact, cartoons have been used to draw attention to political, social and environmental issues in an intelligent and humorous manner.

When it comes to cartoons, there are instances when creativity and intelligence is a better approach than cold hard logic and realism. This is an instance when honey would attract more flies than vinegar. When it comes to artistry, cartoonists are famed less for their drawings, and more for their message. If you go to The New Yorker and scan through the cartoons, you will notice, even for the New York Times, that some of the drawings fall into the category of a Grade 4er!

Like a lot of cartoonists, there is really no need to be artistically inclined or to have the innate ability to draw beautifully. What is really required is an attitude to intelligently create something that delivers a message. Here are five tips that you can follow to start drawing cartoons:

Cartoonists are not all great artists. Not all of them are great at drawing. It helps if you know how to draw, but if not, then you can start with what skills you have and develop the drawing or character as you go along.

This does not mean that you can get away with stick characters. Your first output will not be as polished as you would wish. Cartoonists develop their art through years of practice. Through the development of character and dialog, the drawings also develop. These are subtle improvements in how the characters are drawn, which can only be seen after years of sketches.

Start with a basic idea of the character. A simple drawing of the face and body, and some distinct characteristic. It is okay if all your characters look alike. The dialog should be able to differentiate between them. Or in some instances, the look-alike characters become part of the story.

2. Exaggerate, but not too much

Most caricaturists exaggerate their drawings. Specifically, the exaggerations are on distinct features of an individual. Personalities always have one or two features which tend to make them stand out. A nose, eyebrows, a cleft chin, or the ears can be the distinguishing feature. These are exaggerated in order that the viewer will immediately see the resemblance of the drawing with the famous personality. Exaggeration is used to make the drawing more recognizable. Cartoonists usually use this trick in a more generic manner.

A word of warning, however: you can exaggerate but you should try not to go overboard. Ultimately, if the drawing is only a nose, then it could be anyone. If the drawing is a caricature, try to make it funny without being disrespectful. If it is used as a comic strip, you can simplify your drawings to make it fairly recognizable within the context of the drawing style.

You can only do so much in a cartoon. Think of it as a very short story composed of one frame – for a caricature -- or up to four frames for a comic strip. If you have a great story or a joke you don't need to be a very good artist. Let the story unfold. You also do not need to explain everything. The reader is expected to be able to understand the references. Go straight to the point, and trust the reader to interpret it in the same way that you sent the story.

4. Invite feedback

Your drawings will not appeal to everyone. However, if the drawings show promise you will be able to draw comments from readers. Better yet, you should show it to family members or friends who are willing to give frank and unbiased opinions.

After you have got the hang of the story telling, you can devote more time to practicing drawing the characters. You can flesh out the drawing and make it more 3D. You can change the perspective, as well as the lighting, angles and perspectives. You can stick to a 2D layout, but it would be better if you can differentiate the foreground, the object in focus and the backgound. Sometimes a simple cross-hatch design can do wonders for the background.

Understand that cartoons can be a fun and profitable hobby. They can also be an entertaining and educational outlet. You should try to have some fun while doing it.