The ART in cARTooning

 Mechanics
A simple step by step guide on how to make your own cartoons and strips.

Use this link to go straight to Lesson 2.

Materials: pencil; pen; plenty of paper; a coloring utensil such as color pencils, crayons, or markers.

Lesson 1

Step 1 "Drawing with Geometry"

When first beginning the creative process of cartooning it's a good idea to start with just one character to practice drawing. The character could be an animal, person, thing. . . whatever you want it to be. You could even re-draw a random cartoon from the Sundays. Be creative.

 For a good hint in selecting or creating your character, look at Jimmy. He's made of geometric parts. A circle makes his head. Two ovals make Jimmy's eyes. A triangle for his nose, and two triangles are his ears.
Now, try drawing Jimmy with a pencil using these shapes. Once you have the shapes down on paper connect them and go over the outline with a pen. Then go back and erase the pencil--marks. Fill in any missing details. You can make many simple images using geometric shapes. They include sqaures, circles, triangles, ovals, diamonds, etc. . . Use these shapes to create your own character.

Once you have your character drawn, trying drawing it from different angles and with different expressions.

Remember: What looks like a square from the front, could be a triangle from a side view.

Step 2 "Lighting and Coloring"

Once you have finished outlining the picture in pen or marker, it's time to color. First consider the color scheme you would like to use. Think about what color your character is in reality (if it is in reality), and then exaggerate that. Of course, it doesn't really matter what color you choose. You could color a monkey purple as long as it is still obviously a monkey.

The color scheme for Jimmy is light-brown, blonde, and red.

Now that you've decided on your color scheme its time for a lesson in lighting. First of all, a lighting source is where light comes from in the picture. The light falls down on the figure in parallel lines from the lighting source. These are the basic directional lighting sources: Top, Bottom, Right, Left, Front, & Back.

 In the picture of Jimmy on the right the light source is Top-Right. Notice how the shading is lighter in the top-right of the actual image and becomes darker towards the bottom-left. To create this effect simply press harder--
to create a solid color and lightly brush with the side of the pencil to lighten.

Shadows are cast the opposite direction of the light source adjacent to where the figure is. Multiple light sources (candles/lamps for example) cause multiple shadows. The better your shading gets the more three-dimensional it will become.

After you've practiced shading and drawing you may consider making a comic. If so begin brainstorming a them and characters for the next lesson.

Lesson 2

Site Goal:

To educate individuals about cartoons and the many aspects that make it up.

This is an original lesson by a real cARToonist.

This site created and maintained by

Tim Turner, Kristen Wetzler, Kevin Autry, and Melissa Campbell