Learn Cartooning Without Even Drawing

You would think that to learn to draw great cartoons, you’d have to be drawing and practising constantly – but this is not always necessary. There is an important stage in becoming a cartoonist that doesn’t require drawing at all. That’s because a good cartoon drawing is not one that is masterfully crafted, but rather one that masterfully captures and communicates the essence of the visual idea.

To achieve that, you have to know, recognize and understand what you want to draw before you even start drawing – and the way to do this is through observation. Let me explain why observation is so important.

*If you don’t want to always draw the same cartoon face, then you need to build up your visual memory of different faces and features – by observing the huge variety around you. Take note of all the different head-forms, hair-styles, nose-shapes and sizes for instance.

*If you want your cartoon character to display a wide range of expressions and emotions, then you need to observe these in real faces. You could study your own face in a mirror, for example, and view all the subtle variations in expressions of shock, surprise, boredom, anger and any other emotion you dare to display to yourself. 4anime

*The same goes for posture: a person’s whole identity can be reflected in his posture – how he sits, stands or walks. Through active observation you can apply these postures to your cartoon characters to determine their own unique identities.

*Clothing is another focus-point for you to concentrate on. Fashion is not only the domain of designers – cartoonists need to understand clothing too. How do you dress your cartoon figures? How do you show the difference in different fabrics?

*And then there are animals and buildings and nature to observe. And all the things we surround ourselves with in this world. You can easily recognize a chair or a table or a bicycle or your cat… but can you recall their real forms when it comes to drawing them?

To bring your cartoon drawings alive you have to be able to visualize every aspect of your subject matter, and you can only do this through truly observing the world around you. Sketchbooks and cameras aren’t necessary – it is enough just to look, with your heart as well as your eyes. The drawing comes later, when you understand what you want to draw.

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