Category: Cartooning

Cartoon Sketching: How to develop your imagination by finding eyeballs

If you have trouble stimulating your imagination, I recommend that you take online classes from Carla Sonheim and her select group of instructors.

While new classes are regularly announced on her website, Carla Sonheim Presents, if you are short of time (or money), just invest in her book, Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals.

Book cover of "Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals" by Carla SonheimWhile she teaches multi-media drawing and painting, your main takeaway from this book is learning how to see (and therefore “draw”) imaginary animals that you see almost everywhere you look. The trick is to identify a pair of eyes, then let your imagination see the critter who owns them.

Look anywhere – on walls, floors, tree trunks, stone ledges, and more – to find eyeballs. Start sketching on the spot, or take photos and sketch when you get home.

The examples that follow show you how to proceed. For immediate practice, find eyeballs and even related noses and eyebrows on cliff faces in the Hudson River Palisades.

Hudson River Palisades cliffs, photos by Karen Little

Here are a few examples of what I saw during a January 2018 stroll. Rough sketches can fill notebooks as well as inspire characters for books and illustrations.

painting of rock spirits by Karen Little 2018

A leaf spirit by Karen Little 2018

A bush spirit by Karen Little 2018Ever wonder how tribes across the globe came up with their symbolism? Just look into ponds of swirling water and imaginary critters emerge. It is up to you to give them life.

water spirits by Karen Little 2018

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This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Cartoon Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. March 8, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support:

Our mission is to help people learn how to sketch, love what they do, and share their sketches with others. It is supported by our gift center on Sketch-Views.com, with products like the one you see at the bottom of this page.

The cartoon on this cup is based on “eyeballs” Karen spotted looking out from a Hudson River Palisades cliff.


Cartoon Sketching: It is all in the lines. Tips on how to ink your sketches.

While many of us regard a cartoon as a funny picture, in reality, a cartoon is a line drawing where distinctions are made by the way lines are expressed.

Look closely at  the illustration I made of violets (below) and you’ll see that its outline is made up of lines with irregular widths, giving added interest to a subject. Prior to computerized drawing programs, illustrations of all types were finished by professional inkers prior to publication.  If it wasn’t for an inker’s work, edges of illustrations would look fuzzy or simply light gray.

To find out more about the profession of inking, Google the phrase cartoon inkers. A good overview of the subject is How To Be A Comic Book Inker. It covers commentary by famous inkers, a summary of tools, and a video on how inking is done.

Like calligraphy, practice is required, but you don’t have to memorize alphabetical styles. While hard calligraphic pens are handy, many inkers prefer to use very fine-tipped brushes because when pressure is slightly applied, variable width strokes result.

To get started, ideally you should have:

  • A traditional light box, or LED tablet (which provides better visibility through paper)
  • A pack of smooth Bristol paper (not vellum). Packs are available from Strathmore and Canson.
  • Brushes or pens
    • Buy a round, 0 and 00 fine tip brush & India Ink, or . . .
    • Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens (you will not need extra ink, which is handy, but these are harder to use than traditional brushes)
  • White-out to cover inking mistakes

To trace, place a sketch on a light box, then cover it with a sheet of Bristol paper. When you turn on the box’s light, the image shows through the Bristol paper, providing the pattern to trace.

Get started tracing by using non-representative sketches, like the one below. In this way, you won’t get hung up on whether your new skill makes the underlying sketch look good. (Click HERE to acquire this 8.5 x 11 inch pattern.)

If you don’t have a light table or tablet, print several copies of the practice sheet and ink over each practice sheet’s lines.

As you become confident, learn about cross hatching such as taught by Alphonso Dunn who provides excellent free video tutorials on the subject.

In addition to developing control, also identify the inking styles you like.  That style will make your drawings stand out, with the opposite of that being coloring book characters that lay flat and somewhat lifeless.

Inking is simply one of many skills involved in creating interesting drawings. Unfortunately, inking is one many sketchers ignore.  Generally, ink is applied after a pencil sketch is made, but some people are so skilled at it, they skip pencil layouts altogether.

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This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Cartoon Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. February 23, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free to non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support:

Our mission is to help people learn how to sketch, love what they do, and share their sketches with others. It is supported by our gift center on Sketch-Views.com, with products like the one you see at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Cartoon Sketching: Combining animal and human into anthropomorphic characters

Learning how to draw anthropomorphic characters, which are a combination of human and animal features, is a lot of fun.

Because this type of cartooning really rests on your imagination more than your current drawing level skills, anyone can do it, young and old.

I was introduced to the subject by Carla Sonheim and her book, Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals, which taught how to see imaginary characters by identifying eyeballs in surfaces like cement, tree bark, and rusty metal, then imaginating the related body. I spent a year doodling these, then branched off into creating humanized animals (or animalized humans). These are fun to create and entertain others.

To stimulate your imagination and start drawing, look through photos to find an animal and person in a pose of interest.

To find two photo references, I visited Pixelbay.com.

Next, I placed the dog’s head on the woman’s body. This can be done manually on paper via “cut-and-paste,” or through a computer art program, which is what I used.

Using the existing images, I manipulated the woman’s right hand to suggest she was holding a cell phone. Again, this type of manipulation can be done on paper or through a computer.

While my finished cartoon character didn’t faithfully reproduce the references, those references stimulated my imagination to produce the following image–a dog-like figure who is stuck on a boring phone call.

The secret to creating humorous cartoons is in conveying emotions through the eyes and eyebrows. Experiment by making a single cartoon figure, but without eyeballs and eyebrows, copy it, and then draw the eyeballs in each copy, but in different positions.

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Our mission is to help people learn how to sketch, love what they do, and share their sketches with others. Our mission is supported by our gift center on Sketch-Views.com, with products like the one you see at the bottom of this page.  Would you like to have us create a custom illustration for you? Just ask!

Author:

This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Cartoon Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. February 10, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free to non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at karen@littleviews.com.

 


Cartoon Sketching: Draw borders around felt-tip marker sketches

A quick way to make funny images is to quickly draw something with a felt tip marker, then draw borders around the boundaries made with your felt tips. Here’s an example of how to start:

Stage 1 rough cartoons by Karen Little

The first step in this process looks very weak, but when you sketch around the lines you made with the felt tips using a black pen, suddenly the images come alive.

Stage 2 transforming rough cartoons by Karen Little

Here is another example. Loosely make your cartoon figures, then draw borders around your lines. Easy and fast to do and the borders give your images a chunky finished look.

Example of drawing borders on cartoon lines by Karen Little

This method can also be used to enhance kids drawings. Depending on how busy the original drawing is, outlining the outlines can give a simple drawing the look of a poster.

Support:

Our mission is to help people love what they sketch and encourage them to share their sketches, sketch often, and do so with others. It is supported by our gift center on Sketch-Views.com, with products like the one you see at the bottom of this page.  Would you like to have us create a custom illustration for you? Just ask!

Author:

This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Cartoon Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. January 21, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free to non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at karen@littleviews.com.