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How I create a Cartoon

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How I create a Cartoon

Post by epmonroe on Mon 24 Jan - 22:53

First, I spend time berating myself with words like "You gonna draw anything today, you worthless bum?" "It won't draw itself, ya know!!" "Coward!!" After this mental process I'm ready to begin the physical process.

My first tools are a mechanical pencil (nothing fancy), cheap typing paper, and a clear plastic ruler. Using the ruler I draw a 7 in. X 7 in. square. (You European types will have to do your own metric conversions) All my gag cartoons are drawn to this scale. I read it somewhere that others use this size. I don't know if it's true, but it works for me.

(As a side note: I've since saved myself some time by scanning the square I've drawn and printing off a bunch of them. Now I usually don't bother with having to draw a new square each time I start a cartoon)

I'll start by trying to get a general layout - where the characters, props, and setting will be placed - always keeping in mind that this is going to be shrunk down to a smaller size.

Once I've drawn the cartoon in pencil (with lots of erasing and cussing) I then break out my Pigma Micron 03 (0.35 mm line width) and trace out my pencil lines in ink. Once this is done I then place the outline on my homemade light board. (cost me only $20 to make myself) I then grab a sheet of smooth Bristol and draw a 7X7 inch square on this sheet also. I place the Bristol over my cheap typing paper drawing, match up the two squares, and start tracing in pencil! ...again.

Once the bristol paper tracing is completed I take it off the lightboard and ink it out. During the inking process I use 3 or 4 pens - the 03 for most of the work, 05 for small fill-ins like a nose or lettering, and also the cartoon boarder. For shading or hair I use a 005, and for large areas I use a brush pen.

Then I go back to the mental work - "That's not funny." "No, wait. It's funny! Your grandmother will love it!" "You suck!"

There. That's how I make mine. It's probably not the correct way, but I just started this and it's the only way I know.
I did try a Wacom but it commited suicide. Poor thing...

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by Simon Lake on Tue 25 Jan - 2:20

Hahaha that's a very refreshing approach, I like that epmonroe. Thanks for sharing! I'm more or less the same really except I can't afford Bristol paper (very posh) and I don't use a lightbox anymore even though I've got one. I have a pad of tracing paper handy as I'm too lazy to get up everytime to reciprocate images. 7 X 7" is might small for me. I'd be inclined to double that and have more freedom. The only problem bieng that when you do reduce, the lines are much thinner. That's why I am leaning towards doing everything in Illustrator these days and vector graphics are very much in demand. Was it assisted suicide?

Anyway I'm going to draw a mouse today. I'd rather go para- gliding but then I don't really have an option on that one. Watch this space...............

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by epmonroe on Tue 25 Jan - 2:33

Simon Lake wrote: Was it assisted suicide?

If my wife had you ask me that, the answer is no.

Simon Lake wrote:Anyway I'm going to draw a mouse today. I'd rather go para- gliding but then I don't really have an option on that one. Watch this space...............

I'm working on a cow.

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by Kathy on Wed 26 Jan - 8:26

I just LOVE reading how other people make their cartoons! It's very helpful to see that there are lots of different ways. And also, to know that other cartoonists are also posessed by evil demons that talk smack in their head. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by LeahG on Thu 27 Jan - 1:25

Your approach is slightly more organised than mine that's for sure.

That said my process if fairly simple till I get to the computer stage of things!

I often draw straight out with faber castle manga pen (size 'F' whatever that is) and then thicken lines here and there with 'B' for bold. Then I scan...that is where my troubles begin...

Meanwhile I am trying to get into habit of sketching in pencil and drawing sausage people etc. to get a better end result. Ruler has been used once...Rubber...rarely

Anyway technical wise

I scan at 300dpi, black and white

Then I shade in Pixia
Then I edit and crop in HP photo editing suite
Then I add text via Toonworks
Then I sometimes do soamt in GIMP

Then I downsize it online via 'shrinkmypictures.com' then if it's not all messed up by then I publish it, and I also publish it even if it is still all messed up.

My goal of course is to learn photoshop and GIMP and cut out ALL these middlemen!!

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by Kathy on Thu 27 Jan - 3:18

OK, here's my general way of drawing a cartoon.
I tend to doodle bits and pieces of the cartoon on scraps of paper, then stuff them all in my pocket. (I'm usually at work.) When I get home, I unstuff the pocket and sort through the scraps. Sometimes I redraw the elements I like in a sketchpad so they're on one piece of paper, and sometimes not (which results in lots of work notes also getting scanned LOL!)

Then I scan, sometimes the scraps of paper, sometimes the redrawn page and sometimes both. I bring the scans into Illustrator and use the pen tool to draw the elements and get the whole thing more organized in named layers, so it's easier to edit parts later. There's often tweaking of the drawing in Illustrator.

Once drawn, I start coloring and do more tweaking, until it's done or I can't figure out how to make it better. Or I'm sick of looking at it.

I'd like to utilize brush strokes in Illustrator to give some line weight variation and maybe get a different feel, but so far all I've come up with just looked like a graphic novel, and didn't fit well with the cartoon. I need to experiment more I guess.

The whole time, the evil demon in my head is dancing on what's left of my self-esteem, and calling me names like "Fraud" and telling me how crappy my work is and how stupid I appear to everyone, wouldn't I rather just go watch TV... tempting to quit when my adorable little dog brings me her toys. (which she lays at my feet and if I don't play with one, she goes and brings me another. I end up with a whole pile of toys at my feet - a sure sign she feels neglected!)

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by epmonroe on Thu 27 Jan - 4:34

I like to edit using Photoshop Elements. Mostly I use it to erase any bad marks or spots that show up on the scan. I use it also to place the text.

I've been wanting to get completely away from using it for text inside word balloons and use my own handwriting. I've only successfully done that once. I literally get so nervous my hand starts to shake. :-) I don't want to do all that work and then screw it up at the end.
Then someone suggested I do the word balloon first.
Oh yeah....


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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by Andries on Tue 1 Feb - 6:01

epmonroe wrote:
(As a side note: I've since saved myself some time by scanning the square I've drawn and printing off a bunch of them. Now I usually don't bother with having to draw a new square each time I start a cartoon)
Now THAT is a great tip.

epmonroe wrote:
I'll start by trying to get a general layout - where the characters, props, and setting will be placed -
I'll try that out.

epmonroe wrote:
There. That's how I make mine. It's probably not the correct way.
Indeed. There is no wrong way, so there isn't a correct way either. Very Happy
However, if you are satisfied with the result, every way is a right way!

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by cartunes-r-us on Tue 29 Nov - 7:22

I build up endless gags---I've probably got thousands of them, some better than others. I prefer drawing up rough pencils at half-size, then putting them away and looking at them objectively later. Sometimes it takes 2 years before a strip eventually gets drawn up! Often a weak idea will have the germ of a good idea, and can be suitably strengthened later. All these rough strips are kept in thick binders, I've been building them up for years.

I find that doing the rough layouts like thumbnail sketches first is the single most useful learning 'tool' that really helps the cartoonist how to lay out ideas and strips effectively: all the working out is done on el-cheapo paper first, meaning that the proper full-scaled drawing on 'posh paper' can be approached with confidence--------it also means less erasing and redrawing on the finished work later.




I also keep a thick notebook where I just write ideas down.....some of these fleeting thoughts are very strange indeed when viewed later, however I can usually develop some sort of workable idea for a strip out of these embryonic ideas.


Well, that's the ideas side basically covered------the actual drawing stage will be covered on here next.

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by LeahG on Tue 29 Nov - 7:52

I used to do this too..less so recently but yes a note book should always be handy! I used to do same too when I worked as an article writer for the web as I needed an endless stream of amusing tales to write about.

I found recently that watching 'Question Time' was a good source of political gag cartoon material as the TV audience contributes to the show now with 'texts' and often these can be quite funny and original and of course topical.

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by cartunes-r-us on Tue 29 Nov - 8:07

yes, I agree that just having the TV or radio on a lot can be a springboard for many ideas: especially news items.

Sometimes you can pass people in the street and hear something they say thsat can spring an idea as well....again, you're best to write it down before it disappears into thin air.

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Re: How I create a Cartoon

Post by LeahG on Tue 29 Nov - 9:08

Sometimes my friends come out with absolute gems too and can I remember them now?? No. I make a big song and dance about it at the time and then forget to write it down and poooooof...it's gone.

Best piece of kit....notebook and pencil!! Smile

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My methods

Post by Rattattat on Sun 10 Mar - 16:01

Many years ago, to amuse myself and students, I would draw bizarre passes to other classes -- to elicit laughter when the pass was presented. While this started with things like bathroom humor on bathroom passes, it evolved into a character called "Eddie the Rat" who then became "RatBoy". After leaving teaching, I drew during free time... and created "Bob" ( the name given to everyone) and Farmer Brown and Rattattat( the last evolution of Eddie/RatBoy). Insp0riation comes from puns, wordplay, and sight gags in everyday converstaion. Rattattat is more political, as are some cartoons.

I sketch in pencil, then work in marker. Most are B&W with shading and texture; some are accented with color.

I am going to try to attach a toon here; if not possible, see my website:
www.rattattat.com

(My adding a toon did not succeed, please see my site)


Last edited by Rattattat on Sun 10 Mar - 16:03; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add)

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