Drawing comics is an art. The secret of the trade lies in the delicate beauty of how each work and each character is drawn. As in every branch of art, every comic artist has a unique signature.
Printed cartoons became popular back in the 1900s. Herbert Block, along with other comic book artists, popularized the genre with his famous illustrations.
To this day, comic books and cartoons have large fanbases around the world. From artist to artist, from decade to decade, the genre changed and evolved. Nevertheless, its core never altered, and that is why people are so attracted to this form of art.
If you want to get into the trade and try your hand with drawing cartoons, let’s start from the basics. Let’s explore the vast sea of illustrations and then see the best way to get started.
The History of Illustrations
For many comic book artists, drawing is closely related to reality. That might sound odd to you, as most comics are now famous for combining magic with sci-fi elements, superheroes, and mysteries. Nevertheless, social and political affairs greatly influenced the evolution of comics.
The public got introduced to comics initially through simple cartoons. Magazines and newspapers published cartoons each week, and the audience took to this form of expression immediately.
After a while, creative artists started collecting their cartoons previously published in papers and printed them as collections. Step by step, comic books found their niche and became an independent genre on their own. The transition from newspaper cartoons and original comic books was triggered by the expansion of narrative. Authors created comics that followed not one event, but a string of events that happened to one or multiple characters.
Mass media and propaganda boosted the comics industry greatly. In the 1930s, we welcomed the first Superman comic book. This moment was one of the most important moments in the history of comic art, as this solidified superheroes as the defining genre of comic books.
After World War II, Japanese cartoonists established manga as their traditional form of comic expression. But after that, comics lost the attention of the audience. Modern times saw a lapse in popularity of the genre and medium. It was only around the 1970s and 1980s that the audience returned to comic books and strips. Soon after, graphic novels were introduced as a genre, which expanded the branch even further.
Of course, technology is one of the most important factors in the history of comic art. The printing press was the trigger for mass distribution of cartoons, just like internet launched a massive wave of popularity for comics. Today, webcomics are a popular form of comics that are published and read exclusively online.
Popularity and Other Uses
Once comic books entered the mainstream culture, other forms of art started incorporating it in various ways.
Today, the elements of comic art are very present in a plethora of media or art forms. For example, a host of movies are based on comic books. TV shows and advertisements employ various cartoon drawing techniques to attract viewers. Cartoons and comic books are very popular in the gaming industry as well. Nearly every branch of gaming is garnished with comic elements.
Comic art even reached the online casino industry, as a number of slot game characters and games are inspired by comic books. Even music videos have been known to use various elements for aesthetic purposes.
Mastering the Technique
The cartoon drawing technique also underwent significant changes over the years. The founders of the genre started by jotting down with pencils. It was the only way because they used what they had on hand.
However, today the technique is different. As we entered the digital age, even cartoon drawing became digitalized. Artists today create their content using complex equipment, including various apps and programs. This way, creating unique designs and cartoons is much easier thanks to technology. However, some artists still prefer to start by creating the first sketch the old-fashioned way – with a simple pencil.
If you want to start drawing cartoons, we recommend starting from your immediate surroundings.
Gather inspiration from your environment, and then decide what you want to see come alive on paper. As a beginner, you should stick to the basic technique of drawing using only a pencil.
After you gain more experience, you can transfer your knowledge to the digital world. But perhaps the best advice that we can give you is this: enjoy your drawing.
And have fun!
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