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  • What is a cartoon really?

  • Many of us love cartoons,

  • most of us grew up reading them

  • or having them read to us.

  • The fact is, cartoons have been around a long time.

  • There are all kinds of cartoons:

  • strip comics,

  • comic books,

  • political cartoons,

  • single-panel cartoons,

  • graphic novels,

  • web comics,

  • animation,

  • caricature,

  • there is something for everyone.

  • No matter the form them come in,

  • cartoons elicit all kinds of emotions from the viewer

  • - happiness, sadness, anger, hilarity, calm -

  • and can transmit ideas in an instant.

  • Cartoons are a universal medium enjoyed and understood

  • around the world and across borders.

  • This is why they have survived so long as an art form.

  • But how can a medium that is on the surface so simple

  • have so much influence and at times be so meaningful?

  • Let's look at what a cartoon is.

  • It starts with an idea.

  • The idea can be verbal,

  • written in words,

  • or it can be visual.

  • A visual idea is simply

  • a picture,

  • a drawing,

  • a doodle.

  • These ideas come from a variety of places.

  • Cartoonists might find the idea from observing life,

  • reading a newspaper,

  • trawling online.

  • It can come from a sentence someone said

  • or a single word heard on television.

  • Cartoonists are like sponges;

  • they soak up people, places, mannerisms, clothing, and behavior.

  • Sometimes they might jot them down

  • in a little black book that they carry around with them.

  • Other times, it is just soaked up into the cartoonist's brain

  • only to be squeezed out later when she is sitting at her drawing table.

  • Not only does a cartoonist have to be aware

  • of what she is seeing visually,

  • but she has to listen to herself think.

  • In other words, take the incoming information

  • and select it, shape it, and then use it for a cartoon.

  • Now that you have an idea,

  • or something you think could be good for a cartoon,

  • it's time to shape it.

  • A cartoon is like a staged play.

  • A cartoonist is playwright,

  • director,

  • stage designer,

  • choreographer,

  • and costume designer.

  • A cartoon has characters,

  • a set,

  • dialogue,

  • even if one line,

  • and a backstory.

  • The characters must be dressed to fit the idea,

  • speak in a way that is natural and forwards the idea

  • or gives the punchline.

  • Nothing should be in the cartoon

  • that is not absolutely necessary for the advancement of the idea.

  • The image and words have to <i>dance</i> together

  • in a way that makes sense.

  • It could be a graceful dance, or an awkward dance,

  • if that is part of the humor or idea.

  • And then the execution.

  • Some cartoonists sketch the idea with pencil

  • then ink it with pen using a light box.

  • Others visualize the image in their head

  • and draw directly on the paper in pen.

  • Different kinds of pens are used:

  • felt-tip, mechanical pen, or a crow quill.

  • Paper can be light-weight or heavy-bond.

  • Many cartoonists add gray tone, called a wash,

  • by using black watercolor and a brush.

  • Others use a soft pencil for the tone.

  • Color is usually created by using watercolor.

  • A finished cartoon can then be scanned and adjusted,

  • and the caption can be added on the computer with Photoshop.

  • New technologies are emerging for the cartoonist's use in creating her cartoon.

  • Photoshop can serve as a tool for color and image.

  • Some may draw directly on a tablet with a stylus.

  • The choices at this stage of creation work in tandem with the idea,

  • and often when the final caption is added,

  • it gets adjusted yet again.

  • But, little is left to chance,

  • except, perhaps, some of the watercolor.

  • All these elements function in concert with one another.

  • It's almost like a dance of words, ideas, and images

  • that work together in order to make the cartoon

  • a timeless, resilient work of art.

What is a cartoon really?

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B1 TED-Ed cartoonist idea watercolor pen adjusted

【TED-Ed】Inside a cartoonist's world - Liza Donnelly

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/01/18
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