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People often ask me how long a cartoon takes to draw. The answer of course depends on how complicated it is. More important though is how you turn an idea into a picture.
So this is a step by step guide to successful cartooning.
- Find a topic or hobby you might enjoy. Let’s take shooting for example.
- Go and try the hobby. Buy a gun you can’t afford, fail miserably to follow the shooting instructor’s clear advice, get furious, miss clays.
- Make every mistake in the book, go to the wrong shoot, miss birds, shoot the wrong type, lose the dog, shout at the wife, shout at the dog, lose the wife, insult your host, overtip the keeper, go home and drown your sorrows… that is the easy bit.
- The next day get a large pad of high quality art paper and think about the disasters. Start to see the funny side, perhaps even smile at the horror of some of it.
- Stare at the paper. Doodle some ideas with a pencil. Make a coffee, listen to the radio, walk the dogs, make another coffee, stare at the paper, think of other careers.
- The idea starts to come together, use a 0.5mm waterproof ink pen over the pencil doodle. Rub out the pencil lines with a putty rubber. Probably scrunch it up and start again a few times… keep calm.
- Once you have the outline, start using watercolour paints to fill in between the lines.
- Let that dry… make a cup of coffee. Sneak a chocolate digestive.
- Get a dip pen (old fashioned quill without the feathers) dip in Indian Ink and go over the outline… makes it stand out and looks sharper. The harder you press the thicker the line. If you don’t mess this bit up, breath, stand back and admire your work.
- Sign the masterpiece, show to The Greatest Critic… she says ‘hmmmm not bad’ or worse, just ‘hmmmm’. If the former, that’s ok; if the latter, start again tomorrow. Either way pour large drink and think about the next cartoon…. repeat until successful.
Government Health Warning.
Trying to make a living from cartooning is risky and may not suit everyone. Other careers are available.