Friday, April 24, 2015

Cartoon Class: Can You Draw 160 Cartoons?

A comic book artist friend of mine, when looking at comic book art by Wally Wood (Wally Wood being the best artist ever, in his opinion), would point to Mr. Wood's art and always say, "Look at the knowledge!"

And that's what drawing is all about; acquiring the knowledge of how to draw. How do you draw a fish? A bird? a cool car? a poodle?

Sure, when you read those words you get a visual in your mind -- but how to train your hand to draw what you imagine?

Answer: by drawing a lot.

How do you get to be a better cartoonist?

There is the old piece of advice: take a stack of paper the same height that you are. Draw on every sheet. When you get to the bottom, you've gotten a lot of the bad drawings out of your system and you're a better artist.

I teach cartoon classes in New England and New York. One of the things we do is the "cartoon grid," a series of empty boxes on a page with a word under each panel. As you can see above, there is one of the cartoon grids, all filled out by a recent cartoon class of elementary school kids.

There are 10 kids in the class, all of them in the upper grades at the local elementary school. All of them are fearless drawing machines!

Here are some details:

Above: 4 of one page's 16 panels. The sleepy monster is one of my favorites.

The chef is crying! The student cartoonist added the emotion herself. What's the story? Cutting onions? Did the souffle fall? Did Gordon Ramsey yell?

This is the most devilly devil have ever seen!

I like the addition of "Yo! Yo!!"

Yes, that IS a big nose!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Captain Underpants!

Look at that breathy exhaust! Great!

This does not look like a nice robot.

I couldn't draw a pencil better myself.

The class of ten kids drew 160 images in about 25 minutes. How it works: you would get the cartoon grid and read all 16 of the boxes. Pick your favorite to draw, draw one image, and then, when finished drawing, pass it to the left, to the next student cartoonist. The 10 pieces of paper went around the circle of hardworking cartoonists until all of the grids were filled in.

Here are the results (click on them to supersize):

Just look at all that knowledge! And look at all of the personal, artistic touches: those steam lines coming out of that hot cup of coffee, the girl dancing with the "TAP TAP" sound effect, the mountain climber with all of his gear. I could go on and on, but pictures are worth a thousand words. And there are 160 pictures to look at, so take a moment to look above, and see this next generation of talent.

It worked out to be about 6.4 drawings per minute.

A lot of pages! It's not a pile of paper as high as I am, but it's a darn good bit of drawing by a classful of talent for sure!

WANT TO HIRE MIKE TO TEACH CARTOONING? Contact: mike@mikelynchcartoons dot com

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