Anyone who has ever doodled with a pencil is a potential cartoonist. With practice and some knowledge of how to construct figures and faces, you can create caricatures and cartoons which will amuse everyone. The basic principles, outlined below, are remarkably simple. If you can follow them, you will have laid the foundation for a lot of fun. And if you have the imagination to apply them to the people and the scenes around you in an individual way, a little different from that of anyone else, there is a good chance that your work will find a gratifying outlet in newspapers, magazines, and. to some extent, in books. Cartooning is an entertaining pastime in itself and a good starting point for the more serious forms of drawing and painting which you may wish to take up later.
All you need to start is a soft pencil and some paper. The simplest of all plans is based on the use of forms that are already known to you, and which you can easily draw. From these simple forms, we build other forms, which without some constructive plan would be too complicated for the beginner. For example, the top of the head is nearer to a ball in shape than anything else. So we start with a ball (fig. 205). Then we add the shapes we want. You can't draw the final outlines at first, and that is why most people give up drawing as too tough. But you can use a simple procedure of construction which will take you where you want to go and make drawing easy.
The rule is this: by building preliminary shapes and developing the outlines on them, we know where to draw our real lines. Every form is like some simpler form, with this or that variation added on. The simplest forms we know are the sphere, the cube and the egg. If we say, "Draw a line," you don't know what we mean. But if we say, "Draw a ball, cube or egg, a cylinder, block, or cone," you get a perfect image. As you proceed to build all sorts of shapes out of simpler ones you'll be amazed at how accurate and solid the resulting drawings will appear (fig. 206). When the construction lines are erased very few will be able to guess how it was done.
Get a pencil and paper. Draw lightly all you see printed lightly in the following sketches. Take one stage at a time, on one drawing, until the last stage; then finish with strong lines over the light ones, the lines we have printed darkly. That is all there is to learn.
this is how we use the ball.
the ball will show us the construction in any pose.
You don't even have to draw a perfect ball. A lopsided one will do. Do the best you can even if it looks more like a potato (fig. 207). These are "happen heads" (fig. 208).
If your drawings are not too good, don't get discouraged. You'll soon get the idea. When you begin to sense the form you'll have the whole works. Then you can polish up. Draw a lot of balls. Draw them in any position and shape you wish. The line from the top to the bottom is the middle line of the face. The horizontal line, which looks like the equator, is the eyeline and also locates the ear (fig. 209). Soon you'll be able to create any character you wish, tall, short, fat, skinny, jolly, sad, gawky, but just now concentrate for a while on the heads. They're important.
For the laugh, squeeze the cheek high against the eye, tilt eyes at outside corners. Fold under the eyes. Pull corners of mouth well up. Show upper teeth only (fig. 210).
Really furious. Pop the eyes. Distend nostrils. Show teeth. Pull cheek forward and down. Open corners of mouth wide and pull down (fig. 211).
Blocky shapes always combine well with round ones. It's a good idea to make the final lines angular even around curves. There's no limit to the variety (fig. 212).
Construct the head from the cranium down, always. There's no other satisfactory way. You can see by now that the position of the ball determines the pose of the head. The pieces you build on determine the character.
Put them into action at once. There will always be movement of the parts. Draw these carefully and become familiar with the movement of each part (fig. 213).
Choose a pose from a magazine, photograph, or from life, or maybe you can find an old doll, or toy animal or something that will give you movement of the limbs. Draw the framework of the approximate action. Build on each part as you see it. Note whether lines at joints curve up or down, how the part is tipped toward or away from you.
PRETTY GOOD I
DIVIDE THE BALL ANY WAY YOU WISH. ADD NOSE IN MIDDLE. ADD CROSSLINES ABOVE AND IELOW THE NOSE.
ADD EYES. EARS. MOUTH. BROWS. ETC. ATTACH A COUPLE OF BALLS FOR CHEEKS. DRAW LIGHTLY. THEN SELECT THE LINES YOU WANT TO KEEP IN. DRAW IN HEAVILY.
THIS is "building."
DRAW THE BALL TILT IT AT ANY ANGLE. CONTROL THE TYPE OF FACE IY SELECTING SHAPES THAT GIVE YOU THE. EFFECT YOU WANT.
ATTACH NOSE. EARS, CHIN.
NOW EYES, MOUTH. CHEEKS. BROW (DON'T DRAW ONE FACE TIL IT IORES YOU. RAISE. LOWER, FATTEN. DIMINISH . . . INVENT THE SHAPE YOU WANT AND VARY IT.)
ERASE UNTIL FAINT. THE BUILT IN SHAPES WILL SUGGEST OTHER DETAILS. WHEN IT'S ALL SET. POKE IN THE BLACK.
MOVEMENT OF THE SHOULDERS, HIPS, SPINE, AND PELVIS. TWISTING. BENDING.
IN WALKING, THE ARMS MOVE IN REVERSE MOTION OF THE LEGS. THE WEIGHT IS TIPPED FORWARD. CATCHING BALANCE WITH EACH STEP.
IN RUNNING. THE ARMS ALSO MOVE IN REVERSE OF THE LEGS IN JUMPING THE ARMS MOVE IN UNISON WITH THE LEGS. THE ARMS SWING DOWN IN LANDING.
Build a dozen or so such drawings and you will be able to set up figures of your own in almost any action. The correct assembling of the parts or masses of the figure is much more important than actual knowledge of the bones and muscles. Here's the way you go about it (fig. 214).
If you have grasped the fundamental principles of building your drawing on soundly constructed forms, there is no limit to what you can do. Use your imagination. No matter where you are, you will find endless material for your pencil and a source of enjoyment for yourself.