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Beyond the Funny Papers: The Art of Drawing Cartoons



Cartoons may be considered silly, just a source of a good chuckle, or “not serious art.” Who doesn’t enjoy the funny papers, that moment of levity amid all the bad news? While it’s true that cartoons can definitely be pretty amusing and some are just for fun, that’s not the whole story of this creative world. Cartoons can be more than pure amusement. In fact, the art of cartoon drawing has expanded and developed over the years, just like any other art form. Cartoons have cultural heritages, political power, and can enable artists to tell their truths or engage with others in a unique way.


If you have a kid who is enthralled by the power of anime or obsessed with reading graphic novels, they might be onto something. This particular art form might unlock your child’s ability to communicate their story with you and their peers. Reading graphic novels can make it easier to internalize information, empathize with diverse narratives, and connect to the lives of those from different cultures. Taking a class about cartoon drawing is about more than just making it easy to draw anime. It’s about accessing a wealth of opportunity for personal growth and development. Here are some of the ways in which learning to draw cartoon characters can enrich your child’s life.


Visual Storytelling

We all have our own story to tell—even your younger kids! Whether it’s a story about an argument with a pal in their science class or an imagined scenario with dragons and fairies, all stories are worth telling. Visual storytelling gives the author an even richer palette with which to get their ideas across. With the right tools, your little storyteller can, quite literally, show us the world they’re envisioning. Evocative images, movement, facial features, bold design, subtle details—all of these are powerful ways of bringing the reader into a unique world of their creation.


A Variety of Styles

Your kid might be inspired by certain graphic styles, like classic anime or Disney-esque cartoons, but learning about the wide world of cartoon drawing is a surefire way to get them excited about weaving new tales. From the simplistic, minimalist drawings of a classic cartoon like Peanuts or Tom and Jerry to the extravagant worlds of Calvin and Hobbes and SpongeBob, there are truly no limits on what your budding cartoonist can do. All of these cartoons have a specialized aesthetic, one that is connected to the author’s personal style and the messages the cartoon is getting across. Getting acquainted with the richness of styles is a step toward more depth in the stories your child tells.


The Magic of Graphic Novels

You may have read comic books as a kid, and those still exist, but graphic novels are a different story. For one, comic books ten to focus on a particular superhuman or world of superhumans and their specific narrative arcs, while graphic novels can be about anything. There are graphic books about historical events, memoirs written in graphic form, graphic novels within the world of young adult fiction, and more. Just like any other form of literature, graphic books are a portal into another world, whether it’s classics like Persepolis (a series of memoirs written about an Iranian girl’s coming of age in the late ‘70s) or bold new tales, like Girl On Fire, a young adult graphic novel by RnB superstar Alicia Keys. Delving into the infinite world of these literary works is eye-opening and inspiring for any curious reader.


The beauty of cartoon drawing is that it brings together two realms (drawing and creative writing) to create an abundance of imagination. Combining these two creates a brand new chance for artistic expression and can open up an aspiring young artist to new worlds and ideas.