Cartooning Styles

Developing A Style Of Cartooning

fracking humorIn recent cartooning conversations, a good question came up regarding ‘drawing style’. I know for myself, that having some flexibility in the way I draw and render work for specific projects has been an acceptable way to work within the cartoon business. I draw gag cartoons a bit differently than say, an editorial image for a magazine article. If someone contacts about some custom illustrations for a Powerpoint, I tend to draw a bit “realistic” or portray a serious look to the overall appearance of the characters. Maybe instead of the round looking eyeballs with a dot in the middle for the pupils, I will have eyes resembling characters that appear in newspaper comic strips. The conversation between some of my cartooning friends is short and to the point and offers up some insightful thoughts by some creative minds on what they feel about drawing styles and how they incorporate that discipline into their work load.

I’m curious how many fellow ink-slingers draw in more than one style, or have multiple unique looking cartoons. I have one cartoon feature which looks nothing at all like other business cartoons I draw. If so, do you put them on different sites and market them separately? I’m thinking about creating a site specifically for my business cartoons but, for the sake of ease of navigation, will leave my main cartoons on their own page. Any thoughts?

Adapt Drawing Style To Assignment

It’s something to think about, really. Sometimes a different work proposal needs a different graphic approach. Usually I draw with a humorous touch, mainly when I do political cartoons. But when I had to adapt a famous Portuguese epic poem, The Lusiads, I changed to a more lifelike style and turned it into a SF graphic album. If you visit my website you’ll be able to see a bit of what I’m talking about. In the end, they are sold to different editors, but I put them almost together in my site.  I think that your idea of keeping your own cartoons in a specific page/space is a good one.

I do that, I’ve been told it looks amateur though. I don’t know how true that is. I got bored with a style I was doing for my webcomic and thought it’d be fun to play with a different style per panel as I don’t see people doing that often. For me, it was a way to try new techniques, have fun, and grow as an artist. I hate sticking to one style. I also notice people really respond well when you put a lot of time and effort into a drawing or at least look like you did. Realistic always seems to look amazing to the people who aren’t artists. Though some people have commented that it’s hard to believe my fictional characters are real because of this style change. I see their perspective, but because my comic is a self-expression of sorts I take in the comments but don’t always go along with it. I think it’s good to show a range of styles to show others what you can do if you’re trying to get hired so you don’t limit yourself, but I’ve also been told that finding your own style can make you look like a more mature artist as you’ve stuck with one type of style all the way through, so it looks more serious. I personally have no beef with it obviously, I love experimenting and having fun, and some people may not get it, that’s fine if they don’t, but as long as you love it and are having fun that should be all that matters.

Custom Cartoons Created For Powerpoint

For marketing purposes, I’d pursue the business angle as a separate enterprise. Corporations, if no one else, have money to spend and they love Power Point Presentations using cartoons. Developing a recognizable style/character might lead to good things when dealing with the business world. Otherwise, I’d say creativity is best served by diversity so experiment broadly. Only the veteran New Yorker artists can afford to constantly repeat themselves and I’ll bet on their ‘own time’ they diverge sharply from their NY style.

Yes, some people consider it amateurish, but when you already have a style, even if you draw with a different approach, your “accent” is always felt. Throughout my career I tried many variations and techniques, but it has always been my way of drawing. But, like a movie director, you cannot direct a comedy in the same way you do a drama. And I agree about developing a specific way to deal with the commercial part of demands, since it will make it easier for clients to identify you. But never let out the space to experimentation.

Personally, on my website, I keep everything on separate pages; illustrations are on one, comic pages are on another, design work is on yet another. Personally this works for me, that way if I intend to pitch a particular portfolio to someone I can link that specific page to them. But that’s my personal preference and I’m still experimenting.

Display A Diversified Illustration Portfolio

Personally I adapt my drawing style to the situation needed. If an author wants more “in-depth” feel to the style, I adapt to that request. The gag cartoons are just that….gag stuff and allow me the most flexibility to draw the way I feel at that particular time. I think to take advantage of the market out there, you need to adapt to it and be flexible….I try not to restrict myself to one specific “look” if that’s what you want to call it. The cartoon market is so watered down nowadays that when a professional is seeking out a specific “style”, I think the ones who make that first impact are those who show some variable styles (and flexibility). I like to add perspective into my drawings as that gives them visual impact. If I continue drawing a certain way, over and over, I get very bored and lose interest.

Another artist said it so well: “It took me a long to settle on 1 style…”

In closing, a favorite quote: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

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