Creating Gag Cartoons
Single Panel Gag Cartoon Creation
Creating gag cartoons is a simple process for me. In the past I obsessed over the type of paper I would use for gag cartoons I created, and made certain the paper I always used was a 25% cotton bond watermarked paper that was rather heavy at a 20lb. weight. It did hold up well after repeated use and handling by editors when back in the day I was ignorant and circulated original art to editors at different magazines.
Now I don’t care what I draw on, as long as the paper’s surface is smooth enough to accept the waterproof India Ink I use. My preference for drawing paper these days is simple copy paper. I can find it anywhere….at grocery stores, Wally World or even the hardware. Drawing a one panel gag shouldn’t be complicated. Go figure!
Gone are the days of my making a beeline to my favorite art supply store (it was called Commercial Systems) which sold oil paints, canvases for painters, easels, acrylic paints and brushes of all kinds.
They even had a separate section with little cabinets of different sized Speedball drawing tips and pen tip holders. Not to mention larger drawers chock full of zip-a-tone and Chartpak shading film…ideal for a cartoonist who wanted to add that “dotted half tone” look to certain parts of their work or specific cartoon characters!
Creating Gag Cartoons
What I’ll show here is a simple process beginning with Step #1, #2 and #3 on how a gag cartoon evolves and the process I go through in drawing a gag cartoon from start to finish. I of course will first need an idea or cartoon gag to set the stage, first.
Simple Steps Drawing A Gag Cartoon
Cartooning tools I use are very basic
This is as simple as can be…and the only caveat is to be certain you clean the ink cartridge often. I don’t use the bulb for plunging the mechanism connected to the pen tip and haven’t used one. As long as you clean using plain warm water and / or soaking the guts of the pen and drying all components before reassembly and usage. Here is the final cartoon after scanning, adding a regular font for the gag line across the bottom and archiving on my system. Voila, a one panel gag comic!
Note that even though the cartoon was illustrated horizontally, it’s final formatting and sizing presents it in an almost perfect square format, thanks to Photoshop. Creating gag cartoons isn’t a science. Draw your cartoons vertically or horizontally, whatever you feel comfortable drawing, just lay out your sketch in that manner and the rest will fall into place. If you don’t want to do rough pencil sketching of your gag panel cartoons, you can also create them free hand like I do in this short video where I am creating a free hand gag panel cartoon.
As you can see, I am totally “old school” and don’t rely much on technology to produce my work. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of excellent cartoon maker software that is easily available online.
Not to mention drawing tablets such as the Cintiq or even on iPads, used in conjunction with software like Procreate. Cartooning offers many variables to the new artist who decides to enter the business!