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How to Draw Cartoons > Using Symbols in Cartoons

If you are a cartoonist, instead of saying it with flowers, you can say it in pictures! Cartoons can often say what words cannot.

In addition to your own special picture symbols, you will sometimes need to use the traditional symbols, the personifications and fabled characters which have come, throughout the years, to be accepted as standard.

The artist's individual way of drawing always enters into every symbolic drawing and of course he gives the symbol he uses the special action it requires for his own cartoon.

Familiarize yourself with symbols and start keeping a symbol folder in your morgue. Try to make your symbols clear enough so that they need no labels to explain them.



Some examples of common symbols are shown below. Make more of your own, using the basic, accepted symbolic forms, but individualizing them in your special way.






Human Interest



Breathes there a man with soul so dead that he can't laugh at a picture? People do love to laugh at themselves. And somehow a joke seems funnier when it is illustrated. Most illustrated one- or two-line gags are really very simple pictures of people talking to each other in the most ordinary environment.

Over and over again such scenes as these are repeated in cartoons: a couple at the dinner table, a couple on a davenport, a man in an easy chair talking to his wife, a courtroom scene, a salesgirl at a counter, a queue at a theater box office or teller's window, a woman in a hat shop.

And they are funny every time they appear. They are always presented differently. Maybe this wouldn't be so if there weren't so many artists with so many different points of view. So, you see, there is plenty of room for you.













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