How to Draw Cartoons > Cartoon Drawing Techniques

There are a number of ways to finish a cartoon drawing. An artist usually chooses the technique in which he excels, then sticks to it in all his commercial work.

Drawings for reproduction are usually drawn 1.5 times larger than they are to appear in final form. This means if your drawing is to measure 6/1 wide x 4" deep when reproduced, you should draw it 9" wide x 6" deep. It is usually easier for the artist to make a larger drawing, especially when finished drawings are to be very small. Too, the little imperfections in technique which are often unavoidable are less conspicuous when the whole drawing is reduced in size.

You will learn many things from your own experience when you draw for reproduction. One thing to remember is always to make clear sharp lines. Remember that just as the outside dimensions of the picture are reduced, so will every single line in the drawing itself be reduced. Lines which are too fine will, when reduced, disappear almost entirely. Lines which are too close together will merge into a single smudge or thick line. On the next five pages one drawing has been finished in the following ten different ways.

1. Simple, even outline, no black areas. This may be done with pen or brush. The one below was done with No.3 red sable brush.

2. Thick-thin outline. Vary the outline as your brush or pen follows the original pencil outline. You may use either a brush or a flexible pen. The' one on page 75 was done with No.3 red sable brush.

3. Outline with solid blacks. If done with pen, blacks should be filled in with a fairly large brush. Plan the placing of blacks before you finish the drawing. Place a thin sheet of tracing paper over the black outline drawing. Spot your blacks on it. Keep them unevenly spaced, varied in shape and size. Then on your final drawing fill in the black areas, according to this planned pattern.

4. Outline with shading. The shading below is done very simply, with a flexible pen.

5. White outline on black-scratching method. This drawing was done on a white drawing paper which has a chalky' surface. You'll find several patented varieties of this paper in any art store. Cover the surface of the paper evenly with black ink or paint. Then outline your drawing with white pencil. Next, scratch the parts that are to be white with a knife, or the tool specially made for scratching. If your drawing is to have many large areas of white, you won't want to cover the entire surface with black at first. You can produce wood-block effects and do many interesting things by using this paper. You can scratch finer lines than you can make by painting with white paint on black paper, which is another method of making white on black drawings.

6. White outline on black, photographic method. If you have easy access to a shop where they take a picture of a picture, have a negative made of your black-and-white drawing. When you use this method your lines appear thicker than they do when you scratch them. For quick and fairly inexpensive results, this method is good. Try all these ways to produce white on black effects, and judge for yourself their relative merits. The border for a child's room on pages 6.7 was made photographically.

7. Gray tones. There is a patented process for producing gray tones in a black-and-white drawing. By this method you depend upon the skill and imagination of the engraver . You choose the gray tones which you want according to a numbered chart. The engraver, who has the same numbered chart, follows your indications. You color with blue pencil (which is photographically invisible) the areas which you want made gray. You number them, by reference to the chart, according to the lightness or the darkness of the gray you choose. When he makes the plate the engraver follows your blue-pencilled areas, and notes the numbers which you have chosen on the chart.

8. Doubletone paper. A specially processed, patented paper provides another way to produce gray tones in a drawing for reproduction, without relying on the engraver's skill. This process reduces engraving costs. Doubletone drawing paper has a printed pattern which is invisible (photographically) until it is developed by applying a transparent liquid to the paper surface. One developing solution is used for 1ight tones of shading and another for dark tones. The pattern in the areas so treated turns gray instantly. By this method you can control shading effects in your drawing without depending upon the skill or imagination of the engraver. Your drawing can be reproduced as simply and inexpensively as a plain black-and-white 1ine drawing.

9. Black crayon on rough white paper. There are papers specially made for drawing with wax or grease pencil. When the pencil is rubbed over the paper surface, a gray tone effect is produced.

10. Paste-up Combination. When you draw for reproduction you can use different papers or techniques by pasting one paper over the other in certain spots. The paste-up does not show in the final reproduced drawing. The one on page 79 shows a combination black-and.white drawing with doubletone paper paste-up.

Continue to Color in Cartoons

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