Icons 1423863541 72 Cartoons

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Comics or their bigger book form, the graphic novel, have been around for over 100 years and the art form is growing exponentially. There are animated cartoons in movies, on TV, and on the Internet, but there are also thousands of still frame comics/cartoons that let the designer make comments on life, society, politics, sports, and humor with imagery and little to no text. Cartoons started mainly as an image tool for satire in daily newspapers and journals. In the 1930’s more and more cartoons told stories with pictures and created the world of comic books today. From Charlie Brown to the Far Side, from Blondie to Doonesbury, from Calvin and Hobbes to Dilbert, the cartoon enriches our lives as it reflects our hopes and fears, our humor and our dreams.

Create your own!

Activity 1 – Create a Storyline!

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First write a two paragraph story of what you would like to convey with your comic strip. Then shape the story into a series of cartoon bubbles of your character speaking, thinking or reacting. Then, lay out the storyboard in three or four frames and place your character in the frames with the suitable changes to your title character.

Personalize your story!

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Activity 2 – Create a Strip Character

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Sketch out a figure of a character, human, animal, shape, alien form, and give it a personality with size, scale and color. Create a series of poses or positions for the character to determine various characteristics or personality traits – humorous, angry, shocked, silly, embarrassed….

Personalize your character!

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Activity 3 – storyboard settings

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Most stories occur in settings that connect the individuals and events to places. A story can have one setting that is understood over time (like Mr. McGregor’s Garden or the hobbit’s Bilboa Baggins house!) Or a story may move through a series of settings, or back and forth from two or more places of events and actions. As you develop your settings, look at interiority (how to define space and place) and stage set design (how to choreograph an atmosphere, place or setting). You can also use words to evoke emotion, describe color, lighting, materials, circulation and effect. Decide if your cartoon will have one setting, two settings, or travel around the world. Decide if your cartoon will occur in cities or the countryside. The history of cartoons connect characters with events and with settings.

Map your magic!


  • A rendering is the development of a drawn image beyond a sketch to a final image.
  • Political cartoons are found in every daily paper.
  • Comic strips can tell about everyday events.
  • Cartoons can be funny but they can also be depictions of the truth.
  • Cartoons are a form of literature.
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