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Cartooning looks ease.  The only way it can be effective is if you make it look easy.  Like magic:  the rope trick can be learned, for example, but it takes a lot of practice to make it look smooth and convincing.  Similarly, cartooning is not an easy art form.  Practice, practice.

I teach a class called “Cartooning for Teachers.”  It’s not just teachers who sign up, but also therapists and public speakers, a population that knows the importance of practice and making things go smooth. This week one such class came to an end, after eight sessions.  It was actually organized privately, by teachers and a school psychologist, who were determined to get this skill under their belt and onto the chalk boards.  What fun!  But also, you guessed it, a lot of practice and perseverance.

We started with a simple pudgy bear and progressed to the cat, dog, tiger, bull, viper, and sassy bunny.  All of these characters were accessorized with hand gestures, tails, and attitude shoulders.  Gotta go for attitude, it’s the name of the game!  By the middle of the course, the students were eager to get into human forms.  The whole thing is about humanness, of course.   Animals in themselves are not funny.  We think they’re drole because we project  human attributes into them. So, when you’re learning to draw the pudgy bear, for example, you’re actually learning a lot about what makes a face a face and what makes for nuances in expression—meaning human expression.  In the course of these eight weeks the nuances got more complex and the layers of meaning piled on.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that I recommend this course for serious portrait artists.

During the class I drew with marker on three-foot- high brown construction paper taped to a board.  Shown here (above) are some of the sections from that paper.   I also sat next to students and drew along with them (white paper) so they could see how I would develop a character, face and gesture.  We easily transitioned from animal to human faces.  The value of the course was obvious to all.  But it was just a beginning–like most everything else we do.  Practice, practice.

See also, www.khilden.com

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