A cartoonist creates cartoons for various media, such as comic strips, magazines, movie studios, game design, or animated films. They work for publishing companies, newspapers, or are self-employed. The cartoonist draws both manually and on the computer and some may also animate their cartoons.
How to Become a Cartoonist
A cartoonist may have a bachelor’s degree in animation, fine arts, graphic design, computer animation, or a related field. Colleges have illustration, anatomy, drawing, computer graphics, painting, and photography courses. Taking business and marketing courses is also helpful. The Center for Cartoon Studies offers one and two-year certificate programs and has a two-year master of fine arts degree and offers summer workshops. Cartoonists also often market themselves through social media and this can also help them build a portfolio.
Interning is also helpful to gain experience and get a foot in the door. A cartoonist typically needs a broad range of experience. They can also find it helpful to study other cartoonists, their styles, and what makes them popular. Some become experienced in computer animation also. One popular program for 3D animation is Autodesk Maya. If you are still in middle school or high school student, taking art classes as well as any marketing, business, computer graphic, and photography classes are beneficial.
A cartoonist has master drawing skills and has storytelling abilities and can draw both large scale and small scale. They are creative and use their imagination and originality. Having a good sense of humor and the ability to accept criticism gracefully is also important. Cartoonists need excellent communication skills and must remain current on trends. Next, let’s look at what they do.
Job Description of a Cartoonist
We are all familiar with cartoonists like Charles Schultz who made Charlie Brown and Walt Disney. Many more cartoonists arrive on the scene every day with their unique talents to express ideas, such as political, sports, or characters endearing to us and make us laugh. There are also different types of cartoonists such as comic book illustrators, comic strip cartoons, and cartoon illustration for videos. Cartoonists that animate may be skilled on one or all types of animation: 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphics, and stop motion.
A cartoon for television or movies typically has a story plot they want to create. The cartoonist listens to recordings of the characters, imagines what they will look like, and the story behind the characters. The cartoonist will then make several model drawings of the character’s movement and poses. They put the poses on a board to present to the storyboard staff. When the sketches are approved, they polish up the illustrations in black and white. A cartoonist may also draw in special effects for animated projects, like game design. These artists can dramatize action where needed and create emotion in characters.
A cartoonist who creates comic strips, comic books, or other illustrations draws and develops a story but they do not need to animate their characters. Some cartoonists may also draw a comic strip that focuses on political or sports cartoons and write captions to express the idea behind the illustrations.
All cartoonists must meet deadlines and promote themselves to keep consistent work. Cartoonists have a unique and creative talent seen in all societies throughout history. Continue your research if this sounds like a career you would enjoy!