Choose Your Medium: Still Or Moving?
The medium that you would be using is very important. This would have an effect on the overall impact and look of your work. What is it that you want to do? Do you want to go for single cartoons or cartoon strips like the ones you get to see on the comic page of your newspaper or do you want to have a full scale movie? Picking one would affect how you start. However, for beginners, it would be best to save the movie later!
Who's Your Main Character?
Pick out a main character. Is it a male or female? Is it human or an animal, or maybe a vegetable perhaps? What are its main features? Usually, cartoons have exaggerated features and roughly ignore other ones.
Start Off By Sketching
If you have seen a movie storyboard, you'll know that it's just a rough outline and overview of what would be happening on a certain scene. It doesn't have full blown details on it. If you want to draw a strip, it would be better for you to plan out what would be happening in each of your frames. Get the summary of what you want your final cartoon to look like.
Develop Your Main Character
Doing this would take some time. It's way better to at least draw something than be agonized over the exact placement of each line. Try to see early Mickey Mouse cartoons or even early episodes of the Simpsons. Try to compare these to the present and you'll see that the characters have evolved over the years.
Add Some Drama: Use Emotions!
Don't forget to add emotions to your main character. May it be a cheeky grin or raised eyebrows, whatever variation you put on his/her features can help in giving him/her more character, life and personality. Unless you intend your main character to be totally expressionless and still, it's rewarding to give it emotions. If they are scared or angry, you could emphasize this using the next step.
Add Some Life: Use Color!
Assuming that you would be displaying strip on your Web site or you would be printing it off from your colored printer, it is best that you add color to your work. This would give people variety to look at. It also helps give more life to your cartoon. Remember, since cartoons are not always depicting reality, having a non-realistic colored character is all right, take the Pink Panther for instance.
Add Some Depth: Use Shading
Adding a few strokes of shading would go a long way for cartoons. Your readers' minds would fill out the blanks. Thus, you do not really have to draw each strand of hair, if your character has a hairy leg. Just place enough strands and some hints. Their imagination would do its job and join the dots. In fact, this is extremely effective and would allow your readers to develop their imaginations.
Add Environment: Use A Background
Like shading, this doesn't require too much detail. Placing a pyramid shaped outline if your character is in Egypt would do fine. You do not have to draw the Sphinx, unless your storyline requires it.
Let Them Speak: Add Some Caption
The final touch in giving your character life is by letting is speak. It doesn't matter if it's an animal or human. They do speak. Decide whether you are going to put the lines on a speech bubble or simply below the cartoon box.
by Nupur das