How to Draw Cartoons

Part 2: How to draw funny cartoons

When drawing cartoons, it is important to keep in mind the benefits of using humor in your work. It might seem obvious but many artists learn the craft of drawing without ever studying the theoretical aspects of humor. Of course if you are endowed with a natural sense of humor, by all means use that first. The theory serves to better explain humor and provide some angles to get your creative juices flowing and not to magically transform you into a funnier person overnight.

Sigmund Freud described humor as consisting of unconscious content which is released in pieces by the superego as a form of relief for our emotional energy. Humor, according to Freud, comes in three forms: joke, comic and mimetic. We will look at jokes in this discussion.

Jokes are a kind of workaround provided by the creative mind to express ideas normally considered taboo by society. The character of the jokes reflects the character of the individual’s superego. A superego that is very severe will create a personality that barely considers humor appropriate in polite company. A soft superego will allow humor to act as comfort whereas a harsher one will create sarcasm. When brainstorming new ideas for characters, always visualize a brief biography for a potential character and how this produces a particular type of superego. Even tragic or heroic figures you create can be endowed with a sense of humor in the appropriate context. Use ideas from the theory of humor to match up your characters with an appropriate style of humor. 4anime

Another aspect of the theory is the triangular dynamics of most jokes. There is the teller of the joke who seeks to connect with the audience by referring to a third party – the “butt” of the joke. Every reference, every “wink” serves to strengthen the bond. In this respect, humor is a more aggressive form of performance art because it shatters the so-called “fourth wall” between performer and audience more easily than for example tragedy.

In short, the theory of humor is an important subject for all aspiring artists but particularly those who plan on working with cartoons. It may not directly improve your creative output overnight but the theory can be used to better understand how to create realistic, hollow characters in your comedic work. This is especially important if you take up drawing/illustrating stories, comic strips or graphic novels where character development is importan

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