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A cartoonist (also comic strip creator) is

a visual artist who specializes in drawing
cartoons. This work is often created for
entertainment, political commentary, or
advertising. Cartoonists may work in
many formats, such as booklets, comic
strips, comic books, editorial cartoons,
graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons,
graphic design, illustrations, storyboards,
posters, shirts, books, advertisements,
greeting cards, magazines, newspapers,
and video game packaging.

In the West

The English satirist and editorial

cartoonist William Hogarth, who
emerged In the 18th century, has been
credited with pioneering Western
sequential art. His work ranged from
realistic portraiture to comic strip-like
series of pictures called "modern moral
subjects". Much of his work poked fun at
contemporary politics and customs;
illustrations in such style are often
referred to as "Hogarthian".[1] Following
the work of Hogarth, political cartoons
began to develop in England in the latter
part of the 18th century under the
direction of its great exponents, James
Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, both
from London. Gillray explored the use of
the medium for lampooning and
caricature, calling the king (George III),
prime ministers and generals to account,
and has been referred to as the father of
the political cartoon.[2]

While never a professional cartoonist,

Benjamin Franklin is credited with having
the first cartoon published in an
American newspaper.[3] In the 19th
century, professional cartoonists such as
Thomas Nast introduced other familiar
American political symbols, such as the
Republican elephant.[3]

Benjamin Franklin's "Join, or Die" (1754), credited as

the first cartoon published in an American

Charles Dana Gibson was an influential American

cartoonist in the early 20th century.
cartoonist in the early 20th century.

During the 20th century, numerous

magazines carried single-panel gag
cartoons by such freelance cartoonists
as Charles Addams, Irwin Caplan, Chon
Day, Clyde Lamb, and John Norment.
These were almost always published in
black and white, although Collier's often
carried cartoons in color. The debut of
Playboy introduced full-page color
cartoons by Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Roy
Raymonde and others. Single-panel
cartoonists syndicated to newspapers
included Dave Breger, Hank Ketcham,
George Lichty, Fred Neher, Irving Phillips,
and J. R. Williams.
Comic strips received widespread
distribution to mainstream newspapers
by syndicates[4] such as the Universal
Press Syndicate, United Media, or King
Features. Sunday strips go to a coloring
company such as American Color before
they are published.

Some comic strip creators publish in the

alternative press or on the Internet.
Comic strip artists may also sometimes
work in book-length form, creating
graphic novels. Both vintage and current
strips receive reprints in book
The major comic book publishers (such
as Marvel or DC) utilize teams of
cartoonists to produce the art (typically
separating pencil work, inking and
lettering while the color is added digitally
by colorists). When a consistent artistic
style is wanted among different
cartoonists (such as Archie Comics),
character model sheets may be used as

Calum MacKenzie, in his preface to the

exhibition catalog, The Scottish
Cartoonists (Glasgow Print Studio
Gallery, 1979) defined the selection
The difference between a cartoonist
and an illustrator was the same as the
difference between a comedian and a
comedy actor—the former both deliver
their own lines and take full
responsibility for them, the latter could
always hide behind the fact that it was
not his entire creation.[5]

Dip pens have traditionally been a popular drawing

tool for cartoonists.

There are many books of cartoons in

both paperback and hardcover, such as
the collections of cartoons from The New
Yorker. Prior to the 1960s, cartoons were
mostly ignored by museums and art
galleries. In 1968, the cartoonist and
comedian Roger Price opened the first
New York City gallery devoted exclusively
to cartoons, mainly work by the leading
magazine gag cartoonists. Today, there
are several museums devoted to
cartoons, notably the Billy Ireland
Cartoon Library & Museum, run by
curator Jenny E. Robb at Ohio State

Comics artists usually sketch a drawing
in pencil before going over the drawing in
India ink, using either a dip pen or a
brush. Artists may also use a lightbox to
create the final image in ink. Some
artists, Brian Bolland, for example, use
computer graphics, with the published
work as the first physical appearance of
the artwork. By many definitions
(including McCloud's, above), the
definition of comics extends to digital
media such as webcomics and the
mobile comic.

The nature of the comics work being

created determines the number of people
who work on its creation, with successful
comic strips and comic books being
produced through a studio system, in
which an artist assembles a team of
assistants to help create the work.
However, works from independent
companies, self-publishers, or those of a
more personal nature can be produced
by a single creator.

Within the comic book industry of North

America, the studio system has come to
be the main method of creation. Through
its use by the industry, the roles have
become heavily codified, and the
managing of the studio has become the
company's responsibility, with an editor
discharging the management duties. The
editor assembles a number of creators
and oversees the work to publication.

Any number of people can assist in the

creation of a comic book in this way,
from a plotter, a breakdown artist, a
penciller, an inker, a scripter, a letterer,
and a colorist, with some roles being
performed by the same person.

In contrast, a comic strip tends to be the

work of a sole creator, usually termed a
cartoonist. However, it is not unusual for
a cartoonist to employ the studio
method, particularly when a strip become
successful. Mort Walker employed a
studio, while Bill Watterson and Charles
Schulz did not. Gag, political, and
editorial cartoonists tend to work alone
as well, though a cartoonist may use

Art styles

Scott McCloud, whose work Understanding Comics

identified the different styles of art used within

While almost all comics art is in some

sense abbreviated, and also while every
artist who has produced comics work
brings their own individual approach to
bear, some broader art styles have been
identified. Comic strip artists Cliff
Sterrett, Frank King, and Gus Arriola often
used unusual, colorful backgrounds,
sometimes veering into abstract art.

The basic styles have been identified as

realistic and cartoony, with a huge middle
ground for which R. Fiore has coined the
phrase liberal. Fiore has also expressed
distaste with the terms realistic and
cartoony, preferring the terms literal and
freestyle, respectively.[6]

Scott McCloud has created "The Big

Triangle"[7] as a tool for thinking about
comics art. He places the realistic
representation in the bottom left corner,
with iconic representation, or cartoony
art, in the bottom right, and a third
identifier, abstraction of image, at the
apex of the triangle. This allows
placement and grouping of artists by

The cartoony style uses comic effects

and a variation of line widths for
expression. Characters tend to have
rounded, simplified anatomy. Noted
exponents of this style are Carl Barks
and Jeff Smith.[6]
The realistic style, also referred to as
the adventure style is the one
developed for use within the adventure
strips of the 1930s. They required a
less cartoony look, focusing more on
realistic anatomy and shapes, and
used the illustrations found in pulp
magazines as a basis. This style
became the basis of the superhero
comic book style since Joe Shuster
and Jerry Siegel originally worked
Superman up for publication as an
adventure strip.[8]

McCloud also notes that in several

traditions, there is a tendency to have the
main characters drawn rather simplistic
and cartoony, while the backgrounds and
environment are depicted realistically.
Thus, he argues, the reader easily
identifies with the characters, (as they
are similar to one's idea of self), whilst
being immersed into a world, that's three-
dimensional and textured.[9] Good
examples of this phenomenon include
Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin (in his
"personal trademark" Ligne claire style),
Will Eisner's Spirit and Osamu Tezuka's
Buddha, among many others.


Artists use a variety of pencils, paint

brushes, or paper, typically Bristol board,
and a waterproof ink.[10] When inking,
many artists preferred to use a Winsor &
Newton Series 7, #3 brush as the main
tool, which could be used in conjunction
with other brushes, dip pens, a fountain
pen, and/or a variety of technical pens or
markers. Mechanical tints can be
employed to add grey tone to an image.
An artist might paint with acrylics,
gouache, poster paints, or watercolors.
Color can also be achieved through
crayons, pastels or colored pencils.

Eraser, rulers, templates, set squares and

a T-square assist in creating lines and
shapes. A drawing table provides an
angled work surface with lamps
sometimes attached to the table. A light
box allows an artist to trace his pencil
work when inking, allowing for a looser
finish. Knives and scalpels fill a variety of
needs, including cutting board or
scraping off mistakes. A cutting mat aids
paper trimming. Process white is a thick
opaque white material for covering
mistakes. Adhesives and tapes help
composite an image from different

See also
Comic book creator
Editorial cartoonist
Harvey Award
List of cartoonists
List of newspaper comic strips
The Someday Funnies
Women in comics

1. The British Museum. Beer Street,
William Hogarth - Fine Art Print Retrieved
11 April 2010.
2. "Satire, sewers and statesmen: why
James Gillray was king of the cartoon" .
The Guardian. 16 June 2015.
3. Hess & Northrop 2011, p. 24.
4. "The Comics Reporter" . Retrieved
17 November 2009.
5. MacKenzie, Calum. The Scottish
Cartoonists. Glasgow Print Studio Gallery,
6. Fiore 2010.
7. "The Big Triangle" .
Retrieved 2012-07-06.
8. Santos, 1998. The Golden Era... June
1938 to 1945, Part I
9. McCloud 1993, p. 48.
10. "16 essential art tools for artists" .

Works cited

Hess, Stephen; Northrop, Sandy (2011).

American Political Cartoons: The Evolution
of a National Identity, 1754-2010 .
Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4128-

Further reading
Steve Edgell, Tim Pilcher, Brad Brooks,
The Complete Cartooning Course:
Principles, Practices, Techniques
(London: Barron’s, 2001).

External links
Look up Cartoonist in Wiktionary, the free

Wikimedia Commons has media related

to Cartoonists.

Societies and organizations

Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

National Cartoonists Society
Association of American Editorial
Society of Illustrators
Society of Children’s Book Writers and
Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles
The Association of Illustrators
The Illustrators Partnership of
AIIQ - l’Association des Illustrateurs et
Illustratrices du Québec
Colorado Alliance of Illustrators
Institute For Archaeologists Graphics
Archaeology Group
Guild of Natural Science Illustrators
Guild of Natural Science Illustrators-
Illustrators Australia
Australian Cartoonists Association


Cartoonist Club
Comic Design
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