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Eldar Matveyev
Eldar Matveyev

Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning Philosophy and Practice: A Book for Aspiring Cartoonists of All Ages



Cartooning Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti




Do you love cartoons? Do you want to learn how to make your own cartoons? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be interested in reading Cartooning Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti. This book is a guide for aspiring cartoonists who want to master the art and craft of cartooning. In this article, we will explore what this book is about, who is the author, and what you can learn from it. We will also look at some of the best examples of cartooning by Ivan Brunetti and other famous cartoonists, and some of the fun and challenging exercises that he suggests in his book. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of cartooning philosophy and practice, and hopefully, you will be inspired to create your own cartoons.




Cartooning Philosophy And Practice Ivan Brunetti



The Benefits of Cartooning




Cartooning is not only a form of entertainment, but also a form of expression, communication, and creativity. Cartooning can help you express yourself in ways that words alone cannot. You can use cartoons to share your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences with others. You can also use cartoons to make people laugh, think, or feel something. Cartooning can also help you develop your creativity by challenging you to come up with original ideas, stories, and characters. You can use cartoons to explore different topics, genres, and styles. Cartooning can also help you improve your artistic skills by teaching you how to draw, compose, and color.


The Basic Elements of Cartooning




According to Ivan Brunetti, there are four essential components of a cartoon: shape, line, contrast, and text. These are the building blocks that you need to create any cartoon. Let's take a closer look at each one.


Shape




Shape is the most fundamental element of cartooning. You can use simple shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and ovals to create characters and objects. For example, you can use a circle for a head, a square for a body, a triangle for a nose, and an oval for an eye. You can also combine different shapes to create more complex forms. For example, you can use two circles for ears, three circles for eyes and nose, and four circles for mouth and cheeks to create a face. You can also use shapes to create patterns, textures, and backgrounds.


Line




Line is the next element of cartooning. You can use different types of lines to convey movement, emotion, and style. For example, you can use straight lines for stability and order, curved lines for motion and energy, zigzag lines for tension and chaos, dotted lines for speed and direction, wavy lines for vibration and sound, and spiral lines for confusion and madness. You can also use lines to create outlines, shadows, highlights, and details.


Contrast




Contrast is the third element of cartooning. You can use black and white or color to create contrast and harmony. For example, you can use black and white for simplicity and clarity, color for variety and richness, dark colors for depth and mood, light colors for brightness and warmth, complementary colors for balance and vibrancy, analogous colors for harmony and unity, and monochromatic colors for tone and atmosphere. You can also use contrast to create emphasis, focus, and rhythm.


Text




Text is the final element of cartooning. You can use words, captions, balloons, and sound effects to enhance your cartoon. For example, you can use words to add dialogue, narration, or commentary; captions to add context, information, or explanation; balloons to add speech, thoughts, or emotions; to add sounds, noises, or actions. You can also use text to create style, tone, and personality.


The Process of Cartooning




Now that you know the basic elements of cartooning, you need to know how to put them together to create a cartoon. Ivan Brunetti suggests a five-step process for creating a cartoon: brainstorming, sketching, refining, inking, and coloring. Let's see how each step works.


Brainstorming




Brainstorming is the first step of cartooning. This is where you generate ideas for your cartoon using prompts, associations, and observations. For example, you can use a word, a phrase, a question, or an image as a prompt to start your brainstorming. You can also use associations to connect different ideas or concepts that are related or unrelated to your prompt. You can also use observations to draw inspiration from your surroundings or experiences. The goal of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible without judging or filtering them.


Sketching




Sketching is the second step of cartooning. This is where you draw rough sketches of your cartoon using thumbnails, layouts, and compositions. For example, you can use thumbnails to draw small versions of your cartoon to test different ideas and options. You can also use layouts to arrange the elements of your cartoon in a logical and pleasing way. You can also use compositions to balance the shapes, lines, contrasts, and texts of your cartoon. The goal of sketching is to plan and organize your cartoon before finalizing it.


Refining




Refining is the third step of cartooning. This is where you improve your sketches by editing, erasing, and redrawing. For example, you can edit your sketches by adding, removing, or changing any elements that are unnecessary or inappropriate. You can also erase your sketches by using an eraser or a white-out to correct any mistakes or errors. You can also redraw your sketches by using a pencil or a pen to make them clearer and sharper. The goal of refining is to polish and perfect your sketches before inking them.


Inking




Inking is the fourth step of cartooning. This is where you finalize your sketches by tracing them with a pen or a brush. For example, you can use a pen to trace your sketches with thin or thick lines, a brush to trace your sketches with smooth or rough strokes, or a combination of both to create different effects and styles. You can also use different types of pens or brushes to create different types of lines such as solid, dashed, dotted, or wavy. The goal of inking is to make your sketches permanent and ready for coloring.


Coloring




Coloring is the fifth and final step of cartooning. This is where you add color to your cartoon using markers, watercolors, or digital tools. For example, you can use markers to color your cartoon with bright and solid colors, watercolors to color your cartoon with soft and transparent colors, or digital tools to color your cartoon with any colors you want. You can also use different techniques to create different effects and styles such as shading, blending, or gradient. The goal of coloring is to make your cartoon more attractive and appealing.


The Principles of Cartooning




Besides the basic elements and the process of cartooning, there are also some principles that you need to follow to make effective cartoons. Ivan Brunetti suggests six guidelines for making effective cartoons: clarity, simplicity, consistency, exaggeration, humor, and personality. Let's see what they mean.


Clarity




Clarity is the first principle of cartooning. This means that you need to make your cartoon easy to understand by using clear symbols, gestures, and expressions. For example, you can use symbols to represent objects, ideas, or emotions such as a heart for love, a light bulb for an idea, or a skull for death. You can also use gestures to show actions, reactions, or interactions such as pointing for indicating, shrugging for doubting, or hugging for affection. You can also use expressions to convey feelings, attitudes, or moods such as smiling for happiness, frowning for sadness, or scowling for anger. The goal of clarity is to make your cartoon communicate effectively with your audience.


Simplicity




Simplicity is the second principle of cartooning. This means that you need to make your cartoon elegant and efficient by using minimal details and elements. For example, you can use details to add information, interest, or realism to your cartoon such as a hat for a profession, a scar for a history, or a shadow for a perspective. However, you should not use too many details that can distract, confuse, or overwhelm your audience. You should only use the details that are necessary or relevant to your cartoon. You can also use elements to create your cartoon such as shapes, lines, contrasts, and texts. However, you should not use too many elements that can clutter, complicate, or contradict your cartoon. You should only use the elements that are essential or appropriate to your cartoon. The goal of simplicity is to make your cartoon elegant and efficient.


Consistency




Consistency is the third principle of cartooning. This means that you need to make your cartoon coherent and believable by using consistent characters, settings, and styles. For example, you can use characters to populate your cartoon with people, animals, or things that have their own traits, personalities, and roles. However, you should not change or contradict the traits, personalities, or roles of your characters without a reason or a purpose. You should keep your characters consistent throughout your cartoon. You can also use settings to situate your cartoon in a place, a time, or a situation that have their own features, atmospheres, and rules. However, you should not change or violate the features, atmospheres, or rules of your settings without a reason or a purpose. You should keep your settings consistent throughout your cartoon. You can also use styles to present your cartoon in a way that reflects your vision, voice, and taste. However, you should not change or mix the styles of your cartoon without a reason or a purpose. You should keep your style consistent throughout your cartoon. The goal of consistency is to make your cartoon coherent and believable.


Exaggeration




Exaggeration is the fourth principle of cartooning. This means that you need to make your cartoon dynamic and expressive by using distortion, deformation, and amplification. For example, you can use distortion to change the shape, size, or proportion of your characters or objects to create an effect or an impression such as stretching for elasticity, shrinking for insignificance, or enlarging for importance. You can also use deformation to alter the form, structure, or appearance of your characters or objects to create a mood or an emotion such as bending for flexibility, breaking for fragility, or twisting for agony. You can also use amplification to increase the intensity, frequency, or quantity of your characters or objects to create an impact or a reaction such as multiplying for abundance, repeating for emphasis, or exploding for destruction. The goal of exaggeration is to make your cartoon dynamic and expressive.


Humor




Humor is the fifth principle of cartooning. This means that you need to make your cartoon funny and appealing by using irony, satire, parody, and absurdity. For example, you can use irony to create a contrast between what is expected and what actually happens in your cartoon such as a superhero who is afraid of spiders, a villain who is kind and generous, or a dog who acts like a cat. You can also use satire to criticize or mock a person, a group, or a situation in your cartoon such as a politician who is corrupt and incompetent, a celebrity who is vain and superficial, or a society that is unfair and hypocritical. You can also use parody to imitate or spoof a style, a genre, or a work in your cartoon such as a horror movie that is silly and ridiculous, a romance novel that is cheesy and clichéd, or a famous painting that is altered and distorted. You can also use absurdity to create something that is illogical, irrational, or impossible in your cartoon such as a fish that flies in the sky, a cow that speaks in French, or a pineapple that wears glasses. The goal of humor is to make your cartoon funny and appealing.


Personality




can also use your style to present yourself in your own way in your cartoon such as using shapes, lines, contrasts, and texts; using colors, patterns, textures, and backgrounds; using details, effects, and techniques. You can also use your perspective to show yourself in your own way in your cartoon such as using characters, settings, and stories; using themes, messages, and meanings; using references, influences, and inspirations. The goal of personality is to make your cartoon unique and memorable.


The Examples of Cartooning




Now that you know the principles of cartooning, you might want to see some examples of cartooning by Ivan Brunetti and other famous cartoonists. In this section, we will look at some of the best cartoons by Ivan Brunetti and some of the most influential cartoonists in history.


Ivan Brunetti's Cartoons




Ivan Brunetti is an Italian-American cartoonist, illustrator, and educator. He is best known for his autobiographical comic series Schizo, his collection of gag cartoons Haw!, and his edited volumes An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories. He is also the author of Cartooning Philosophy and Practice, which is based on his course at Columbia College Chicago. Here are some of his most notable works.


Schizo




Schizo is an autobiographical comic series that explores Ivan Brunetti's personal struggles and dark humor. It covers topics such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, suicide, sex, violence, art, and culture. It is known for its raw and honest style, its brutal and shocking content, and its witty and sarcastic tone. It has been praised for its courage and originality, but also criticized for its vulgarity and offensiveness. It has been published in four issues from 1994 to 2006.


Haw!




Haw! is a collection of gag cartoons that showcase Ivan Brunetti's wit and sarcasm. It covers topics such as politics, religion, society, family, relationships, and death. It is known for its simple and elegant style, its clever and surprising content, and its humorous and cynical tone. It has been praised for its intelligence and creativity, but also criticized for its irreverence and negativity. It has been published in one volume in 2001.


An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories




An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories is a series of edited volumes that feature some of the best contemporary cartoonists. It covers a wide range of genres, styles, and themes such as autobiography, fantasy, horror, humor, romance, and more. It is known for its diversity and quality, its breadth and depth, and its insight and commentary. It has been praised for its selection and presentation, but also criticized for its omission and bias. It has been published in two volumes in 2006 and 2008.


Other Famous Cartoonists




Ivan Brunetti is not the only cartoonist who has made an impact on the art form. There are many other cartoonists who have influenced the history and culture of cartooning. Here are some of them.


Charles Schulz




Charles Schulz was an American cartoonist who created Peanuts, one of the most popular comic strips of all time. It features a group of children and a dog who deal with everyday life and existential questions. It is known for its simple and charming style, its profound and universal content, and its warm and gentle tone. It has been praised for its humor and wisdom, but also criticized for its repetition and sentimentality. It has been published from 1950 to 2000.


Gary Larson




Gary Larson was an American cartoonist who created The Far Side, one of the most hilarious single-panel cartoons ever made. It features a variety of characters and situations that are absurd, bizarre, or ironic. It is known for its detailed and expressive style, its imaginative and original content, and its funny and twisted tone. It has been praised for its creativity and humor, but also criticized for its cruelty and offensiveness. It has been published from 1980 to 1995.


Bill Watterson




Bill Watterson was an American cartoonist who created Calvin and Hobbes, one of the most beloved comic strips about a boy and his tiger. It features the adventures and fantasies of Calvin, a six-year-old boy who is imaginative, mischievous, and curious, and Hobbes, a stuffed tiger who is alive, loyal, and wise. It is known for its beautiful and dynamic style, its clever and touching content, and its humorous and philosophical tone. It has been praised for its artistry and storytelling, but also criticized for its reclusiveness and stubbornness. It has been published from 1985 to 1995.


Alison Bechdel




Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist who created Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home, two groundbreaking graphic novels that explore sexuality and identity. Dykes to Watch Out For features a group of lesbian friends who deal with politics, culture, and relationships. It is known for its realistic and diverse style, its social and cultural content, and its witty and feminist tone. It has been praised for its relevance and representation, but also criticized for its preachiness and elitism. It has been published from 1983 to 2008. Fun Home is a memoir that recounts Alison's childhood and her relationship with her father, who was a closeted gay man and a funeral director. It is known for its intricate and elegant style, its personal and emotional content, and its honest and complex tone. It has been praised for its depth and beauty, but also criticized for its navel-gazing and morbidity. It has been published in 2006.


Art Spiegelman




Art Spiegelman is an American cartoonist who created Maus, one of the most acclaimed graphic novels that depicts the Holocaust through animal characters. It tells the story of Art's father, Vladek, who was a Jewish survivor of Nazi-occupied Poland, and his mother, Anja, who committed suicide after the war. It is known for its stark and symbolic style, its historical and factual content, and its powerful and tragic tone. It has been praised for its courage and innovation, but also criticized for its appropriation and manipulation. It has been published in two volumes in 1986 and 1991.


The Exercises of Cartooning




If you are interested in trying out cartooning yourself, you might want to do some of the exercises that Ivan Brunetti suggests in his book. These are some fun and challenging exercises that will help you practice the basic elements, the process, and the principles of cartooning. Here are some of them.


Exercise 1: Draw Yourself as a Cartoon Character




This exercise will help you practice shape, line, contrast, and text. The goal is to create a self-portrait in cartoon form using simple shapes and lines. You can use black and white or color to create contrast and harmony. You can also use words, captions, balloons, or sound effects to enhance your cartoon. Here are the steps:


  • Draw a circle for your head.



  • Draw two ovals for your eyes.



  • Draw a triangle for your nose.



  • Draw a curve for your mouth.



  • Draw two circles for your ears.



  • Draw a square for your body.



  • Draw four rectangles for your arms and legs.



  • Draw two circles for your hands.



  • Draw two ovals for your feet.



  • Add any details that make you unique such as hair, glasses, clothes, etc.



Add any words, captions, balloons, or sound effects that express your personality such as "Hi


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