Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man vs. Art Episode 30—Unleash the Cartoonist Within


Commuting on my LONG-ASSED bus ride to work this morning (an express bus takes one hour and 35 minutes to go the 14.6 miles from the Bronx to Tribeca! WTF?! I could ride my damn bike in the same amount of time!), I finished listening to Episode 30 of Raul Aguirre, Jr.'s Man vs. Art podcast. I know this episode dates from 9/8/10 but his podcasts are so full of helpful information that I'm listening to each carefully AND taking notes.

This episode's title is "Unleash the Cartoonist Within." I'll summarize what I think are the highlights. I strongly suggest that you listen to the podcast in its entirety to get the full effect (especially Aguirre's badass voice!):

1. The differences between cartoon drawing and illustrating. Cartooning suggests, simplifies, exaggerates, distorts, indicates, interprets, expresses and favors visual clichés. Illustration reproduces, mirrors, specifies and represents.

2. Simplicity allows the audience to project their own imagination on to the drawing thereby creating a personal involvement. Gaps are left for the audience to fill with their own imaginations.

3. Copying is a good thing, especially for beginners. Copying your favorite artists contributes to developing your own style. (I was glad to hear this because I've been copying the early Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood MAD Magazine art. And it HAS helped improve my drawing!)

4. Learning to cartoon begins with constant doodling. This allows for technical practice and learning plus it stimulates the free association process which is integral to successful cartooning.

5. ONE Man vs. Art rule: cartoon characters should NEVER laugh at the situations in which they're participating. (I can understand that one.)

6. Doctors in cartoons should always be male and nurses always female to communicate quickly and clearly. (I disagree with this one. I think the white robe and stethoscope are the visual clues to communicate a doctor regardless of gender while scrubs communicate nurse or surgeon.)

7. People communicate non-verbally with body language, facial expressions and hand positions.

The podcast additionally contains exercises to put these ideas into practice.

Man vs. Art nails it again!

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