For many years, there was no real way to learn how to become a cartoonist other than to copy and learn from those cartoonists who were already in print. Most of us as kids would copy the work of our favourite artists and try to develop a style arising from what we learned. These days, with the internet and many books and DVD's on the subject, it's much easier for young artists to find instruction. But there's nothing quite like having a professional cartoonist standing in front of you, showing you the tricks of the trade and sharing his own hard won expertise.
I have been a workshop leader for the highly respected Mindquest Program for Primary students for the past twelve years. This program is an intensive two-day workshop drawing cartoons,for kids in years four and five.
I also conduct private workshops for artists from adults to children as young as eight years old in schools and libraries, and while I try to make my workshops as entertaining and as much fun as I can, I also try to leave the class with a solid understanding of how to approach the art of cartoon drawing and how to continue to enjoy further exploration.
The concept behind my cartoon workshops is simple – everyone can learn to draw.
That’s not to say everyone can become a Michelangelo, any more than everyone who learns how to play a guitar can become an Eric Clapton. Still, there is a prevailing misconception that you are either born with the ability to draw, or you aren’t. That opinion is wrong, and it denies many children the fun of creating characters, telling visual stories and, perhaps more importantly, the opportunity to learn about the nature of things through drawing them.
Anyone who can learn to put shapes together to form letters can put shapes together to form drawings.
My workshops are based on the principles of shapes.
In the basic (90 minute) cartoon workshop, the kids are shown how to draw some famous cartoon characters by using simple shapes. They are then shown how to draw animals, how to turn those animals into cartoon characters, both animal and human. They are then shown how to rotate the characters and make them move. They are given some simple, yet effective, instruction in how to achieve a huge variety of facial expressions. Then they are given the opportunity to create their own cartoon characters.
And everyone gets a chance at playing “Mister Squiggle.”
(A shorter (60 minute) variation of this workshop is available for younger kids (8yr olds)
For older kids, in the longer (90 minute) basic workshop, we also explore some simple ideas about body language and costume.
In the advanced (90 minute) workshop, we expand the dictionary of shapes, explore some shading techniques and look at the motivation of movement (someone running to catch a bus will move differently than someone running to escape a swarm of bees). We also look at character design for comic strips, costumes, graphic shortcuts, how to write a gag and how to tailor it to fit the comic strip format.
Apart from the general cartoon workshops, I also conduct some specialty workshops, such as:
DRAW ME A DRAGON (fantasy cartoons and characters)
HARRY POTTER’S FANTASTIC BEASTS AND OTHER BEINGS (for younger kids)
MANGA - the popular Japanese form of cartooning which embraces everything from Pokemon to Drangonball Z
WRITING ADVENTURE STORIES (This is primarily aimed at writing for comics or graphic novels, it is also a suitable workshop for basic movie scripting as it deals with most story writing techniques and offers templates for both characters and story outlines.) While this workshop has an illustrating component, it is primarily a workshop about writing.
THE ADVENTURE CARTOON WORKSHOP (a one day three-part workshop dealing with a wide variety of writing and drawing techniques for adventure cartoons).
DRAWING CARTOONS FOR ADULTS (an adult version of the basic cartoon workshop).
Please feel free to contact me for further information and worshop packs.