Drawing a Cartoon Face

By David Jefferson

CAN YOU DRAW CARTOONS? IF YOU ANSWER ‘NO’ OR ‘NOT VERY WELL’ THEN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOU. BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER GET YOURSELF A SHEET OP PAPER AND A PENCIL.

Have you got your paper and pencil? Good. Draw four dots in a line . . . . four dashes – – – – four commas , , , ,

Anyone can do them in a line. Now take each set and place them like the features of a face with two marks representing the eyes, one for the nose and one for the mouth. Each set takes on it’s own personality.

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Enclose them in a circle and you have a simple cartoon head. Now do some more drawings, experimenting with the positions of the various parts. At this stage do them in a slap dash way, without any preconceived idea of what the expression will be. Various emotions will be created by accident.

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This shows that even the simplest of drawings can portray emotions. Eyebrows and lines on the face would help back up the expression but from the film cartoonists point of view the less lines that are used, the quicker the animation will be.

issue-4-page-13-3THE EYES. We can keep the eyes as solid dots of various sizes or we could add an ‘0’ to the dot. This gives us a frame of reference to move the dot around in. The eyes can be made to follow action without changing the position of the head.

THE BROWS. There are some expressions where you have to use eye-brows to make them work. If they are kept very simple they can be popped on and off as they are needed.

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THE NOSE. The nose projects forward from the face so that it takes on a different shape when seen from different angles. It is important to consider the side view and the front view together when choosing a nose for a film.

It is actually possible to get away with using a side view of the nose on a front view of the face. This sort of thin is done a lot in newspaper cartoons and there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it to produce a stylised form of animation.

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