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Having Fun Creating Cartoon Art

Updated on June 22, 2014

Enjoying Digital Cartoon Graphic Design

Creating cartoon characters with simple designs and altering those designs in unique and interesting ways can take you down unexpected paths and add to the total fun. You can start creating all kinds of cartoon people and animals and all of a sudden you've got a cartoon universe filled with an interesting cast of characters that was a blast to make. You can add these cartoon characters to an array of products in Print-on-Demand online stores such as Zazzle, GreetingCardUniverse, CafePress or Redbubble or create greeting cards on several online sites. You can sell these or order your own so you have a supply of your own cartoon art cards to give on different occasions. The wonderful thing about putting cartoons out there is that cartoons are always timeless and don't really get stale.

People just love them!

Starting with Simple Shapes

When creating a new cartoon character, I frequently creates circles and stretch other shapes. I like to start this in Inkskape because it is easy to move the objects around independently with this vector program. I usually take these shapes and start to paint, stretch and redraw them in GIMP or Photoshop Elements. You may only need one program if you are adept at using it. I use about 4 different graphic programs frequently, depending on the filters and my comfort level with the task at hand.

The image beside this text is a simple shape created in Inkscape I painted and added details to make the female figure in a lot of these cards.

Inkskape is a free download and has a ton of functionality. GIMP is very easy to use and is also free. A tutorial for both are available online.

It just takes time and practice.

Great Stuff on Amazon

The Original Character Drawing
The Original Character Drawing

Reusing and Transforming Design Elements

This is of the first character designs I did from the shape in the picture above. This design is the genesis of a dozen of other designs I have made and will probably result in more. In fact, the introductory picture of this lens is a derivative design from this.

Open one of your cartoon characters or any photo you have in a graphic design program and select Filter/Distort. From this menu experiment with the Polar Coordinates or Whirl and Pinch or Twist functions. The filter might stretch out the character or image, change the orientation and change the pose enough for new interesting ideas you can use on greeting cards, t-shirts, etc.

The possibilities are endless. Be sure to save copies of the new pictures and save the original. Add some new color and change up a few other design elements and you might end up with five designs from it in no time.

Some great Cartoon Figures from Talented Artists on Greeting Card Universe

Here are some great examples from some very talented artists of cartoon

figures on GCU.

Example Cartoon Drawings on Greeting Cards

Many of these cards are examples of the different cards I created from variations of that original cartoon character.

YouTube GIMP Totorial

This will help you get started with this free graphic design/photo editor program that has a lot of functionality and is easy to use. That's a more than be said of some software you purchase.

Drawing a Cartoon Tiger

This YouTube Video shows you how to draw a tiger. I'll keep rotating these videos every week so come back for more.

What to Do WIth Those Cartoons

You can do many things with those cartoons. You can do some of the following things:

* Put them on a greeting card site such as Greeting Card Universe

* And you can also add the designs to your Zazzle site or use them in your blog

* Create a political cartoon and make your own shirt with it

* Create your own comic book and sell it

* Write a children's book with your cartoon illustrations

* Create prints of your creation on a much larger canvas-just make sure the image

will not be pixelated on a larger canvas or print

* Market these prints at an art fair

* Teach an art class

These are just a few adventurous things you can do.

An Example of A More Complex Drawing I Did with More Detail.  I Worked Hard to Create the Icy Looking Details for the Holidays.
An Example of A More Complex Drawing I Did with More Detail. I Worked Hard to Create the Icy Looking Details for the Holidays.

Designs Do Not Have to be Complex

You can make your designs as simple or complex as you want them. You can spend the time to add lots of background details like found in many comic books. I prefer a cleaner, less busy design that gets to the heart of the emotion or thought, but enjoy looking at some of the complexity and intricacy of others' work. Start simple and you can always add complexity later as you get more comfortable with your digital palette and experience.

For greeting cards, multiple borders and backgrounds can be added to spruce things up. The digital painting of the snowman is an example of a more complex drawing I did with more detail. I worked hard to create the icy looking details for the holidays. I get satisfaction from the simple and complex designs. Get started and enjoy what comes from your cartoon universe.

Guestbook - Feedback Welcome

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    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Great ideas, Rick. Thanks for all the examples.

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 6 years ago

      Good explanation of how you create your cartoon art. I'm not able to do computer art. I just don't have the gift, but after reading this at least I understand the steps you went through.

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 6 years ago

      Good explanation of how you create your cartoon art. I'm not able to do computer art. I just don't have the gift, but after reading this at least I understand the steps you went through.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      It's great the way you break the cartoons into basic shapes. Drawing is NOT a strong point with me and this method makes it look doable.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 6 years ago from New York

      Excellent work Rick. I love your art, and your cartoons are really cute.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Looks like great fun. We'll have to try it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Great lens.

    • rickmac lm profile image
      Author

      Rick McBride 6 years ago from Dallas

      @bossypants: Give it a try, Bossy. I find GIMP easy to use.

    • profile image

      VoodooRULEs 6 years ago

      Excellent. Thank you for taking the time to write this! The artwork is wonderful!

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 6 years ago from America's Dairyland

      I sure enjoyed this lens. I had no idea there were free downloads like this! I love pimping in paint but have been intimidated by the idea of starting from scratch. You're inspiring me to give this a try!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      Stopped in again to see your darling cartoons. Love this lens!

    • LigaSuper profile image

      S Kurniawan 6 years ago from Bandung, Indonesia

      Great Lens!!! Thanks for the GIMP tutoria

    • rickmac lm profile image
      Author

      Rick McBride 6 years ago from Dallas

      Thanks for all the nice comments everyone. I'm glad to be a part of Squidoo and I look forward to reading a lot of your lenses too. @AJ, I've made quite a few more sales on GCU than I have on Zazzle.

    • ajtyne profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Wonderful first lens, Rick! Your designs are fantastic! How is that Greeting Card Universe working out?

    • priscillab profile image

      priscillab 6 years ago

      Thanks for the GIMP tutorial. I love your cartoons- they are so cute. Great first lens. (tweeted it)

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 6 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      Wow,thanks for the GIMP tutorial!!!! Can't wait to see what you come up with next :)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      Love the creativity in these cartoon dudes. Very well done, especially for your first lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I've always liked to draw, so maybe I should give this a try. Glad to see you here on Squidoo.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Artists are top shelf in my book, Rick! I'm still a newbie at lens writing here too, but it looks like you are off to a great start. :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Congratulations on your first lens Rick! So glad to see you here, and I'm sure this is the first of many excellent lenses.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 6 years ago

      Love your artistic lens, Rick! So good to see the old gang here and making a great comeback. :)

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Great first lens, Rick! Welcome to Squidoo! You are certainly off to a terrific start. This looks like fun!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wow, what fun! I want to check out the Gimp Tutorial. I have used Gimp for photo editing but didn't know all THIS was possible with it too. Great job, Rick. Welcome to Squidoo!