New cartoonist: Magalú

2-ColombiaCartoon about the protest in Colombia

Mariana García (pen name Magalú) is an award-winning cartoonist from Argentina. Her work ha been published in Puntal newspaper, La Mosca Muerta, a supplement for Humor con Voz (La Voz del Interior), Umbrales, La Ribera, Polosecky and El Sur. She has also illustrated several books.


Tips for (aspiring) cartoonists

By Tjeerd Royaards

After three episodes of Cartoonist 2 Cartoonist, where Emanuele Del Rosso and I analyze submitted cartoons and give (hopefully) constructive feedback, I think we can identify some general points that seem to apply to most, if not all, cartoons. If you are looking to improve your work, we do recommend you take a look at one or more of the episodes, but in this article we list some general tips and tricks that will help you make your cartoons better. To illustrate, we are using some of the cartoons we discussed in the episodes.

1) Make a good scan

This tip only applies if you are working on paper and scanning in your work as a digital image file, either as a finished cartoon, or to apply color digitally. The first thing to do, is to make a professional scan, so that you do not immediately see it's a scan of a drawing, like in the example below.

Jasmin Lin - China 1 copyCartoon by Jasmin Lin

As you can see in the image, the bottom right corner is darker than the top left corner; what you should be aiming for a a solid flat white background. You can achieve this by playing around with the contrast with just basic image editing software. And also be sure to crop the image to remove any black edges that mark the end of the scanned paper. Here you can see them at the top and at the left of the cartoon.

This is the same cartoon with a better contrast. It's not perfect yet (which has to do with the original scanning), but you can see the improvement:

Jasmin Lin - China 1 improved

If you do not have access to a good scanner, there are some decent free apps available that will turn your phone into a scanner. And if you don't want to blow your budget on a Photoshop subscription, there are also free programs to edit images.

Remember, the presentation of your work matters. If it looks sloppy, it will go into an editor's trash folder without a second glance. This also goes for digital cartoons, so make sure your cartoons look professional.

2) Think about your lettering

If you use text in your cartoon, there are a number of things to consider. One of the most important questions: do you go for lettering by hand, do you choose a digital font? Both are valid options, but the style of lettering you choose should fit with your style of cartoons. If you draw and color by hand on paper, your best option will probably to letter by hand as well. This cartoon, discussed in our most recent C2C episode, uses a digital font, but both me and Emanuele felt the style of the cartoon would benefit from hand-lettering:

Barry Wade - USACartoon by Barry Wade

Take a look at the shop names on the awnings for instance; if these would be done by hand, they would look more like a part of the image, instead of a layer that has been added on top.

Other cartoons might actually work better with a digital font. The cartoon below has a style that would work well with a (well-chosen font), that would improve the readability of the text in the speech bubble.

Mohd Alammeri - Oman 1Cartoon by Mohd Alammeri

If you choose to use a digital font, choose wisely. There are thousands upon thousands of fonts available, so it's worth taking your time to find something that really works with your style. And please, stay away from Comics Sans or Papyrus... Also make sure you use a font that free to use (in the public domain) or that you purchase the appropriate license.

It's also worth thinking about the amount of text you need and where you place it in the image. In general, you should only use text when it is absolutely necessary for understanding the cartoon, or for providing the punchline. And think about where you position the text; do you want people to read the text first and then look at the image, or do you want people to look at the image first? This also relates to the next tip, where we discuss the way people navigate your image.

3) Is your message clear?

This is probably the most important condition for any cartoon to be successful. Some things to consider:

-Think about the composition, not only aesthetically, but also as the means you have to guide viewer through your cartoon. A cartoons tells a story; think about how you want people to navigate your story. People in the West tend to navigate from left to right, same as reading. People from the Middle East do the exact opposite, so it might be worth considering your target audience when designing the cartoon narrative.

-Think about the elements you have in your image. Do you need them all? If not, scrap the ones that are not necessary, it will make your message clearer. The rule of thumb is that every element you draw needs to contribute to the story that you are telling.

-All the elements that are necessary need to be understandable as well. If your unsure, check with your friends, family or colleagues. Things might make perfect sense in your own head, but that is not a guarantee that the cartoons will be easily understood by everyone.

-Think about how people will journey through your cartoon. Where should they start looking? Where should they end? Make sure your composition and arrangement and size of elements encourages people to navigate the cartoon in this way.

We discussed the cartoon below by Vincente Corpus from Mexico based on these points:

3. Vincente Corpus - Mexico

In essence, this is a great cartoon. It shows how the pharmaceutical industry cashes in on the pandemic. But was it immediately clear to you? Ema and I think the scared Uncle Sam is actually the same person as the man behind the till in the bottom panel, but we're not sure.  Providing more visual clues (such as still having him ware the red-striped hat) would have been helpful. A different composition could have worked here, with a similar position of Uncle Sam in the top and bottom panel. Also, you have to make an effort to read the text on the costume of the salesman.

We hope some of these tips will help you in your own cartoons. And remember, if you would like the chance to have your work discussed in Cartoon 2 Cartoonist, send it to cartoons@cartoonmovement.com


New cartoonist: Amany Alali

الكرسي1

Amany Alali is a Syrian cartoonist. She has lived through the war. Published on social networks and in the Arab press, her caricatures deal with what surrounds her on a daily basis: bombs, terrorism and misery. The young cartoonist (she was born in 1984) is fighting a double battle, to remind people about the horrors of war, and for women's rights. For this, Amany Alali is regularly threatened.


Evergreen satire, episode 2

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Evergreen satire is a partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision to give new relevance to historical cartoons. Join us on Instagram on June 8 at 6pm CEST for episode 2 as to talk with experts about the history of satire. The topic for this episode is war: how have cartoonists visualized violence and conflict through the years?

Guests in this episode will be Paule Jorge Fernandes, Assistant Professor at NOVA University of Lisbon, specializing in 19th Century History, Political History, Humor, Satire and Editorial Cartoons, and Jop Euwijk, conservator at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.


New cartoonist: Nani Lucas

Refugiados

Nani has published cartoons since he was 20 years old. He made his career in Rio de Janeiro publishing in newspapers like Tribuna da Imprensa and the historical satirical tabloid O PASQUIM, among others. He now publishes cartoons in Piauí magazine, Supapo and +Humor. Visit his website to see more of his work.


Our May newsletter is out!

186546372_4318180951525773_205568377070701211_nCartoon by Omar Al Abdallat

Another month has passed, so time for an update from us! Read our newsletter here. This month, we took part and hosted several online events, launched our new educational branch together with an exhibition in Lithuania and published loads of cartoons. The dominant topic this month was of course the escalating violence between Gaza and Israel.