Cartoon

Cartoon

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Cartoon'
Start a new discussion about 'Cartoon'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated
Illustration
An illustration is a displayed visualization form presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information by providing a visual representation graphically.- Early history :The earliest forms of illustration were prehistoric...

 visual art
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 or semi-realistic drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

 or painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 intended for satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, caricature
Caricature
A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...

, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works. An artist who creates cartoons is called a cartoonist
Cartoonist
A cartoonist is a person who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising...

.

The term originated in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and first described a preparatory drawing for a piece of art, such as a painting, fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

, tapestry
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

, or stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 window. In the 19th century, it came to refer to humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers, and in the early 20th century and onward it referred to comic strips
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 and animated
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

 films and television programs.

Fine art



A cartoon (from the Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 "cartone" and Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 word "karton", meaning strong, heavy paper or pasteboard) is a full-size drawing made on sturdy paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 as a study or modello
Modello
A modello, from the Italian, is a preparatory study or model, usually at a smaller scale, for a work of art or architecture, especially one produced for the approval of the commissioning patron. The term gained currency in art circles in Tuscany in the fourteenth century. Modern definitions in...

for a painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 or tapestry
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

. Cartoons were typically used in the production of fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es, to accurately link the component parts of the composition when painted on damp plaster
Plaster
Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

 over a series of days (giornate).

Such cartoons often have pinpricks along the outlines of the design; a bag of soot was then patted or "pounced" over the cartoon, held against the wall to leave black dots on the plaster ("pouncing"). Cartoons by painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s, such as the Raphael Cartoons
Raphael Cartoons
The Raphael Cartoons are seven large cartoons for tapestries, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, painted by the High Renaissance painter Raphael in 1515-16 and showing scenes from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles...

 in London and examples by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, are highly prized in their own right. Tapestry cartoons, usually coloured, were followed by eye by the weavers
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 on the loom
Loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

.

Print media


In modern print media, a cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent. This usage dates from 1843 when Punch magazine applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, particularly sketches by John Leech. The first of these parodied the preparatory cartoons for grand historical frescoes in the then-new Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

. The original title for these drawings was Mr Punch's face is the letter Q and the new title "cartoon" was intended to be ironic, a reference to the self-aggrandizing posturing of Westminster politicians.

Modern single-panel gag cartoons, found in magazines, generally consist of a single drawing with a typeset caption positioned beneath or (much less often) a speech balloon
Speech balloon
Speech balloons are a graphic convention used most commonly in comic books, comic strips and cartoons to allow words to be understood as representing the speech or thoughts of a given character in the comic...

. Newspaper syndicates have also distributed single-panel gag cartoons by Mel Calman
Mel Calman
Melville Calman was a British cartoonist best known for his "little man" cartoons published in British newspapers including the Daily Express , The Sunday Telegraph , The Observer , The Sunday Times and The Times .-Biography:Calman was the youngest of the...

, Bill Holman, Gary Larson
Gary Larson
Gary Larson is the creator of The Far Side, a single-panel cartoon series that was syndicated internationally to newspapers for 15 years. The series ended with Larson's retirement on January 1, 1995. His 23 books of collected cartoons have combined sales of more than 45 million...

, George Lichty
George Lichty
George Lichty was an American cartoonist, creator of the daily and Sunday cartoon series Grin and Bear It. His work was signed Lichty and often ran without mention of his first name....

, Fred Neher
Fred Neher
Fred Neher was an American cartoonist best known for his syndicated gag panel, Life’s Like That, which offered a humorous look at human nature, with a focus on American society and family life, for more than five decades....

 and others. Many consider New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

cartoonist Peter Arno
Peter Arno
Peter Arno was a U.S. cartoonist.-Biography:Born Curtis Arnoux Peters, Jr. in New York, New York, and educated at the Hotchkiss School and Yale University, his cartoons were published in The New Yorker from 1925–1968. They often depicted a cross-section of New York society from the 1920s through...

 the father of the modern gag cartoon (as did Arno himself). The roster of magazine gag cartoonists includes Charles Addams
Charles Addams
Charles "Chas" Samuel Addams was an American cartoonist known for his particularly black humor and macabre characters...

, Charles Barsotti
Charles Barsotti
Charles Barsotti is an American cartoonist who has contributed gag cartoons to major magazines.Born in San Marcos, Texas, Barsotti grew up in San Antonio and graduated from Texas State University in 1955. He has been the cartoon editor of The Saturday Evening Post and has been a staff cartoonist...

 and Chon Day.

Bill Hoest
Bill Hoest
Bill Hoest was an American cartoonist best known as the creator of the gag panel series, The Lockhorns, distributed by King Features Syndicate to 500 newspapers in 23 countries, and Laugh Parade for Parade...

, Jerry Marcus
Jerry Marcus
Jerry Marcus was a prolific freelance gag cartoonist who also created the syndicated newspaper comic strip, Trudy....

 and Virgil Partch began as a magazine gag cartoonists and moved on to do syndicated comic strips. Noteworthy in the area of newspaper cartoon illustration is Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson (cartoonist)
Richard C. Thompson is an illustrator and cartoonist best known for his syndicated comic strip Cul de Sac and the illustrated poem "Make the Pie Higher". He was given the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 2011....

, who illustrated numerous feature articles in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

before creating his Cul de Sac
Cul de Sac (comic strip)
Cul de Sac is a comic strip created by Richard Thompson and distributed by Universal Press Syndicate to 150 worldwide newspapers.The central character is four-year-old Alice Otterloop, and the strip depicts her daily life at pre-school and at home...

comic strip. Sports sections of newspapers usually featured cartoons, sometimes including syndicated features such as Chester "Chet" Brown's All in Sport
All in Sport
All in Sport was a syndicated newspaper comic strip created in the late 1940s by the cartoonist Chester "Chet" Adams, who earlier had drawn the Gigs and Gags feature in 1948.It usually was featured in the sports section of newspapers...

.

Editorial cartoons are found almost exclusively in news publications and news websites. Although they also employ humor, they are more serious in tone, commonly using irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

 or satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

. The art usually acts as a visual metaphor to illustrate a point of view on current social and/or political topics. Editorial cartoons often include speech balloons and, sometimes, multiple panels. Editorial cartoonist
Editorial cartoonist
An editorial cartoonist, also known as a political cartoonist, is an artist who draws editorial cartoons that contain some level of political or social commentary....

s of note include Herblock
Herblock
Herbert Lawrence Block, commonly known as Herblock , was an American editorial cartoonist and author best known for his commentary on national domestic and foreign policy from a liberal perspective.-Career:...

, David Low, Jeff MacNelly
Jeff MacNelly
Jeffrey Kenneth MacNelly was a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and the creator of the popular comic strip Shoe.-Early life:...

, Mike Peters and Gerald Scarfe
Gerald Scarfe
Gerald Anthony Scarfe, CBE, RDI, is an English cartoonist and illustrator. He worked as editorial cartoonist for The Sunday Times and illustrator for The New Yorker...

.

Comic strips, also known as "cartoon strips" in the United Kingdom, are found daily in newspapers worldwide, and are usually a short series of cartoon illustrations in sequence. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 they are not as commonly called "cartoons" themselves, but rather "comics" or "funnies
Sunday comics
Sunday comics is the commonly accepted term for the full-color comic strip section carried in most American newspapers. Many newspaper readers called this section the Sunday funnies, the funny papers or simply the funnies....

". Nonetheless, the creators of comic strips—as well as comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

s and graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

s—are usually referred to as "cartoonist
Cartoonist
A cartoonist is a person who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising...

s". Although humor is the most prevalent subject matter, adventure and drama are also represented in this medium. Noteworthy cartoonists of humor strips include Scott Adams
Scott Adams
Scott Raymond Adams is the American creator of the Dilbert comic strip and the author of several nonfiction works of satire, commentary, business, and general speculation....

, Steve Bell
Steve Bell (cartoonist)
Steve Bell is an English political cartoonist, whose work appears in The Guardian and other publications. He is known for his left-wing views and distinctive caricatures.-Early life:...

, Charles Schulz, E. C. Segar
E. C. Segar
Elzie Crisler Segar was an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of Popeye, a character who first appeared in 1929 in his comic strip Thimble Theatre. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest it was "SEE-gar". He commonly signed his work simply Segar or E...

, Mort Walker
Mort Walker
Addison Morton Walker , popularly known as Mort Walker, is an American comic artist best known for creating the newspaper comic strips Beetle Bailey in 1950 and Hi and Lois in 1954. He has signed Addison to some of his strips.Born in El Dorado, Kansas, he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri...

 and Bill Watterson
Bill Watterson
William Boyd Watterson II , known as Bill Watterson, is an American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes...

.

Books


Books with cartoons are usually reprints of newspaper cartoons. On some occasions, new gag cartoons have been created for book publication, as was the case with Think Small
Think Small
Think Small was an advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, created by Julian Koenig at the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency in the 1950s. It was ranked as the best advertising campaign of the twentieth century by Ad Age, in a survey of North American advertisements...

, a 1967 promotional book distributed as a giveaway by Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 dealers. Bill Hoest
Bill Hoest
Bill Hoest was an American cartoonist best known as the creator of the gag panel series, The Lockhorns, distributed by King Features Syndicate to 500 newspapers in 23 countries, and Laugh Parade for Parade...

 and other cartoonists of that decade drew cartoons showing Volkswagens, and these were published along with humorous automotive essays by such humorists as H. Allen Smith
H. Allen Smith
For the congressman see H. Allen SmithHarry Allen Wolfgang Smith was an American journalist and humorist whose books were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, selling millions of copies....

, Roger Price
Roger Price (comedy)
Roger Price was an American humorist, author and publisher, who created Droodles in the 1950s, followed by his collaborations with Leonard Stern on the Mad Libs series...

 and Jean Shepherd
Jean Shepherd
Jean Parker Shepherd was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep....

. The book's design juxtaposed each cartoon alongside a photograph of the cartoon's creator.

Animation




Because of the stylistic similarities between comic strips and early animated movies, "cartoon" came to refer to animation
Animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

, and the word "cartoon" is currently used to refer to both animated cartoons and gag cartoons. While "animation" designates any style of illustrated images seen in rapid succession to give the impression of movement, the word "cartoon" is most often used in reference to TV programs and short films for children featuring anthropomorphized
Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is any attribution of human characteristics to animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities. The term was coined in the mid 1700s...

 animals, superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

es, the adventures of child protagonists and related genres.

At the end of the 1980s, the word "cartoon" was shortened, and the word "toon" came into usage with the live action/animated feature Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-noir film directed by Robert Zemeckis and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film combines live action and animation, and is based on Gary K. Wolf's novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts a world in which cartoon characters...

(1988), followed two years later by the TV series Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures
Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures or simply Tiny Toons, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros....

(1990).

See also


  • Caricature
    Caricature
    A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...

  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
    Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
    The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a research library of American comic art, is affiliated with the Ohio State University library system in Columbus, Ohio...

  • Comics Studies
    Comics studies
    Comics studies is an academic field that focuses on comics and graphic novels. Although comics and graphic novels have been generally dismissed as less relevant pop culture texts, scholars in fields such as Semiotics and Composition Studies are now re-considering comics and graphic novels as...

  • Editorial cartoon
    Editorial cartoon
    An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is an illustration containing a commentary that usually relates to current events or personalities....

  • List of comic strips
  • List of cartoonists
  • List of editorial cartoonists

Further reading

  • Robinson, Jerry, The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art (1974) G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Horn, Maurice, The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976) Chelsea House, (1982) Avon
    Avon (publishers)
    Avon Publications was an American paperback book and comic book publisher. As of 2010, it is an imprint of HarperCollins, publishing primarily romance novels.-History:...

  • Blackbeard, Bill, ed. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (1977) Smithsonian Inst. Press
    Smithsonian Institution
    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

    /Harry Abrams

External links