Archive for February 26th, 2011

How to Develop Ideas for Cartoons by Carl D’Agostino

Some times an illustration comes to mind and one tries to come up with something funny to complement it. Other times the gag comes to mind first and the illustration is designed around the gag.

For example: There is nothing inherently funny about “A bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush.” I picture a scene wherein the hunter holds a tiny bird in his hand while looking at two large birds in the bush. The joke will focus on the contradictory nature of the wisdom with fact. I have to discredit the wisdom of the saying. Should the character be a farmer, a hunter, or a casual observer? How about a Pilgrim? Then the “two in the bush” become big turkeys. To pull it off, the expression on the Pilgrim’s face will be critical. I came up with this:

Now the preset words have been developed into a punch line by the drawing. The bird size difference further helps discredit the adage. Character expression confirms inequity.

Redraw, clean up lines, background embellishment or two, square frame, color and mission accomplished! I’ve found old proverbs and sayings fertile territory from which cartoon ideas can be mined or harvested. A joke is there. You make it so via sketch. Try it yourself. You don’t have to be an artist. As you see my drawings are quite unsophisticated. Work with this: “Look before you leap.” See ideas are already erupting in your mind!

Henry’s New Body by Carl D’Agostino

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