What Does Taking up a Career as a Cartoon Illustrator Constitute?

What Does Taking up a Career as a Cartoon Illustrator Constitute?

What does a Cartoon mean?

The procedure of drawing still humorous illustrations is called cartoons.  Cartoons are used in websites, online publications, blogs, magazines, print media and newspapers.  When the cartoon illustrator draws these cartoons, he draws the scenery and characters that are not realistic.  He exaggerates them and makes animals or people appear like caricatures.  Most of the cartoons also come with themes or captions that express the intent of the cartoon or express the words of the cartoon character and explain their actions.

There is more to cartoons than just illustrating funny pictures.  They are used to express a specific message and are often satirical.  Cartoons may be complex or simple and are often created for the target audience. An example of complicated cartoons may be political cartoons which can be satirical and contain indirect irony.  Cartoons drawn with common daily problems as a theme may be called simple cartoons.

What do you need to be a Cartoon Illustrator?

In order to be a cartoon illustrator, you should be able to have a different perspective about life and different view point than others.  You should be able to see the humour in daily mundane life or maybe even serious situations.  Traditionally, the cartoonists while illustrating cartoons typically will use the traditional way of paper and pen.  Later on, the illustrations are scanned and fed into the computer where the illustrator will edit them, adding text and colour to them.  While the modern way of illustrating cartoons is using cartoons from start to finish.

 The process of Cartooning

First of all, you should possess a computer with good hardware and configuration.  Once that is done there is a lot of software that you can use.  Popular among them are Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.  Any cartoonist will first make a rough draft or a rough sketch with pencil and paper with the help of a drawing board.  The sketches are then scanned and are processed using appropriate software.  The software mimics brush strokes, paint and strokes done by the pencil.  The colour is customized and various colour shapes are used with different shades and highlights.

Educational Qualification which will help you on the run

Learning the basics of Cartoon Illustration is good.  Even though we can find several leading freelance illustrators who’re good in the industry without any educational background.  Yet, knowing the principles is good and studying the course is good.

Few of the Universities which are recommended by professionals are:

  1. DeVry University
  2. Full Sail University
  3. Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design
  4. Herzing University
  5. Sanford-Brown
  6. Penn Foster Career School


Qualification of a Cartoon Illustrator

There is no educational qualification required to take up a career in cartoon illustration.  If you are talented and a gifted illustrator, you can surely take up this career by taking a simple course in illustration in order to polish your skills.  Cartoon illustrators can exhibit their creativity and artistic skills through pictures.  But those illustrators or cartoonists who might be interested in making storyboards need to get a degree in fine arts.  Cartoon illustrators with undergraduate degrees opt to get entry-level positions in publishing houses, advertising or graphic designing companies.  You can also be a freelancer and most of the cartoon illustrators who are popular are freelancers.  They illustrate cartoons and give them to various digital and print publications.   Production studios, both small and large, hire cartoon illustrators who work on the storyboard.

Those who want to advance their career in cartoon illustration should have a master’s degree in cartoon illustration.  You can check the references which we have given in the above colleges which we have mentioned.

Take up a Specialization

There are different types of cartoons and genres of cartooning.  Some cartoons which are called single panel contain themes or short captions which are satirical political ones or humour.  There are also cartoon illustrators who take up comic strips.  They make a short panel of figures which illustrate funny scenes or adventure stories.  You can specialize and adopt a unique and distinctive style, voice or format which can make you successful and market yourself.

Specialization can surely be taking in children’s book illustration or in illustrating greeting cards.

Make portfolio as a cartoon illustrator to promote yourself

You can create cartoon illustrations and with the help of your peers use different media.  Traditionally cartoon illustrators draw illustrations with a pencil or pen, scan their images and send their images to the editor for publication.  But advancement of digital technology facilitated use of modern software, so that you can work on the computer from start to finish.  You can send your images online to various publications to get noticed.  Improving your portfolio in this manner will help you to promote yourself as a cartoon illustrator.

Get publicity

You can also take up freelancing and work as a cartoon illustrator on a contract basis, where you will be asked to work on a particular project for a specific amount of time.  Usually, huge publications which produce newspapers or magazines employ several different cartoon illustrators and work with all of them simultaneously.  You can create your own comic strips and you will be required to come up with new comic strips each week or continue them week after week.  These types of cartoons are very popular and can increase your brand image. You can simultaneously work for different projects which will earn you additional income.

You can also publicize yourself through your own websites or blogs which will show samples of your work.  You can also regularly attend cartoon illustration conferences where you can meet with your peer group and associate with them.  This is also a great way to get noticed by prospective clients and publishing houses.  You can also establish a connection with a large number of editors and publishers.  As the field of cartoon illustration is a very competitive one, you can have an edge over others when you build your reputation and improve your productivity.  You can get in touch with newsletter editors or school or community newspapers that will be able to publish your work.  Your earlier experience and your portfolio can help you to get contracts on your own.

You can be an accomplished cartoon illustrator if you have talent and the right set of skills.  But only having these will get you nowhere.  You need to publicize your work and establish contacts with eminent publications which will be able to help you to advance your career and establish yourself as a cartoon illustrator.  So go ahead, work hard and become a successful cartoon illustrator on your own.

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