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Funny Only: A Book Review of Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain by Christopher Hart

December 30, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

Creating funny pictures for a living can be a lot of fun, but it can also be difficult. It's hard to make a joke that's funny in real life, also be funny when in a drawing. Artists such as cartoonists, comic book artists, or illustrators, will appreciate the tips, tricks and examples in the book, Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain by Christopher Hart.

The book's premise is:How to come up with jokes for cartoons and comic strips. And it does just that. The author explains the difference between a hard and soft punch line, and shows multiple ways to take your jokes and turn them into cartoons, whether you use single or multiple panel gags. (A panel is the box you draw your cartoon in.)

He covers angles and direction and how to layout and design your strip the way a director would shoot a film. One section that is particularly interesting is how to create either a dramatic mood or a funny mood by the way you place the characters and objects in a scene. This is great information especially if you want to do comic strips with lots of drama and action.

Character design is covered in some depth. He talks about getting to know your character's agenda. What is it that your character really wants?The importance of this is made clear by several examples that illustrate the reason behind this. Your characters' differing agendas is what creates conflict in a cartoon, and that is what makes it funny.

One section that was particularly helpful, which I haven't seen anywhere else, is how to take typical animal anatomy and make it funny. There are several excellent tips here about how to change from a more realistic cartoon, to a funnier one, to an even funnier one, and ways to make animals more appealing.

For artists who want to draw cartoon strips, graphic novels, comic books, and other sequential art, there are many sections that are really practical. He covers how to draw double balloons, sound effect panels, and one section that really helped me out, when to use thought versus speech balloons with different configurations of animals, humans, and babies.

There is even a page of popular panel configurations for daily strips. If you are doing multiple strips, you don't want to always use four panels of equal size. He gives examples using borderless and bordered panels of varying sizes.

The final section, "Everything you need to know to be a professional cartoonist," includes information on how to submit your art, and it talks about the nitty gritty, such as money and how you get paid. There are even hints for dealing with writer's block.

While this is not a how to draw cartoons book per se, there is a little of that in the beginning. But the book really lives up to its intention to help you learn to you're your drawings funny and come up with jokes. Overall, Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain by Christopher Hart is an excellent addition to any funny graphic artist's library.

Want to learn more about how to draw cartoons? Find the full review of this book, plus more cartooning books and tips for cartooning and drawing comics at

Source: EzineArticles
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