Cartoon illustrators create humorous or satirical images –including caricatures–that are most often shown in animation as a sequence of moving illustrations.
The cartoon illustrator often exaggerates a single feature or set of features to create a cartoon character. Eyes large enough to be out of proportion, a big head on a skinny body, or highlighting a mannerism that’s easily identifiable, they approach line drawing with the aplomb of a tightrope walker.
A successful cartoon illustrator knows how to make the meandering of a single line matter. The poses and gestures of a character in a cartoon advance the plot.
With the thrift of a penny saver, the cartoon illustrator goes to work developing characters with their own brand of shorthand. Shading, color, composition round out the expressive elements of their drawings.
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Sylvester–brought to us by the cartoon companies of Walt Disney Studios, Warner Brothers and MGM–were some of the most beloved characters of kids; many glued to TV sets to watch their favorite characters every Saturday morning.
The Flinstones, The Jetsons, and more recently, The Simpsons, and South Park merged cartooning with serial sit-coms.
Editorial cartoons like those of The New Yorker’s, Jack Ziegler, show the irony inherent in politics and current affairs, presenting politicians as lightweights, buffoons, and half-wits while showing the satirical side of society’s issues. Though somewhat serious in tone, the cartoon illustrator of editorial cartoons relies heavily on caricatures of well-known personalities.
Sometimes funny, sometimes biting, the cartoon illustrator creates characters that leap, jump, and somersault into our everyday lives.