Carrtoon RabbitDrawing cartoons has always been popular particularly with budding young artists who find the three base shapes easy to cope with as a starting point, if you are using a computer drawing pad then this technique transfers particularly well.

Actually teachers might want to note that it offers opportunities to children with special needs including speech and language difficulties.

These youngsters understandably resist writing exercises but by using creative picture writing prompts which they draw themselves, vocabulary can be incorporated easily. Writing to a visual storyboard is a lot less daunting that the frightening white lined paper with nothing on it.

In terms of digital software which will help you draw cartoon characters, there is really only specific ‘cartoon character’ software such as Manga Studio Debut 4, which is an all-in-the-box option for beautiful manga cartoons, already to publish. Again this is very good user friendly software, does what is says on the box, with plenty of resources included on the CD supplied. But it doesn’t help you draw cartoon cats!

Anime Studio Debut is basically an animation program which allows you to draw your own characters – using a wizard. However, with vector tools offering a variety of brushes and styles plus the welcome facility to import scanned images you do get plenty of opportunity to draw and learn by copying, but no specific cartoon drawing instruction. The latest version out is Anime Studio Debut 9.

Very good software which includes plenty of cartoon style images to use, change and learn from is Serif Draw Plus. Serif software is a personal favorite for the user friendly layout, extensive tools and paints, not to mention the genuine affordable prices – and their movie making software works like a dream.

In terms of straight value for money Serif Software is awesome and takes a lot of beating, do check it out before buying anything else. Does it specifically help you with learning to draw cartoons? Sorry, no.

The reality is you need to learn to draw cartoons by hand – which is so easy kids can do it -  once mastered, any drawing or graphic software can be used to create devilishly wonderful cartoon characters. There are some basic principles to learn and apply, like the use of the three basic shapes upon which all cartoon characters are formed, but once you’ve done one, you can do many – and will be hooked.

Now this is not to say you have to use traditional paper and pen – absolutely not! Using a computer drawing pad is definitely easier – you can undo or erase your mistake without damaging the paper and you will never run put of supplies either.

Books Are Best?

There are two highly recommended books, both ridiculously cheap, which anyone learning the skills of cartooning will appreciate and can earn their craft from. The first is quite an old book now having been first published in 1992, but it is still one of the best you’ll find.

But don’t forget to use the Internet as a learning resource. Information overload might be your worst problem as there is so much help online and for this reason I’d advise sticking with books for kids as it gives something solid and real to refer to.

Cartooning For Beginners – By Peter Maddocks

Learn The Art of Cartooning Step by Step – Sherm Cohen

For adults wanting a more rigorous instruction book, try Drawing Cartoons and Comics For Dummies by Brian Fairrington, it gets 4.4 out of 5 stars for great instructions..

If and when any cartoon drawing software appears on the market you can be sure to see it reviewed and included here, but until then get yourself a good well illustrated book or find a lesson on the web and grab your pen tablet. Then practice, practice……and practice some more.