Cartooning is a versatile and amusing art. You can depict all kinds of things and one big favorite of many is, of course, love! Today I’ll talk about 3 common themes that can give you some good practice in capturing some of those everyday moments that we cherish.
Looking across the room is one example that sounds easy but is hard to draw just write. Holding hands is another fun one, as it has a versatility if you play with the emotions displayed on your characters. Finally, hiding hearts is fun and sometimes a great test for your creativity.
Looking across the room: the ‘stolen glance’
That first time when two eyes get caught up in a shared glance is not only fun to draw, but it’s a bit of a challenge to get perfect. What you’ve got in between your two star-crossed lovers needs to be distracting enough to build a contrast without going overboard, but it needs to be apparent that the focus is on the gaze shared by two.
This is something that you can play with for a long, long time, before you start getting the hang of how it is done. It doesn’t have to be sheer adoration across the room, of course. It can be as simple as a shared joke or one catching the other feeling awkward, but smiling warmly in response.
See if you can capture a shared moment like this in a cartoon form. It’s quite satisfying and definitely harder than it looks. For more examples, you can find a great 3rd party article here that shows you how one artist has captured aspects of his marriage with his wife in cartoon form in a series called ‘One of those days’.
It’s an amazing example, really, and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself reading a number of these comics before you get back to work!
Cartoon figures holding hands
The simple act of holding hands is pretty amazing, when you think about it. Such a simple thing can have all of the weight of the world on it. Depending on the expressions that you give your cartoon participants in the picture, holding hands can display a variety of things. It can be a unified approach against the world or a shy, but solid hello.
If one figure looks uncomfortable, it can indicate that the other wants to be somewhere else, or simply that one person is bound and determined to melt the ice around the other’s heart. Experiment with some pictures of your cartoon figures holding hands and see what kind of range you can get with this simple, yet deceptively difficult concept.
If you need an example, I recommend drawing two people who have just clasped hands, and one of them has a stern, no-nonsense expression that is ‘melting’ at the other’s touch. If you have trouble with that one, try simply cartooning two people holding hands and looking in a direction that’s different from everyone else in the room.
Sometimes love isn’t looking into each other’s eyes, after all, but rather the power of 2 people who are always looking together in the same direction.
Love doesn’t have to be ‘in your face’ to add a little mood to a cartoon. Hiding hearts is one thing that you can do and this can get as creative as you like. Think of it as a sort of ‘where’s waldo’ of symbols and scenes. For instance, two people might be together and looking shyly at one other, while two nearby swans are swimming close together, craning their necks to make a heart.
Maybe there are some pebbles nearby in the rough shape of a rose. You could depict two cartoon lovers getting drenched by a light rain, who aren’t noticing the rain but only each other – maybe with light color hints of a rainbow nearby.
Hiding hearts and other symbols in cartoons can be effective but just be careful to keep things subtle. You can do things with symbols, light colors, and facial expressions in combinations that can project the mood of the piece without beating people over the head with it.
Alternately, you can simply draw both looking dumbstruck with hearts in the air between them. Love is like that too sometimes, after all. Just have fun with it and see what comes out!
Today I’ve given you a few recommendations of specific moments or themes that you can capture and express in the versatile form of expression known as ‘cartooning’.
Capturing a stolen glance this way is both challenging and satisfying and if that seems a bit advanced, try just having your characters hold hands and play with their facial expressions. Finally, you can even resort to subtlety, with two people looking unsure but symbols and colors of love hidden throughout the piece make the message quite clear.
If you find yourself stuck, take a peek at my guide 100 Fun Things To Draw For Practice And Fun and you can get a little inspiration for your piece. Find something there that calls to you and get busy with your pencil before you can get in your own way… you might be surprised to see what comes out!