The word cartoon has various meanings, based on several very different forms of
visual artand illustration. The term has evolved over time.
The original meaning was in fine art, and there cartoon meant a preparatory
drawingfor a piece of art such as a painting or tapestry.
The somewhat more modern meaning was that of humorous illustrations in
magazines and newspapers. Even more recently there are now several contemporary meanings, including creative visual work for print media, for electronic media, and even animated films and animated digital media.
When the word cartoon is applied to print media, it most often refers to a humorous single-panel drawing or
gag cartoon, most of which have captions and do not use speech balloons. The word cartoon is not often used to refer to a comic strip.
The artists who draw cartoons are known as
A cartoon (from the Italian "cartone" and Dutch word "karton", meaning strong, heavy paper or pasteboard) is a full-size
drawingmade on sturdy paperas a study or " modello" for a painting, stained glass, or tapestry. Cartoons were typically used in the production of frescoes, to accurately link the component parts of the composition when painted on damp plasterover a series of days ("giornate"). Such cartoons often have pinpricks along the outlines of the design; a bag of soot was then patted or "pounced" over the cartoon, held against the wall to leave black dots on the plaster ("pouncing"). Cartoons by painters, such as the Raphael Cartoonsin London and examples by Leonardo da Vinci, are highly prized in their own right. Tapestry cartoons, usually coloured, were followed by eye by the weavers on the loom.
In modern print media, a cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent. This usage dates from 1843 when "Punch" magazine applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, [Cite web|last=Punch.co.uk|title=History of the Cartoon|url=http://punch.co.uk/cartoonhistory02.html] particularly sketches by John Leech. The first of these parodied the preparatory cartoons for grand historical frescoes in the then-new
Palace of Westminster. The original title for these drawings was "Mr Punch's face is the letter Q" and the new title "cartoon" was intended to be ironic, a reference to the self-aggrandising posturing of Westminster politicians.
Modern single-panel cartoons or
gag cartoons, found in magazines and newspapers, generally consist of a single drawing with a caption immediately beneath or (much less often) a speech balloon. Many consider "New Yorker" cartoonist Peter Arnothe father of the modern gag cartoon (as did Arno himself). Gag cartoonists of note include Charles Addams, Gary Larson, Charles Barsotti, Chon Day and Mel Calman. Editorial cartoonsare a type of gag cartoon found almost exclusively in news publications and news websites. Although they also employ humor, they are more serious in tone, commonly using ironyor satire. The art usually acts as a visual metaphor to illustrate a point of view on current social and/or political topics. Editorial cartoons often include speech balloons and, sometimes, multiple panels. Editorial cartoonists of note include Herblock, Mike Peters, David Low, Jeff MacNellyand Gerald Scarfe. Comic strips, also known as "cartoon strips" in the United Kingdom, are found daily in newspapers worldwide, and are usually a short series of cartoon illustrations in sequence. In the United Statesthey are not as commonly called "cartoons" themselves, but rather "comics" or "funnies". Nonetheless, the creators of comic strips—as well as comic books and graphic novels—are referred to as " cartoonists". Although humor is the most prevalent subject matter, adventure and drama are also represented in this medium. Noteworthy cartoonists in this sense include Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Scott Adams, Mort Walker, Steve Bell.
animated cartoonhorse, drawn by rotoscopingfrom Edweard Muybridge's 19th century photos.] Because of the stylistic similarities between comic strips and early animated movies, "cartoon" came to refer to animation, and this is the sense in which "cartoon" is most commonly used today. These are usually shown on televisionor in cinemas and are created by showing illustrated images in rapid succession to give the impression of movement. (In this meaning, the word cartoon is sometimes shortened to " toon", which was popularized by the movie " Who Framed Roger Rabbit"). Although the term can be applied to any animated presentation, it is most often used in reference to programs for children, featuring anthropomorphized animals, superheroes, the adventures of child protagonists, and other related genres.
Cartoon Research Library
List of comic strips
List of editorial cartoonists
* [http://www.libraries.psu.edu/waring/cartoons/toon.html Index of cartoonists in the Fred Waring Collection]
* [http://www.hnu.edu/ishs/index.htm International Society for Humor Studies]
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