Cartooning is not about drawing it is about telling stories. Yes, even when you are drawing a single illustration you are telling a story. Cartooning is about expressing your thoughts. And it is your thoughts expressed beautifully through your cartoon characters that make you different from other average cartoon makers.
But as in every other field of life here also you must learn to walk first before you try running. To express your thoughts and ideas through your cartoon characters, you need to master the skill of cartoon drawing first. Then of course you can use your cartoon drawing skills to tell stories to your liking.
To be skilled in cartoon drawing you have to face a learning curve. You just can’t decide to be a cartoonist then copy some popular cartoon figures and become an accomplished cartoonist who is rich and famous. If you are lucky and talented with keen sense of observation you may pick up one or two tricks by making copies of popular cartoon figures. But that is too inadequate to be of any use.
There are various ways that you can take to learn cartoon drawing -you can join cartooning school or take a home study course or follow a book of an expert cartoonist-, the bottom line is you have to follow the steps. Like you should first teach yourself drawing 3d shapes, then learn to stretch, squash those 3d shapes in your drawing. Next you need to practice things like drawing hands and heads before moving on to motion and emotion and advanced things like that.
If it sounds like a lot of work, you are right. But what you achieve at the end is worth working for. If you are smart however, you can use the tips you are going to discover here to make the whole learning process fast and painless.
(1) Do not start with computers. I agree I run the risk of sounding backdated. But here I am not opposing usage of computer altogether, no sane person can do that. But for beginners there is no alternative to using paper and pencil.
There are various softwares that help you so much that you can go ahead even without learning how to draw a smooth line. This kind of over dependency on computers from the very beginning always backfires down the road.
(2) Nail the fact in your mind that construction of human, animal, cars and most of the things that we see around us are complex 3d structures though we draw them on paper which is 2D. So, when drawing you must mentally analyze your model in terms of 3d shapes like spheres and boxes and not in terms of 2d shapes like circles and rectangles.
Also, when you draw something from paper (2D) look for and find out the 3d shapes that make up the character.
(3) Most of the cartoon drawing or figure drawing tutorials always start with some basic 3d shapes and after a number of steps end up in a complete and beautiful figure. This technique is very effective in learning how we can draw complex figures starting with simple shapes. But what I am going to tell you will make your pace of learning even faster. It is in fact a very simple way of using the same tutorial. Just a lot more effective.
What you need to do is start where the tutorial ends and go backward from there. See the completed figure and try to recognize the ingredient basic shapes. And compare your analysis with the exact shapes that are used in the tutorial.
This will give you a very through exercise in recognizing the basic shapes. And after some time you will be analyzing the real life around you like an expert. Just take your time and practice this technique, and see how fast it will improve your skill in cartoon drawing.
Cartoon drawing is pure fun both for professionals who earn their living through cartooning and hobbyists who draw cartoons only for personal pleasure. I do not know what your goal is but hope the tips here will be helpful for you. Never stop learning: there are a whole lot to learn and even more fun to have in the process. Happy journey!