I used to be an amateur cartoonist. In early 2018, my friend Allie asked me to draw her.

I didn’t realize at the time that she meant for me to draw her as a cartoon character. So I drew her in a normal art style.

She loved it! In fact, she loved it so much that she convinced me to take my artwork seriously.

Within only two years, I was selling watercolor paintings professionally. Not making the big bucks just yet, but I actually got sales.

So yes, my artwork still shows traces of my cartooning style. That’s because cartooning is my backbone. My roots.

Last year, I took one-on-one lessons with an art teacher. Pencil drawing. With only basic #2 pencils (purchased at Target, not even an art store) and an eraser. That’s it.

Totally basics.

I learned a bit of anatomy, shading, technical terms, etc. I took the lessons for almost a year and they made a world of difference in my technique.

But I still have that cartooning backbone. Which I’m very grateful for for one reason…

Cartooning is underrated

Cartooning is seriously underrated as an art medium. You learn to really exaggerate expressions.

So what’s the main reason I’m grateful for starting in cartooning?

Exactly that. Expression.

You really learn to exaggerate expression.

I see my competition. No matter what you do in life, you should be aware of your competition. You don’t need to be a jerk and be mean to them. (In fact, you’re better off getting along and teaming up with at least one of them). But you should be aware of them so you know what’s going on in your field.

I see my competition and most of them have something really missing – expression. Their models look lifeless. They lack spunk. They lack pizazz. They lack life.

Whereas a lot of artists like to dismiss cartooning as silly, I see it the opposite. Cartoonists enjoy humor. Cartoonists enjoy life. Cartoonists put that spunk into their characters.

I only changed the terminology. Rather than cartoon characters, I now draw female figures.

You’ll notice my figures look spunky. You could tell I initially drew them live, which I do.

I don’t draw from my head. I use live models.

And you can also tell I’ve had a cartooning background because I err on overacting. Like those cheesy 80s movies. I’d much rather watch someone overact than underact. Underacting will put me to sleep because they look like they don’t want to be there. Overacting looks like they’re loving being on camera and it translates to fun. Sure, it’s cheesy, but you’re enjoying the show because they’re enjoying making the show.

Same thing with art. I don’t want to see lifeless art. I want to see emotion. I want to see that the artist had a blast creating his or her piece of artwork.

How I got started

My story goes back all the way to the early 2000s.

I had a friend of mine who I really wish I kept in touch with who worked in Hollywood as a writer. He wrote scripts for tv shows, shows that you may have seen.

Anyways, you may have heard that the Hollywood writers finally went on strike in 2007 and 2008.

Well, I totally understood why. They don’t make shit.

He had to keep a part time day job to make ends meet because living in Los Angeles ain’t exactly cheap. And at the time, you kind of had to live in Los Angeles to sell your scripts.

He told me how much he made for each script he sold. It was horrible. You’d understand why writers went on strike, especially if they had families to feed.

I had an idea for two tv shows – one live action and one animated. I’d write and produce the animated one first and if it did well, I’d develop a name for myself so I can also produce the live action one. That was my dream at the time.

However, I couldn’t draw. At all. I was doing stick figures in the early 2000s.

Luckily, I somehow stumbled on an old lady’s art site. She said that everything is lines and circles. If you want to draw, get good at drawing lines and circles.

I really wish I remembered her name so I could credit her.

Preston Blair

Anyways, I did that, then bought Preston Blair’s Cartoon Animation. If you don’t know who Preston Blair is, do an image search. You’ve more than likely seen his works before.

He filled up that book with exercises. You do the exercises and you’ll be able to cartoon.

I got good at cartooning within a year. However, I’m only one person.

I got overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work required to create a decent cartoon pilot and threw in the towel.

But even when you fail at something, you still get to keep the skill set.

I kept on cartooning for a hobby and eventually created a lot of really funny stuff.

Unfortunately it’s all manually uploaded into Flash files. One of these days, I’ll figure out how to convert that stuff into a more modern file just so I can show off my early works. Some of them were pretty funny.

Years of cartooning later, I met Allie who worked with a friend of mine. She was a beautiful young blonde and super cool as a person.

I got lucky. Sometimes a person changes your life for the better. She really did.

So I transitioned from a hobbyist cartoonist to a serious artist in 2018 and the rest is history.

I got expressions down very well from cartooning. I’ll always be grateful to have that cartooning background because it translates very well into art if your subjects are people.


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