Friday, May 2, 2014

Great Collection of Retro Comic Strip Cartoons

One of the nicest memories of my childhood were the few minutes on a Saturday morning before my dad headed off to work when he and I read the newspaper together. I felt so privileged when he handed over my preferred section and I could catch up on the Bumsteads, Beetle Bailey,  Andy Capp, Hi and Lois, et al, while sitting beside him at the breakfast nook.

I loved the funnies, mini-stories of comical characters laid out in strips. There were favourites, such as the aforementioned, and some less so,  generally those of the science fiction genre, such as Sky Masters. But for several minutes, this book-loving tot would bury herself between the pages of the weekend's entertainment section to enjoy the antics and adventures, reading the comics side to side, top to bottom, beginning to end.

Now, when I find myself searching for cartoon illustrations, while my tastes tend to run to the ones that make me feel all warm and fuzzy, or tickle my funny bone, those with a retro comic strip style will typically bring a smile to my face and returning memories of those Saturday mornings. Here's one of my favourite collections:

iCLIPART.com Retro Cartoons

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Awesome Cartoon Illustration Tutorials

When it comes to drawing characters,  I really haven't improved much since my kindergarten days. My attempts at moving beyond stick figures are  unimaginative at best, downright childish at worst.

The unimaginative came about as a result of copying the work of a friend of mine years ago. A budding fashion designer, she had become rather adept at drawing young girls in fab '60s attire. Taking her style I was able to produce reasonable facsimiles, though my range was most assuredly limited. A couple of different hairstyles, or a change from bellbottoms to a mini-skirt and go-go boots were the only alterations.

The fact that I could copy them I see in retrospect proves that she was not exactly a major talent either, though.  But at that time, to a young teen with limited exposure to people with artistic ability, this was pretty cool.  All I saw was a blank piece of paper transformed by a fairly accurate depiction of a person.  That there was a rather cartoon-ish flare to the work was irrelevant.

Nowadays, few people probably use pencil and paper to create cartoon illustrations. Photoshop has resulted in a new breed of artist and artistry. The easel is a computer, the palette software, the art digital.

How it's done can be practised with help from these great tutorials.

40 Cartoon Character Illustration Tutorials

Create a Nice Cartoon Using Photoshop

Photoshop Cartoon Effect in 5 Minutes

50 Great Photoshop Cartoon Tutorials

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top Tutorials for Making an Animated Film

Several years ago, I met a talented young artist whose paintings transformed reality into fantasy with a few small touches. Captivated by the image of a beautiful young woman playing a flute in the forest,  impressed by the tones and shadings, the careful blending of colours, one didn't immediately notice the delicate fairy wings she wore.

I was so enchanted by the feel of this particular artwork that I bought it for my daughter, and borrowed it for my own wall, and enjoyment, until she had a place of her own. 

It is difficult to break into the artistic fields, let alone make a living at them. This young man, however, went on to become an animator at major Hollywood studios, working on such projects as Space Jam. It was a long way from the beautiful paintings that had so captured my attention years before, but it was the dream he had hoped to achieve.

While I certainly had a deeper appreciation for his traditional art I have to admit it must be fun to bring images to life through animation. Certainly, I would never dream of being able to do it myself, but I thought it might be fun to have a search around the internet and see exactly what it does take to create the magic. Here are some of the best tutorials I found:

How to Make an Animated Movie

How to Create a Good Animated Film

How to Make an Animated Short Film

How to Make an Animated Video on Vimeo

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Some Really Great Cartoon Collections

There are some great images available from online graphics services. Lovely landscapes, beautiful backgrounds, fancy flourishes are perfect as starters for so many design projects. Illustrations of people, places and pets are useful for everything from accessorizing your scrapbook page to website decorations.  They can be elegant or simple, retro or contemporary.

Yet, while I do use a variety of types when I'm having one of those spells where I either feel crafty or have a need to be, my eye is typically drawn to one particular style over and over again. Unless they fall outside the boundaries of propriety, the go-to image will usually be a cartoon.

Every day thrown in with all of our blessings we also face challenges and stress. Therefore, the more light-heartedness I can bring to my world to keep those spirits lifted the better.  Life can be far too serious to take it that way, so any time I can infuse a little playfulness into a task,  I'm all over it. A cute cartoon illustration is a mood changer, one which, if you don't mind a more casual approach, can be perfect for any project. Some are just plain adorable; others can be real funny-bone ticklers.

There are many talented artists whose focus is on creating charming collections of this genre. Here are a few of my favourites:

iCLIPART.com Cartoon Collection

iCLIPART.com TOON Clipart

iCLIPART.com Cartoons

iCLIPART.com Cartoons

iCLIPART.com Cartoons

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tutorials for Turning a Photo Into a Cartoon

Charlie Chaplin once said that a day without laughter is a day wasted.  Even a simple smile will brighten a life. 

It has been determined that just going through the motions will improve your mood. When you're blue,  just plant a smile on your face and see how long it takes until you are feeling just a little happier.  Obviously, presenting a dour puss to the world isn't going to do anything for the people around you, but give them grin and you'll likely get one in return.

And of course, appealing to the vanity in us, it's a known fact that smiling is good for the face. Forget those worry wrinkles and go for the lift.

It doesn't matter what type of smile you wear either, I don't think. For example, the smiles we preserve in photography can be forced or genuine, formal or relaxed, coy or larger than life. We catch subjects  in poses, in contemplation, in repose. Either way a smiling face, or one lit by laughter will transform a face only in the best way.

So speaking of transformation, I wondered what could be done to actually have a photograph make me smile. What I found were a number of tutorials to turn a picture into a cartoon. This is a relatively simple effect to achieve and should be guaranteed to turn a frown upside down.

Photo to Cartoon Effect

Turn Your Photo Into a Cartoon

Photo to Cartoon Photoshop Tutorials

Turning an Image Into a Cartoon Character