A cartoonist is a person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

 who specializes in drawing cartoon
A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works...

s. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising. Throughout the 20th century, cartoons were widely published in print media
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

 of various kinds, featured in magazines such as The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

and Punch
Punch (magazine)
Punch, or the London Charivari was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. Historically, it was most influential in the 1840s and 50s, when it helped to coin the term "cartoon" in its modern sense as a humorous illustration...

and distributed to newspapers through such organizations as King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate, a print syndication company owned by The Hearst Corporation, distributes about 150 comic strips, newspaper columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games to nearly 5000 newspapers worldwide...

. Today, both original and vintage cartoons can be found online.

Cartoonists may work in many different formats: animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

, booklet
Booklet may refer to:* A small book or group of pages* Postage stamp booklet, made up of one or more small panes of postage stamps in a cardboard cover...

s, comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

s, comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

s, editorial cartoons, graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

s, manual
Manual may mean:* Instructions** User guide** Owner's manual** Instruction manual ** Online help** Unix manual - known as "man pages"* Manual - a keyboard, as for an organ* Manual * A manual is a special kind of wheelie....

s, single-panel gag cartoon
Gag cartoon
A gag cartoon is most often a single-panel cartoon, usually including a hand-lettered or typeset caption beneath the drawing. A pantomime cartoon carries no caption...

s or video game packaging
Video game packaging
Video game packaging refers to the physical storage of the contents of a computer or video game, both for safekeeping and shop display. In the past, a number of materials and packaging designs were used, mostly paperboard or plastic...

. A cartoonist traditionally developed rough sketches into finished pencil drawings and then, for reproduction purposes, completed the artwork in black India ink
India ink
India ink is a simple black ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing, especially when inking comic books and comic strips.-Composition:...

, using either a brush or a metal-nibbed pen
A pen is a device used to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing or drawing. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used, with a nib of some sort to be dipped in the ink. Ruling pens allow precise adjustment of line width, and still find a few specialized uses, but...

. Many favored a Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton manufactures a wide variety of fine art products including: oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, brushes, canvases, papers, portfolios, and distributes the Derwent pencil sets.-History:...

 #3, Series 7 brush used in combination with a crowquill pen.

Today, cartoonists increasingly work in digital media. To illustrate the Blondie
Blondie (comic strip)
Blondie is an American comic strip created by cartoonist Chic Young. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, the strip has been published in newspapers since September 8, 1930...

comic strip, the cartoonist John Marshall
John Marshall (cartoonist)
John Marshall is an American cartoonist, best known as the artist of the Blondie comic strip since 2005. He works closely with scripter Dean Young, son of the strip's creator, Chic Young....

 works directly on a Wacom
in Krefeld, Germany. Wacom is a Japanese portmanteau: Wa for "harmony" or "circle", and Komu for "computer". Wacom tablets are notable for their use of a patented cordless, battery-free, and pressure-sensitive stylus or digital pen...

 tablet connected to his Macintosh computer.


The English satirist
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 and editorial cartoonist William Hogarth
William Hogarth
William Hogarth was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects"...

, who emerged In the 18th century, has been credited with pioneering Western sequential art
Sequential art
Sequential art refers to the art form of using a train of images deployed in sequence to graphic storytelling or convey information. The best-known example of sequential art is comics, which are a printed arrangement of art and balloons, especially comic books and comic strips.The term is rarely...

. His work ranged from realistic
Realism (visual arts)
Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history; it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of...

 portraiture to comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects". Much of his work poked fun at contemporary politics and customs; illustrations in such style are often referred to as "Hogarthian".

During the 20th century, numerous magazines carried single-panel gag cartoons by such freelance cartoonists as Charles Addams
Charles Addams
Charles "Chas" Samuel Addams was an American cartoonist known for his particularly black humor and macabre characters...

, Irwin Caplan
Irwin Caplan
Irwin Caplan , nicknamed Cap, was an American illustrator, painter, designer and cartoonist, best known as the creator of The Saturday Evening Post cartoon series, Famous Last Words, which led to newspaper syndication of the feature in 1956.Caplan grew up in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood...

, Chon Day, Clyde Lamb
Clyde Lamb
Clyde William Lamb was an artist and cartoonist whose gag cartoons, signed Clyde Lamb, were published in leading magazines of the 1940s and 1950s. He also drew a syndicated comic strip during the 1950s....

 and John Norment
John Norment
John Murray Norment was an American illustrator, gag cartoonist, magazine editor and photographer.Born in Lebanon, Tennessee, Norment attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1933-34, and he exhibited in the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists annual shows in...

. These were almost always published in black and white, although Collier's
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

often carried cartoons in color. The debut of Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

introduced full-page color cartoons by Jack Cole
Jack Cole (artist)
Jack Ralph Cole was an American comic book artist and Playboy magazine cartoonist best known for creating the comedic superhero Plastic Man....

, Eldon Dedini
Eldon Dedini
Eldon Dedini was an American cartoonist whose work has appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy and elsewhere....

 and others. Single-panel cartoonists syndicated to newspapers included Dave Breger, Hank Ketcham
Hank Ketcham
Henry King "Hank" Ketcham was an American cartoonist who created the Dennis the Menace comic strip, writing and drawing it from 1951 to 1994, when he retired from drawing the daily page and took up painting full time in his studio at his home. He received the Reuben Award for the strip in 1953...

, George Lichty
George Lichty
George Lichty was an American cartoonist, creator of the daily and Sunday cartoon series Grin and Bear It. His work was signed Lichty and often ran without mention of his first name....

, Fred Neher
Fred Neher
Fred Neher was an American cartoonist best known for his syndicated gag panel, Life’s Like That, which offered a humorous look at human nature, with a focus on American society and family life, for more than five decades....

, Irving Phillips and J. R. Williams
J. R. Williams (cartoonist)
James Robert Williams was a cartoonist who signed his work J. R. Williams. He was best known for his long-run daily syndicated panel, Out Our Way. As noted by Coulton Waugh in his 1947 book, The Comics, anecdotal evidence indicated that more Williams' cartoons were clipped and saved than were...



Comic strips received widespread distribution to mainstream newspapers by syndicates
Print syndication
Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights....

such as the Universal Press Syndicate
Universal Press Syndicate
Universal Press Syndicate, a subsidiary of Andrews McMeel Universal, is the world's largest independent press syndicate. It distributes lifestyle and opinion columns, comic strips and other content. Popular columns include Dear Abby, Ann Coulter, Roger Ebert and News of the Weird...

, United Media
United Media
United Media is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States, owned by The E.W. Scripps Company. It syndicates 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. Its core business is the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association...

 or King Features. Sunday strip
Sunday strip
A Sunday strip is a newspaper comic strip format, where comic strips are printed in the Sunday newspaper, usually in a special section called the Sunday comics, and virtually always in color. Some readers called these sections the Sunday funnies...

s go to a coloring
In comics, a colorist is responsible for adding color to black-and-white line art. For most of the 20th century this was done using brushes and dyes which were then used as guides to produce the printing plates...

 company such as American Color before they are published.

Some comic strip creators publish in the alternative press
Alternative media
Alternative media are media which provide alternative information to the mainstream media in a given context, whether the mainstream media are commercial, publicly supported, or government-owned...

 or on the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Comic strip artists may also sometimes work in book-length form, creating graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

s. Both vintage and current strips receive reprints in book collections.

The major comic book publishers (such as Marvel
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 or DC
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

) utilize teams of cartoonists to produce the art (typically separating pencil work, inking and lettering while the color is added digitally by colorist
In comics, a colorist is responsible for adding color to black-and-white line art. For most of the 20th century this was done using brushes and dyes which were then used as guides to produce the printing plates...

s). When a consistent artistic style is wanted among different cartoonists (such as Archie Comics
Archie Comics
Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher headquartered in the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, New York, known for its many series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones. The characters were created by...

), character model sheet
Model sheet
In animation, a model sheet, also known as a character board, character sheet, character study or simply a study, is a document used to help standardize the appearance, poses, and gestures of an animated character...

s may be used as reference.

Calum MacKenzie, in his preface to the exhibition catalog, The Scottish Cartoonists (Glasgow Print Studio Gallery, 1979) defined the selection criteria:
The difference between a cartoonist and an illustrator was the same as the difference between a comedian and a comedy actor—the former both deliver their own lines and take full responsibility for them, the latter could always hide behind the fact that it was not his entire creation.


Animated cartooning is created for short films, advertising, feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

s and television. It is also sometimes used in live-action films for dream sequences or opening titles. An animation artist is commonly referred to as an animator
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence; the images are called frames and key frames. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. Usually, an...

 rather than a cartoonist.

Books and exhibitions

There are many books of cartoons in both paperback and hardcover, notably the collections of cartoons from The New Yorker. Prior to the 1960s, cartoons were mostly ignored by museums and art galleries. In 1968, the cartoonist and comedian Roger Price
Roger Price (comedy)
Roger Price was an American humorist, author and publisher, who created Droodles in the 1950s, followed by his collaborations with Leonard Stern on the Mad Libs series...

 opened the first New York City gallery devoted exclusively to cartoons, mainly work by the leading magazine gag cartoonists. Today, there are several museums devoted to cartoons, notably the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a research library of American comic art, is affiliated with the Ohio State University library system in Columbus, Ohio...

, run by curator Jenny E. Robb at Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...


Societies and organizations


See also

  • Comic book creator
    Comic book creator
    A comic book creator is someone who creates a comic book or graphic novel.The production of a comic book by one of the major comic book companies in the U.S...

  • Editorial cartoonist
    Editorial cartoonist
    An editorial cartoonist, also known as a political cartoonist, is an artist who draws editorial cartoons that contain some level of political or social commentary....

  • List of cartoonists
  • List of newspaper comic strips
  • Mangaka
    is the Japanese word for a comic artist or cartoonist. Outside of Japan, manga usually refers to a Japanese comic book and mangaka refers to the author of the manga, who is usually Japanese...

  • The Someday Funnies
    The Someday Funnies
    The Someday Funnies is an exceptionally large and varied book of comics which was published by Abrams on November 1, 2011. During the early 1970s, the humorist Michel Choquette gradually put together a unique collection of comics about the 1960s, by soliciting work internationally from contemporary...

  • Webcomic
    Webcomics, online comics, or Internet comics are comics published on a website. While many are published exclusively on the web, others are also published in magazines, newspapers or often in self-published books....

  • Women in comics
    Women in comics
    Although traditionally women artists have long been a minority in the comics business, they have made notable impact since its very beginning, and more and more female artist gain recognition, along with the maturing of the medium....

External links

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