While some cartoon characters, such as many of the cartoon people drawn in Japanese anime, are not inherently funny, funny cartoon characters share certain qualities. Whether they're animated on TV and film or featured in a comic strip, funny characters' bodies and facial features share similar styles.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Make the bodies disproportionate. One reason why caricatures are so humorous is that their facial features, limbs and torso are drawn out of proportion. Although the standard caricature features a large head and small body, any type of disproportionate combination, such as a tiny head on a big, round body, also lends a humorous effect to cartoon people. Combinations that aren't possible on a real-life human being, such as a giant head on a pencil-thin neck, are likely to be funny on a cartoon person.
Exaggerate facial features. One of the most comical features of many characters from "The Simpsons" is a wide grin with overexposed teeth. Similarly, "Fat Albert" characters achieve a funny quality with their supersized grins and bucktoothed overbites. Large, bulbous eyeballs that mimic a crazy stare are an easy way to make cartoon people funny. The other extreme---squinty, barely-there eyes such as the ones on "Calvin and Hobbes" characters or the "Peanuts" gang---also creates a humorous effect.
Aim for specific facial expressions, another factor that can make a cartoon character funny. For example, Japanese anime characters typically have facial expressions that are solemn rather than silly, which doesn't allow a lot of room for laughs. Facial expressions such as boredom and maniacal excitement, however, do tend to create a funny effect when featured on cartoon people. A bored expression can be created by drawing a line in the middle of the eyeball to indicate a drooped eyelid, as seen on "Garfield" character, Jon Arbuckle. Maniacal excitement can be created by drawing large, round eyes and a wide goofy grin, as seen on characters like Krusty the Clown from "The Simpsons."
Obscure facial features with accessories. Moustaches that hide the mouth, eyebrows that cover the eyes and glasses that hide the eyes and eyebrows can each create an absurdly funny cartoon character. For example, characters such as Dilbert from "Dilbert," Monty from "Robotman" and various characters from "The Far Side" wear glasses that completely obscure their eyes.
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