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Monstrously Funny Cartoons

I’m stepping out my comfort zone this Halloween to take a look at the latest Christopher Hart book on cartooning and illustration, and thankfully it’s perfect for the season!

Monstrously Funny CartoonsMonstrously Funny Cartoons
by Christopher Hart
Watson-Guptill Publications, 160 pp
Rating: NA

Monstrously Funny Cartoons is the latest in a long line of “how to” books from Christopher Hart, focusing on helping artists to get the hang of rendering their favorite monster, zombies and more in a cute and cartoony manner.

While there’s no hard and fast rules on who the book’s for, it really seems designed to help younger artists in their attempts at cartooning. The cute and cartoony nature of the monsters within reinforces this idea, as each chapter focuses on a different ghoulish archetype including vampires, zombies and alines. Much of the book depicts methods to render predetermined characters, showing how to draw them in a loose step-by-step manner. However, large chunks of the text and sidebars are given over to explaining how and why some of the techniques, poses and positioning used work and can be utilized in other areas. A good example comes when Hart discusses body posture being used to convey personality and character. Likewise he goes into detail regarding variations on poses, facial features and more, showing how each can be utilized to convey something different. It’s the kind of thing that seems like it’ll be useful beyond simply mimicking the monsters within the book, and can be applied by younger artists as they slowly develop their own style.

The oversized nature of the book means that the illustrations, text and instructional aspects are clear, and the cartoonish figures depicted throughout are cute and comical. As the book goes on Hart touches upon more complex and in depth techniques. Encouraging readers to experiment, changing designs and experimenting with other poses, backgrounds and more throughout. Hart’s instructional text is simple and easy to follow, while also being peppered with humor ranging from the bad to the chuckle worthy.

While I’m no artist myself, I figured I’d take a crack at one of the figures shown in the book, here are my results!

Ken's Vampire

My sad attempt at a Nosferatu-Type Vampire.

Monstrously Funny Cartoons is something of a “how to” book that seems sure to appeal to young artists with a penchant for monsters and aliens. While experienced and older artists might not find much appeal here, the hints, suggestions and motifs that Hart uses seem like they’re something a younger child or tween might get a kick out of and might be able to draw from. It seems like it’d make a great gift and would help encourage those younger aspiring artists to explore their gift and talents.

Monstrously Funny Cartoons is available now from Watson-Guptill Publications. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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