• Notes & Activities
  • Vocabulary

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Notes & Activities:

A cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent.

There are several different types of cartoons:

  • A single-panel gag cartoon consists of a single drawing with a typeset caption positioned beneath:




  • A comic strip consists of a short series of cartoon illustrations in sequence:




  • An editorial cartoon is more serious in tone and uses visual metaphors and irony to satirise social or political situations.  They often include speech bubbles and, sometimes, multiple panels:  [See Satire notes] 




  • A graphic novel (e.g. Tintin) is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in a comic format:




  • A humour magazine, like MAD, offers satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment and public figures.  (MAD's format is divided into a number of recurring segments such as TV and movie parodies, as well as freeform articles.  MAD's mascot, Alfred E Neuman, is typically the focal point of the magazine's cover, with his face often replacing a celebrity or character that is lampooned within the issue):
 



Mad spoof of Twilight

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Activity 1:



1.  Create your own cartoon character.



2.  Use your cartoon character to illustrate your favorite joke.

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Cartoon Analysis:

When analyzing a cartoon, it is important to look at the following aspects:

Setting:

  • Where and when is the cartoon set?
  • What is the particular social context?

Characters:

  • What actions and emotions are communicated through body language? 
  • What emotions are communicated through facial expressions? 
  • What does the body language suggest about the relationships between characters?

Action:

  • What is happening in the cartoon?
  • How is the action portrayed?

Language:

  • What words have been used?
  • How has punctuation been used to suggest emotion?

Stereotypes / Symbols:

  • Has the cartoonist made use of stereotypes? 
  • Has the cartoonist used any symbols to represent something else?

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Activity 2:



The illustrations have been taken from Tintin and the Picaros by Herge.

Cartoon 1:

  • How does the cartoonist indicate that Snowy is annoyed?
  • How does the cartoonist indicate that Professor Calculus got a fright?



Cartoon 2:

  • How does the chief feel in frame 1?  How is this conveyed?
  • How does the cartoonist convey the chief's pain in frames 2 and 3?



Cartoon 3:

  • What does the punctuation in frame 1 tell us about what is going on?  Why do you think the cartoonist colored it red?
  • Why has Nestor got multiple arms in frame 2?



Cartoon 4:

  • What emotion does Colonel Sponsz feel?  How is this conveyed?
  • Characterize the relationship between Tintin and Captain Haddock. 



Cartoon 5:

  • What gives us the idea that Tintin is whispering in frame 1?
  • What do the symbols / letters / numbers in the thought bubble mean? 
  • What is happening in frame 3.  How is this indicated?



Cartoon 6:

  • How can we tell that Tintin is running in frame 2?
  • What gives us the impression that Tintin stopped suddenly in frame 3?



Cartoon 7:

  • How is sound and motion conveyed?



Cartoon 8:

  • What do the motion lines in frame 1 indicate about the violence of Captain Haddock's actions?
  • What indicates that he fell backwards quickly and with force in frame 2?



Cartoon 9:

  • What gives us the impression that music is being played?
  • How does the cartoonist highlight the object that Tintin is pointing out?



Cartoon 10:

  • Look at the facial expressions and body language of Tintin and Professor Calculus.  What do they tell us?



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Activity 3:



Discuss the humor in a selection of the following cartoons and see how the cartoonist brings the joke across:


Cartoon Analysis

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Caricatures:

A caricature is a drawing of a public figure that shows exaggerated features for easy identification and/or ridicule.

Caricatures can be insulting or complimentary and can serve a political purpose or be drawn solely for entertainment. 

Caricatures of politicians are commonly used in editorial cartoons, while caricatures of movie stars are often found in entertainment magazines.


Mad caricatures

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Activity 4:



Compare the photo of the person to his caricature by Zapiro.  In each, state which physical attributes have been emphasized?

Nelson Mandela:



Jacob Zuma:



Desmond Tutu:



Bill Clinton (former President of the USA):



George W. Bush (former President of the USA):



Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of Britain):



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Activity 5:



Study yourself in the mirror and decide which physical attributes a cartoonist would emphasize.  Using this information, draw a caricature of yourself.

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Pop Quiz - Cartoons

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Vocabulary:



You will never be able to master a subject if you don't have the vocabulary to support it.  So, please learn the following words (contained in these notes).  You will be examined on them.

      

Vocab Quiz - Cartoons