A picture is worth a thousand words but a cartoon is worth a thousand pictures for it has an immense power of communication and a mass appeal than any other communication tool. For a common understanding, a cartoon is a comical drawing, at times satirical. But contrary to the common perception, cartooning is a powerful communication tool, a sharp weapon to ridicule the unjust and a platform to mould public opinion apart from creating good humour. The genre of cartooning is the mirror of the contemporary issues. R.K. Laxman, the icon of the contemporary Indian Cartooning opines ‘cartooning is the art of disapproval and complaint and it treats men and matter with a certain healthy scepticism and good humoured ridicule, but never malice’.
While inaugurating the National Cartoonists Conference, 2009 at Bangalore A.J. Sadashiva, former judge of the Karnataka High Court, said ‘….the power of cartoon is such that it can bring down a government…’ As the perfect combination of wit, satire, and punch, the genre of cartoon has carved a separate niche’ for itself in the world of mass communication.
Origin and growth :
With its roots as Italian “cartone” and Dutch / Flemish word “karton”, (meaning strong, heavy paper or pasteboard), a cartoon is a drawing made on paper. The development of cartooning as a comical and satirical art is said to be credited to the Italian brothers Annibale and Agostini Carrcci, who in 1590, produced a series of drawings called ritratini carichi (meaning loaded portraits).
This gradually led to the word ‘caricature’ and then to cartooning. In modern print media, a cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent. The element of satire gradually appeared with the further growth of the art. This usage dates from 1843 when Punch magazine of London applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, particularly sketches by John Leech. The modern – commercial cartooning owes its origin to a beginning by Walt Disney in 1920s. Since then, the art has seen no cessation. Apart from news papers and magazines, its presence can now also be seen in audio – visual advertisements, films, hoardings, banners. The information boom and the expanding horizon of media have further nurtured cartooning as a wonderful art of expression, a comic relief. That is why cartooning has emerged as a.
separate discipline in the journalistic studies. This very medium has given birth to animation as the multi – billion industry of the present time. When cartooning was in its nascent stage, companies like Disney pioneered the task of commercial cartooning and today it is,a household name worldwide. In fact, we all are spell – bound with the charm of such lovable characters like Tom and Jerry, Mickey and Donald. Not to go further, our own Cartoonists like R.K. Lakshman, Mario Miranda, Sudhir Dar, etc have taken the field to soaring heights of success and turned it into a sought after career of the contemporary times in our country.
Potential of the genre :
It is true that animation, the progeny of cartooning has captured the audio – visual media, cartooning will continue as an inseparable part of the print media. It will exist as long as print media exists. It has and will have a bright future despite the onslaught of the computerised 3D animation. Youngsters gifted with excellent drawing art, an imaginative analytical ability can try out their hands in the world of cartooning. One has the following ladder to cross in order to reach the heights of success:
- Trainee animators
- Junior animators
- Senior animators
- Art director