In Lynda Barry's book "Syllabus," she requires her students to have a book by Ivan Brunetti as a resource. It is called "Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice," and that is what arrived in my mailbox next. It is a course in cartooning in 15 weeks. The last time I tried drawing anything that wasn't observational and realistic, was when I was about 6 and decided I wanted to be a cartoonist. I didn't know there was such a thing as an artist, but I saw cartoons in the paper and knew someone made those. I had a how to book; I can still remember it, and just found a reprint on amazon.com: "Ed Emberely's Drawing Book: Make a World." It was first published in 1972 and was oriented horizontally instead of vertically. I loved this book. I took it everywhere with me, and sat and drew while we watched TV as a family.
I didn't even remember that until now. So one night while we were all watching the "Avengers" again, I pulled out the desk lamp and the book. It doesn't take long to get through it, and after a couple of evenings, I pulled out my sketchbook to start on Week 1 drawings. The first exercise was to draw a car in different time intervals with each interval getting shorter.
it is so very hard to make these drawings without any judgement....because I am terrible at them. So you just have to be terrible and move on. The second page intervals got even shorter.
And then the second exercise was to draw a page of cartoon characters from your memory, but I couldn't even remember a page's worth. The third exercise was to make a grid of 100 squares and make a five second stream of consciousness drawing for each square. I didn't make the grid and I didn't get that far. It was weird and uncomfortable and almost fun. Of course there hasn't been any time since to practice. I know it would do me some good. I think I will start with one exercise a day. And maybe practice Ed Emberley's style as well.