Can you ever forget your favorite cartoon characters? Many of us inadvertently look up the “ cartoon of the day”, with ubiquitous characters with lopsided grins and large eyes, which pack in a satire and a punch, with laughter thrown in for good measure. “ Cartoon journalism mirror the current happenings and provide a good platform to visualize present happenings in a funny yet thought-provoking manner. They can prove to be effective tools for broadcasting news as well as capturing the pulse and mood of masses, evident from the recent cartoon on Mangalyaan, which went viral. If you can think of any news item and visualize a tickle in it, then you would be a good cartoonist. You can choose this as a full time career option or as a hobby. Generally, newspapers, magazines and other print media employ cartoonists who have the responsibility of covering and depicting current events of interest. In addition, cartoonists are also in demand in audio-visual media, films, Internet footage, films, multimedia advertising promotions, billboards and hoardings, designing games etc. The huge surge in media and animation will create more demand for satirists, who will always be in demand. A cartoonist can work independently also, by accepting commissioned works like books illustrations, cover page designs, events, personal invitations, comic strips and so on. The main qualification for a cartoonist would be a keen eye and ears, out to capture any news, which can be “cartoon-worthy”. This could be social, political, business, social or any relevant theme. This is not an easy task as we are bombarded with news every minute of the day. This essentially requires choosing the most appropriate theme, critically looking at it, add a dramatic touch and write a witty caption. This requires a highly creative mind as novel and clever ideas have to be though and recreated. Sometimes, cartoonists support ideas, articles or stories written by others. Thus, one requires many more attributes in addition to good drawing skills. Their duties could include developing patterns, settings and mood for background ideas and create special effects, especially in animation sector. Thus a cartoonist would require a combination of skills, artistic minded and creative with sharp intuition, be sensitive to issues, eloquent, and expressive with sketches and words. It is also important that they should be ethical, original and unbiased. An inquisitive, introspective and intellectual bent of mind would help in making their work relevant and identifiable. They may draw characters and scenes manually, on the computer or a combination of the two. Some use digital tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketchbook Pro, Animate CC & Procreate etc. while many use the traditional approach of paper and pencil and then scan it. The advent of digital tools has definitely made cartooning easier. After completing plus two (senior secondary) in any discipline from any recognized board of education, as student can opt for Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Diploma in Fine Arts, Masters in Fine Arts offered by many colleges and university like BHU, Delhi University, Viswa Bharati University, Kuvempu University, JJ School of arts and many others. The fee ranges from 3000-200000 per annum, depending on the type of university, public or private. One can also take up the entrance exam of National Institute of design, which are generally held in December/ January every year, for courses in animation and film design, digital gaming design and graphic design. These could be useful for honing skills in sketching and cartooning. One could also opt for a certificate/ Diploma course in sketching/ animation. Some of the places which offer these are C-DAC, Aptech University, Heart Animation Academy, Toonz Animation India, Animation and Fine Arts Academy (AFA), The National Institute of Design (NID) & Zica studios etc. The Indian Institute of Cartoonists (IIC)-Bangalore is expected to launch one-year certificate course in Cartooning. As part of this new course, aspirants will be trained in spheres like cartooning basics, comics, political cartoons, social cartoons, caricaturing, doodles, pocket cartoons and animation. Also, special sessions will be conducted wherein students would be educated on the growing trend of cartoons being used in advertising and business. A candidate interested in this field can visit Indian Institute of Cartoonists (IIC) comprises of a library which is known to possess 600 books on cartooning as well as related subjects from all over the world. Established in 2001, IIC has set up a 5,000 sq. ft. cartoon gallery off Bangalore’s MG road. In addition, they can visit and take part in many exhibitions and competitions, which are held and announced regularly in media. In short, a career as a cartoonist has great potential. It not only provides bread and butter but some great smiles to people’s faces. In addition, this work remains on, for many generations to come.
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