Thursday, November 28, 2013

Art or Cartoons?

When we were children, my sister and I watched a TV show that taught kids how to draw cartoons (Tom Hatten), and I got pretty good. All my life, I drew cartoons, for fun, to entertain children,  to pass the time in long meetings. When I started painting, it felt like a criticism if my paintings were compared to cartoons. But after a few years, I began to think, well, that's what I'm good at so I might as well go with it. Recently, I did cartoons of unicorns and rainbows all over an 8 foot piece of butcher paper for my granddaughter's "Rainbow Unicorn Birthday" party, as a table cloth the children could color. I did all of this free hand with a magic marker:

After seeing the work of Milton Avery, I felt encouraged to go ahead and do cartoon-like paintings. Now in critiques, the teachers warn me not to get too "cartoony." There are some ways to reduce the cartoon look -- mute the colors and make the heads small. In the oil painting below, I muted the colors and eliminated the heads.

It has also been pointed out that figures in motion look more cartoony than still figures. Since I love to paint dancers, this problem presents a challenge -- how to paint cartoonish dancers that are not TOO cartoony. The oil painting below is not finished, but it is an attempt to paint wonky dancers that are not too cartoony. 

Well, I think it's too cartoony, but I like it anyway. Still have to paint the hair, spotlights, and shoes. Not sure what color to make the shoes. 


  1. You have a wonderful style Judy, and I am so glad it was recognized with your recent show award. I am hoping you will just keep peeling away the layers of your tremendous talent and avoid those who try to tamper with your style. Just sayin'.

    1. Thanks so much, Jacki, for your supp;ort, and for reminding me to paint for myself!