A HISTORY OF CARTOONS

A Series of Integrated Lectures

 

This is an informative and humorous series of talks exploring the development and influence of cartoons worldwide.   The talks form an integrated narrative but each one may be viewed as "stand alone".  This topic is offered as a series of one, two, three, four, five or six lectures to suit schedules.  The six lecture series has been used as an educational course.

 

Art, Drawing and Cartoons

Following an overview of the full series, the relationship between art and the cartoon is explored. This covers the various types of cartoons from sketches, caricature and illustration to animation and Computer Generated Imagery.  The cartoon creation and production processes and methods are shown.  


The Whole World Draws

From cave paintings to modern art, the whole World draws and always has done. Here we look at the early history of the art form that became cartoons.  It includes their use in the production of frescoes, tapestries and stained glass windows. The use of cartoons in political, social and satirical commentary is covered.  Their development into cartoons for fun, the early comic strips, comic books and the graphic novel is also traced.

 

Modern Day Cartoons

The 20th Century saw an explosion in cartoon style and form.  The development of the various cartoon forms such as the comic strip, comics, the graphic novel and animation is shown.  The influence of the USA is particularly strong with comical, action and adventure and boys’ and girls’ comics.  It covers the various animation forms and the new mainstream.

 

The Influence of Cartoons

As well as amusing, cartoons have the ability to inform, comment on and influence events.  Here we look at some of the ways in which cartoons have been used to influence major issues.  Examples include Hogarth’s “ Beer Street and Gin Lane”, a comment on the Gin Act of 1751, Benjamin Franklin’s 1754 “Join or Die” cartoon for an Intercolonial Association and Disney’s Donald Duck in World War II propaganda cartoons.


Communication and Commerce:

This talk focuses on the use of cartoons in persuasion. It starts with the commercial world e.g. advertising campaigns, and it is interesting to look at advertisements before standards were introduced.  It then goes on to examine the use of cartoons in the Public Services e.g. health promotion campaigns and use in general Public Information.


The Best of the Breed

Certain cartoonists have become household names or have been influential in forming public opinion on and satirising events.  This is my personal choice of the “best” cartoonists through the ages including the Italian Masters, Daumier in France, Gilray and McGill in the UK, Nast, Disney and Groening in the USA, Unger in Canada and Tatsumi  in Japan.  Each selection is explained within the context of their times and circumstances.

 

Audience participation is encouraged throughout, especially by the “Supply the Punch Line” activity:

 

Supply the Punch Line

Each talk is selectively interspersed with relevant cartoons where the original caption has been removed.  The audience is invited to supply their punch line and then the original is shown.  At the end of each lecture there are four/five of these purely for fun.