Adventures in Cartooning: wit and instruction for kids who want to learn cartooning

Adventures in Cartooning is a comic that tells the story of an elf who teaches a kid how to draw comics -- a kind of Understanding Comics for kids. It's incredibly charming and full of sly wit, and the combination of the story (and there is a real story here) and the instruction is perfect inasmuch as the story illuminates the techniques in the construction. Taking kids through the basics of layout, dialog, and doodling, Adventures in Cartooning is an inspiring text for any kid who loves comics, regardless of artistic abilty.

Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics

Online preview of the book


  1. I don’t mean to be a purist but if you’re going to name drop ‘Understanding Comics’ you should probably read Chapter 1 in which the “cartoon” label is demonized.

  2. This looks really fun, I needed a birthday present for my nephew.

    And if you like this, get Dan O’Neill’s “The Big Yellow Drawing Book.” It’s wonderful!

  3. NOAH:

    I haven’t read “Understanding Comics”, but to me, and to manys “comics” fans, the word “comics” has a much more denigratory tone to it than “cartoons”. Comics implies a light, comic tone, which is hardly appropriate to most modern comics. Cartoon, on the other hand, is more to do with the process – cartooning.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

  4. 13Strong,

    You should totally read ‘Understanding Comics’! Even if you aren’t a comics fan it’s an amazing read. Scott McCloud is a genius. If you need motivation you should watch his TED talk which I believe was posted on Boingboing before, but he rattles off the same kinds of stuff that are in his book.

    I make animations and comics so I prefer to keep a definition between the two. It’s important to me because when I need to find a book on cartooning the last thing I want to look through is how to draw elementary school comics.

    I get what you’re saying about each words’ contexts, but I promise you it’s a misconception that all comic artists would like to see go away.

  5. You mean sketching life-size (or larger) objects on a huge sheet of paper, punching holes along the lines, tacking the paper up over your medium and whacking it with chalk or charcoal bags to transfer the drawing to the wall before you start painting is something that makes comics/sequential art/graphic storytelling less serious? Wow.

    I gave my son his first copy of Understanding Comics when he was 6. By the time he was 9 it was held together with rubber bands, simply because he had read it so much. Both he and Sky did their first 24 hour comic at age 9.

    I don’t think we *need* an ‘Understanding Comics’ for kids, but it will still be fun to take a look at the book.

  6. Wow, super excited to see this book, I spend friday afternoons at my son’s school doing an afternoon comic club, we’re all over the place reference book wise. McCloud is a must read, but can be a lot to digest even for adults, my six-year-old said, “mommy I think they got the title wrong”, there are other kids who are off and running with it though, we also like Jessica Able and Matt Madden’s new book- Drawing Words and Writing Pictures which actually takes you through the comic creation process as though it was a semester class, this book too is geared for adults but great for young people who want something beefier. We’re also big fans of Alex Kitchen who wrote her 1st book at 7- “Drawing Comics is easy, except when it’s hard” The kids and I have long discussions about the words, comics, graphic novel and sequential arts and they are very particular about how they name the work they are creating- the term comics doesn’t diminish the value of the work nor does it mean something funny.
    What we have found is that a medium once considered kid centric was appropriated by adults and taken seriously as literature. There are great books out there for kids but not enough, and we’re thrilled when something comes along for young artists. We’ve been talking about making kid T-shirts for the upcoming Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland- “Comics-we’re taking it back”

  7. Gonna use this to create my comic, “Big Ed Dunkel And The Unmet Needs Of The Modern Wife”

  8. #11, my sentiments exactly. The nose is ripped off exactly.

    S, more different S, consummate Vs. All the dragon chapter will tell you.

  9. Consummate Vs, Consummate Vs!

    at first, as i looked closely at the credits, i thought maybe the brothers chap wrote this book. but no… someone must alert them to the uncredited use of their nose.

  10. Psst! Noah! For whatever weird reason, it seems to be the consensus of many in the comics community that a practitioner of the comic arts can be called a cartoonist, even if comics are not cartoons. Even Fantagraphics, as neurotically protective as they can be of comics’ legitimacy as an artistic medium, have called themselves “Publishers of the World’s Greatest Cartoonists.” The term just seems to have stuck, and if anything it seems more favored by the indie folks.

    Also, yes, anyone who hasn’t read McCloud’s book should stop what they’re doing and read it. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have reading about art theory.

  11. SinisterCrawl,

    I stand corrected. Although I maintain that Scott McCloud deliberately points out the difference between cartoons and comics when he’s defining the term “comics” I guess he also thinks it’s okay to label comics artists “cartoonists.” It appears my stigma for the word is more personal than I thought.

    I would however like to take this opportunity to become a vocal indie comics artist against the “cartoonist” label… when I’m making comics.

    For instance, here’s a link to my comics…

    And here’s a link to my cartoons…

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