If you need to find a freelance cartoon illustrator for hire to draw and paint pictures with a professional cartoonist style and realism to get your comic strip, children’s book, concept art, storyboard, or mobile game project started. Then read the part 1 of the series, Freelance Cartoonist For Hire – How to commission a cartoon artist online, where I give you the best tips and insight on how to request commissions from a professional cartoonist website. Now in Part 2, I will help you to understand and effectively communicate your style ideas and realism goals once you hire a cartoon illustrator. The style will vary by artist, as each will have an individual interpretation and versatility with their structural technique. But realism is strictly based on the skill level of the artist, and it is a scientific approach to achieving what I will call (for the sake of this article) ‘cartoon realism.’ Cartoon Realism is a term that I use with my clients to help everyone determine the level of realism they’d like to see for their illustration project.
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Drawing and Painting Realism of a cartoon illustrator
Realism is important for you to discuss when you commission a cartoon illustrator for hire, because this will not only influence the style type for your illustration project, but it will determine the color palette and how the cartoon illustration will be rendered.
Rendering quality of a cartoon illustrator
Rendering is #1 to achieve realism. So, what is rendering? Rendering is the cartoon artist using tones within a gray-scale or value scale to capture the behavior of light and shadow (or tonal values) in a three-dimensional space through their drawing or painting. The quality or level of a rendering for a cartoon illustration is a key component to determining the realism for your cartoon project, whether you are looking for them to sketch artificial objects such as architecture, costumes, or machinery, or organic forms like human and animal anatomy. Rendering (or shading) is usually what a client is referring to when they are communicating the level of realism they’re expecting when commissioning a freelance cartoonist for hire.
Line & Structural Design of a cartoon illustrator
Line and structural design comes in a close 2nd to produce a believable realism. I always say that the eye can be fooled by a beautiful rendering, but if the design of that rendering is not structurally sound or believable then the mind will lower its value of realism. For instance, If I were to draw a sphere with just pure line, it wouldn’t seem real to the eye of the viewer without any rendering tones added even though it is a structurally perfect circle. And the mind will not register the contour line alone as a realistic without the weight, depth, and volume that a quality rendering technique will bring to the line. So try not to get seduced by the power of amazing renderings when you are looking for a cartoon illustrator to do a job for you. Check the art portfolio carefully to make certain they possess the know-how to create believable people, shapes, or forms. A skillful artist will use their rendering technique to help push the realism of a well designed cartoon illustration.
2D Cartoon Basic Realism
Minimal to no shading or value tone. A 2d basic cartoon level of realism will use one value tone or shadow tone. For example, the most popular cartoon characters of all time are Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes) and Mickey Mouse (silly symphonies). Bugs and Mickey of the 1940’s did not use any rendering techniques at all (except the inanimate backgrounds), they were simply painted with a ‘base color, ‘ and no light sources or shadows were introduced, because it was easier to animate. It was common to see that level of realism in many of the early animation cartoons, but still, we see it used in some children’s books, animated shows, political cartoons, newspaper comic strips, or storyboard drawings that use a basic or minimalist cartoon style of design.
2D Cartoon Semi-Realism
The 2D cartoon semi-realism is used for cartoon brands and IP’s that are interested in a standard three light source setup practiced in photography and film. So the cartoon illustrator will use their imagination to ‘light the scene’ and begin rendering the illustration using the rule of lighting theory to create a semi-realistic picture (2-4 tones of value).
2D/3D Cartoon Advanced Realism
When a cartoon illustrator is focused on creating a high-level of realism, they must have an advanced knowledge of lighting theory and the professional technique to render illustrations in drawing or painting. Whether the cartoon artist is illustrating in a digital or traditional format, the same principles of 5 + value tones are necessary to achieve believable realism for the artwork.
Drawing and Painting Style of a cartoon illustrator
The style will be how the freelance cartoon illustrator for hire will design your character or environment in their drawing or painting. So you want to make sure that the style will remain consistent throughout – every style must establish a set of rules that remain unbroken within the entire illustration. Here is a list of name of different cartoon styles to consider before hiring an artist.
2D/3D Basic Cartoon Design
The basic cartoon level of realism describes character anatomy, environments, objects, and machinery with a design method grounded in exaggeration or minimalism. This cartoon style can involve architectural or engineering components, but commonly include limbs that are longer or shorter than normal or body parts which are volumetrically thinner, fatter, bigger, or smaller than would normally be the case in any of their real-life equivalents. As an example, in the world of Disney’s The Incredibles, each of the characters follow a design method widely used but unofficially coined as the ‘The Pear Shapes Rule,‘ or sometimes referred to as ‘Layer-caking.’ A Layer-caked or pear shaped character will be disproportionate in their anatomical structure in parts of their body. Mr. Incredible is an example of an inverted pear shape character where his upper body is the largest form on his body, then disproportionately becomes smaller in mass as you move down from his lower body to his tiny feet. This method of constructing characters is not limited to this approach, like with any technique, once you understand the design rule established for your brand IP or illustration you can play within the parameters of the style. You will see this style guide often used in animated productions from Disney and Pixar. Many other styles are used for cartoon characters and worlds, and it is the cartoonist’s job to figure out which method will work best for your project.This basic cartoon style of design is used for kid’s books, TV/film/game animations, comic strips or anime/manga, t-shirt graphics, and character icons or mascot logos. Another example can be seen in my website’s portfolio with Cai Pop Girl cartoon character design.
2D/3D Moderate Cartoon Design
The moderate cartoon design style is different than the basic cartoon style in that the exaggeration or distortion of the structures of the characters, environments, and objects within the illustration are not as extreme. With this design style, you will notice the structures are clearly emulating real things and places, yet still stylized for a cartoon aesthetic. Good examples of this are Disney’s Aladdin, Lion King, Frozen, or Toy Story (Pixar), or even Dragonball Z, where the character/world design, movements, and behavior are meant to give you a cartoon rooted with some practical design principles. A moderately stylized cartoon design will look and feel like they’ve used a few (not all) rules for creating believable anatomical, structural, environmental design using real-life parameters. You will find this style used in most commercial forms of art in animations, advertising illustrations, graphic novels, comic books, games, storyboards, and more. You can see more examples in my portfolio by reviewing my Nero animation concept art painting or Dusk character concept illustration.
2D/3D Advanced Cartoon Design
Stylized Realism. Though this style of design is the highest level for a cartoon artist, it can still be stylized in how the cartoonist engineers the characters and world, but the much of the design elements should still be grounded in ‘cartoon realism.’ The advanced cartoon design style calls for a talented and professional illustrator because it requires a substantial understanding of anatomy and design. Not to mention you must prepare a big budget to commission the cartoon artist who will have the skillset to accomplish this style. I’ve seen this cartoon style used for well-funded properties, such as graphic novels, comic books, 2D or 3D animation/anime, video or mobile games, storyboarding, just to name a few. A few examples you can view in animated films like Ghost in the Shell or Final Fantasy, games like Batman Arkham Asylum, 3D animations like final fantasy, or my art portfolio like Uprising graphic illustration or Apostle 2d concept art rendering.
Color Palette of a cartoon illustrator
The realism and style of a cartoon illustration can be exaggerated using a cartoonists color palette to give you characters and worlds that punctuate the fantasy of cartoons. Or, you can ask the freelance cartoonist to choose mundane earth tones from their color swatches to incorporate more realistic tones into the cartoon painting.
Stay tuned for part 3…
If you need a freelance cartoon illustrator for hire, then setup your free consultation and get a quote by filling out the contact form here: www.maijintheartist.com/hire