Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice

Ivan Brunetti (Author)


From the editor of Yale's Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, a smart and charming guide to the art of cartooning

The best cartooning is efficient visual storytelling--it is as much a matter of writing as it is of drawing. In this book, noted cartoonist and illustrator Ivan Brunetti presents fifteen distinct lessons on the art of cartooning, guiding his readers through wittily written passages on cartooning terminology, techniques, tools, and theory. Supplemented by Brunetti's own illustrations, prepared specially for this book, these lessons move the reader from spontaneous drawings to single-panel strips and complicated multipage stories.

Through simple, creative exercises and assignments, Brunetti offers an unintimidating approach to a complex art form. He looks at the rhythms of storytelling, the challenges of character design, and the formal elements of comics while composing pages in his own iconic style and experimenting with a variety of tools, media, and approaches. By following the author's sophisticated and engaging perspective on the art of cartooning, aspiring cartoonists of all ages will hone their craft, create their personal style, and discover their own visual language.

Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
March 29, 2011
5.5 X 0.3 X 7.4 inches | 0.35 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Ivan Brunetti has published several graphic novels and taught courses on editorial illustration and comics at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago. His drawings have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and he served as editor for Yale University Press's two-volume Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories.


"A simple yet sophisticated guide . . . inculcate[s] a sense of cartoons as an essentially literary form."--Wall Street Journal

"A simple yet sophisticated guide . . . [with] a warm sense of humor."--Wall Street Journal

"[Brunetti] comes across as that one, quirky, transformative teacher who brings a subject to life . . . enormously empowering. . . . More than any other instructional book, Brunetti's has the potential to create cartoonists."--Bill Kartalopoulos, Publishers Weekly

"Brunetti has given the cartooning world something very similar to what Strunk & White gave to prose with their Elements of Style. . . . Keep it right next to your desk where you can find it at a moment's notice."--Tim O'Neil,

"Brunetti has given the cartooning world something very similar to what Strunk & White gave to prose with their Elements of Style. . . . keep it right next to your desk where you can find it at a moment's notice."--Tim O'Neil,

"A definitive new guide to crafting comics."--Jenna Marotta, Chicago magazine

"[Cartooning] is full of Brunetti's brand of self-effacing, wry perspectives on life and art, and it's also a complete starter's guide to creating comics. . . . I am not a cartoonist, nor an aspiring cartoonist, but I found several chapters in Cartooning applicable to anyone who lives a creative life."--Jason Foumberg, Newcity Art

"Not everyone can be Charles Schulz or Ivan Brunetti, but if you give your time and best efforts to the program laid out in Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, you might be more of yourself."--Bob Duggan, Big Think
Winner of the 2012 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the Best Academic/Scholarly work category
"The goal of this book is to fuse elements of both writing and drawing into another form altogether: cartooning. We will use pictures as words and words as pictures. If you follow the advice presented herein, you will begin to see the world through the eyes of a cartoonist."--from the Introduction
"This is the best book ever written, as far as I'm concerned. . . . It's the best book I've ever read on cartooning, and it's so generous. It's like, anybody can do this. The book is so good."--Lynda Barry, cartoonist