A Brief History Of Cartoons

A Brief History Of Cartoons

A term cartoon refers to an illustration, sometimes animated, typically in a non-realistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved over time, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an image or series of images intended for satire, caricature, or humor; or a motion picture that relies on a sequence of illustrations for its animation. 

The Origin Of The Word Cartoon

The word “cartoon” is derived from either the Italian word ‘cartone’ or the Dutch word ‘karton’, which are both words describing a strong, thick or heavy paper, or pasteboard. These illustrations were originally done on a sturdy piece of paper as a preparatory study for a finished work, such as a painting, tapestry or stained glass. Artists back then used cartoons to form frescoes, to precisely link the components of the composition when painted on damp plaster over several days, which is referred to as giornate.

The Evolution Of Cartoons From Ancient Era To 19th Century 

Making illustrations harks back as far as the Paleolithic Age, as evidenced by the ancient cave paintings. While the exact purpose of these paintings cannot be determined, humans retained this technique and used it to express their ideas, feelings, or emotions. 

During the 17th century, the origins of the modern cartoon began as caricatures. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci used caricatures to provide definite shape and form to the features of their subject. However, it was William Hogarth who developed the pictorial satire, which became the forefather to the development of political and editorial cartoons. During the French Revolution (1789-1799), cartoonists used their productions as a form of satirical propaganda.

Cartoons were also used as a powerful means of depicting the events that occurred during the American Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was a prominent figure of those cartoons. By the mid-19th century,  a German-American cartoonist named Thomas Nast applied the realistic-looking German drawing and sketching technique to his political cartoons in America, which redefined American cartooning. His 160 cartoons relentlessly campaigned against the “Tweed machine” in New York City. 

Comic Books & Cartoons In 20th Century & Beyond

Comic books, as a print medium, have existed in America since the 1840s, with the publication of The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck in 1842 in hardcover. This is considered the precursor to the modern comic books. 

The success of comic books, however, did not come without questions or criticisms. Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published a book titled “Seduction of the Innocent” in 1954, in which he threw heavy criticisms towards comic books. 

And then in the early 2000s it became the era of superhero comics that we all grew up watching.

Now animation or cartoon is not only limited to books or television. There are so many amazing animated movies that have been there. Animation took a big leap further when computer-generated imagery (CGI) was introduced and revolutionized the animation industry. It gave animated movies and television shows more three-dimensional and life-like. Nowadays, we enjoy watching 3D-animated films.

And that was a brief history of cartoons. 

So now there is a treat for you guys. World’s first ever animated film is given below. Watch and tell your thoughts in the comment section.

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