Differences Between A Cartoon And Caricature


Cartoon by Keith Van Douglas

Cartoons are usually artistic renderings of fictional characters.  Cartoons were generally considered to be first published as part of a comic strip in the 19th century by the Swiss artist Rodolphe Topffer (1799–1846) in an attempt to create a new method of telling a story.  Remember, most people in the world at that time could not read or write well
if at all.

Rodolphe Topffer’s concept was a forerunner of animation art and modern comic books.

The first cartoons that were created were intended for publication in daily newspapers, which enabled the cartoons to be quickly sketched and completed with little effort.

Louisiana Art
“Trumpeteers” cartoon sketch by Keith Van Douglas

In contrast, caricatures which include caricatures created as political satire were frequently painstaking etched and were hand-colored by the caricaturist and were printed in fancier, publications that used a better grade of paper.

And, even today, the differences between cartoon and caricature art forms remain.  The colorful caricature used to illustrate a magazine or newspaper article is frequently superior in artistic quality than a cartoon comic sketch as as ‘Peanuts or Doonsbury’.

But, things change over time.  With the invention of computerized art, cartoonists have expanded the cartoon art genre with the creation of very sophisticated, and quite complex cartoon imagery which is exemplified in the area of fantasy.

Despite these notable differences, the word ‘cartoon’ is still frequently being used as a synonym for ‘caricature’.


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