Cartoon Cute Animals, by Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart, author of the hugely popular book Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics, has written a number of bestselling illustrated art instruction manuals. His latest effort is Cartoon Cute Animals: How To Draw the Most Irresistible Creatures on the Planet, a guide to making your artistic efforts extra-adorable.

If you already own a book on cartooning (like, say, Hart's You Can Draw Cartoon Animals), you might think you are already an expert on bringing the cuteness... but you would be wrong. Cartoon Cute Animals is an exploration of the hundreds of tiny details that extract the maximum amount of cute from a particular drawing—details that most of us would never consider. Is the jaw small enough? Is the snout sufficiently short? Is there—shudder—neck showing? All of these things can be tweaked, leading to a cartoon animal so ridiculously cute people will want to rip it off the page and squeeze it.

Hart's book isn't designed for beginning cartoonists. Cartoon Cute Animals opens with a reminder about the importance of following a "center line" (the guideline artists use to indicate the center of a given form), but that is the only basic art concept before the book launches into an in-depth exploration of facial proportions, posture, and body language. There is extensive discussion of what makes a character goofy rather than cute, and advice on bringing out the cute in specific types of animals, including some—moose, armadillos, alligators, etc.—that might be underrepresented in a conventional cartooning book.

Cartoon Cute Animals would make for a great coffee table book, particularly if your coffee table was also stocked with paper and drawing materials. Hart's brisk, cheery instructions and jaunty pencil sketches make his book as fun to read as it is informative, and the next time you find yourself doodling an inappropriate sketch—in pen—of your boss or teacher on a piece of paper that you'll need to hand in, you can take comfort in the fact that at least the image is 100% more cuddleable than it would have been previously.

[Review based on a publisher-provided copy.]
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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