Cartooning is a picture intended as satire, caricature, or humor. Cartoons are often featured in print publications, like magazines and newspapers, as well as online publications, like blogs and websites. Sometimes cartoons will consist of just one picture, while others will consist of several pictures. Characters and scenes in most cartoons are generally not drawn realistically. Some cartoons may have a caption, speech, or thought bubbles that help make the characters’ words or actions apparent.
Cartooning has its roots in 'caricatura', from the Italian word caricare meaning to load or exaggerate. Caricature gives weight to the most striking features of its subject for comic effect. These unique portraits were created as an artist’s exercise, a way of gaining expertise in defining the essence of a person with a few deft strokes of the pen. The great Italian masters, Leonardo da Vinci, Annibale Carracci, and Gian Lorenzo Benini all drew this art form.
Most cartoons are meant to convey a certain message or point out some type of irony. Depending on the intended audience, cartoons might either be very complex or straightforward. Editorial and political cartoons illustrate a point of view on current social and/or political topics and may depend on dry humor and subtle irony. Other cartoons see the humor in everyday life, such as depicting married life with exaggerated common marital problems. This type can be seen in advertising and spots.
Other illustration genres related to cartooning are the comic strip, a sequence of cartoons, and the graphic novel, a very long series of cartoons. Today, cartoonists are also creating storyboards, which are used when producing animated films and video games.