Cartoons in the digital age

By Swathi Moorthy, Vignesh, Vipal Durge

The digital era has not affected the way a cartoon is drawn but it has changed the way people can access these works of editorial artists, according to senior cartoonists.

“In the era of internet, though cartoon as an art form has not undergone any changes it has made accessibility easier,” said Surendra, editorial cartoonist of The Hindu.

Speaking at a symposium held to commemorate R.K. Laxman and Rajinder Puri on April 6 in the Asian College of Journalism, Surendra insisted that the digital media with tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator had not changed the way he drew his cartoons. He still used his pencil and paint brushes, he added.

Sundar Ramanathaiyer, an independent researcher, said, “Internet and digital technologies have opened up a wide space.”

The user could now access cartoons which were accomodated in a database. Cartoonists could also work on an independent platform or website as opposed to their work being published only in a newspaper or magazine.

Gokul Gopalakrishnan, a freelance cartoonist, said that the way cartoon was viewed had changed. It was also difficult to ascertain how a cartoon would be viewed as there was a huge consumer base in cyberspace.

However, he said the creative process involved while making a cartoon in digital media was different from that for the print medium. This was because the digital media productions were viewed on computer screens, tablets and even smartphones.

“Also, the digital media is more flexible but at the same time poses constraints. It provides more opportunities to freelancers who can work from anywhere, even their home,” he said. He added that in addition it also helped the cartoonists in India to keep in touch with the international fraternity.

In the print medium, a cartoonist’s work is viewed only the next day, whereas it takes just minutes for a cartoon to be uploaded for the whole world to see.

Manjul, a cartoonist with DNA, said, “Sitting in Chennai I can contribute to the publications in Mumbai. So technology is a lot of help in such cases.”

Sandeep Adhwaryu said that though the internet had increased the exposure of cartoons, cartoons were still not necessarily the prime attention getter. Cartoons had to face tough competition from tweets and Facebook posts.

The technology helped people who could ideate but not draw to come up with cartoons.

Dismissing the claim that technology made all cartoons look  alike and might lead to the loss of the cartoonist’s identity, Sandeep said that the idea behind the cartoon was still unique to its creator.

Agreeing with Sandeep, Manjul pointed out that if young editorial artists were inspired by the work of well-known cartoonists then their work would tend to resemble the work done by the others.



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