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on July 7, 2006
When I am training young artists starting into the animation industry there are a few books that I tell them to get and study. "Character Design" the new Walter Foster Cartooning book by Sherm Cohen is now on my list. To anyone contemplating a career in comics or animation- or anyone who just likes to draw, this book communicates simply and concisely everything you need to know to get started. Mr. Cohen's clear explanations make complicated concepts easy to grasp, and the joy of drawing evident in his charming art is truly contagious.

Anyone who plans on picking up a pencil to do more than just your checkbook should get this book.


Dan Povenmire

Director/Storyboard Supervisor

Family Guy

Fox TV Animation
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on November 4, 2006
In "Character Design," Sherm Cohen offers up a century of cartoon design wisdom in such a clear and simple fashion that you'll think you already knew all about it.

Jam-packed with Sherm's incredibly clear drawing and elegant line, "Character Design" uses hundreds of illustrations to explain key cartooning concepts, from "line of action" to "when's the right time to draw a cauliflower ear." No kidding! You need to know the rules before you can break them correctly...and THESE are the rules.

This is essential reading for experts and beginners. Buy two copies; one for your bookshelf, and one to keep under your pillow.

Jay Lender

Former Writer/Storyboard Director

SpongeBob SquarePants

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on December 16, 2012
Just to give this review some context, I'm a professor of information systems, film, & digital media and my specialty is 3D virtual worlds. Even though I work mainly in the 3D realm creating practical artifacts vs. innovative art, I enjoy books on (2D) drawing because they contain important fundamentals that translate well into the 3D world.

What makes this book different from other character drawing books is two things: (1) the focus on "beans" (variations of) as the foundation for drawing faces and bodies; (2) the emphasis and examples on building emotions into character faces and bodies. True, Preston Blair covered bean style drawing in Cartoon Animation, but Sherm Cohen goes into more depth as well as covering all the basic body and facial features including hands, feet, eyes, noses, mouths, etc.

The teaching style is wonderful. The author typically starts from first principles, then shows how to combine these principles to create more complex drawings. As an example, in the mood section the authors shows an expressionless face. He then shows how to tweak facial features to create the six basic emotions. The examples are shown in such a way that anyone reading and following along can easily draw variations of the six basic emotions. After you master that, the author describes four techniques for creating more variations of the six basic emotions: asymmetry, amplification, intensity, and combination.

The bottom line: anyone can pick up this short book and start drawing entertaining characters in under an hour or so. Even if you never intend to draw cartoons for a living, there is tremendous benefit in knowing these techniques for, say, storyboarding videos or for adding your own characters to your powerpoint or other presentations.

In fact, I am going to recommend this book to my digital marketing students, as a technique they can use to draw storyboards quickly for the commercials they create.

I implore the author (Sherm Cohen) to create one more book on background design, that covers perspective, cartoon buildings, and everyday objects.
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on April 4, 2013
I purchased the kindle version a couple weeks ago and will be ordering the printed book in the near future just to have a copy. I have nearly every quality cartooning book published, and while all encompassing they tend to complicate the process with too many illustrations, too much talking, too many diagrams, and just too much stuff as far as I'm concerned. This book is the opposite, it is clear, simple, and concise. You will learn the fundamental truths about cartooning that will aid you your entire life and/or career as a cartoonist. This is the most efficient book on cartooning and character design that I've seen, even if you're not into this style of cartooning it makes little to no difference. You can apply the knowledge in this book to painting with ketchup if you so desire. Without a doubt this is my favorite book on cartooning and design.

One time through and it's obvious the author has spent considerable time honing his teaching ability. It's rare that someone with a high level of skill can express themselves adequately enough to teach, let alone to teach well, that by itself makes this book worth buying. It is not a step by step how to draw cartoons book, it's a step by step how to expressively design cartoons book. It is a masterpiece in my opinion, and part of the reason is the length of the book, only 32 pages, it's hardly any longer than a comic book.

This book is the "20% effort for 80% of your results" type of book. This is the only one you'll need for cartooning. One word? Efficient.
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on October 17, 2006
This book is essential for beginners and professionals for cartooning/animators. As a professional animation artist and a college professor, I found this book to be one of the best book on character design out there. I highly recommend it to my students and colleague alike. For it is extremely informative and deceivingly simple. On the same level with the Preston Blair animation books (also published by Walter Foster), this book does a great job in introducing the artist the wonderful fun that is character designing. Great job artist Sherm Cohen. Hope to see more in the series.
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on December 7, 2011
There are things in this book that too many animators and artists are missing today. This should be a must read for anyone creating art. No, I will not list what they are, because I think people should buy the book.

One of the areas it does cover that is a must is faces/heads, and how to properly get the portions right for the character you're creating.

If you are an artist trying to sell their work and finding that you are constantly turned down, then it's time to pick up this book and become refreshed with some basics. Trust me, it will be of benefit.
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on January 3, 2015
Walter Foster's books are always good but never enough for me. All of their examples are well done but you finish using his books with a fullfilling education in the art form. Good buy and simple cartoon that you will remember
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on February 8, 2012
I love this book. It's very simple and gets to the point... it reminiscent of the Famous Artist Course done back in the day... that goes for hundreds on eBay and Amazon. The author gets to the point, and oddly enough this book has been more beneficial than any other book on cartoon-like drawing.

Things I wish would change:
- I hate the large book format.
- Either have the author/artist create a more adult-oriented book on cartoon art... because I like this book so much I want more examples and insight.
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on March 3, 2013
I purchased this book several weeks ago and have not put it down since. I carry it around with my sketchbook and practice the exercises out of it as often as I can. I am an Illustrator and also an art teacher for kids. I used the book to create lessons for my 4th graders too. They loved it! It is written in a way where it's simple and straightforward to both learn the art of Character Design or to improve your skills. I recommend it to all age and skill levels. Great book for your reference library!
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on September 1, 2009
Don't waste your time with the other "How to draw Cartoon Characters" books: go directly to Mr.Cohen's Character design offering.It contains such all-important theories such as line of action, varying shapes, graphic vs traditional, drawing through your design, silhouettes, drawing children and there's even a section on props/costumes!
While bookshelves are heavy with "How to Draw" books from other well known animators/artists this book is written by the guy who was there to witness the birth of SPONGEBOB! That's like getting info from Moses himself just as he stepped off the mountain!
While we're at it pick up his other animation treasure: Storyboard Elements by Sherm Cohen on DVD. Between both products you should be able to jump-start your animation career or use them to avoid paying tons of $ for those overpriced art schools. Trust me guys I've been in this business twenty years and this item is extremely USEFUL!

Emmy Winning Storyboard Artist
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