Valentine’s Day Cartoon – Sketch Video

I’m trying a whole new approach to blogging this year, and one aspect is going to be some video content.

And, since people seem to enjoy watching the drawing process, I’m beginning with a video of myself sketching an upcoming Valentine’s Day cartoon. It seemed a good place to start.

(Note – I don’t reveal the cartoon’s gag until the very end of the video, but if you’re one of those people who just can’t wait (like me!), I’ve posted an image of the final sketch below the video/transcript at the very end of this blog.)

Anyway, enjoy:

If you want to see the video bigger, you see it at YouTube here.

Hi there, this is Mark Anderson from, and today I’m going to be sketching a Valentine’s Day cartoon. I’m only doing the sketch; I’ve done videos before where I’ve done a sketch and then the ink and then the Photoshop, but I thought this time I would just concentrate on the sketch portion.

So, here I am starting my guy… Here’s my big giant hand…

I tend to draw really small, as you can probably tell by the hand to drawing ratio. I draw relatively small. The final sketch will probably end up being like 5″ x 7″. I don’t actually have an oversized giganta-hand, but that’s why it looks so big.

This is an idea I came up with at about 4:30 in the morning yesterday. I was laying in bed, woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so sometimes what I do then is I sort of brainstorm ideas, and this one popped into my head.

(Sorry about the focus there. I’m using my iPhone on my lamp on my drafting table to record the video. So it’s a little shaky and sometimes the focus goes in and out. My apologies. This is the best system I could come up with other than hanging something over my head, and I’m not sure I want anything that permanent.)

The idea is a guy at a card store for Valentine’s Day. This will start looking better here in just a second. I think I’m writing “Valentines” on the sign above.

This is an idea I came up with the other day very very early in the morning. I have to make sure when I come up with an idea like that that I sort of repeat it to myself. I actually have to mouth it to myself, and I have to mouth it quietly because I don’t want to wake anybody up. I have to lay there in bed and say “Valentines. A guy shopping for cards…” I have to do it like two or three times, otherwise it won’t stick. Or I have to get up right away and go downstairs and write it down. In this case I got up, and went downstairs and wrote it down and now I’m sketching it here soon after.

I was trying to come up with something different than your standard Cupid cartoon, so I branched out into Valentines cards.

You can see I stay pretty loose with a sketch (the guy there is really sketchy). I start with basic shapes and do details from there. I would assume everybody sketches largely the same way. I don’t think I do anything special, but I thought it would be interesting to see how this works.

This ended up being a problem with all of the cards. I’ll tell you the idea at the end, I don’t want to jump to the joke. But part of the problem with this cartoon is having to draw all of these cards. There is a reason I have to draw somewhat specifically on each card to make the joke make sense. That will become evident at the end.

I’m using a ForestChoice pencil which I love! I adore these pencils. If you get a chance to get a box of those… I think you can just go to and buy them. I love ’em! They keep a nice point, it’s a good eraser, the pencil just feels good in my hand. I love these. I think the paper is just some standard laser printer paper.

So here I am drawing hearts and frilly lace stuff on the sides. The person there shopping for the cards is obviously a guy.

I tend to draw pretty heavy too. I normally, and you probably can’t see it in this video because I’m so tightly cropped on what I’m doing, I normally sharpen my pencils every 30 seconds. Even though the ForestChoice keeps a pretty decent point, I sharpen my pencils a lot. Because I just have a thing about sharp pencils.

Some more hearts and pretty Valentine’s Day cards… (Focusing iPhone.)

I apologize that you can’t see what I’m drawing there until my giganta-hand moves out of the way, but this is the best system I could come up with. I tried coming at it sideways, and this is the best system.

I actually tried drawing stuff on Photoshop. I got a nice pencil brush type thing on Photoshop and I tried it out because I thought it would be easier to record a screencast, but as much as I like coloring in Photoshop, I don’t like sketching and I don’t like inking in Photoshop. Maybe I just haven’t put in the time or gotten myself the correct tools, but sketching or inking I go really really fast, generally.

This one is slower, I think this whole video is about 10 minutes from beginning to end, and the reason this is… I can normally do a sketch in about half this time, but this is a scene I’m not familiar with. I don’t draw a lot of guys shopping for cards, so I haven’t learned the tricks yet of who goes where.

You know if this were a sales graph scene I could probably knock out a sketch for that in like two minutes because I know where everybody sits, I know where the table goes, I know how to set that scene. This is a different scene, and some of it is that there are a million cards to do stuff on.

So you can see on the left side I’m doing a happy bear, and there’s a cat, and a guy, and I tried to draw some cartoon panels and there’s a bunny, I think there’s a wolf… So I tried to draw funny cartoony stuff on the left series of cards, and on the right side I did romantic-y stuff.

Again, I won’t fill in the gag until the end, but see if you can figure it out.

The scene itself is pretty simple. You just have a guy, and then you have that sort of angled card display, and there isn’t need to do a whole lot more than that for this joke. I could draw another thing of cards in the background, and a woman shopping. Or I could draw a register in the background or a display or a sale thing. You could draw the whole card shop if you wanted to, but it doesn’t help the gag.

This gag has got to read quick. You’ve got like 3-5 seconds and so the card… It has to read that it’s a card store, it has to read that it’s a guy, and it has to read that they’re valentines. So you have to get all those things across, it needs to read left to right, and you need to do it all quickly.

You need to set the scene, set the characters, set all that stuff up quickly, so I tend toward as simple a scene as I can.Of course everybody likes to put in details now and again, of course that’s fun.

Here I’m sort of darkening this guy up so you can see him a little bit. Not that you can see him with my giganta-hand in the way, but I’m trying to darken him up a little bit. You get a little reflection off the graphite there. I apologize for that. Looks like I’m darkening up the signs that are up top.

There’s two sections of cards as I mentioned, so I’m starting to write what’s going to be the joke. There’s no caption, it’s a captionless cartoon, so there’s not a gag line underneath. It’s all dealing with the signs in the card store here.

I’ll end the transcript here and show you the finished sketch below:

valentine cartoon sketch

Thanks so much for watching, I hope you enjoyed it! And let me know if there are any other videos you’d like to see!

And feel free to check out some finished Valentines Day cartoons!

4 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Cartoon – Sketch Video”

  1. 1. You draw SO tiny!
    2. Your voice is deeper than I imagined.
    3. There’s the thing called a gorillapod that you can use to hang your camera from anything to make videos.
    4. I need to draw more than I do now. I have a photography studio and rarely draw any more unless someone is throwing money at me to do so.
    5. Over and Out.

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