Cartoon Styles & Cartoon Kevin

By illustrating themselves using various cartooning styles, students will discover new ways of working and learn more about their favorite cartoon artists and creators.

Lesson Level:

  • Middle School Advanced
  • High School Advanced



CA Content Standards:

  • 2.0 Creative Expression
  • 3.0 Historical & Cultural Context
  • 4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

Art History & Vocab:

Style, Animation, Illustration

Kevin McShane:

Cartoon Kevin:


Pencils, Paper and/or Sketchbooks, Colored Pencils, Full Body Photo of Student, and Reference material for chosen artists.


Cartoon Kevin is a website from Actor and Illustrator Kevin McShane. As a tribute to 100 of the great animators throughout history. Including modern favorites like Bob’s Burgers creator Jay Howell and classics like Astro Boy’s creator Osamu Tezuka.

To begin pick a couple artists to use as examples, for me I chose Scooby Do’s creators Hanna-Barbera. With a larger animation studio there may be multiple styles to pull from, so I focused on the style of the original Scooby Do cartoons I grew up with.

scooby doo cast

scooby-kevin You can see an example Cartoon Kevin used for this style and how he chose to use Fred as his guide. Have students look at the Scooby cast and pick which character would best fit their style or body type to emulate. For me, being a bit of a nerd and never the super stylish girl, I would pick Velma as my guide.

Have students research two artists they are interested in, they need to gather a short bio, how the show began and list what makes their style unique. They will then choose one of the artists to actually illustrate themselves, the second one could be for extra credit or for more advanced students. You can break it down however feels best for your class level or add more artists/drawings.

To keep students from simply coping their favorite characters with their own clothing on, make a list of how many changes they have to make to the character to make it their own. You want their character to fit into the world of their chosen artist as a new character, not feel like a copy of another character.

Here are some more examples from Cartoon Kevin, check out his website for all 100 illustrations:

Cartoon Kevin 04 Cartoon Kevin 03 Cartoon Kevin 02 Cartoon Kevin 01
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