Cartoonist Shares Tips

NEW BREMEN — Because cartoon characters vary in shapes, sizes and colors, “Cartoon Guy” Jeff Nichols says there are no mistakes when drawing the characters.

“There’s no such thing as a mistake when you’re drawing cartoons,” Nichols said to a crowd of children gathered at the New Bremen Public Library Tuesday afternoon.

Nichols held a program at the library to demonstrate how to draw a few cartoon characters.

“This year’s (summer reading) theme is all about night time and dreaming big, and I was having trouble coming up with a story to tell,” Nichols said, noting an idea came to him in his sleep. “I dreamt I was a cow who dreamed he was a painter.”

Nichols told the story of the cow who dreamt he was a painter with a series of cartoon pictures he drew, before he explained to the children what they would draw first.

“This first thing I thought we’d draw is a nocturnal animal,” he said, noting nocturnal animals “are up when we go to sleep.”

Nichols and the children named a handful of nocturnal animals, including raccoons, lightning bugs and bats, before he told them they would first be learning how to draw a cartoon mouse.

“I chose the mouse because they’re so easy to draw,” he said. “It’s a bunch of circles.”

Nichols demonstrated how to draw the mouse step-by-step for the children, starting with drawing the eyes, nose and face, before adding the large ears and four fingers.

“Cartoon characters always have four fingers,” Nichols said. “Mickey Mouse started it and Spongebob still has it.”

They finished the drawing with a cup that the mouse was emerging from, and Nichols chose several of the children’s drawings to share with the rest of the audience. Nichols shared another story with pictures about nocturnal animals and another about a Boston terrier that raided a refrigerator. After a story about mosquitoes, the group moved on to its second drawing.

“Let’s draw the easiest thing you’ll draw in your life,” Nichols said to the children.

Nichols told the audience they would be learning to draw a planet, and he had chosen to draw Pluto because it is no longer considered a planet.

“I feel bad for Pluto, so I thought we’d dedicate something to him,” he said.

Nichols started in reverse for this cartoon, drawing the eyes.

“Don’t worry if the eyes are a different size, I think it makes them better,” he told the children.

He encouraged the audience to draw Pluto like he was mad, happy or indifferent to no longer being a planet and shared several of the children’s examples with their peers.

To continue his space theme, Nichols showed the children how to draw an alien for their third and final drawing.

“When you draw an alien, what’s fun about it is you can’t mess them up because we don’t know what they look like,” he said.

While his alien sported three eyes, a large head, large feet and a tail, Nichols encouraged the audience to draw the alien however they thought it looked like.

Nichols completed his appearance at the library with a story about an alien dressed as a dog, and story about an annoying baby brother.

For a complete list of events at the New Bremen Public Library, visit