I’ve always appreciated the textless cartoons. I don’t think they are easier to draw, actually far from it. The cartoonist must find a gag that works without words, without a specch balloon. A humorous scene that speaks for itself.
The cartoon must be drawn with an understandable humor. It’s not nice to hear, looking at the cartoon, “I didn’t understand it”. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is to succeed, with a small illustration, in making the audience smile.
I remember the pantomime cartoons in some magazines, especially, if I remember correctly, “The Enigmatic Week”. Above the cartoon there was a caption that read “Without words”.
Perhaps it might seem exaggerated, redundant, to suggest to the reader that cartoon is speechless. In reality I think it was a sort of title, like when, in everyday life, we happen to say “speechless” in front of the grotesque, awkward or bizarre action of a person.
Benefits of pantomime cartoons
- Greater comprehensibility: a funny scene, without the use of the text, is easy to understand and lends itself to a large audience, including minors.
- No translation: a textless cartoon doesn’t really need to be translated into another language. Silence is a universal language.
- Greater freedom in drawing: the cartoonist doesn’t have to sacrifice part of the cartoon to make room for the balloon.
- Immediacy of the message: the “reading” of the pantomime cartoon is fast. The eye, more accustomed to interpreting images than texts, captures the scene.
- Multiple uses: the speechless cartoons can be used in various fields, from slides to instruction booklets to infographics to textbooks.