Get Started [005]: Fresco Cartoon

fresco-cartoon-verne-1Cartoons are drawn on regular paper with pencil, graphite, charcoal, sepia chalk, etc., etc. The purpose of the cartoon is a thorough study and a final rendition of the composition, light, shadow and details of the future fresco. It is a preparatory drawing taken to the next level. Correctly done cartoon is a “stand along” artwork. Although optional in other painting mediums, Cartoon is essential when painting in Fresco not only as the main guideline for the transferring of the design onto freshly laid (fresco) plaster, but also as the main tool and method of understanding and orchestrating the steps for painting of the corresponding fresco.


Preparation of the cartoon for the small fresco slightly differs from the preparation of the large fresco cartoon. In this article we discuss the small fresco cartoon. Since this article is intended for the general audience and/or beginner fresco artist it makes sense to illustrate the directions with the actual examples from our fresco workshops. During our workshops artists work from their own cartoons that they have to prepare at home prior to the class. Since many of our students have little or no practical experience in fresco we do not judge nor expect student’s cartoons to be perfect or even fully completed. However it will be helpful to establish some guidelines and explain the reasons behind them.

1 – “Cartoon” – a full scale drawing of the future fresco.

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