Internationally syndicated Pittsburgh cartoonist Joe Wos takes viewers of all ages through the creative steps of drawing cartoon characters while sharing tips on developing skill, artistic terms, and educational facts about the characters. Learning resources accompany each episode in this WQED digital series.

Cartoon Academy was recognized with two regional Emmy® Awards in 2022 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic Chapter in the categories of Education/Schools Short Form Content and Talent/Host.

Be the Best You Can Be

Diversity and Acceptance
Diversity and Acceptance

“Florps” – a group of imaginary creatures with different body shapes, sizes and other variables — teach an important lesson in social and emotional learning. Artistically, Joe teaches how variations in basic design can create new characters.

Emotions
Emotions

Joe shows how we express our feelings through facial expressions. Viewers will also learn how emotion is used to help define a character’s personality.

Relationships
Relationships

Helping one another is “step one” to building good friendships. This is shown by the symbiotic relationship between a rhinoceros and bird – two very different species who depend on each other. Joe discusses using size and scale to create a balanced scene.

Habitats

The Everglades
The Everglades

A flamingo, turtle, and manatee co-exist in Florida’s tropical wetlands. Joe emphasizes the beauty and diversity of Florida’s wildlife, while sharing artistic advice on the three planes of art.

Rainforest of Costa Rica
Rainforest of Costa Rica

A sloth, toucan, and tree frog “hang” out among a lush canopy of trees. Students will also learn the importance of protecting habitats they may never visit. Composition and design are the creative lessons.

Sky Islands
Sky Islands

A coyote, a rattlesnake and a hummingbird co-exist high atop the Sky Islands of the American Southwest. Joe explains how stylistic choices can be influenced by a region’s artists and culture.

Cartoon Academy Quick Draws

Enjoy these mini episodes of Cartoon Academy. In little more than a minute, Joe shares fun tips on everything from character personality - to practice!


  • Drawing is as easy as A, B. C
    Learning to Draw is as Easy as A, B, C

    Joe shows us how letters can be transformed into drawings.

     

  • Learning to draw is as easy as 1, 2, 3
    Learning to Draw is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

    Joe shows us how numbers can be transformed into drawings.

  • Learning to draw is as easy as signing your name
    Learning to Draw is as Easy as Signing Your Name

    Joe shows us how our names can be transformed into drawings.

  • Colorful personality
    Colorful Personality

    Learn how color helps convey emotion.

  • Practice makes pretty good
    Practice Makes Pretty Good

    The best way to learn is to practice!

  • Tooling around
    Tooling Around

    Different tools provide different types of lines.

  • Doodling
    Doodling

    Finding inspiration in scribbles.

Dinosaurs

T. Rex Territory
T. Rex Territory

We take on drawing the King of Dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and learn about the importance of creating a setting by using foreground, middleground and background.

Try, Try, Triceratops
Try Try Triceratops

Take a trip into the past and learn how to draw the mighty Triceratops! In this episode, we will learn how the use of texture and shading can help to bring your drawings to life.

Jurassic Pals
Jurassic Pals

Joe shows the importance of scale by drawing an Apatosaurus and a Pterodactyl. Learn why composition is key when drawing these two dinosaur pals.

Under the Sea

Welcome to the ocean floor
Welcome to the Ocean Floor

Dive deep with Joe Wos by drawing an octopus, blobfish, and anglerfish. Learn about the importance of depth and dimension.

A work of art
A Work of Aarght

Joe Wos immerses us in the world of pirates and sea monsters. Learn about the use of costumes, symbols, and texture as tools for bringing your drawings to life.

Can a shark have friends?
Can a Shark Have Friends?

With the help of a shark, seahorse, and crab, Joe Wos shows the importance of developing a personal drawing style. He also shares some of his early influences.

Outer Space

Lunar Friends
Lunar Friends

Travel along as we blast off to the moon and learn how to draw an astronaut and his robotic friend. In this episode, Joe teaches us how to use our imagination in our drawings.

Alien Encounter
Alien Encounter

In this episode, Joe Wos draws us into a close encounter of the alien kind! Follow along as Joe utilizes a rocket, some spacecraft, and an interplanetary friend to demonstrate motion and movement.

A passion for planets
A Passion for the Planets

Join Joe as he shares his passion for drawing planets such as Saturn, Pluto and a few that have yet to be discovered! Learn how to fill the cosmos with emotion by giving human traits to our neighboring planets.

Winter Wonderland

That’s Snow Business

Joe walks viewers through a winter wonderland and the steps to creating a cartoon snowman. Students get more advice on bringing characters to life through costume.

Download PBS Resource List

Playful Penguin

Grab your paper and pen and float on down to the South Pole where we will draw an ice-skating penguin. You’ll also get a lesson in the concepts of shape and form.

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Seal of Approval

Meet two North Pole pals: A Narwhal and his best friend Seal! Students will also learn about character relationships.

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Playful Pets

Dog Gone Cute

Learn to draw an adorable dog using letters, numbers, and simple shapes. Joe will also share tips on using props to set a scene.

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A Very Fancy Hamster

In this episode we draw a hamster all dressed up in his top hat and tails. Students will see how costume can help transform a character.

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Something’s Fishy

Our fishy friend looks a little worried when we draw a cat to keep him company! Students will also learn about the relationship between predator and prey.

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Down on the Farm

Playful Pig and Delightful Duck

Learn how to draw a pig and duck using easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Students will be familiarized with art terms such as “setting,” “symmetry” and “profile.”

Download coloring sheet

Rooster on the Roof

Learn how to draw that barnyard alarm clock commonly called the rooster. Students will also learn about conveying emotions through facial expression.

Download coloring sheet

Cow

Students will create a real scene at the farm. Incorporating a cow character, barn, and scenery. Students will also learn the basics of art composition.

Download coloring sheet

Down Under

Kangaroo and Joey, Too

Draw one of “Down Under’s” most popular denizens – a kangaroo and its baby, commonly known as a Joey. Students will also learn about adding background to an illustration.

Download coloring sheet

Koala and a Kooky Kookaburra

Take to the trees of Australia where we learn to draw a Koala and Kookaburra. Students will also learn about using line to create the illusion of texture.

Download coloring sheet

Platypus and Crocodile

Learn to draw one of the world’s most unusual animals, the platypus and another Australian water creature, the crocodile. Students will also learn how similar features can be used to create completely different characters.

Download coloring sheet

About Joe Wos
Joe Wos is an award-winning, internationally syndicated cartoonist based in Pittsburgh. He has been working professionally as a cartoonist since the age of 14 and teaching cartooning for more than 30 years. Mr. Wos has performed with symphony orchestras, established a world record, and performed live at over 1,000 venues worldwide, including visits as the guest cartoonist of the Charles M. Schulz Museum for nearly 20 years. His educational drawing series “Cartoon Academy” premiered on WQED in 2021.

 

Additional Resources

PA Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities (highlighted)

Vocabulary Definitions and Resources

Symmetry Handout

Emotions Worksheet

Composition and View Handout

Setting Handout

 

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