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If we take the most basic drawings definition of cartoons—a simplified drawing intended to represent a more detailed object or idea—then the history of cartooning parallels human history. When prehistoric humans first made rock and cave drawings of animals and hunters, their results were, basically, cartoons. When the ancient Greeks decorated pottery and walls with figures of athletes and water carriers, they drew cartoon forms. Cartoons were the name of preliminary art that great classical painters such as Leonardo da Vinci executed when planning large murals and friezes. In that context, the cartoon was a simplified version and visualization of an intended end product, rather than an end product in itself.

Our more modern definition of cartooning refers to an intended end product, one that incorporates ...

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