Christopher Hart, or Chris Hart as he sometimes signs his name, is a Canadian-American cartoonist and author. Between 1981 and 1984 he wrote episodes of the newspaper comic 'Blondie' (originally created by Chic Young). Hart was also active as a writer for Mad Magazine, best known for his recurring series 'How Many Mistakes Can You Find In This Picture?' (1981-1984). Since 1988 Hart is best known for a long-running and best-selling series of educational instruction books about cartooning, drawing, animation, anime and manga which have been translated into 17 languages.

Early life and influences
Christopher Hart was born in 1957 in Nanaimo, British Columbia, as the son of Stan Hart, a comic writer best known for his work on Mad Magazine. Chris studied art at the California School of the Arts, Paier School of Art and the Silvermine School of Art. He graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University. He considers Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Norman Rockwell, African art, neoclassical artists, Walt Disney and Charles M. Schulz his main influences, though lost interest in 'Peanuts' when Snoopy started to dominate the series.

Film and TV career
At the age of 17 he became a storyboard and character designer for TV commercials which aired in Southern California. His career took off when he wrote for various prime-time TV shows and a couple of films by 20th Century Fox, MGM and Paramount. He and his father wrote the screenplay to the SF comedy film 'Eat and Run' (1986), which was also directed by Christopher Hart. The wacky story dealt with a humanoid extraterrestrial alien who lands on Earth and starts devouring Italian-Americans in New York City. The picture flopped at the box office and is nowadays forgotten. Hart also wrote the screenplay to the episode 'Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow' (1996) in the horror anthology 'Tales From The Crypt'. When the writer's guild went on strike, Hart decided to return to his love for cartooning.

Between 1981 and 1984 Hart was staff writer for 'Blondie', originally created by Chic Young, but during this period drawn by Mike Gersher and Denis Lebrun.

From: Mad #246, art by Jack Davis.

Mad Magazine
During the 1980s and 1990s Hart also wrote stories and gags for Mad Magazine, though his earliest article, 'You're in Trouble When They Smile', (issue #126, April 1969) was published in 1969, co-written by his father and illustrated by George Woodbridge. Father and son also co-wrote 'The Conservative Talk Show Host of the Year' (issue #325, February 1994), illustrated by Paul Coker, which ridiculed radio presenter Rush Limbaugh. In issue #330 (September 1994) the Harts co-wrote, 'Mad Tours A Typical Film School', illustrated by Tom Bunk.

Hart's best known work for Mad is the 'How Many Mistakes Can You Find In This Picture?' series, which first debuted in issue #226 (October 1981) with an episode set during a rock concert, drawn by Woodbridge again. Other episodes would be set in a disco club (issue #227, December 1981), video game center (issue #233, September 1982, drawn by Mort Drucker), stereo/music store (issue #236, January 1983, again drawn by Drucker), school prom (issue #240, July 1983, drawn by Angelo Torres), fast food restaurant (issue #246, April 1984, drawn by Jack Davis) and film theater (issue #249, September 1984, also drawn by Davis). A typical episode featured a detailed two-page illustration with numbers added to several individual scenes. The numbers would be summarized in a caption on the side of the page, complete with a explanation of the "mistake". Each drawing was a romanticized depiction of a certain location, while the commentary sarcastically pointed out how things would be in real life. In the rock concert drawing, for instance, nobody is leaving a mess behind, the musicians aren't playbacking and one spectator is leaving early because he wants to be fit for school the next day… For other Mad articles Hart also collaborated with Al Jaffee, Paul Coker, Rick Tulka, Bob Jones, Sam Viviano, Hermann Mejia and Bill Wray.

Other magazine work, both text and art, was done for Crayola Kids, Highlights for Children, and Ranger Rick.

From: 'Christopher Hart's Animation Studio'.

How To Draw Cartoons series
His cartooning work brought Hart to the attention of the publishing company Watson-Guptill, who asked him to create a book on how to draw cartoons. This led to a whole series of general guide books, among them; 'How To Draw Cartoons for Comic Strips' (1988, CD ROM version in 1996) and 'Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Cartooning But Were Afraid To Draw' (1994). In 1995 Hart published 'How To Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains' (1995). As the title suggests the book mostly deals with how to draw superhero comics. It features graphic contributions by Frank McLaughlin, Gray Morrow, Frank Springer and J. Alex Morrisey, and also came with a CD-ROM. He continued his general treatises on drawing with 'Christopher Hart's Portable Animation Studio' (1996), 'Christopher Hart's Portable Action Hero Comic Book Studio' (1997), 'Cartooning for the Beginner' (2000), 'Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy' (2000) and 'Drawing Cutting Edge Comics' (2001).

Hart specialized even further with 'How To Draw Cartoon Animals' (1995), 'How To Draw Animation' (1997), 'Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain: How to Come Up with Jokes for Cartoons and Comic Strip' (1998), 'How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys and Gals' (1998), 'How to Draw Cartoon Dogs, Puppies and Wolves' ( 1998), 'How to Draw Comic Book Bad Guys' (1999) and 'How to Draw Cartoon Cats, Kittens, Lions and Tigers' (1999), 'How to Draw Fantasy Characters' (1999), 'How to Draw Halloween, Christmas and Seasonal Characters' (1999), 'How to Draw Knights, Kings, Queens and Dragons' (1999), 'How to Draw Cartoon Baby Animals' (2000), 'How to Draw Sports Cars, Monster Trucks and Fighter Jets' (2000), followed by the near-similarly title 'How To Draw Fast Cars, Monster Trucks and Fighter Jets' (2000). 'How To Draw Great-Looking Comic Book Women' (2000), 'How to Draw Aliens, Mutants and Mysterious Creatures' (2001), 'Drawing Faeries: A Believer's Guide to Sketching Faeries When They're Not Looking' (2004).

For young readers he created 'Making Funny Faces: Cartooning for Kids' (Watson-Guptill, 1992), 'Kids Draw Baby Animals' (2001), 'Kids Draw Cats, Kittens, Lions and Tigers' (2001), 'Kids Draw Dogs, Puppies and Wolves' (2001), 'Kids Draw Funny and Spooky Holiday Characters' (2001), 'Kids Draw Dinosaurs' (2001), 'Kids Draw Angels, Elves, Fairies and More' (2001), 'Kids Draw Anime' (2002), 'Kids Draw Animals' (2003) and 'Kids Draw Manga' (2004).

He even delved into manga and anime with 'Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics' (2001), 'Anime Mania: How to Draw Characters for Japanese Animation' (2002), 'Mecha Mania: How to Draw the Battling Robots, Cool Spaceships, and Vehicles of Japanese Comics' (2002), 'Draw Manga!' (2003), 'Manga Mania Fantasy Worlds: How to Draw the Amazing Worlds of Japanese Comics' (2003), 'Manga Mania Villains: How to Draw the Dastardly Characters of Japanese Comics' (2003), 'Manga Mania Shoujo: How to Draw the Charming and Romantic Characters of Japanese Comics' (2004), 'Xtreme Art: Draw Manga Villains!' (2004).

Book illustration
Hart wrote and illustrated the books 'Merwin: Master of Disguise' (2002) and 'Police Puppies' (2003). The first book is about a zoo elephant, Merwin, who collects stuff visitors left behind to wear as a disguise to leave the zoo and visit the outside world. The second story deals with Flash, a puppy who wants to become a police dog and has the chance to prove himself when a burglar breaks into his house.

Internet tutorship
Since 12 August 2012 Hart also has his own YouTube channel, where he learns wannabe artists practical skills, though he stresses that his books are more suitable to provide the individual, static steps, with captions by the techniques, to explain how to achieve the results.

His instructional books earned Hart the New Jersey Library Association's Garden State Teen Book Award and the CNE Seal of Excellence from the Children of the New Earth online magazine. In addition, the Young Adult Library Services Association selected two of his books for their 2003 Quick Picks for Young Adults and one of his books for their 2004 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults reading list.

Series and books by Christopher Hart you can order today:


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