Originally this term referred to the full-scale preliminary sketch made for a painting. This outline, usually done in chalk or charcoal, was then transferred onto the easel-painting or fresco. Today, a cartoon is a humorous drawing or parody of people or events. It can be a series of drawings that tells a story, as in a strip cartoon.
King Henry VIII; King Henry VII
by Hans Holbein the Younger
Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick
by Sir George Hayter
Alexander II, Emperor of Russia
by James Jacques Tissot
published in Vanity Fair 16 October 1869