Reporter’s Notebook: Designer of the popular Strawberry Shortcake character, Muriel Fahrion, uncovers secrets of cartoon drawing 

The legend of the “American Greetings” card industry, Muriel Fahrion, recently revisited Tulsa Community College (TCC) with a workshop on cartoon drawing offered for all ages of Tulsans. 

The celebrity artist is known as the creator of Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and The Get Along Gang characters, and as a person who never stops joking. Someone has to gather Fahrion’s humor in a miniature book similar to Benjamin Franklin’s aphorism publication. 

The legend of the “American Greetings” card industry, Muriel Fahrion (standing, center), taught a cartoon drawing workshop at TCC during the summer 2023 recess. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.

“How to become an artist? Take your pen, clay, or whatever you have, and never put it down,” Fahrion laughed during the recent workshop at TCC. 

The artist who spent her entire life perfecting her talent showed the public how to draw “cute” and “humorous” style cartoons in several very easy steps. The “how to draw cute” demo included advice on “not repeating the same shapes because it is boring.” Fahrion also shared a secret that she uses round, curved lines, not angles when drawing. 

Muriel Fahrion shows a copy of her drawing from the famous series about Strawberry Shortcake. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.

“A lot of lines show movements. Put your basics down, then work on details,” the artist added. 

Fahrion recommended borrowing the ideas of “cuteness” from babies by observing their shapes, smiles, and behavior. The Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears characters are those whom the artists relate to the “cute” style of drawing because of their large heads, smaller bodies, big cheeks, lower eyes, and round lines similar to small kids’ features. 

The legend created her first Strawberry Shortcake drawing in 1977. Overall, she produced 39 characters for the Strawberry Shortcake line which consists of a 12-card set, a series of books, clothing, dolls, toy accessories, and home decor. 

Muriel Fahrion created the image of the “Stay-at-home Bear” to encourage people to keep their distance during the recent COVID pandemic. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.

At the workshop, the artist also made a deep dig into what is “humorous drawing” by teaching how to draw a cartoonish person’s image where the head was abnormally huge and round, the body was three times shorter than the head; the eyes were just two little dots; the nose looked like a potato; and the big smiling mouth had scary tiger’s teeth. 

Free snacks and drinks were offered to the public during the cartoon drawing workshop taught by Muriel Fahrion, creator of Strawberry Shortcake, at the TCC Center for Creativity. Photo by Tatyana Nyborg.

“Humorous” means that things do not match,” she explained. “A humorous drawing must be fun and scary.  If it is not scary, it is not art,” Fahrion said. 

To make the cartoon uglier and funnier, the artist added to the person’s image hands with four fingers. 

“A lot of comic hands do not have five fingers,” she concluded. 

Fahrion currently runs “Outta Thin Air Studio” in Beggs, Okla. If someone thinks that the described above Fahrion’s free class at TCC was fun, he or she is not quite right because the artist planned another, even funnier, workshop in Beggs, “a typical event,” which includes “discussion of art and methods, a demonstration by me, drawing with color pencils, music, and dance breaks!” 

The 78-year-old legend widely shares her art on, Facebook, and Instagram. She can be reached by email at 

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