The word cartoon has various meanings, based on several very different forms of visual art and illustration. The artists who draw cartoons are known as cartoonists.
The term has evolved over time. The original meaning was in fine art of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, where it referred to a preparatory drawing for a piece of art, such as a painting or tapestry. In the 19th century, it came to refer to humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers, and in the early 20th century it was sometimes used to refer to comic strips. In more modern usage, it commonly refers to animated programs for television and other motion-picture media.
More Info : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon