One of the things I’ve learned from 20+ years of military tactics – if you want to survive, never stay still – keep moving. Preferably forward. With that in mind, I’m forever looking for new ways to improve both as an artist/cartoonist and as a small business.
One of the major investments I’ve made recently in terms of both money and time is my new “Percenters” business cartoon website. It’s a massive amount of work, but it’s a great way to showcase my business/marketing – even political cartoon work. Because of the amount of time it takes on the computer to tweak/rework the site, and format the hundreds of images in a half a dozen ways required, I invested in a new laptop. My old laptop had been hauled around the deserts of the Middle East in backpacks and bags and did it’s time honorably, but it’s now very, very tired. I didn’t skimp on the new one either – lots of speed, memory, graphics – the works. Unfortunately, the laptop lacked the requisite amount of motivation to get the job done, and opted out by sacrificing its hard drive. After only three months. If I were to ship the computer back to the manufacturer to have the work done under warranty, it would be in excess of two months before I’d see it again, which isn’t an acceptable amount of time. So I’ve decided to foot the repair costs and get it back, hopefully today.
Being a professional cartoonist and illustrator is a commitment. That’s where the word ‘professional’ takes on special significance. When creating art as a hobby or for amusement, you don’t really need a Plan B. Or a Plan A for that matter. But when you commit to providing work for others to use and, hopefully, profit from, you have to meet the challenges with a seemingly bottomless well of solutions when adversity bangs vigorously on your door. And it most certainly will.
Ironically, I’m typing this on my Plan B, my very tired, old veteran of foreign wars laptop.
Being a professional cartoonist is, to me, a gift and a privilege. A few curves will be thrown at me from time to time, and even an occasional fast-ball to the head, but in the end, this is still the greatest, most fun and rewarding way to earn or supplement a living. And seeing someone crack a smile or laugh out loud at one of my cartoons is still the most elating feeling I can think of.
4 thoughts on “The Challenges of Life as a Cartoonist and Illustrator”
I came across your blog as I was looking for information about submitting cartoons to publishers. your blogs are very nicely written and thoroughly enjoyed “becoming a cartoonist/illustrator”. I was hoping you could lend your experience and answer a technical question, as it’s hard (at least for me) to find the details online.
– How large are each of your drawing panels, and is it worth while to create a vector image off the scan, or just create a larger then needed raster image?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Conrad – thank you for your comment. There’s lots of ways to get the results you’re looking for, but here’s mine: I draw my panels 7″x7″ on Bristol board, then scan them at 300 dpi, saved both as a hi-res JPEG and tiff. This has worked fine when enlarged to 12″ for calendars and more than sufficient for publications, greeting cards, etc. Hope this helps.
Wow, that was very fast! Thanks for the info, it’s perfect. Followup question, do you submit copies of your 7×7 to your publisher, or do you scale down?
Recently, I’ve decided to try my hand at cartooning. If you’re interested in looking, here’s some of my work (not shameless self promotion.)
co-game designer, artist, animator – It’s free on Iphone
You’re welcome. I usually scale samples down so that I can fit 4 to a page in a PDF – once they give approval, the respective graphics department will give me any formatting requirements. I’d be happy to take a look at your work.