BETWEEN FRIENDS creator Sandra Bell-Lundy writes about good comic strip writing, a bikini, and its relation to human rights.
In this entry, she honestly talks about the value of writing to please yourself, and what she learned from the late Jay Kennedy. Here's Sandra:
If there's one thing a cartoonist has to learn, it's that you have to write for yourself and that your work is not going to appeal to everyone. When I was working with my editor, Jay Kennedy during the development stage of my cartoon strip, I would fax my ideas to him and he would call me back with a critique of my work. He'd tell me why this strip worked and that one didn't and if he thought a particular strip was very funny. Every so often, I would catch myself writing my strips according to what I thought Jay would find funny. And you know what? ...not once did he tell me that the strip I wrote trying to appeal to his funny bone "was very funny". After a few times, it dawned on me that I should just write what I thought was funny. If someone else found it funny, well...consider it gravy.
It's so hard to be a cartoonist because, despite the fact that there is a skill set that you can learn (learn to draw, learn to write), there is NOT a standard operating procedure to apply. A cartoonist has to offer something unique -- and, harder still, a cartoonist has to self-generate all this.
Related: No Ta-tas or Pee-pees in Children’s Publishing, But Most of All, No Balls? from the Chronicle Books blog by Melissa Manlove. It's about a terrific series of children's books, all ready best sellers in Europe, that were not printed in the US (until Chronicle Books picked them up) due to "American prudishness."