Thursday, November 04, 2010

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?


"Where do you get your ideas?" is one of those ubiquitous questions that cartoonists get asked.

I wish I could cite one source.

After you've been cartooning for a while, you're always on scanning mode; looking for ideas wherever you are.

It's rare that I am able to overhear something that's a punchline. Thinking about buzzwords can help, but I think that the last panel of the comic below, staring at a wall, is what a lot of cartoonists do, and it's probably the most productive!

Here are 4 panels on the topic of ideas that I originally drew for an interview. The piece was not used. It's published here for the first time.

3 comments:

B Moore said...

This is wonderful.

Benita said...

Thanks for the tip, Mike. I never thought of "staring at the wall". I love your real life cartoons.

Dan Reynolds said...

Staring at the wall, a blank sheet of paper...cartoon ideas are elusive, like catching butterflies blindfolded with your bare hands.

I always look like a deer in headlights when people ask me how I come up with my ideas. I want to give them a concise answer like "I get them at Wal-Mart in the 10 items or less check out line" or "They come with the junk mail"...things everyone knows about, but the truth where cartoon ideas come from is a place much more like the island of misfit toys. It's a place at the cross roads between the mind and heart, a place lot of grown-ups have forgotten about. Cartoonists go to this place every day and bring back "gag" gifts to share with everyone else. Readers rejoice in the mirth of the moment that a cartoon embodies, the cartoonist's reward is in having been the vessel of giving. It makes me feel like Santa Claus. Humor, the gift that keeps on giving.