Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beginner Cartooning Questions

My thanks to all the cartoonists who send me emails. I try to respond in a timely manner if at all possible, but I am a one-man operation here and I am not able to reply as quickly as I'd like.

Below are a few recent questions that I thought I'd answer here on the blog. Most of the questions are about gag cartoons. If you're a cartoonist wannabe or a new cartoonist or just thinking about a career in cartooning, then this blog entry is for you.

When you draw/ink a gag cartoon, do you do it inside of a pre-drawn panel?


Should I even be concerned about this and just draw the cartoon on an 8 1/2” x 11” paper?

No, you shouldn't be concerned and yes, draw it on a piece of letter-size paper. If the editor likes it and wants it resized (this happens occasionally, not always), then the editor will ask for a redraw and he/she will give you the specs.

I've never heard of an instance where an editor like a cartoon but didn't buy it because it was the "wrong size."

Since you have a website showcasing your work, do you submit to magazines, greeting card companies, etc., in the traditional manner or do you just refer the cartoon editor to your web page?

My Web page is just an extension of my business card. When I send a submission to a new market, I always send paper. I prefer to send paper. On every piece of art (whether it's a gag cartoon or a greeting card or syndicate submission, etc.) I have ALL of my contact information printed in a discreet corner:


I used to place my contact information very discretely. I put all of it on the back of every submission page. I read that that was the way to do it somewhere (probably in one of those "Hot to be a Pro Cartoonist" books). But then there was one time a national magazine published my work, yet they did not pay me. Weeks went by. No check. I finally tracked down the person in charge of payments. I was told that I hadn't gotten paid because they "didn't have my contact information." Well, ha ha! They did, it's just that they just did not turn the art over to hunt for it. Of course, it was silly to think someone in accounting would have read that same dang cartooning book I did and turned it over.

Um ... where was I?

If the editor wants to, s/he can look at my site. I think the only reason to have a site is to show the quality & quantity of your work, and to get a better idea of who you are. A specific submissions package shows that arrives on an editor's desk shows you have the commitment to craft your work in a commercially viable way.

I don't think anyone starting out in cartooning ever sold a cartoon by emailing an editor and telling them to click on their site. If you have, please tell me. And I'll want proof (a signed notarized statement from the editor please)!!!

And remember, when you send submissions out, immediately produce more. There's nothing worse than getting a "We like what you sent us, please send more" note from an editor and not having any of the more they want right now!

End of speech. Go draw.


Unknown said...

Time to de-lurk. As a neophyte cartoonist, I just wanted to say in general how appreciative I am for the various mysteries your blog's postings and links past and present have cleared up about the art and business of cartooning. No other blogging cartoonist that I've encountered is nearly as committed as yourself to the dissemination of their wisdom, experience, tip & tricks. Thanks! It has helped a lot.

Mike Lynch said...

Yes, I'm helping my competition! Ha ha!

Please buy me a drink when you create the next Naruto or Dilbert or Spongebob.

Mark Anderson said...

SpongeNarubert is almost ready! Moo-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!