Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Business of Cartooning: Your Signature

One of the nice traditions of cartooning is that usually, somewhere discretely, there is the signature of the cartoonist. You don't get that, for instance, on the Tony the Tiger drawing on your box of frosted flakes, do you? (But you should. That would be nice.)

Above: How I used to sign my cartoons.

I started looking at some signatures of gag cartoonists through the years. Here are some scans from a few cartoon books. You probably know the names:

Most of the signatures are bold, and some use just a last name, or a nick name (like TAD or VIP). Some sign using their full name.

I thought that I should change my signature to the latter -- from just "Lynch:"

... to "Mike Lynch:"

I made the letters more angular. Sometimes the "L" in "Lynch" looked like a "C."

OK, this may solicit a shoulder shrug. Who cares? It's not a big deal kind of change. But, look: writing my first and last name on each cartoon I draw makes me an easier guy to find.

Case in point:

I got an email from a fellow in London. He had been on his lunch hour, and seen my cartoon in a magazine at the newsstand. This fellow didn't buy the magazine, but remembering my name, he walked back to his office, Googled me and found my site. His UK company was going to do a big ad campaign, and would I be willing to draw some cartoons for it?

Like I said, we have a custom of signing our name. This is not just a nice custom, but a way to generate revenue.


The Cartoonist said...

Great! Congrats, Mike! Welcome to the London advertising scene. :-)

Gregory Kogan said...

Great point, Mike. This is something I have thought about, too. For the same reasons as you (findability), I decided to sign my full last name (Kogan) as opposed to just an initial/monogram.

Unknown said...

Very fun post, Lynch. Er, Mike Lynch. Do you remember being a kid and practicing your sig? That was sometimes more fun than actually drawing...

Trade Loeffler said...

This is excellent advice, Mike. And something I NEED to remember to do. I've never signed my name to any of my comics. One of my readers actually mentioned it to me because he'd been reading the comic and never could figure out who the artist was.

One interesting trick I heard an artist talk about doing was that he'd made a Photoshop file of his signature and would just paste it into the comic after he'd scanned it. I don't know if that's much of a time or work saver though, unless you've got an extremely long name.

Unknown said...

Excellent advice, Mr. Lynch.
I'm updating my cartoon signatures from here on out.

I'm a great fan of your work, BTW!

Chris Schiavo

Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for the kind words.

Trade, if you check your old CONAN comics, Barry Windsor Smith had a cool art noveau signature decal that he would use to sign his work.

Benita said...

Mike, I can't believe you scanned all those signatures in! I like both of your signatures.

Unknown said...

I like the new signature!

Dan Reynolds said...

Here's the MOST important thing ANY cartoonist needs to know about signing their matter what you sign...JUST MAKE SURE IT'S LEGIBLE!!!

If people can't read your name, you're nothing but a ink blot test.
Possible investors in your work often can't contact you because they don't know who you are.

Oh, if your last name is LARSON, WATTERSON, ADDAMS, or other real well known cartoonists for example, make sure you add your first name, too.