Thursday, December 06, 2012

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.

-- This has been an encore presentation of a blog entry from April 28, 2010.


Dan Reynolds said...

This is actually an important point Mike brings out. Very simply and frankly, I think it's just plain dumb to not have a clearly legible signature because the signature IS the best connection to the next job. If people can't see who you are, they can't contact you. And, after seeing your work repeatedly, what good is it if they like your work but don't know who you are?

You might as well be a stand up comedian with a bag over your head....well, there was one of those - the unknown comic. He was well-know and yet no one knew him. Anyone with a bag on their head could have taken his place.

I use the same signature "Reynolds" I have always used. On many occasions, I have been told that my signature looks like Larson's signature. I've even been accused of trying to imitate it. For the record, that's the STUPIDEST comment ever. I have been signing my name the way I do in my own handwriting WAY before Larson ever drew cartoons professionally. I have the same signature now as I did in the 1960's.

Anyways, I digress. Point is Mike is right. Get a signature that people can identify you by. Speaking of signatures...there is something in the DNA as to the way to write your name. I found the immigration papers of my great grandfather and his signature was very similar to mine.

isy said...

Great point, Mike. Glad to hear you got some work that way. I've also noticed that some cartoonists make sure to put their signature as close to the "action" of the gag as possible, so that when people crop your work, your signature is still there. Something I should have been doing all along too - dagnabit!