Monday, January 28, 2013

Doing the Work

I close my door, take out my sketchbook and whatever pen is closest (I really don't care what pen I use), and then I stare at the wall. It's quiet, and I let my mind wander and try to think of ideas for cartoons. 

There is not a clear path to success in comics. But one of the demands that you, the cartoonist, should make on himself, is the commitment to do the work. 

And it's hard to do the work if you are tired from working full-time doing something else. 

Rob Tornoe wrote a piece about former Commercial Appeal Editorial Cartoonist Bill Day in Editor & Publisher titled Unemployed Cartoonist’s Fundraising Drive Marred by Plagiarism Allegations.

Rob gives us the background and the controversy:
In the wake of his successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign, cartoonist Bill Day has landed in the middle of a controversy that has bubbled up among political cartoonists about plagiarism and where to draw the journalistic line when it comes to reworking old cartoons and making them new.   
As reported earlier this month, Day had taken to Indiegogo with the goal of raising $35,000 so that he could quit his day job at a bike shop and commit to cartooning full-time. Day has been juggling odd jobs and syndicated cartoon work ever since he was laid off by the Memphis Commercial Appeal three years ago.   
There are two minds about this, as you can read at the link: some editorial cartoonist colleagues said that it's okay to repurpose an previously published cartoon (particularly if you are working full time and are only cartooning part-time, as Day had to do after being let go by The Commercial Appeal) and others said, no, it's a cheat. I guess the thing that bothers me about people who say it's okay is that that's not doing the work. That's lazy.

And, yeah, thinking up something new is not easy. Like Hirschfeld said in the documentary of his life, THE LINE KING, some drawings come easy and some don't.   

I'll still try to come up with new ideas this week. Going forward while looking in the rear view mirror is never a good idea. 


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