Thursday, February 02, 2023

Dan Rosandich 1957 - 2023


Cartoonist Dan Rosandich passed away of an apparent heart attack on January 9th. He was 65. A celebration of Dan’s life will be announced by the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home at a later time.


A prolific cartoonist, Detroit-born Dan sold his first single panel gag cartoon to Mechanix Illustrated the same year he graduated from Ontonagon Area High School in 1976. And Dan never let up. 

"He has since contributed cartoons and comic strips to Reader's Digest, Saturday Evening Post, Woman's World, Good Housekeeping magazine and dozens of other national and regional magazines, newsletters and trade journals. His cartoon 'Mum's the Word' was present in the short-lived anthology series 'Tomorrow's Comics' (1991-1992), which was distributed on college campuses by Argonaut Entertainment."  - Lambiek

His cartoons have appeared in many of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Dan was also the go-to cartoonist for companies seeking cartoon content, creating a database of over 5,000 cartoons for purchase at his site. 

"He offers web designers a daily auto-updating web cartoon for usage on personal and company websites. He also makes custom cartoons for his clients, like the strips 'Grain Wranglers' for a grain magazine and 'Al & The Dating Game' for a Human Resource director's web site. An ebook collection of his personal favorites has appeared under the title 'Funny Cartoons For The Entire Family' (2012). Rosandich also runs a cartoon blog, where he blogs about being a cartoonist and all aspects of cartooning and the business of creating and selling cartoons." - Lambiek

In 2018, Mike Rhode interviewed Dan for his ComicsDC blog, asking what he does when he get's writer's block

"I spread things out. I have a subscription to SalesFlower which is an online database that allows you to choose different Standard Industrial Classification codes (SIC codes) of businesses. I pick out phone numbers of art directors or creative directors and make cold calls.

"If not that, I switch gears and re-draw old cartoons that never sold or do work I never had time to focus on, such as giftware designs for POD sites (publishing on demand) like Cafe Press or Zazzle (I have accounts with both, but favor Zazzle over CafePress).

"If not that, as you well know, paperwork is overwhelming...just cleaning up paperwork can be a relief....focusing on that can have a big impact on changing your outlook to a more positive one."


Fellow cartoonist Bill Abbott interviewed Dan in 2014. One of the questions was about advice to up and coming cartoonists.

"What advice would you give to aspiring cartoonists trying to break in? 

"Giving advice. . . certainly a tough call in this business climate but today, try to divide your approach. Look at it from a major and a minor standpoint. A steady job will of course be your 'major' that will allow you to generate a steady income and pay important bills each month while working on your 'minor.' Look at what you want to do with your minor….is it comic strips? You have the best idea since Calvin & Hobbes and would your idea supersede that? Or do you want humorous illustration as your minor? Have a printer make up 1,000 11X17 inch brochures with samples of your work on both sides and fold that in half, or then fold again to fit in a no. #10 business envelope, send those out to the 1,000 best ad agencies, or 1,000 best book publishers you can find lists for … test that out. I think that’s modest. Your response may be minimal but a start. Or depending on your style and how you present samples, you may blow the art or creative director’s mind and get a nice contract. If that happens, you’ll then be able to decide if your job merits any further time. But I would balance out an 'approach,' in this manner first. I was pretty much able to dive in at the time I started cartooning because the market was wide open … there was no digital realm and the entire business was 'print based' … now it’s a completely different animal. Other factors like the economy are also considerations, along with any personal considerations (student loans, outstanding monthly expenditures etc). I won’t say art school isn’t something you shouldn’t consider, but in recent years, I’ve heard so many horror stories where students come out of certain art schools with huge loans to pay off and no where to start finding 'work' or assignments. Some cartoonists who feel they have a portfolio to present, will go right into the editorial offices – in the old days, gag cartoonists would be walking from magazine office to magazine office in Manhattan and 'mooing' like cattle because there were so many magazines they could show their work to (open cattle calls were the norm on Wednesdays)! That can’t be achieved today, so the next best thing is to make up your own cartoon or illustration portfolio and if you seriously believe your work is a sellable commodity and worthy of consideration, make your own contact list and see those editors or creative directors with what you’ve got. Finding Your Niche' I mention in my infographic is something you seriously need to take into consideration."

Dan was a journeyman cartoonist whose early adoption of the internet allowed him to create a thriving, creative business to be admired. His hard work and persistence were keys to his success. My condolences to the Rosandich family.

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