Cartooning is a Great Hobby and More: Do you ever find yourself doodling when you should be doing something important like managing the core shut down at the nuclear plant? Maybe you’re always getting in trouble for daydreaming when you should be concentrating on landing that airplane. Are you plagued by feelings of failure because you just don’t fit in corporate America?
If this sounds like you, maybe you should consider a career change. It could be that your subconscious mind is trying to tell you that you are meant to be a cartoonist. Single panel gag cartooning is a great career choice for several reasons.
No Heavy Lifting
The hardest part of the job is coming up with ideas. Now, I don’t mean to minimize this task. Generating effective cartoon ideas is not easy and many people quit after a few short brainstorming sessions. The one thing that will set you apart from the crowd is your tenacity. If you will set a weekly or monthly quota for yourself and stick to it, you will soon be seeing your work in print.
A good goal for the part-timer to set is seven complete single-panel gag cartoons a week. For the mathematically-challenged (and what cartoonist isn’t?) that’s one a day. At the end of the week, send your work off to publications that accept freelance submissions. There are loads of them – invest in a copy of The Artists Market to find which ones are the best fit for your work.
You don’t have to complete a long, expensive course to begin. You can start by writing down all the funny things that have been running through your head for the past however-long-you-can-remember. Then see if there’s a way you can condense it into a single-panel gag that the general populace will “get”. Remember, if you think it’s funny, there are probably a lot of other people who will think so too.
You’ll probably come up with a lot of stupid, unfunny tripe. If so, welcome to the club! We all do. Everyday. But the more you do it, the more you’ll develop your skills and begin to produce quality humor.
The start-up cost is extremely minimal. Chances are you can launch your career with stuff you already have in your house, or can easily steal from the office. You’ll need some drawing paper and a pen. Add some large manila envelopes for mailing in submissions and a few bucks for postage, and that’s all the investment you have to make.
If you want to splurge, you could buy some pencils for doing up roughs, and maybe some page-sized cardboard inserts to help prevent your submission packages from getting bent up in the mail, but those luxuries should be considered optional.
You Don’t Have to be a World-Class Artist
Notice that I’ve yet to mention drawing. That’s because drawing is not the most important skill a cartoonist needs to possess. It’s not the event the second-most important skill. Writing and idea-development are the most important. If you are letting your less-than-stellar art skills hold you back, remember the old cartooning adage: Good writing makes up for bad art; good art will never make up for bad writing.
Cartooning is a great hobby and, with the right amount of hard work and insatiable desire, it can turn into a lucrative career.
Cartooning is a Great Hobby and More
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