Friday, June 27, 2008

Cartoonist Dedication

I just got an email from a young, just-starting-out cartoonist who lives in the UK, and is having a hard time finding markets. He asks for advice. I thought I'd respond here.

"I wanna try pushing"

(Above: an early sale to the Wall Street Journal. Yes, a dog cartoon in WSJ! A refreshing change of pace from the "people in meetings" cartoons and the "boss at his/her desk" cartoons.)

The great thing about cartoons is that EVERYONE loves cartoons. Whether it's cartoons on TV or Mad Magazine or Marvel or gag cartoons -- people love their cartoons. And every time you see a cartoon, there's a real person, somewhere, who drew the cartoon, designed the character, designed the toy, wrote the story, etc.

You all ready know it's a lot of dedicated work to get to be a pro. That's good! Only the most persistent and dedicated cartoonists make it. The real pros out there have seen a lot of rejection. It's normal.

When Joe Kubert is asked what does he look for in a new student for his Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (which is ints 32nd year in 2008), he replies, "Dedication."

Not someone who is in it for the money, the "the most talented," not the one with all the art credentials, not the one from the city, not the rich one, not the one with the connections.

I draw magazine cartoons. I did not go to school to learn to cartoon. When I was a kid, growing up in the Midwest, there were no schools for cartoonists. I just was dedicated and persistent.

At a 2006 Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art exhibit of the very successful comic artist Todd MacFarlane, there was a case full of Todd's rejection slips; hundreds of them!

Every successful person I know (a) worked at their craft and (b) got rejected. There are no secrets. The good stuff floats to the top and gets noticed.

End of sermon.

(Click to supersize the above early sale from The Chronicle of Higher Education.)


Mark Anderson said...

I've always said that my business sales background helped me out in cartooning. You gotta learn to love the rejection.

Every time you hear no, you're that much closer to a yes.

Mike Lynch said...

Mark, my friend, so true, so true!