Rejected Cartoon: The Drunken Polygamist

30 Aug

One feature I’ll be showcasing regularly on the ol’ blog are rejected cartoons.

I have tons of them.

What are they?  Well, they’re cartoons I’ve submitted to publications in hopes of getting them published.  When they don’t make the cut, they’re rejected.

Most of the rejected cartoons are ones that I’ve pitched to MAD Magazine to no avail.  And boy, there are some whoppers in these piles of rejections.  I could start an orphanage for these unwanted scripts and cartoons.  Instead though, I’ll feature them on my newest blog here:  http://www.natefakescartoons.com/blog/rejected-cartoon-the-drunken-polygamist/

The One and Olney

29 Aug

On the front page of my website, I have a little introduction that I wrote about myself.  Just a quick synopsis about who I am, what I’ve done and what I do.  You may have read it.

Anyway, on there I mention that I sold my first cartoon in 5th grade.  And I did.  The girl I tried to impress, I forgot about.  However, I can fill you in on the rest of the story.

CLICK HERE TO READ

My Friend, Routine

24 Aug

I’ve never been in favor of having a routine.

Most of my life I’ve been spur of the moment.  Spontaneity was my friend – and still is.  Not knowing exactly what’s going to happen has always been appealing.

As much as I love being spontaneous, I find that when it comes down to getting stuff done – especially as a cartoonist – it’s not always best.

For many years I found myself just randomly working on my business (cartooning is a business, you know).  It would be days full of me saying, “I think I’ll draw today.  Well, at least for an hour.  Then I might do some marketing or something.  And possibly, if I get bored, I can color pictures.  And then order pizza.  Mmm….pizza.”

No plan.  Nothing.  Just the what do I feel like doing today lifestyle.

So yeah, it wasn’t a grandiose plan.

Read the rest at the new home for the blog!  CLICK HERE

A Silly Start

21 Aug

I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist my whole life.  It started from my first box of crayons and worked its way up from there.  Instead of eating the crayons, I used them to draw.  And even animate.

Read more of the newest blog here: http://www.natefakescartoons.com/blog/a-silly-start

 

The Write Idea

16 Jul

As a cartoonist there are really two main objectives to my job:  draw and write.

There are obviously other objectives as well; such as entertain, tell a story, create nonsense – you know – lots of things.  It varies depending on the goal of the cartoon.  If I’m creating work for the newspaper, it’ll be different than one for a client that has a particular objective in mind.

I stand by my work.  If you are professional at anything, you have to, right?  I’ve been cartooning now for a long time and honestly feel I have a good grip on how to do what I do.  That being said, the one area I feel best about when cartooning is writing.

Writing is essential, and in my opinion, the most important part of being a cartoonist.

Writing also constitutes as ideas.

Trust me – there are hundreds – no, THOUSANDS of people that can draw better than me.

I’m envious of a lot of work from gag cartoonists such as Charles Addams or a great caricature artist like Tom Richmond.  Their art is amazing.  I strive to get to that level – and they set the bar very high.

That being said, there are hundreds (and, I’m guessing, TENS of thousands) of people that can probably write better than me.  (Don’t believe me?  Read a few of the lackluster blog posts on this site.)

The goal as a cartoonist is to combine the two into a polished cartoon.

But let’s start with writing….

I feel my writing and ideas are the strongest part of my work.

In my personal opinion, they’re not always reflected in my daily cartoons (lots of my gag cartoons can be similar to ones you’ve seen before).  Though I try every day to create new gags, unbeknownst to me, sometimes I’ll stumble on the same premise that was done before.  Or, if it is something original, I’ll notice it being used down the line somewhere else.  I believe this is the case in music, movies and almost all forms of entertainment. (Did you hear about the recent Led Zeppelin lawsuit?)

The areas of writing I feel I really excel is when it comes to a.) my own projects and b.) custom work.

I’ll start with my own projects.

What I mean by those are my own books and art that I create for hopefully future publications.  Its things that I have the freedom to write and draw whatever I want (not that I don’t anyway, but I am a little limited when it comes to a single box gag cartoon).  I’ve actually gotten better over the recent years with this.  I tried a graphic novel several years ago, and have gone back to it, but it’s TOTALLY written different.  The first version, the writing kinda – well – stunk.

Now to custom work.

This is work where I’m hired on to create something for someone or something.

If I’m given a topic or an idea, I can usually take that topic and idea and run with it.  Somehow, I’m very good with coming up with – not one – but numerous ideas.

When a client that I work with contacts me about coming up with something for something, I’ll often pitch them anywhere from 5-15 rough thoughts.  I can come up with them rather quickly, which is good.

It does happen that NONE of those thoughts will be any good, but more often than not, at least ONE hits the mark.  Sometimes, the client will go with ALL of them as well – if I’m lucky (and that’s a rare occasion).

And with all of this cartoons contain VISUAL WRITING.  It’s where there is no actual writing, but the visual is the joke.  Still, that has to start off by being written down as an idea.  Some might say sketched, but I still call it writing.  Any idea is written mentally first.

I believe it’s taken me my whole life to get to this point where I can write and come up with ideas rather quickly and accurately.  That’s why I’d never do anything pay by the hour.  I can get somehting thought of in a few minutes sometimes, so I’d make practically nothing.  But, what does it matter?  If it’s good – it’s good.  Just like if you go to a mechanic for a car repair and it only takes them a minute to tighten a bolt but they charge you hundreds of dollars.  The fact is, YOU didn’t know how to do it and the mechanic was skilled in that area and could do it quick.  Time isn’t a factor to cost with some things.

This isn’t always the case.  No, no, no…

I’ve had times where I do struggle to think of even one idea.

What I’ve discovered with client work is I do great under pressure.  That NEED to think of something solid is more relevant in a small time frame compared to my regular work – where I can go about things more casually.

All this being said, writing is definitely my strong point compared to the actual art.  I say that because it’s worked well with clients, publications and I’ve been told that by, let’s just say, industry leaders that know what they’re talking about.  Also, more than not, it’s my writing that has been published in places like MAD Magazine – not my cartoons.

Am I the best writer?  Oh, c’mon now.  I already mention there are MANY others I feel that are better.  My grammar isn’t always perfect, punchlines sometimes fall flat and even I get the occasional writers block.  However, I’m happy that I can combine the whole package together with cartoon art.

This hasn’t always been the case.  It has taken decades of scribbling on notebooks at school to locking myself in my studio churning the brain cells in my head to think of something.  I believe anyone can get good at practically anything after awhile.  So, I attribute it all to lots of practice ever since that first box of crayons.

All this being said, I’m proud of my work and I have very high standards for what I produce.  I wouldn’t send a client crap.  If I’m not happy with it, it’s not going to see the light of day.

I’d like to say I’m up there when it comes to creative writing.  Or hell – make it easy….When it comes to cartooning writing.  That’s where I’m alright.

If you’re good at something, I would try for it, but you don’t have to be the best at it to make it work.  A lot of times it’s numerous things combined that can make something happen.  I know that’s the case with cartooning for, not just me, but most professional cartoonists – and almost any profession.  Not once have I seen a comic with the BEST art and BEST writing of all-time (which is going to be different depending on your own perspective).

Just take your strongest attribute (for me it’s writing) and add another element that you’re good at (and for me, I CAN draw) to put something together.  Of course, try to improve upon everything as you go along and bada-bing!  you might have something.

I might not be the best at both writing and drawing, but if I can hit that sweet spot that is close and have them meet in the middle, I have the write idea.


For more information about custom cartoon work, please visit www.natefakescartoons.com

What Gives?

13 Jun

Q:  Hey, Nate.  I thought you mentioned awhile back you were going to be blogging more?  What the…what happened?  They’re not posted on here often.  What gives?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Did someone really ask that question?

A:  No.  I actually made that question up as an intro to a blog post.

I’ve been busy.  Period.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…that’s always my excuse.  But honestly, it’s been jammed-packed around here with Ella (my seven-month old), new clients and the relaunch of BizComics.  Add in the normal cartoons and, well, you have yourself a busy sandwich.

So, it is what it is.  But who reads blogs these days anyhow?

Listen, how about this:  I’ll fill you in to what all I’ve been doing that’s been keeping me busy.  Cool?

I mentioned the above.  And I’ll keep this to professional stuff.  If you’re a parent (or even if not) you know about having a young one at home.  Ella has been fantastic – enough said.  I won’t get into details.  But no, really – extraordinary being a parent it is.  I’ll talk about that some other time (and I actually already have if you scroll some of these here archives).

Let’s keep this post about cartooning.

Some really great new clients have come seeking cartoons – and I’m here to provide the best ones possible.

BizComics was just relaunched and let me just say that I’m 100% thrilled with the direction it’s going.

We launched a year ago to really no fanfare.  Why?  It just wasn’t great at that time.  Yes, we had a page explaining what we do and this and that and blah, blah, blah.  But, it wasn’t very interesting (kind of like many of my blog posts).

Now though, with a weekly cartoon/blog and quarterly graphic novel, Max Impact, we’ve caught the attention of some clients.  And I’m really happy with what is coming with them – and many more – soon.  I am invested fully into everything we’re doing over there and really believe in it.  And our clients?  It’s all about them.  Having them feature cartoons is very rewarding to me.  And I get to help create them.  What’s better than that?  (Well, parenthood is, but still….)

Branding Consultant

Above:  One of the newest cartoons from our BizComics series.

My regular work as well has been going good.  I have some housekeeping to do, but Nate Fakes Cartoons website is being updated regularly with new comics to license out and a few more bells and whistles.  Soon I hope to have a portfolio section, but no huge hurry.  It’ll all get pulled together eventually.

And, of course, I continue writing and drawing my daily cartoons that appear in newspapers and online.  They are also sent to my subscribers everyday via my email service.  That’s a lot of cartoons per year (and emails).

bod160607

Above:  One of my regular, daily cartoons.

Plus, when you add in pizza night here at the Fakes household, it makes for a busy week (and often times heartburn).

Of course, I would blog everyday, but…

Yeah.

Maybe in a perfect world.  How does one hire a ghost writer?  Don’t they, like, write for other people? I’m not too sure (I never Googled “ghost writer”).  Hey, that might help though.

At any rate, I’m writing now, write?  Er – right?

Q:  Are you going to keep up writing more?

A:  Maybe.

Q:  When is your next blog post going to be?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Is this the end of this particular blog post?

A:  Yes.

Books Solid

5 May

If you didn’t get a hint from the title, I’m referring to books today.  Yes, those paperbound, white paged things that people have been reading for centuries.

I love to read.  Really, I do.  I have a time and a place for it though.  For example, I’m not a morning reader.  For email, Facebook and things like that, of course I enjoy tuning into the online world and seeing what’s happening.  That’s usually my morning reading.  If I try reading a book or magazine though early in the day, I’ll zone out.  Quite possibly, I’ll fall asleep.

Guy Reading

Above:  No.  This is not me.

I like to read in the evenings.

Anyhow, I’m mentioning that because I thought the other day about how often I read and how many books I consume over time.

I think I’m a slow reader.

I say that, because I don’t get to inhale a lot of books like a lot of people I know.  Therefore, I think I’m a slow reader.  Or just an infrequent reader.  But…I do read a lot.

Okay, I’m bad at math so bear with me.

I average about one novel per month.  And that’s IF I’m lucky.  Sometimes it takes longer.  And, of course, it depends on the size of the book.  To put it in better perspective, the novel I just finished in a month was 500 pages.  But, many of the pages weren’t full of text and the font wasn’t itsy-bitsy.

Typically, I read about 15-30 minutes, 5 nights a week.

So, adding it all together, that’s about 12 novels a year – best case scenerio.

And if I live to, oh, let’s say 80, that’s 528 novels left (again, BEST case…well, unless I live much longer).  Which, if you think about it, isn’t a ton.

It got me thinking that I need to be pretty damn picky about what I read.  Life is short!  I’m thinking long term here.

Book Worm

I’m not going to name any names, but I read a really lousy novel a few months ago.  It kind of irritated – okay, it DID irritate me – because it was so bad.  And I mentioned it takes me a month or longer to read a novel.  So, at the end of it, I felt like I wasted a months worth of reading.  It was one of those things though where I kept thinking to myself It’s got to get better?  Right?  But no.  I didn’t.  The reviews on this particular book were good, too.  I think even my fingers felt cheated after exhausting energy turning those pages.

I’ve read several of the classics – supposedly “best” novels out there.  And a few I haven’t been impressed with.  Not quite sure how they became classics, but what do I know.  Again, I won’t name names (but you know who you are).

This discussion has been about novels.  It’s my preferred choice at the end of the day.  I also do read business books, self help books and things on self improvement.  I’ve also been quite a devoted fan of psychology books and once in awhile something superstitious.  These types of books though take me longer than a month to read and I get through parts of them when I can.  Usually Saturday afternoons or Sunday’s.

With my daughter, I’m – of course – reading to her as well some of the books for kiddos.  “Children’s books” they’re called (secretly though, I’m pretty certain most were made for adults).

And obviously, I read a lot of books on cartooning.  Along with comics I enjoy.  But that’s all at random.  Also it’s part of the job of being a cartoonist.

On another note, I feel like if I read much faster, I wouldn’t enjoy books as much either.

Jack Torrance copy

Above:  Now this guy knew how to write a good book.

Anyhow, I wanted to spark a discussion – if possible – about how many books YOU can read.  What can you get through?  In what amount of time?  Am I a slow reader?  Have you ever read a lousy book and feel like you wasted precious hours?  I’m curious on your thoughts.

With time as short as it is, my reading not maybe quite so fast, I’d like these books to be solid.

Bizness As Usual

6 Apr

One of the areas in my career I’ve been working on quite a bit is BizComics.

As you may know, BizComics was actually launched in June of 2015.  However, just recently, we’ve relaunched it.  Why?  It needed it.  The original site didn’t have really any content to go visit (well, just not a super-ton of content).  It explained what we do (which, if you don’t know, you should just go visit the site instead of me explaining it all here).  It had some cartoons, but not anything to keep anyone THAT interested.  If we had a way of serving free coffee there, that would’ve been interesting.  Unfortunately at the time, we did not (and sorry – still don’t).

Basically, we needed a better way of getting the message out of what we do.  And have a bit more fun on our end while we’re at it.

What we do though has remained the same since the start.  Just the site and content to go with it has changed.

With the relaunch, a few exciting new things have been happening in the neighborhood.

One is, there is a new weekly cartoon and blog featured every week.  They’re always business, office, marketing – you know, biz stuff related.

Bells and Whistles

Above:  Here’s an example.  The latest BizComic cartoon.

Also, there is a new quarterly graphic novel series, Max Impact:  Marketing Detective.  It’s an ongoing series about Max trying to solve marketing problems.  Definitely more exciting than the latest Batman v Superman movie.  No, really.  It’s a fresh and engaging feature I think you’ll enjoy.

We’ve also added all the social media outlets that you can follow us on.  That includes Facebook, Linkedin, Pintrest, Twitter and InstaGram.  If I’m missing any, please let me know.

As a cartoonist, I love just about every thing about the craft.  I’ve always compared cartooning to acting:  I take on many roles.  I work on daily gags, graphic novels, stupidity for MAD and – along with it all – I really have a passion for using cartoons for marketing.  They ARE the best marketing material out there.  (That’s why it kills me when cartoons get axed from publications.  Don’t they realize the cartoons are often the most read part of it?  It’s a proven stat.  Ask the NewYorker.)

And I always mention to companies I work with and potential clients, when was the last time you DIDN’T pay attention to a cartoon on your news feed?  (The answer, when answered honestly, is typically that you always do.)

Cartoons work.

So, anyway, I’m not trying to make a pitch here about BizComics, but it has been a big area of focus recently and I hope you check out the new features (why, just click here).  I’ve been working hard with the coolest marketing team out there and we’ve really come a long ways since our initial launch over a year ago.

I’m thrilled to keep growing this bizmonster.

A Certain Type of Change

6 Mar

Last December I made a pretty major change to my daily cartoons.  Well, at least I think it’s major.  To you, and possibly everyone else, it might not be a big deal.  However, I mulled over it for weeks before pulling the trigger and making the change.  Any guesses on what it was?

The text, silly.

Yes, the fun little captions I use below my comics.  I’m sure you guessed that, right?  Or you’ve already noticed if you’re an avid reader.  But, if you’re just now catching on to that change I made awhile back, that is it.  I know, I know – nothing huge.  Changing a text is like changing a light bulb.  Nobody probably notices it until it goes out.  (And since I put text into my cartoons constantly, it’s usually always there when needed.  And doesn’t require as much electricity.)

For years (roughly six years, to be exact) I used the font, Times New Roman – in italic.

I thought about it one day though and said to myself, “Why the hell do I keep using this font?  There’s no meaning behind it?  And…and I like change.  Yeah, change is good.  I might just do something about it.  And tacos.  I’m craving tacos.”  It was around dinner time when I thought of this.

bod130517Above:  An example of the Times New Roman text that I dramatically decided to cut out of my comics.

I remember back-in-the-day why I started using italicized Times New Roman.  I had a few reasons.  One was, I was trying to get close to the font used on NewYorker cartoons.  For some reason or another I thought my work was NewYorker-ish material, so I wanted to relate to them.  And I also thought that the general public might appreciate a familiar font as well.  Like wearing underwear, it just seemed right.

Well, as time went on, I thought it was probably cooler to use my own font.

I found a neat-o program that can translate your handwriting into a font that can be typed.  It has its flaws (trust me) but it works at about a 92% accuracy.  (And as an example of accuracy, one flaw it has is if I type a ‘z‘, it will have about two spaces of space for the next letter.  Therefore, typing words with ‘z’s’ looks horrible and I have to physically tackle the issue in Photoshop to make it look pretty.)  But, it’s good.  I like it.  And I decided my own text would be more original to use underneath my cartoons.

And I started doing just that.

bod160212Above:  And an example of my new-and-improved (at least I hope) original font.

Now, just to let you know, I’ve ALWAYS handwritten my own text inside speech bubbles in my comics.  Yes, that’s all handwritten (without using the mentioned font program).  That has always been the same.  Below the comic is a different story.

bod160201Above:  That thought bubble?  Yeah, it’s all handwritten.  Always has been – always will be.

So that was my major change.  What do you think?  Good?  Bad?  Ugly?  Tacos?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I plan on sticking with it.  At least until next December, when maybe I’ll discover the most awesome font in the world and go that route.  But, until then, I’ll deal with what I’ve got.  I don’t want to change too much or people might start catching on.

Oh. It’s 2016…

1 Mar

Recently I’ve been thinking you know, I haven’t written a blog post recently.

So, today I typed in my web browser the address of this blog that you’re reading now.  To my surprise, the last time I wrote was 2015.  Last year (yikes).  Whoah…it’s been awhile.  What’s really upsetting is there has been a lot going on between the time I posted last and now.  Basically, I’ve left all of you in the dark for quite awhile on anything new.  I’m not quite sure how many of you are heartbroken about the fact that I haven’t posted lately, but I’ll try to change my vicious pattern of not posting.  Starting with this.

Where does one begin since I haven’t been writing?

I’ll start here: It’s been busy (obvious statement, I know).

As many of you know, I’m a new father, so I’ll write about that for today and get into other “busyness” in later blog posts.

Ella was born November 16th of last year.  Fatherhood has been good to me.  A great thing!  I know – I know…all new parents say that.  But, it is very true.

Starting off, for me, it was like this.  Let me attempt to use an analogy.

In the hospital room, it reminded me of waiting for a train.  Have you ever done that?  Waited for a train at a station on the platform?  I used to take Amtrak all the time.  I still would, but I don’t travel much.  Anyhow, I’m using this scenario because being in the delivery room did remind me of waiting for a passenger train.

The train station is typically quiet – especially if you’re traveling from a small town in the middle of night (which, for me was often leaving Hutchinson, Kansas, around 3 AM).  It’s silent.  Nothing happening.  And then, all of a sudden, you hear a horn in the distance.  Then, a light.  And all of a sudden, it gets louder and LOUDER.  Gates are flashing, going down.  There are people gathering around the platform.  Rumbling of a huge train coming in for a stop. A flurry of activity.

And then, as quickly as the activity began, it stops.  Becomes quiet again and you’re off on a comfortable ride.

The birth of my daughter in the delivery room reminded me of this.  Nothing happening at all, then signs of her coming.  Suddenly, people (nurses and a doctor) gather in the room and – BOOM – there she is!  Crying a little bit.  But, once all the activity settles down and it’s just us in the delivery room with a few members of the family, it’s quiet again.  She’s asleep and we’re off on a new journey.

FullSizeRender-8

What a great journey it’s been since November.  I’m savoring every moment.  Yeah, I’m excited for her to talk, learn to draw and hangout with me without having to bring along a burp cloth.  But, the way she is now I’m absorbing up and also realizing it won’t last so enjoy every progression, moment and time from here on out.  Again, I know it’s all been said before, but now I realize how true it all is.  I already feel like she’s growing up too fast and it’s been just over three months.  If she picks up a pen and starts cartooning within the next several days, I wouldn’t be too shocked.  (And then I’ll have to explain to her all the frustrations of being in the cartooning profession.)

12799221_10153394774944117_6913285986757378830_n

 

This ride is quite an exciting one.  And many stops along the way (especially to change poopy diapers).  I’m thrilled to be aboard.

I’ll leave you with that.  Just another brief “hello” from Ella and me.

I’ll try to write more soon.  For now though, that’s my latest update.

And now I can say I’ve finally written a blog post in 2016 (applause).

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 220 other followers