I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for my cartooning work. I know it’s cliche to say it, but I think it’s part of the creative field that I’m in. I kind of have to. Actually, I know I have to.
If I had a magic genie or mentor that I handed my ideas to on a daily basis and they just happened, I’d have a lot of stuff out there (oh, and could relax a bit more). Everything from books, graphic novels, software, apps, websites and more. Everyday I’m thinking, “Wow. There might be something here!”. The reality is though, a lot of the big ideas are just that – ideas. Nothing really comes from them.
The older I get though, the more I’m starting to realize what ideas MIGHT work and have potential.
I’m also learning that – if I think real hard – I might already have the resources to help make that idea happen. Without even using a genie.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I’ve always had this notion – for some odd-reason – that I must make everything happen on my own. Which is true, in some sense. The idea and everything must come from me, or nothing would happen. BUT, there is help in getting ideas off the ground. And a lot of times, it’s all right in front of my face with people I know, work with and have a relationship with already. Resources. All leading to getting the “idea” to come into focus much more streamlined than me thinking I can do everything by myself.
I’ve smacked myself upside the head a few times after realizing this. “There’s my answer! It’s been there the whole time. Wow…..”
A lot of the details of some of these ideas of mine, I don’t know very well. Making me the person NOT the best pick to handle something.
I’m not good at quite a few things. (It’s not secret. Have you ever watched me try to play basketball?)
So, it’s becoming much more easier for me to have a little system to handle these ideas.
First off, if I think of an idea and I’m very excited about it, usually it’s worked out into a good idea and I’ll run with it. But run where?
Well, that’s when I stop, breathe – and think of the best route to go with this idea. I ask my self several things. Is this something I should do on my own? Do I know others that could help make this happen? What’s for dinner?
If it’s something I can do on my own – I’ll start!
If it’s something I think could work better with resources, I’ll try to get them!
From there, it’s a matter of making it happen then.
Now, I do hit a snag.
Sometimes, I have these BIG ideas, and no clue where to start. I have no resources in a particular area, no direction and I believe it’s something I CAN’T do on my own. That’s when I wish I had a magic genie to help me out.
For example, I’m working on my graphic novel (still). I’m not 100% how to pitch it. I’m not sure if I should pursue a literary agent first. Or send it straight to a publisher? Plus, I still have to write and re-write. Who is the best person to send it to to proof read? Then, I want to make it all professional, and how do I display it in such a way?
Lot’s to consider.
Of course there are books, YouTube videos and a ton of resources. And trust me – I take advantage. At the end of the day though, my mind feels a bit cluttered with different angles I could take on things. And I’m left feeling like I’m not sure what’s best.
With this graphic novel example, I don’t know anyone to pitch it to personally, I don’t know any literary agents, publishers or proof readers. So, even initially approaching this has been challenging for me. That being said though, there are graphic novels out there on the shelves, and everyone that has created them has probably had the same situation I’m in. I just have to figure out the best route they took, and maybe go from there.
With some quick thinking, maybe contact someone who HAS been published with a graphic novel and see what they did. That might answer all my questions in one email.
See? Just requires some thinking.
So anyway, I might have a lot of big ideas – and most people I run across (even those in the non-creative fields) will often have them as well. No, I’m not trying to be a motivational speaker, but really – if it’s a cool idea – give it a go. Think of resources you might have around you. If you wanted to build a rocket ship, you might – just might – have a rocket scientist as a neighbor that could help your project take-off (no pun intended).
Again, my meter for figuring out if it’s something worthwhile is asking, “Is this exciting”? Actually, it’s more of a feeling, Am I excited about this? If “yes”, then hell, I’ll give it a whirl. I’ll figure out if I need help, resources or whatever it may be.
Some of those ideas will flourish – others will fail. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and I stick with what works and move on from those ideas that don’t. And even the ones that don’t initially work out, sometimes can resurface later after an idea hits me on how to make it work. Or someone else brings to the table how to make it happen.
But, all this being said, if you DO know a genie that can make big ideas happen a bit quicker, please shoot me an email. I’d like to meet one. I think they’d be a great resource.
I’d say we’re definitely on a roll.
This week, I have TWO cartoons featuring toilet paper.
If you’re not one much for potty humor – don’t worry – these are relatively tame.
Kicking thing off is, well – wouldn’t you know – TOILET PAPER!
This cartoon was inspired by that one app, Tinder.
Tinder is a “hook-up” or dating app that you swipe to the right if you like someone and to the left if you don’t. I’ve never tried it (hello…I’m married), but I guess it’s catching on. So, in the bathroom world, a Wiper app might be the talk of the stool.
No, I’ve never taken the offering plate. And I’ve never taken the money out of one either (even though it’s quite tempting at age five thru eight).
But, I’ve had hundreds of these passed to me throughout the years of attending church services.
They would make a decent collection, right?
Back in the day, I’m guessing there were ‘Grammar Police’. Probably nitpicking the hieroglyphics of the times.
But really though, who WOULDN’T know that the stick figure goes behind the deer? Duh.
See, I told you it would be featured twice.
Not that a dog needs the stuff, but I thought it was a nice added bonus to this particular ‘toon.
The one with the offering plates and now – the one with the mantises.
I was told by a reader that the male praying mantis is smaller than the female. In my version, they look relatively equal.
Sometimes Google doesn’t have the answers to everything, because I looked up pictures before drawing this, and quite frankly, they both looked about the same.
Bad drawings – like grammar – can often be another form of nitpicking.
Yes, I submitted this one (along with others) for my regular submission to the publication.
They generally use a lot of military humor, but this one didn’t make the hut – er – cut.
Well, that’s it!
I hope it didn’t stink up the place considering the material used. Next week, it’ll be a bit more sanitary.
You’ll have to excuse me for a moment. I’m just a little amped-up about something….
You see, I’ve always been very outspoken when talking about cartoons and marketing. Yes, my opinion is – and always will be – cartoons are THE BEST form of marketing out there.
I can’t stress this enough. I always use the example of the last time you ignored a cartoon on your Facebook feed. Ever? Probably not.
Or, when browsing through a magazine. Cartoon there? If there is one, chances are you’ve read it.
Okay, so they grab your attention (just like the bold letters I sometimes use throughout my posts to keep you from falling asleep).
But there’s more to them. And that’s the marketing part I’ll chat a bit about.
Cartoons work. How?
Well, just like with the eye-catching cartoons you see in day-to-day life on social media and elsewhere, like I mentioned, they’ll grab your attention. Especially when associated with a company or brand. Often times the result will be customers that keep coming back for more, employees that stick around and an overall memorable experience in general. People can’t get enough! It’s like crack (but doesn’t kill).
I came up with another way of looking at it.
Let’s say there is a brick and mortar store setup. You have several stores surrounding it. Got the visual? Great.
Now, let’s say that the first mentioned store hires a landscaper to really make their landscape “pop”. And the other businesses do not.
Of course it depends on the business and what – as a consumer – you’d be stopping in for, but can you imagine that the store with the nice landscape will attract more attention than the ones without? Okay, well, that’s why businesses hire a landscaper.
Websites with great designs do better than those with lackluster ones. Offers that brands have can be more attractive than others. And with cartoons, you’re adding a Purple Cow (yes, I got that from a book).
So, I tell every client of mine considering custom work or cartoons to please realize that – not only are cartoons a good time – but they’re actually an investment. Long-term investment, as well, because they keep people/clients coming back for more. And I have a fun time watching them work.
My job is to crank out the material in many different formats and platforms. The marketing/custom cartoon platform has been a growing investment for me – and the client(s).
This is all why I’m amped-up. So much potential out there in this digital age. It’s not just syndication and publications anymore – the demand for good cartoons is growing – and that’s my industry. Nice.
At the end of the day though, I guess it’s all just funny business.
Writing and drawing comics can be a tough profession. Especially when your computer isn’t working great. Fortunately, I found it wasn’t working well due to a dead battery (whew!). But the impact of that situation is I’m a bit late in writing a recap of the latest cartoons. However, it’s not late for you – the reader – but just for me. This sucker will be posted at the usual 1 AM on Friday morning (EST, to be precise).
Okay, well, let’s get to it!
Well, like I mentioned at the top of this post, creating comics can be a tough profession. And plus, with accounting, there is gobs of money to be made (so I hear).
But, as not being one for taking the easy road, I’ll stick to using my drawing abilities to their highest possibilities. It takes a while to make a slow dime than a fast nickel, but hey – I’m bad at math and accounting would probably bore me to smithereens.
Plus, I wouldn’t be able to get as many ink stains on my fingers. That’s no fun (and my soap would be quite disappointed).
How was your Easter?
I have been indulging in candy all week. There is a lot of it around this studio of mine. No, honestly – there is a ton of the stuff.
I have this mindset of, if I finish it off, there won’t be any left. So, I keep eating it all day – trying to get rid of it. Unfortunately, the backlash is a bigger belly and my time in the gym hasn’t been quite as thrilling considering the energy that eating sugar takes out of a person. BUT, the good news is – only about four more Cream Eggs – and I’m almost halfway to completion!
As for my abs – eh – who needs turtles? I have a turtle now.
If I had to guess, if butterflies could type, they probably would have sent me several batches of hate mail by now. Luckily, as far as I know, they can’t (type). Anyhow, this recent comic isn’t really making fun of them. I’d say it’s pretty mild for my butterfly humor.
I sketched this image out without a caption in my notebook. It took me several weeks, but I came up with this.
Anything featuring howling usually does well with the audience. (Okay, not really. I’m just saying that to look good.)
I believe I mentioned a nickel earlier (remember the whole ‘slow dime/fast nickel’ remark a few paragraphs ago). Well, how about an entire cartoon devoted to one! Actually, it’s devoted to “loose” change in general. At any rate, it was a good excuse to use the work ‘nickel’ again – since I rarely do.
The weird thing is I enjoy creating math related cartoons. I dunno.
Finally this week, we have a new feature: Pasta.
I, for one, actually enjoy Ramen noodles. It’s scary how cheap they are though. How does a Ramen noodle factory make money? After all the expenses packaging, making, shipping, etc. the stuff, what’s left when you sell it for thirty-cents?
That’s a mystery that I’ll probably never solve (nor do I really care to).
That’s all for this week of cartoons!
I’m going to leave it at that. Since I’m behind due to a uncooperative battery, it’s dinner time for me and I’m craving Ramen noodles.
This week, there is quite the array of cartoons for your enjoyment (or displeasure – whatever you choose). Everything from Apple products to an airplane. I’ll get right into it. Lengthy introductions are SO a decade ago.
Not quite sure why, but I’ve had an ample amount of worm material to work with recently. Typically, anytime I have premises for ANYTHING, I’ll create a comic out of it – good or bad.
So, this was one of those awful puns I came up with.
I wasn’t sure how well it would be received, but hey – people seemed to like it.
I guess I’ll keep doing earthworm jokes. (Please keep reading my work regardless.)
What do I mean by ‘take-off’? Well….
You might wonder how I judge the popularity of cartoons. I really don’t have a rating system, but I do check out the comments on my syndicates site and on my Facebook page. Stuff gets shared? Great! I assume it’s good. No shares? Well, you get the drift.
I don’t know why I do this to myself.
Some of my BEST material is stuff that doesn’t do well on social media, but in publications.
Basically, my scale is off.
I’ve said that about my weight as well.
Forget my previous comment about the dogs being my favorite comic of the week. I think it’s these straws, now that I look at it again.
I almost drew a crazy straw in a nuthouse talking to a regular straw with the same caption. (Actually, that’s not a bad idea. I think I might do that.)
I’d like to think it’ll be cool, but I can’t imagine it being that great for me.
For one thing, I have big fingers. So, even on my iPhone, texting and checking things proves quite difficult for me sometimes (oh, and frustrating).
So, I’m imagining myself trying to tap buttons on an even SMALLER screen.
You would probably watch my iWatch being an iFly as I throw it out of frustration.
There was really no gag in this one, but for some reason, it made me laugh (before even drawing it) so I sketched the thing out.
Usually, any cartoon featuring cows does pretty well.
My theory was proven when this one was shared quite a bit online.
Damn….there I go with my popularity scale again. I really need to knock that off.
I almost created this one without a caption and adding braces and glasses to it. Better idea that what I went with? Yes? No? Ah, too late now.
I still like it though.
I never understood the whole black cat/bad luck thing. I’ve crossed many black cats before, and usually make it home alright. Well, I just jinxed it now, so we’ll see what happens.
That’s it for the week of cartoons!
I know I plug it every week, but you can get these daily by subscribing HERE. Yes, I write a little post and deliver the newest cartoons EVERYDAY. It’s a daunting task indeed.
Well, nobody likes a long, dragged-out ending (that was so a decade ago), so until we meet again.
What a week.
I actually have had a great past seven days. Normally I wouldn’t mention that because I’ve been on the opposite end of the spectrum numerous times. And it’s sometimes annoying to hear about someone having a fantastic week. But, once in awhile, I’ll mention it if it’s true. And yes, this past week has been stellar.
Lot’s of positive in my personal life and here in the cartooning life.
I won’t dig into details. There’s a time and a place for everything, right? And this is all about the past week’s worth of cartoons.
Starting off, I have this recent ‘toon about having to stand in the corner.
I mentioned this in my subscription service, but growing up, I never really had a corner to stand in. However, if we got in trouble during lunch in the cafeteria during elementary school, they would make us go stand against the wall in front of everyone.
At the time, I found it quite funny – and fun – to go and do that.
It was entertaining to see how many times I could stand against the wall during lunch. Days that I was really hungry, I tried to behave (they didn’t let you take the snack-packs up there while you stood).
Bzzz.… Hey – did you hear that? Why, I think it’s a bee cartoon!
What if you were a bee and you didn’t want to be a worker?
Sure, the bee could wind-up lucky and become a queen, but then again, that sounds rather exhausting.
As for other jobs, well, they’re aren’t any. A bee can’t just sit around as far as I know (and I doubt they have unemployment benefits).
Okay, I’m over-thinking this way too much.
This snake/turtle cartoon I thought was going to really take off and become popular.
It got a so-so response rate. For me personally, I thought it was the winner of the week. Goes to show what I know. Maybe it’s just because I like snakes and turtles.
I created this because I totally believe it’s a true situation.
You always hear of these little rich entitled kids that think they can do anything. The recent news was from this $#%bag, Conrad Hilton, who went ballistic on a flight – cursing and belittling the crew and passengers.
I’m not saying all kids of CEO’s are like this, but I’ve met plenty. Especially when I used to work a day job in Sarasota, Florida, at a Circuit City. They would come in their new Convertibles, buying the biggest and newest televisions and they probably weren’t a day over 16. Anyway, hence the inspiration for the cartoon. I know I probably sound bitter, but hey, I was working at Circuit City.
This isn’t the first time I’ve used the adorable mascot for cleaning products. However, this is the first time I’ve featured him as a child.
I think it’s probably an accurate portrayal, right?
With this one, I was torn on leaving the caption the way it is or calling it a Mono Log (two words).
Still not 100% sure I nailed it with the way I have it completed, but oh well. People seemed to enjoy it. This wood be the first time I’ve featured this – um – wood.
This day and age, I feel kinda sorry for caged birds. They have to be miserable, right?
I discussed (again, in my daily email) that I used to have a pet parakeet growing up named Joe.
Joe was a great bird and I think he actually had it pretty good. I gave that blue-bellied bird run of the house. Yes, he had a cage, but I let him out of it quite often.
Anyway, I think a parakeet with a house to himself has got to be somewhat happy. Hopefully.
That wraps up this GREAT week!
And hey, while I’m at it, please help me in my endeavor to hit 4,000 “likes” on Facebook. I’m close. Just need a few more to push it over-the-top. So feel free to share the page, SPAM it or whatever it takes. Click this shiny text to participate.
I’m sure I can host a pizza party if it happens.
More cartoons next week and more blog posts (possibly) in the meantime.
Every so often in this world, something spectacular leaves us. That’s what happened last week when cartoonist Roy Doty passed away at age 92.
Roy wasn’t just a good cartoonist – he was on a grander scale. I could go on-and-on about how impressive his work was, but it all speaks for itself. If you’ve never heard of his name, I’m pretty certain that somewhere along the line you have seen some of it. He was everywhere.
I was lucky to know him and actually visit his home and studio where his work came alive in Dublin, Ohio.
At the time of meeting him, I was drawing the cartoons for the school newspaper at Wright State University. So, like any normal cartoonist, I wanted to show “the pro” my work and get his thoughts when encountering him face-to-face.
I met him via knowing someone that knew him and so forth. It just worked out well that he also lived only and hour or so away from me at the time.
Like his comics, he was a character. Very pleasant, nice and honest. In fact, brutally honest (I’ll get to more of that in a bit).
His studio had impressive drawings that I personally probably would never have the patience for. Detail after delicate detail of perfected line-work that uses every space of the page in such a magical way, I couldn’t fathom it. At the time of writing this, his website is still active. Go explore for yourself here.
Above: A Valentine illustration by Roy that’s in my personal collection.
My work? He wasn’t too impressed. But, he mentioned to keep working. And so I did.
For years after that, we corresponded.
I moved to Florida and during that time, I really tried to get to the professional level I felt I could obtain. After all, I was fresh out of an internship with MAD Magazine and the school paper. I thought I was already great.
Little did I know that I wasn’t.
I grew up having everyone tell me how good I was. So, I believed it. I became actually cocky with my work and assumed it was fantastic. I was a pro. After all, I kept hearing it. But I was hearing it from people I knew – not the pros.
I sent Roy some of my material via USPS to get his thoughts.
Expecting just a note or two at some point, I was wrong. Roy not only critiqued my work, he hand-wrote a two page letter explaining his thought process behind all of it. I could tell he spent ample time looking it all over. He sent me a package.
And the reviews?
He ripped it all to shreds. Explaining why a lot of it was horrible and how it wasn’t funny, badly drawn, etc. No good words. When I got it back, I was actually quite upset. “Nobody has EVER said my work was bad!”
In this critique, he also hand-drew on several of my cartoons what he thought should go there. How it should look. Again, he spent some time on this.
Above: Part of the package I received back with handwritten yellow tabs on each page, a two page letter and more.
After letting it sink in and REALLY looking at what he had said in his notes, I deeply thought about it. And on many levels – he was right.
There’s a saying…
The two most harmful words in the English language: Good job.
It made me think, improve and become better. I wasn’t there yet. I did have a ways to go if I wanted to move toward that professional level. My work was mediocre and I didn’t even realize it until Roy came along.
Down the line, once I became syndicated online with Universal, I sent him more material.
“Gross” is how he described my line work – compared to his. However, he liked the material and glad I developed a style. Yes, he let me know it wasn’t up to his standards. And it wasn’t. But he was hoping to see my work go somewhere.
Roy really helped my career.
I think I would’ve wallowed in that cocky cesspool of not improving if it wasn’t for his brutally honest critiques and words. Knowing that he spent all that time critiquing it, I knew he actually cared, and saw potential.
I get asked by kids, adults – aspiring cartoonist – to review their cartoons. I critique it, but boy, I just can’t do it like Roy. I wish I could though. Many would take it the wrong way and probably hate me for it, but I think it helps. Too many people say, “Good job”.
Roy kept in touch throughout the years. I was fortunate enough to receive his homemade Christmas cards around the holidays. They were something out-of-this world. Always unique – and fun.
Above: One of his homemade cards that required twisting and turning. A good time trying to read.
When I heard the news of his death, I found myself working at my drawing table. I didn’t even realize it, but I was paying extra attention to my line work. Subconsciously, Roy got in there.
So, it’s sad that he’s gone. His art remains though, and he’ll definitely be remembered.
I’m sure he’s up at that big drawing table in the sky creating those perfect lines.
I’ve had quite the week so far. For one thing, St. Patrick’s Day totally screwed with my regular schedule. I was convinced to head over to our local pub at 8:30 in the morning for a dose of Irish bagpipers, green Budweiser and some chewy breakfast. Boy, I’m getting old. I was done by about one or so in the afternoon. Waking up and drinking some cold ones isn’t quite appealing as it was when I was twenty (nor as easy) But hey, I made it out. It was actually a good time, but now I feel the need to catch-up on everything. Oh, and the headache following it all wasn’t exactly pleasant.
When I was a kid I used to watch those nature shows on PBS (or whatever channel we had at the time) and used to hear the people filming that they must not interfere with nature – as a lion is mulling an antelope.
I guess if I were taping upsetting things such as a big cat getting its next dinner, I would interfere. What could go wrong? The antelope goes home happy and the lion would get upset. Might make for good film?
The reality of this cartoon featuring an iPad babysitting is it’s probably bound to happen in the near future. I can easily see parents trusting equipment to watch their children instead of hiring some human.
Hey, it could be happening now. Who knows. I guess the good thing would be not having to drive the babysitter home afterwards (save on some gas).
This one proved pretty popular on social media sites and sites like Reddit.
You have to wonder if they DO have test to prepare for employment at the Emergency Broadcast System. After all, there are employees behind that annoying beep that interrupts programs at the most inopportune moments. Whoever is behind it, sometimes I’d like to smack you for your annoyance.
And now to the birds and the bees.
And as for the bees, well, it would be hard to be an introvert if you lived in a bee nest. Plus, if you’re expected to swarm, that would be tough.
I remember when I lived in Florida and was working a lousy day job, the UPS driver there mentioned to me that he named all four of his sons after beer companies. I’m guessing those kids are probably in counseling now.
This cartoon reminds me of my series, Technically Speaking. Which, by the way, it’s on a short break. The series is being pitched to syndicates as we speak. For now though, as it’s being reviewed by editors, I’m turning my focus on my gag cartoons and upcoming new website. So, T.S. fans, I hope to see it return soon. It’s a time thing right now and also if syndication DOES happen, I’m sure there will be some adjusting done to the strip anyhow. But, it’s a tough sell for syndication, so we’ll see….
That’s my week – how about yours?
I love hearing thoughts on the latest cartoons. Keep in mind that I have new ones daily, and you can subscribe for free to my daily email and get them all delivered to you first thing in the morning (unless, of course, you’re on an opposite time zone than me).