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I often receive inquiries from young people
who wish to become cartoonists or humorous
illustrators. I'd love to be able to answer each
inquiry personally but time will not allow for
that. I've got to earn a living, you know!
So, I've prepared a list in hopes that it will
answer most of your questions and provide
some guidance in pursuing a career
in this field. Here we go...

10. Draw! Draw! Draw! I cannot stress this
enough. This holds true for anything you
undertake in life. If you want to become
a cartoonist, musician, writer, athlete,
you've got to practice.

9. Draw every day. It's the only way to improve.
Try not to get too discouraged when your
sketches don't turn out just right. I've been at
this awhile and I'm still learning!

8. Draw from life. It's fun to draw goofy and
wacky characters but you'll be an even better
cartoonist if you sketch the real world around
you. Your family, friends, pets, objects and
natural environment drawn "realistically"
will give you a sound basis to exaggerate
your cartoony folk.

7. Develop your own look. We all have our
favorite cartoonists who's drawing style we
admire and while we're learning, it's fine to
emulate them. But after a period of time, you
don't want to continue to copy them exactly.
Your look will always show it's influences and
that's OK.

6. Be an information sponge. Observe people
and how they behave. How do they dress?
What's going on in the news? What are the
current catch phrases? Popular culture?

5. Experiment with different art tools. What
works best for one artist will be different than
what works for another. Try any sort of pen,
pencil, marker, brush, paint or paper you can
get your hands on. The computer can also be
used to draw and color.

4. Network with people who share your
interest. This will keep up your enthusiasm
for drawing and drive you to become better.
You'll be able to compare different techniques
and bounce ideas off of each other.

3. Develop your sense of humor. What makes
people laugh? Learn how to set up a joke.
Can you come up with gags? This is vitally
important especially if you want to be a comic
strip artist.

2. Work on your writing skills. Again, if you
want to get into the comic strip business,
the most important element is the humor
writing. A well written/poorly drawn strip will
sell before a poorly written/well drawn
one will.

1. Go to a good art school or university. One
that offers a degree in commercial art and
preferably with courses concentrating in
cartooning and animation.

Hope these pointers have been helpful. I wish
you the best of luck.


Hot Rod Lobster/
Boys' Life