It still amazes me that I can create something from nothing and either make some one laugh or smile or make them sad. Expressing how you feel via your illustrations and comics is not only fulfilling, but you’ll soon find others who can relate to you.
If you love reading comics and comic strips and watching cartoons and anime’s and if you always find yourself doodling... then you are already a cartoonist. But there’s two kinds of cartoonist. A fulfilled one and a unfulfilled one.
Here are a few steps that has helped me become a fulfilled cartoonist. (Share this with any young person interested in comics!)
Base the comic off of your own experiences. Some of the most popular comics are based upon the creators daily life. Answer these questions to help get you started.
What are some things you like or dislike?
Do you like lasagna? Have your character eat that throughout the comic. Donuts? Yup, have them fetishize over them.
Take some time to write down what you like and dislike and then transfer that to your main comic strip character.
Stick to being yourself and you’ll authentically create an interesting character, because no one else is you.
Is your character based in reality or some zany universe where no one really gets hurt?
Knowing this will help keep your character grounded. If your character falls off a building do they die or do they dust themselves off? Create a character and worldview that comes naturally to you.
Start out with a regular ol’ pencil and a blank piece of paper. Keeping it simple allows you to create a foundation to build from (plus they’re cheap!)
Use whatever pencils are most comfortable to you. I personally use mechanical pencils, because I like how it feels in my hand and I hate taking the time to find a sharpener. Experiment with a variety of pencils and use what works for you (6B, 6H) There’s nothing wrong with using a tablet to draw and create but make sure you go back to sketching and doodling on paper to help sharpen your talents.
Not going to school earlier is one of my biggest regrets. “Self-taught” is a long road and getting proper education can help shorten the road to fulfillment. I have some formal training in animation, digital media arts and in Adobe suite. All this has helped me become a more well-rounded cartoonist. So if you have a desire for comics or digital media I strongly suggest you get some training. Whether that’s online or in person.
Also having a portfolio will always be a good thing. Your comics may land you a career or side gigs and creating a portfolio of some of your best work will help clients and customers see if you’re a good fit. ______________________________
My mentor told me years ago that I need to get from behind the computer and get in front of your audience. Meaning find comic conventions and festivals to share and sell your product.
This allows for real world instantaneous feedback.
You’ll get to notice facial expressions and body
language when people see and read your content. And also it’ll help you develop thick skin. Rejection is part of the game and everyone is not going to like your comic. So get out there and share your comic strips online and in public.
Comic conventions, expos, festivals, libraries and pop ups. Let your readers get to see and interact with you.
“Get from behind your computer”
Until next time,
- stay up