How Can I Start a Career As a Cartoonist?
Would you like to draw fresh and original comic strips or perhaps develop an ongoing storyline for a cartoon or comic book? Would you like to have your artwork seen by thousands of people on a daily basis? If so, read on to learn some of the steps you can take to begin your career as a cartoonist.
Cartoonists create fresh, unique, and entertaining images for comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, product packaging, or greeting cards. As a cartoonist, your work can be silly, dramatic, scary, or political in nature, depending on the desired end result. You often have a limited amount of space to display your art and are tasked with creating a design that will help sell a product, further a brand's identity with its target demographic, or just be entertaining, interesting, or provocative.
Important Facts About This Occupation
|Median Salary (2018)||$72,520 (for multimedia artists and animators)|
|On-the-job Training||Moderate amount of training, depending on specific job|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||8% growth (for multimedia artists and animators)|
|Key Skills||Artistic talent, communication skills, computer skills, creativity, time-management skills|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education and Training
Although no training is required to draw cartoons, you may still be interested in taking some classes. You would want to take courses on how to draw the human body and draw using perspective, and how to use shadows to convey depth and width in 2-D design. You will also want to learn how to create cartoons using different mediums, from the more traditional methods of pen and ink to using the latest computer programs. Since you will be creating cartoons from scratch, and often by yourself, you may be interested in taking classes in how to write text, dialogue, and create an ongoing storyline.
Practice and Definition of Style
If you are an aspiring cartoonist, the importance of practicing your skills cannot be understated. It can take countless sketches and many incarnations of the same design before you stumble across one particular design that is the right fit for you. As you are practicing, you will start to develop your own unique art style, which will serve as the formula for all of your work and create a level of recognition.
Unless you plan on being self-published either in print or on the Web, you will need to find the proper venue to expose your work to the masses. If you want your work to be seen in print, you can start small by sending some samples of your finished work to art directors at your local newspapers or magazines.
After you have some work published, it would be easier to create a portfolio, which would help with your efforts to get a syndicated comic strip; this will make it easier to get your work published in as many newspapers as possible on a daily basis. If none of these options are right for you, you could always self-publish your work in print or on the Web.