Working Professionally as a Cartoonist

A few things that I’ve learned over the years that have crystalized through teaching…

• Devote your time to sharpening your art skills AND your business skills – trends, networking, contracts, etcetera all.

• Don’t pigeonhole yourself to one small aspect of the art form, like limiting yourself to just comics. Remember that Michelangelo wanted to devote himself to sculpture when he was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel.

• The people who succeed are generally the people who are working their asses off. Surround yourself with people like this, people who commit themselves fully and are getting their work out into the world. They’ll generally be better than you which is a GOOD thing – that way the bar keeps getting raised.

• Working hard isn’t enough, you have to work smart as well. You have to create work that’s marketable – that will suit the needs of someone who will then pay you.

• Working long hours with no sleep to meet deadlines isn’t the answer. Your career is a marathon, not a fifty yard dash. Eat right, exercise and sleep regularly like your parents told you to.

• Start now (yesterday is even better). Research the jobs you want, look at the submission guidelines (and follow them METICULOUSLY), then work up samples that will blow the competition out of the water. Follow Steve Martin’s advice to those aspiring to enter the entertainment field – “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

• To cap this off… If you treat your skills as a hobby then that’s where they’ll stay, as a hobby – and that’s FINE as long as that’s your conscious decision – but if you want to have it as your career then you need to get on board and on track.

And that’s…

For more info, check out the following links:

Comics – Pricing your Work

Things to Consider When Commissioning Artwork

Work for Hire – The Fallout

Homage or Swipe?

Cartoon Art Scams

Comics – Tools of the Trade

Comic Book Inking Tutorials and Videos

Recommended Books on Drawing & Cartooning


Using Reference


When you wish upon a star…

Motivational Misinformation

Convention Prep – AHHHHH!!!

Networking and the High Cost of Comic Conventions

Mike Wolfer on Fan art/Homage art

Graphic Novels

Comic Book Podcasts

Intro to Anime – sorely needed…

And last but not least, The Business of Cartooning.
This page has a number of subcategories, including…

1 Comic News Blogs
2. Contracts
3. Resources/Articles
4. Print On Demand Publishers
5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles
6. Convention Resources
7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations
8. Financial Aid


I started these posts after teaching Comic Art at the
Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Here’s the biggest thing I learned teaching there.


…and a special thanks to Professor Barb Schulz, head of the department,
for giving me that opportunity.

Posted in Business of Cartooning | Comments Off on Working Professionally as a Cartoonist

Flash Gordon’s Origin

Flash Gordon Sunday pages from 8/19/2001 – 10/28/2001

My homage to Alex Raymond via Flash Gordon’s origin sequence.
For those who are familiar with Raymond’s work you’ll notice I tried to recreate a number of his panels from the 1930s throughout.
Hope you enjoy!

Click on images to see larger.


For more on Flash Gordon, check out the Flash Gordon website,
also my post on Flash Gordon’s 80th Anniversary from a few years back which has a boatload of Flash Gordon DVD extras, like Flash Gordon drawn by
Joe Kubert, John Romita and much, much more!

Posted in Flash Gordon | Tagged | Leave a comment

It’s 1978 Again, True Believers!

Thanks to cartoonist Mike Lynch for pointing out my 1978 Spider-Man Calendar can be used this year as well – The twelve year old in me is very happy!

To check out the whole calendar, go to Mark Anderson’s site

Posted in Ramblings & Reviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Happy New Year 2017!

John Romita drawing from the Mighty Marvel Calendar for 1975.
(With a quick type change for 2017.)

Posted in John Romita | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sally Forth DVD Extra – New Years Eve Edition

Sometimes the comic art has to be altered, even though the reference is accurate, so it doesn’t comes off as unintended product placement. Here’s a New Years Eve example.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Flashback – 1996 Jim Keefe Interview

Here’s an interview I did when I first started doing Flash Gordon way back in 1996.

The pic is from a few years into my tenure,
and trying out the “artist goatee” look on for size.

Interview by Jerry Craft

Posted in Flash Gordon | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays!

And wishing you all the best in 2017!

Posted in Ramblings & Reviews | Leave a comment

Building Your Own Little Free Library (Unhelpful Edition)

A quick tutorial from Handyman Jim on how to
put together your very own Little Free Library!

I’m purposely skipping over cutting the post and angle braces, as at no point during that whole process did I have a clue to what I was doing.

Two quick bits of advice though…
1: Having a table saw I could borrow from a family member sure was damn helpful regarding building the base.

These are exterior lag screws. Who knew?!

Correct lag screws? Who knows!

2: I bought the wrong lag screws. Make sure to buy the right ones (not that I have a clue which ones that would be). And use power tools to secure them if you have weak little arms that aren’t accustomed to lifting more than a pencil and/or wacom stylus.

Placing the Post in the Ground


Make sure when finding a spot for your Little Free Library that you place it on an incline or small hill, that way you’ll have to dig even farther to make sure the hole’s deep enough.

Also make sure to place it near a large tree so there’s plenty of roots to cut and dig through.

Making More Work for Yourself

Make the decision to personalize your Little Free Library by adding a drawing to be mounted on top that you can’t find time to get to for months.

Check the Weather for a Polar Vortex

Wait until the RealFeel is 25 below and THEN install the Spider-Man drawing on top. That way the wood will be as hard as concrete.

And yes, the two pics indicate a three month lag between library installation and Spider-Man drawing (once again – finding time).

And there you have it – IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE!
For more helpful hints, find someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

I know I will…

Posted in Ramblings & Reviews | Tagged , | Comments Off on Building Your Own Little Free Library (Unhelpful Edition)