My Best Cartooning Advice

by Curtoons


1. Do it! You will never be a great cartoonist if you only talk about being a great cartoonist. The day I decided I wanted to quit my job and become a full time cartoonist I pulled out a pencil and pad of paper and started developing my own characters. I drew 12 cartoons, put them in an envelope, mailed them to a magazine and then I started all over again.

2. Draw. My original Curtoons cartoon drawings sucked! My characters were flat and I only had two views, complete side view or complete front view. My cartoon hands were awful. The only way to draw better is to draw MORE!

Funny Cartoon Guy
I’m your logo design dude!

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3. Don’t take things to seriously. Most all cartoons are meant to be funny. You can’t create funny and whimsical cartoons if you are in a bad mood or are stressed. You need to learn to relax and look at the world in a way that most people don’t see. The wackier, the better. Dress funny and give your kids off the wall names.

4. Write. If you are doing gag cartoons, greeting cards, comic strips or other funny cartoons you will need to exercise your funny bone. The more you write the easier it becomes. Always write down a funny thought or observation because I promise, if you don’t, you’ll forget it. Many times bad cartoons can be sold with good writing, but great cartoons rarely get sold with bad writing.

5. Display. You can’t sell your work if nobody is seeing it. Send it to editors, enter it into art shows, create online galleries, email samples to friends and always have a portfolio handy of your BEST work samples.

6. Create cartoons for free but never work for free. If you need to build up a portfolio or want to practice drawing, think about offering to do a few cartoons or designs for free. But only if the client will be using the designs commercially and will provide you with samples. If you are a working cartoonist and a client wants you to create a cartoon for free because they are unwilling to pay, ask them if they will offer you their service for free.

7. Don’t steal. In today’s world it is very difficult to create something so new and original that it has never been seen before. Ultimately your designs will in some way reflect images that you have seen over the years. But whatever you do, do not copy an exact cartoon and claim that it is your own. You will never, ever, build a business on stealing other peoples ideas and designs. Originality is what makes some cartoonists millionaires.

8. Be prepared to fail. A cartoonist will be rejected more times than most other professionals. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Getting a cartoon into a top magazine or a comic strip into a newspaper may be harder than winning the lottery. A cartoonist should take pride in his rejection file folder. If it is not full, you are not drawing enough or trying hard enough. Many clients will hate your first attempt at a design. Accept the challenge and draw better, write better and improve with each rejection. Eventually you will fail to fail.

9. Diversify. Don’t put all of your cartoon eggs into one basket. A gag cartoonist can also create greeting cards. An illustrator can also do tattoo designs. A logo designer can also create cartoon fonts. Create multiple streams of income with your talent.

10. Ask questions. If you don’t know what to do or how to do it, ask! Find a few professional cartoonists that are willing to answer questions as you begin your career. Stay in touch with fellow cartoonists like me, Curtis D. Tucker. Build up a network of cartoonists that you can rely on. Find a mentor. Once you become the cartoonist you never thought you could become, begin answering questions and offering advice to those that will be asking you.

11. Never give up. I never sold a cartoon to the BIG magazines, I never had a comic strip syndicated and I was never hired by Hallmark. But, I draw cartoons full time for a living, I have clients all over the world and I sell my characters and clip art out of a room in my house. I have my own small greeting card company, I sell t-shirts online and people wait weeks to have me create their cartoon logos.

Good luck and much success!

Back to the drawing board,


Debbie Maldonado July 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

I bought the woodsy moose from you yesterday-July 11, 2011.

I sent you an email to see if you ccould change and add to the woodsy moose with the trees and cabin?

I would like to know how much and how long it would take.

Thank you

Curtis July 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hey Debbie,

Just returned from vacation and sent you an email. I think I can help you out.

Ron Donte July 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Hello, my name is Ron I’m from Compton, Ca. I grew up as a tagger and my passion is art I’ve never taken any art classes but I’m always drawing these little cartoons I’ve been trying to find out more info on how to sale my work, or how to price my work can you please help I have a client right now who I’m working on a character for but I’m unsure on the price to quote being it is custom and my first sale in the art world…I’m excited but really scared don’t wanna screw myself out of my chance…

Curtis July 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Hey Ron,

Great to hear from you! The price of a character can vary due to many different factors. Send me an email describing the character and company and I’ll see if I can give you some advice.

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