I’m starting a new series of blog posts where I will select one or two of the questions I receive from fans and answer them here on my blog. The reasons: 1.) many of my fans ask the same questions so might as well answer one and provide it for all, and 2.) I am super busy being a mom and wife, running two businesses, being in a band, etc., and though it would be fun, I just don’t have time to keep answering many of these questions. (Side: let me add that I do offer my help and consulting services for a fee and generally have time for that. Contact me if you would like).
Anyways, today’s question comes from a fan in Turkey:
Question: “Would you mind giving me some advice on how to reach to a wider audience with my cartoons? Do you suggest opening a website? Or drawing for a newspaper etc.? What should I do so that I can become a half-time but professional cartoonist whose work is distributed to a wider audience?” -Suheyl
First, thanks for being a fan. I love that my comics have found their way to you in Turkey. Second, I love that you think I am a successful enough professional, full-time artist to ask me (I hope my answer here doesn’t ruin your impression of me).
While I do make a little money from my comics, I own/operate a boutique illustration and graphic/web design firm to currently supplement my income. I plan to become a full-time cartoonist here one day, but right now, my firm helps me pay my mortgage and pay for my daughter’s growing stuffed animal collection.
I started created my comics about 3 years ago and have continued to create 3-6 comics every week, for free, since then. I’ve researched, interviewed, and bought books from other comics, became part of LinkedIn and Facebook groups, and have followed colleagues marketing and distribution habits. By doing this, I learned a ton about creating and distributing comics.
Since there is no right way to doing anything, I think researching other comic artists whom you admire is your best bet. Follow all of their social networks and mimic their posting habits. Then, learn as much as you can from their works. Ask yourself, “what makes this funny?” “How were they able to explain how funny it is in just the few elements that are there?” and “Is there anything else needed or excessive in this comic?” Work hard at your writing and drawing and maintain a schedule. Then, start engaging with fans and work to create timely pieces that integrate holidays or benign current events, such as National Cat Day, etc. Use hashtags when you do. Then, if you have that schedule down and feel like you have more time, offer your services to a local newspaper or blog that you like. You will NOT get overnight success; it’s a long, uphill road to travel. But, if you keep at it, you are bound to find fans that resonate with you and wish for your success.
As for websites: since I am a web designer, I’m always going to say “get a website.” And, that’s mainly because you can control so many aspects of it and what people see. But, if you don’t have enough $ to get it done right, then at least get a few social networks rolling and publish in a place like Tapastic.
The main thing: don’t create comics for money as for most of us, that is not really what happens. Create comics because you have something to say to the world. And then say it, again and again and again. Enjoy the process, enjoy your fans, and enjoy the ride.
Do you have a question? Please know that even though I would like to, I most likely will not be able to get to it and hope that you go through my FAQs. But, if you still want to try, send me your question through my contact page. And please, if I don’t get back to you, just know that I am taking that time to try my hardest to be a good mom instead. 🙂