Tuesday, 6 April 2010

What is a cartoonist?

I'm often asked when people find out I'm a cartoonist (since February 2010) what a cartoonist is. These people are not stupid, as you may first think. They simply don't know what a cartoonist is, or what a cartoonist does. I can be confusing for the ordinary, drab people I come across from time to time.

I like to think that there's several types of cartoonists and here is the two examples I'm allowed to tell you about.

The definition of a cartoonist is someone who draws cartoons. This may be someone who has a full set of gel pens, or perhaps has only just a Berol Handwriting pen. They may draw their cartoons on some sort of paper, or maybe even a piece of cardboard they found in the recycle bin. These 'cartoons' or humorous pictures might be amusing, but they don't have to be.

The definition of a pro- cartoonist is someone who sells their cartoons for money, or perhaps stationary supplies. These sorts of cartoonists are mainly motivated by the desire to be famous and rich, like Van Golf or David Hockey. Now that's not to say that these cartoonists don't draw good cartoons, they often do, but many of them have been corrupted by the scent of wealth and fame. They draw maybe 6 or 7 cartoons to a national publication, and that's them set up for life!

Many of the professional cartoonist I know are lovely people, but they are often horrible towards those they see as 'amateur' cartoonists, and no matter how crap their cartoons are, will not offer words of encouragement. They'll say terrible things like "you really need to improve your drawing skills" or "the cartoon just isn't funny". This clearly demonstrate how cruel professional cartoonist can  be towards amateur cartoonists that want to steal their jobs.

So there's a lesson for all us cartoonists. If you are an amateur cartoonist, then you mustn't listen to the bitter ramblings from the professionals that are probably just threatened by your skills with a gel pen (some of these so-called professionals use such antiquated tools as brushes, or dip pens!).

If you are a professional cartoonist (and I suspect there might be quite a few reading this blog) then you need to understand that while YOU might not find the work of the up and coming amateurs that impressive, you should always be polite and encouraging. It doesn't matter that you are not impressed with their cartoons. Their friends and family are impressed, and if only their friends and family had a million pound publishing empire, then they would be selling cartoons to them all the time, and you'd be signing on, or picking vegetables!


  1. It's heartening to hear such a supportive attitude from someone like yourself, Leonard. Everyone knows that your cartoons are for sale at £20.00, and as such you must be regarded as a proto-pro-cartoonist even if people have been laughing too much to fork out the readies.

    We all need to remember that just because any particular cartoon is completely devoid of humour, drawing talent or ability to use the colouring facilities in photoshop, it doesn't mean it isn't brilliant. I mean, any five-year old could tell you that!

  2. "Proto-pro-cartoonist"- I like that, Cathy! Makes me wish I could start all over again.

    Leonard, it never ceases to amaze me how insightful (sp?) you are.

  3. I am quite amazing, aren't I?

    Steve, have you been on the receiving end of these so called professional cartoonists bitter words?