How to Become a Cartoonist
By Eric Hammer
So, you want to become a cartoonist, huh? For many people,
its a dream come true to become a cartoonist since the
work tends to be fun and often tickles peoples childhood
fantasies of one day writing their own comic books and graphic
Learning to become a cartoonist however does take quite a
bit of effort on the part of the student. Its not enough
to have raw talent, though you definitely do need to have that
as well. You must also hone your skills so that you can learn
how to draw pictures on the spot based on nothing but basic descriptions
given to you by a client.
These days, those wishing to become a cartoonist also need
to spend time learning about the various computer based tools
that are part of the art landscape such as Photoshop. These tools
will become an integral part of your work and you will often
be expected to know how to sit down and use a drawing stylus
together with such programs to create the material that someone
How Much Can You Make?
As with most creative types of jobs, those who are interested
in becoming a cartoonist do it first and foremost for love of
the work and only secondly because they want to make a living.
Competition can be quite fierce for jobs as well meaning that
entry level positions will likely be relatively low paying, offering
somewhere in the low $30Ks. However, for professional cartoonists
with years of experience, especially for those who can also create
story lines around their cartoons rather than just drawing images,
salaries can reach the low six figures. Average salaries tend
to be in the neighborhood of around $50,000 a year.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
In addition to the more traditional ways of earning a living
as a cartoonist, you may consider working in street vending,
offering to create caricatures for tourists. You can also often
earn much more if you are able to come up with story lines for
your cartoons in addition to the basic drawings.
Keep in mind that people who want to become a cartoonist need
to also learn about technology. Therefore, be sure you are comfortable
with technology and software as well.
If you enjoy working in the field but dont think that
being a cartoonist will pay much, you may also want to consider
other related art forms such as graphic designing and painting.
Many people who are interested in cartooning also find these
pursuits to be quite gratifying since they tend to be related
and involve working with their hands.
Qualifications / Requirements
While you do not need a formal degree in order to be licensed
as a cartoonist (because there is no such thing as a "licensed
cartoonist"), it helps tremendously to get formal training
in the world of cartooning. A number of schools offer both accredited
and non accredited degrees in the subject.
Start by drawing your favorite characters from various comic
strips and graphic novels. Work on perfecting your technique
and make sure that you are not tracing a picture but instead
truly copying it. Once you have that down, you should apply to
a professional cartoonists school to further hone your
craft and to learn more about the subject.
- Cartoonist school.
- National Cartoonists Society.
- Industry news.
- An example of a comic book artist (his website).