What You Wanted to Know About a Career as a Cartoonist

cave-art-2The First Cartoons
We don't know for certain but we can surmise that the first cartoons were probably about hunting trips gone horrible wrong--funny sketches on cave walls of hunters being chased away by their intended meals.

In modern society cartoons are drawn to amuse, chronicle, comment or inform on specific topics, individuals or situations.

Cartoon art is found virtually everywhere from printed media to Internet websites. Cartoon art is quite effective in making us laugh as well as getting us to ponder about the more serious issues of life.

kids-cartoonWe All Started Out as Cartoonists
When you were in grade school, (or even college!), think of a time when you were bored in class. What did you do? You probably started to doodle on a piece of paper. It might have been a sketch of a friend, a caricature of your teacher or an ambitious four-panel comic strip.

Drawing cartoons is a very natural thing for people to do regardless of artistic talent or ability. Perhaps you have wondered what a career as a cartoonist encompasses.

In this series about cartoonists we'll explore what they do, what sorts of traits are inherent in cartoonists and the necessary education and training required to be a cartoonist.

stick-figure-schoolGet the Proper Education
Chris Browne, cartoonist of the syndicated come strip Hagar the Horrible, says an important aspect of becoming a cartoonist is to attend art classes or enroll in an art school to learn the fundamentals of drawing techniques. Graphic design schools and colleges can help provide this essential career training in basic graphic design and illustration.

Browne commented:

"Even if your "type" of cartooning is non-realistic, there are huge benefits from sharpening your skills. Representational drawing seems hard to the beginner, and remains challenging to the professional, but it's important to learn as much about the basics as possible.

"After all, cartooning is a job, and if you have any success at all, you will one day be competing with hundreds of other cartoonists who have taken the time to develop these skills."

stick-peopleFind the Right Contacts
If your final goal is to land a job as a syndicated cartoon strip artist for a newspaper a good approach is to first start out small by submitting your sketches and ideas to magazines or small publications before making the plunge to newspaper publications. Do your homework and find out who the important contact people are in the organization.

Browne advises:

"Make a phone call, find out who the art director is, do they have an editor who buys the cartoons, what's that person's name, who's his secretary. Write all this stuff down in your Day Runner. It's information, and information is power.

"If you can't meet in person at least talk to the a.d. (art director) on the phone and then send artwork promptly. Keep track of what you've sent and when. Keep copies of everything, or better still, send copies."

Next Time...
What sorts of qualities do you need to become a cartoonist? Do you have what it takes? How much can you expect to make as a cartoonist? These and other topics will be covered in next week's installment about a cartoonist career. Until then, keep on drawing!

Schools and Colleges offering design degrees:

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
Results:  5
Matching School Ads
AAA in Digital Graphic Arts
Remington College , Fort Worth
  • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
  • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
  • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 95% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Associate Degree-Computer Graphics and Design
  • Features a public spa where massage students can get real-world experience.
  • Honored by the PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Century in 2013.
  • New terms start every 10 weeks.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Main campus is located in North Wales, Pennsylvania, with satellite campuses in Phoenixville and Warminster.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
AAS Graphic Design
  • Several campuses are designated as 2015 Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media.
  • Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Day, evening, and online classes are available for flexible schedule options.
  • Regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Founded 160 years ago, it is one of America’s premier private career colleges.
Show more [+]