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On Twitter, one of my responses to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy was to post this:

Let 2015 be the year more people from around the world take up cartooning/comics to tell their stories.

Then someone on Twitter very reasonably asked, How would I even start?
Here are some questions you might have, and I've done my best to answer them!

* I'm not sure what kind of comics I like! How do I find out?

There are lots of places you can find comics: newspapers and newspaper websites, magazines, comics websites, your local library, bookshops and comics shops are the most obvious places. Don't stop exploring if you don't like the first few comics you read: there are as many kinds of comics out there as there are other kinds of books: cooking comics, superhero comics, crime comics, romance comics, autobiographical journal comics, travel comics, journalist reportage comics, the list goes on!

If you're looking for some online comics, here are a few creators and their comics that have inspired me. (Click to follow the links. Note: not all the content may be appropriate for young children.)

Kate Beaton (comics about history, literature, some autobiographical comics)
Philippa Rice and her webcomic My Cardboard Life - fun use of collage!
Stephen Collins - weekly Guardian comic strip
Lucy Knisley
Joe Decie
Raina Telgemeier
Dan Berry - Dan also does a great series of podcasts interviewing cartoonists on his Make It Then Tell Everybody website.
Isabel Greenberg
Eleanor Davis
Boulet (in English, in French)

Also check out Maura McHugh's list of female comic creators in Europe with links
Joamette Gil's list of webcomics with black lead characters with links

* Do I need to be good at drawing?

Click here for more under the cut!Collapse )


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 11th, 2015 03:46 am (UTC)
Thank you for this post!! I've been wanting to make my own comics for a loooong time, and I think this might be the year!
Jan. 11th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
Hurrah! Do it! :D
Jan. 11th, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC)

Are these your comics? Cause if they are they're rlly cool (and the drawings)!

Jan. 11th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
Some, but not all. I've given links to the artists for each image I've posted that isn't mine.
Jan. 12th, 2015 12:21 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I followed Paul Gravett's Fb link to your page, and want to thank you for the wonderful inspiration! A generous, thoughtful, and liberating post.
Jan. 14th, 2015 08:09 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
You're welcome! And thank you! :)
Jan. 12th, 2015 11:12 pm (UTC)
Awesome post! Thank you so much.
Jan. 14th, 2015 08:09 am (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
This is awesome! I also recommend TCAF: Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It's free, held every year in the Toronto Reference Library on Younge. It's filled with small/medium press (no giants like DC and Marvel), independent publishers, web-comickers, and illustrators. I've met Lucy Knisley many times, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and even ran into Kate Beaton walking around without a booth.
And Toronto is amazing, and a great place for artists to get lost in. I live in NY, but I always drive up for the weekend for this event.
Jan. 14th, 2015 08:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, yes, TCAF sounds amazing! I've heard it's one of the best in the English-speaking world, along with Thought Bubble and SPX. I very much hope I can go someday!
Jun. 22nd, 2016 10:34 am (UTC)
Does Practice Help?
I dabble with a fair range of styles and techniques, i.e. not just cartoons. I'm used to working to improve technically and in terms of artistic quality of my pieces. As ever it's a constant learning curve and I'm happy with that.

Here's the situation and the question. In terms of doing cartoons, frankly, my strong suspicion is I suck at it. There's something missing from my cartoons, perhaps in terms of story line, delivery and probably the humour doesn't hit the mark (just because I find it funny, that doesn't mean anyone else will, or even get the cartoon). Response is usually lukewarm; I even start to wonder whether actually managing to offend someone would be better (I wouldn't aim for that.. .that's not what I want to do!).

So I can understand perseverance in terms of improving technically; that I'm happy with. In terms of an 'un-measurable'/humour fact, is it worth persisting if it doesn't seem to be there? In the best case it's rather dubious to put out rubbish cartoons until I learn how to hit the spot. Perhaps the best approach might be for me to concentrate on illustration for the moment, perhaps some illustrated story writing and perhaps revisiting in the future. But I'm wondering if I suck as a cartoonist.. the chances are I'll always suck as a cartoonist!?
Mar. 14th, 2018 10:18 am (UTC)
Re: Does Practice Help?
Hi, sorry, only just spotted this! Practice definitely helps with improving technically, and some people only ever draw and leave writing the words to someone else. But if you want to do both drawing and writing, hmm. One thing that sometimes helps me is to try something outside of what I'm doing. So if I'm struggling with pen drawing, I might try making a lino cut print or a bit of clay sculpture; it makes the brain work a bit differently and sometimes I come back to the drawing a bit more fresh, looking at it a bit differently. If you're trying to write funny cartons, maybe look for humour in different media than what you're used to reading or watching?

Also, working side by side with a comic artist studio mate (Gary Northfield), he showed me that making good jokes can be learned; there are certain ways of setting them up and then following through that let him work very quickly. Jamie Smart has said something along these lines. And I think James Turner has said, for him, it's about making the classic pay-off line, but then taking it one step further. But everyone develops their own styles. Joe Decie's is a very quiet humour, he studies everyday life and starts out normally, then takes it off on little flights of fancy. Kate Beaton knows so much about history that she can make jokes about it. Perhaps that's it, maybe nerd out about one particular subject, be it metal detecting, cheese, street markets, etc - something you really, really get to know, so you have lots of new material to work with. When you come to something new, you notice lots of odd little things about it that other people might take for granted.
Aug. 2nd, 2017 12:14 am (UTC)
Making television cartoons
Hello studding animation illustration could i have some feed back on how to get ideas for funny long lasting legendary characters that will stick with people for generations to come. Having trouble coming up with ideas went on vacation for awhile, hang out with family, meditated on it, its life my brain is on plank with no ideas its painful that i need to come up with something that everyone has to love and respect at the same time. Any ideas, i have semi pro skills to draw so anything help is appreciated thank you. God bless your souls
Mar. 14th, 2018 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: Making television cartoons
Hi, I don't think you can aim to come up with characters that will be legends; it's like trying to write a classic novel. Only other people will get to decide if it's classic, and that's at the whims of the culture, not something you have any control over. Better to make characters that really resonate with YOU, that make you laugh, or tell the story you want to tell. And you're probably not alone, there will be other people who connect with something that you like.

In terms of drawing, simpler shapes tend to be more memorable and iconic. The Mickey Mouse logo is three circles. In Calvin & Hobbes, Calvin's head is just a circle with some triangles stuck on it. I think Scott McCloud wrote about this in one of his three books about comics (maybe Understanding Comics - worth reading). He wrote that people tend to connect more with a character who's simply drawn and somewhat blank (like Tintin) because they can project themselves onto it. The more photo-realistic your character is, the more specific it will be, and people may relate to it less. A simple character can still look good on complicated backgrounds, as is often the case in manga and European BD. Good luck!
Mar. 14th, 2018 02:13 am (UTC)
OMG I have the art desk shown in onw of the pictures!
Mar. 14th, 2018 10:24 am (UTC)
Cool! :)
Jun. 5th, 2018 06:48 am (UTC)
This is the best someone has explained about the topic!!
I have been wanting to start a webcomic for past 6 months but i was going in the wrong direction. Thank you for point me the right way. Again, thank you.
Apr. 9th, 2019 03:49 am (UTC)
Starting Business
Any idea on how can i start a business on graphic comic/pictures of real people with comic dialogues?
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( 58 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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