Analyzing Cartoon Gags And Ideas

Analyzing cartoon gags is something I occasionally do after wondering why one idea seems to sell more than another. Cartoon ideas are endless, however some of them seem to have more traction than others. An example I’ll use is a specific cartoon I have sold a number of times.
Other cartoon gags seems to languish in my archives and this always perplexes me. business humorI mean, I draw these cartoons on the basis that each concept or idea is unique enough to stand on it’s own merit. So I take the initiative to create the rough sketch, ink the pencil lines, let it “cure” a bity and clean it off – erasing all pencil lines, going over the artwork with the naked eye to discover potential excessive ink blots, ink bleeds etc. and white them out using liquid paper.

Then archive the cartoon by scanning it in and saving the high resolution image file in it’s respective folder on my hard drive. The particular gag in question here, is one I had published in a paperback pocketbook entitled A Treasury Of Business Humor and also the cartoon itself.

Cartoon gags can be edited for greater impact

As I previously may have mentioned, business cartoons have been a focus of mine ever since one of my earliest cartoon submissions to a business magazine had resulted in a sale. What I try to do is pick any element involving business, and secretaries were always a great centerpiece to most business ideas.

Anatomy of a single panel cartoon

analyzing cartoon gagsWith this particular cartoon, it involved an exhausted secretary after what is obviously a long day in the office. When thinking through most gags, I try to incorporate any outside elements. One day while in “writing mode”, an advertisement for the latest King Kong movie had came on television and it suddenly resulted in this cartoon gag where a secretary yells at her boss: “If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s somebody looking over my shoulder while I’m typing!” King Kong is climbing up the building and peering in the window with a startled look on his face! This particular gag had great traction at one point and I still think it does, based on the various elements within the overall idea, i.e. fatigue, anger, fright and a movie icon.

It doesn’t take a great amount of effort to generate a reasonable cartoon gag that can be offered for potential use by a magazine or other type of publisher. It simply takes some patience and then while writing, try and allow various elements for your intended gag to flow, editing out certain aspects while at the same time keeping essential ones (like Kong) in the overall image.

Come back and look at it later after you go on to writing more ideas….you’ll probably realize analyzing cartoon gags can be rewarding and an essential part of your cartooning acumen!