Cartooning exposure is usually a term coined for beginners. Many so called professional art directors, graphic designers and creatives use the term “exposure” in exchange for cartooning services. However, this same term is a literal tip-off as to the ignorance of  so-called art or creative people.cartooning exposure Not to mention it’s an insult to the artist being approached in this manner.

I say this based on being approached in the past with this same offer but it’s this same offer that shows the true ignorance of those who offer “free exposure” to professionals who’ve endeavored for ten, twenty and even forty years while making a living in the freelance illustration and cartooning business.

Those so-called creative directors don’t take into account the number of years it takes cartoonists (10, 20 and even 40 years) to develop and perfect a drawing style while at the same time, learning software and technology itself. Many of us work diligently, building a steady and solid client based through repetitive negotiating tactics we’ve learned. Many cartoonists invest thousands of dollars each year in travel expenses, earning their living at shows, conventions or promoting a product or creative project. Other expenses like promotional advertising in expensive illustration directories or maintaining an expensive online web catalog or portfolio are investments that can cost thousands of dollars per year.

Cartoonists can die from exposure like anyone else

Not to mention other business expenses like phone, electric, broadband internet and other costs that accumulate over a year’s time. Back in the 1970’s when my gag panel cartoons began seeing print on a regular basis I started to notice requests for reprinting certain cartoon panels…this was excellent residual exposure! I used that as a platform to tell art directors who proposed free exposure in exchange for custom cartoons that I was already getting exposure in magazines.

Cartooning exposure requires a negotiable fee

Along comes the internet and I plan and build an online web catalog of my cartoons including a portfolio offering custom cartooning services. I invest hours, days, weeks and months into learning web coding, HTML and web editing software. Eventually I was contacted by yet another ignorant “creative” with the proverbial “free exposure in exchange for illustration work”. I declined, stating I already have all the exposure I need by being on the world wide web . . . asking them “isn’t that how you found me?”


free exposureThey literally were aghast and gobsmacked at my simple question. There are no free cartoons created for exposure. In this day and age of digital technology, it’s a misnomer to say the least. “Pay the cartoonist” rings just as true as author Harlan Ellison’s video on You Tube (look it up, it’s phenomenal) “Pay the writer”! If you are an art director or creative director or other similar professional needing cartoons and illustrations, contact me, as I promise you that you’ll receive a professional quote based on professional illustration services which I guarantee.

Over my 40+ years, I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in various forms of advertising, self promotion, developing a client base and illustrating a wide array of projects over this span of time. As I always say, I am here for you if you seek custom cartoons for any of your professional projects. Cartooning exposure is an aspect of a cartoonist’s profession that develops as the cartoonist progresses along while establishing a client base. Thanks again for taking the time to visit the ToonBlog!