Beginning a career in cartoons

Cartoonist beginnings start somewhere. I started selling to unknown trade journals in niche markets. If there were many of them still around, I would still be submitting to them. cartoonist-beginningsEvery one of them had or still does have a devoted readership because of their slant. There is an extremely wide and vast dichotomy of publications relating to virtually any subject matter out there.


I began doing custom cartoons for radio post card after running classified ads in a niche magazine and I cornered that specific market while studying the magazine cartoon market that I had realized offered greater potential. I think cartoonist beginnings need to start small and by small, I mean focus on a print market that offers little competition if you want to offer your cartoons for consideration.

New cartoonists need niche cartoon markets

One magazine I started drawing cartoons for was Bottle News based in Texas. Bottle collecting is a big hobby for many people. they enjoy being outdoors, experiencing the adventure of the unknown that it offers, and the potential for finding old antiques. Depression era glass bottles were and probably still are in demand. But I chose the subject since I knew it would be fun drawing these elements into my gag panel cartoons.

Cartoonist beginnings means focusing on unknown markets

As a niche market, there were several newspapers, newsletters and magazines focused on the subject of bottle collecting. I started getting cartoon panels accepted by Susan Elliott and as you can see here in this sample acceptance note she sent me back in 1978, they were paying a whopping five bucks a cartoon. I wasn’t concerned so much about the price, I was already drawing cartoons that I was circulating out to other potential clients that paid more but overall, what I was more focused on was developing a drawing style and learning the ways of communicating back and forth with an editor, how trade magazines were using cartoons and at the same time trying to develop a tracking system for stuff I was drawing, sending out, what to do when work came back etc. Whether you are just starting your cartoonist beginnings or are already established, I hope this info provides a drop of inspiration. Thanks as always for dropping by the ToonBlog!