The Slumping Illustration Market

Why does the modern illustration market seem to be in a slump? Adrian Shaughnessy offers some thoughts on His article, Graphic Design vs. Illustration is very thought provoking (despite his overuse of big fifty-dollar words). There are also some really good comments posted by readers who echo the problem but draw different conclusions.

From the article:

“The professional world of illustration is widely believed to be in poor shape. As Steven Heller noted recently: “I am an advocate of illustration and saddened by its loss of stature among editors who feel photography is somehow more effective (and controllable).” There are, of course, many reasons for illustration’s fading stature…” Read more.

Can Cartoonists Make Money With The Internet?

With comic book sales in a slump and with newspaper readership steadily dropping, is it possible to be successful in comics or cartoons these days?

Certainly. In recent years a few have become quite successful, thanks to the internet. The internet is opening brand new doors for comics creators to explore. But while some doorways eventually lead to success, many others are proving to be dead ends. With the internet still in its infancy and technology changing so rapidly, there is not yet a well-trodden path that cartoonists can follow to digital success.

I’ll be part of a panel discussion at FallCon this afternoon where we will discuss this very thing. Since I’m an illustrator and animator, not a cartoonist, I’ve had to brush up on the issue. In my research I’ve found the following articles on the subject. Maybe some of them will be helpful to you aspiring cartoonists out there:

Can you make money posting your cartoons online? Here’s an interesting interview about comics and micropayments.

PVP creator Scott Kurtz discusses problems with the current syndicate system.

Here’s a blog totally devoted to helping artists make money with their webcomics. I don’t know whether the advice is good or bad, but it seems worth a once-over.

Comics guru and author Scott McCloud is trying some fascinating new things at his website. He writes that information wants to be cheap and briefly discusses Reinventing Web Comics.

Got any other links/articles to recommend? What are your thoughts? Post a comment and let me know.

Self Promotion for Illustrators

Things are pretty hectic right now, but I’m committed to keeping this blog going. So I’ll just take a moment and mention a few websites that have been really helpful to me in promoting my work and getting clients. Maybe they’ll be helpful to someone else who reads this.

First, two websites where you can showcase your work to art buyers: The I-Spot and Of the two I’ve had a great deal more success at The I-Spot, but both have provided me enough income to make them worth the cost.

Second, if you want to promote your work you’ll need a good mailing list. maintains data on thousands of companies and agencies that hire freelancers, including e-mail addresses. In my experience, some art directors despise spam (who doesn’t?) but many others actually want to receive “art spam” from freelancers. It actually makes their job easier when the artists send samples to them rather than them having to go look for artists. Just don’t send so often that you become a nuissance (an e-mail every 1-3 months is sufficient), and be sure to include a statement at the bottom of your message letting the recipient know how they can be removed from your mailing list.

There you go. Now get out there and toot your horn!

“Media Artist Secrets” Podcast

Here’s a terrific artist resource: Media Artist Secrets. With a blog, podcast, and message board, Franklin MacMahon has built one of the most informative and encouraging sites I’ve come across for creative professionals (despite the cheezy clouds). As his homepage reads, “Media Artist Secrets is dedicated to helping you dramatically advance your creative career – Welcome to The Business of Being Creative”. Whether you are an artist, designer, photographer, animator, or have anything to do with visual media, your bound to find some rich nuggets of advice and encouragement from MacMahon. If you have iTunes you can even subscribe to his award-winning podcast for free so that the latest edition is automatically downloaded to your computer. Give it a listen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

How to be a Cartoonist

Life’s been pretty crazy lately. The last 48 hours have included freelance projects, remodelling my bathroom, computer network problems, cleaning out my storage room, and re-arranging furniture to make room for my fiance’s stuff once we’re married.

But that’s not going to stop me from posting a neat link. Chris Browne of “Hagar the Horrible” fame (pictured below) has posted some advice on how to break into cartooning. Should make an interesting read for all you aspiring cartoonists out there. Cheers!