AMEN, Dave. AMEN.
Sadly, I am not a cartoonist, but I do like to draw and I support your views!
Dave and Cari, here in the studio.
But here's the deal: We need more of this. Cartoonists, all you need to do is remember back to your own young adult life, and you know this to be true. Ours is a craft with few formal schools of instruction...and even among them, every graduate could benefit from the insights a pro could provide. Cari hails from SCAD, one of the best cartooning schools in the world, but she (and I!) learned a huge amount watching Dave work. The truth is, cartooning is a weird amalgamation of skills: A cartoonist is a writer, director, casting agent, costumer, stage manager, set and lighting designer *and* actor in these little, 2-D performances. And young cartoonists can't be expected to master all of those easily. They need and deserve a helping hand to skip them through years of trial-and-error.
Tonight, as I write this, I'm hit by a really strong conviction that it's our job, as artists, to pay it forward to that next generation.
Growing up, I would've done anything for an internship or one-on-one sit-down with a newspaper comic strip cartoonist. It was everything I wanted in a career, but it seemed like they had some elusive, locked-away career knowledge, and that there was no clear path on how I could attain it. It shouldn't be like that. For those of us who've been blessed enough to find a career in cartooning, we owe it to the craft to pass along what we've learned.
If you're a cartoonist, then, a humble request: Seek out opportunities that let you share what you know with younger cartoonists. Contact your nearest sequential art colleges at SCAD, CCS, SVA, or any school in your neck of the woods. Pay it forward.
I remember reading Jimmy Johnson's blog. (the cartoonist of Arlo and Janis) He wrote about the time he was at a cartoonist banquet and found himself at the same table as Charles Schultz. They began talking and CS asked him all about his technique of drawing his panels. He started explaining and realized "I'm telling Charles Schultz how to draw panels..." It was a weird moment for him.
I remember Charles Schultz had a book on cartooning, and various techniques. It was really awesome.
I one day hope to become a cartoonist for a living and, I can say going in, that knowing it will be tough will not prepare you for how hard it really is. But still, I know it is what I want to do with my life and, I gotta say watching videos of famous comic artist's has really helped know and then.
Hopefully a few people will do what you have requested, as proud as I am to have been self-teaching myself for years now, I have no problem learning a few tips from a master when I get in a college one day.
Dave, this is why I like you.
My medium is photography, but I can tell you right now that I have learned way more from watching other people shoot and talking to them than I ever have in any class. Anyone who realizes this, and encourages people to help each other is just fine in my book.
I discovered Wondermark through you, via one of your guest artist days, and have been hooked ever since. Mr. Malki never fails to impress me, and I'm not terribly surprised to see that he's "paying it forward" like this.
Dave, I couldn't agree more. I know I thank you for all the valuable advice you've shared over the past few years on webcomics. Yours and Brad Guigar's information has been tremendous in helping me develop my own skills as a webcartoonist and while I'm still learning a lot, I feel I have learned so much from you and others that have been doing this for a long time. Keep up the great work and thanks for what you do for this community.