This is that time of year we either stress out completely or find things to be grateful for…or both. I have enough things to stress about all year, so at the moment I will take a deep breath and think of positive things until I gag. As a not-so- subtle nod to the late Oprah show…here are a few of my favorite things about cartooning:
Being hit with the proverbial bolt of lightning. It’s not often I don’t scrape the bottom of the barrel for that one great gag that makes people hit the side of their heads and exclaim, “Why didn’t I think of that?” That’s why those exceptional ideas are like manna from heaven. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does, I perform a little mental victory dance. Better yet, that one great idea often spawns several more…and that just makes my day.
Coloring comics. Yes, I know there are cartoonists who hire interns or family members to do their coloring or inking in order to save time. I don’t know if I’m just a control freak or what, but I’d hate to turn over my pen and Photoshop software to someone else. Besides, coloring my comics is my ultimate joy. I find it relaxing. It’s usually when I get to turn on the TV or radio in the background and void my brain of thoughts. Who knew it could be so zen? I enjoyed coloring in grade school and apparently I still do.
Getting nice feedback. Yeah, I’m a sucker for it. I love seeing emails with subject headers like, “I love your strip!” The ultimate antidote to hater emails (which, thankfully, I don’t receive too often), these are usually full of general praise or praise for specific strips. (Then there are the ones that make me cringe — that start off with “I love your strip, but…” and ultimately end with a grievance about a particular one.) But the love mail gives me a huge boost. What can I say, flattery gets me everywhere.
Getting in a new paper. (or clawing my way back into a newspaper that once dropped me – either works) It’s like a tingly little thrill when I hear about a new paper that’s picked up the strip…especially when so many papers are shutting down. Most of the time I try not to think about drops/pickups (it gives me an ulcer), but it’s always a treat when it works out.
Meeting other cartoonists. Whether it’s in person or on Facebook, it’s wonderful to be part of this tight-knit community. Most cartoonists are such lovely people, it’s hard to believe I’m often competing fiercely with some for spots (again, I try not to think about it…ulcerville). I’ve made some wonderful new friends because of this job. The tough part is only getting to see them once every other year or so. But it’s always enjoyable…and often rowdy. Did I mention these people can drink?
So there it is. On that note of positivity, I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful, stress-free new year. Enjoy!