So You Want to be a Cartoonist…

So you think you want to be a cartoonist. You’ve considered this long and hard, decided you have the right stuff to cut it in this dog-eat-dog, competitive-edge-so-thin-it-could-slice-fresh-vegetables industry… 

… or perhaps you think, “Hey, I’ve read Family Circus! Gosh, anyone can do that, so why not me?” 

If the latter is you, read on. Jason, get me a mai-tai. 

(“Yes, Mr. Martin, sir.”) 

… Oh yes, living in this gorgeous seaside villa in the south of France and having a houseboy as prompt as Jason… these are all noble goals in your pursuit of a life drawn between a few frames. But you have to ask yourself, How badly do I want it? 

Are you wiling to spend night after night drawing little stick figures in the vague hope that someday they’ll be stick figures of your own, singularly unique design? 

Are you willing to wrack your brain for hours on end for a suitable gag line… only to see something impossibly similar in that afternoon’s newspaper? 

Are you willing to see your art, over which you slaved every little hatch mark and every little dot, reduced to something about the size of a bookmark because the website needs advertising space more than it does content? 

Are you willing to have a reader write you to say, “Gosh, your cartoon is so beautifully drawn, with such rich, full characters… but I dont get it…”? 

Are you willing to then spend the next three hours writing a reply, so as to explain the joke, only to realize that now you dont get it either? 

If you can say yes to these five questions, then congratulations! You are ready to be a cartoonist! You are indeed ready for a life which, at its apex, is a steady stream of mad parties in which you are riotously feted, appearances on all the best late night talk shows to plug work that needs no plugging, and the rare ability to recycle gags three, four, perhaps five times… just because you know people will laugh at them anyway! 

Ah, thank you, Jason… 

(“You’re welcome, Mr. Martin sir…”) 

Now, you could spend years, slaving away with a full time job you hate while you hone your craft at night when no one is looking — and trust me, no one will be looking. You could have untold years of doubt, constantly questioning yourself Was that joke of the zombie hamster really funny? Or you could do as millions have now done… 

… and purchase my online “Yes, You Can Be a Cartoonist!” instructional course! With it, you’ll get twenty hours — that’s almost a full day! — of video explaining such closely held secrets as The Art of Three, Why Cats Are Funnier Than Dogs, and Men Walking into Bars Are a Riotous Bunch of Morons: the sort of things no working cartoonist will ever share, trade secrets so securely guarded that even now I am sure Gocomics.com is sending a hitman to keep me quiet. 

You will learn the craft of Joke Appropriation. You will learn how large to make a woman’s breasts. You will learn how to turn pain and suffering into a laugh fest that people will remember for hours on end. In addition, I’m throwing in — at no extra cost — a half dozen, sure-fire panel gags suitable for every character and every situation, lines that have been used for centuries because people will laugh at them, no matter where or how often they appear! Who can resist chickens crossing a road? Who can restrain a smile at banana peels… even in space! Yes, if you’re stuck for an idea, any one of these beauties will fill that creative void in minutes! 

But there’s more! Act now, and you will receive a genuine “Yes, I AM a Cartoonist!” sketchpad, a set of three — not one, not two, but three — official Number 2 pencils, an extra large eraser, and — as if all this were not enough already — a packet of 9×12 envelopes that you can use to mail out your creations, secure in the knowledge that any editor with a brain cell and a half will immediately buy them and clamor for more! 

Now, you’re probably saying, Really? Is it truly that easy?… to which I can only reply, The choice is yours… Consign yourself to untold years of misery and anticipation that might wither on the vine… or, by simply investing in yourself at the insanely low price of six easy payments of $114.99, prepare to live a life as carefree and secure as… well, consider some of my best students. Garry Trudeau. Burke Breathed. Charles Schultz. Just three of the many, many men and women who’ve left the life of idle drudgery and escaped to become the Cartoonist of their dreams! 

So act now, and find yourself laughing all day long… to the bank! 

Jason, another mai-tai, please. 

(“Yes, Mr. Martin sir.”)

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