The Three Universal Truths about Cartoonists (and some personal examples)

Sure, you should never make all-encompassing statements about any group of people…unless you are part of that group of people. In my experience I have found that there are Three Universal Truths about Cartoonists. Here they are, with illustrations from my life.

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#1 Cartoonists are forgetful

Cartoonists forget everything – names, deadlines, pants, etc. Months ago, I invited my friend, the ever-youthful Canadian cartoonist John Martz, to share my table at SPX this coming up weekend. It was only recently that I saw the table layout and realized that I had only signed up for half of a table. Which means Johnny and I will only have about 2 feet of real estate each. (Cozy.)

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#2 Cartoonists are friendly

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a bunch of cartoonists over the years, from the famous to the unknown, and they’re all pretty friendly. I’m definitely at the “unknown” end of the scale and if you stop at table W16A (I mean, half-table W16A) at SPX, I will be nice to you. I promise. I might even have something free to give you. (Pretty nice, huh?)

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Last Spring I was teaching my Sequential Art course at Gettysburg College, which includes a long-term project. The students get to write and draw an original story, working on it step-by-step and continually refining it throughout the semester. My students were doing a really great job. Their stories were all over the place from slice-of-life to Japanese mythology to a noir mystery featuring a rabbit detective. About two weeks before the end of the semester I came up with the idea of of printing up all of the stories and giving them away at a book signing in the college union on the last day of classes, just before the start of finals. This gave us a tight deadline – only two days from when their projects were due till the big day. My students were a bit skeptical but once they started signing and giving out their work, they got into it. It was a great success. Two hundred copies went faster than we though they would. My department chair loved the idea and how it legitimized teaching cartooning. The president came by for a copy. (Well, she just happened to be walking by and I grabbed her.) The library asked for two copies for their permanent collection. All in all, it couldn’t have gone better. I was so happy and proud.

Recently while talking with one of my former students, she mentioned that on the back of the book I had spelled “narratives” with an “i” where the second “a” should be.

#3 Cartoonists are crappy spellers.

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2 Responses to “The Three Universal Truths about Cartoonists (and some personal examples)”

  1. alex Says:

    I would love to see the book they made – that’s a really great idea.

    So it’s kind of a chicken and the egg thing, I think – are people who fit this profile drawn to cartooning? Or does cartooning take over the parts of your brain that would ordinarily handle #1 and 3, and contribute to #2?

    Also, I think I fit this profile…..

  2. kovaleski Says:

    (That reminds me – I need to get the students’ book up on the college’s website.)

    (Not only does the above illustrate my bad memory, I have to keep referring to my first post to see which ones are #1, #2 and #3.)

    It may just be that when you forget where you put your keys, then forget what you’re looking for, you just give up and draw a monkey.

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