I’d like to mentor a cartoonist

I’d quite like to mentor a cartoonist.

I’ve been drawing cartoons since about 1996, and a professional cartoonist (part or full-time) since 2005. I’ve had some good opportunities along the way, and have had the chance to have my work published in papers and magazines, produce books of my work, illustrate books for other people, and be a ‘resident cartoonist’ at conferences and events. There have been and are still ups and downs, and there are, I’m sure, far more successful and prolific cartoonists. It regularly seems like I still have a lot to learn, but inevitably over that length of time I’ve picked up a thing or two about how to make a living from drawing cartoons, by trial and error if nothing else.

I believe strongly in cartooning, as a medium that is ideal for telling your own story, making people laugh, shining a light on subjects that need to have a light shone on them, confronting those in power, highlighting particular issues, communicating information in an engaging way, and generally just having fun. I also know that, whilst I sometimes hear cartoonists say ‘there aren’t the opportunities there used to be’, it is very possible, particularly in this internet age, to find new ways to sell your work and make a living. In fact, I don’t think it has ever been more possible. Not easy, but possible.

Looking around my cartooning contacts it does seem to me that it is a world containing quite a lot of people like me – white, male, and middle-aged, etc. Not to say that there aren’t all kinds of people making a success of being cartoonists, as there most definitely are, but I do wonder whether some have a head start over others.

So, I’d quite like to help someone get going and perhaps make a living from drawing cartoons. Possibly someone who isn’t like me, but I suppose the main thing is that it is someone for whom my experience could make a real difference. Probably not an absolute beginner, but someone who has found that drawing cartoons is something they enjoy and would like to take it further. An interest in the topics I draw about (church or bicycles) is absolutely not required. If you have a particular story or viewpoint that deserves to be heard then I’d really like to help you make that happen.

Various points. I’ve never mentored anyone before, so I might need mentoring in being a mentor (any advice on that front welcomed). I should also say that I know about the kind of work that I do, and if yours is very different it might be that you’d be better advised by someone else. I don’t, for instance, have a huge amount of knowledge about, say, animation or comics, as they are just a bit outside of my experience. In addition, I am unqualified. I’ve never studied illustration or been to art college (but I have been to various art evening classes and have a ‘D’ in A-level art, so it’s not all bad). It might be that formal training would be far more use to you, but I don’t know as I’ve never tried.

One more thing: for safeguarding reasons it probably needs to be someone over 18 who I work with. However, if you’re under 18, have read this far and think this could be really useful could you ask a parent to send me a message as per the information below.

If you’d be interested in this possibility please get in touch with me. It is important that I say that, assuming I get some responses, I won’t be able to offer this to everyone, as my time and energy are limited. But I’ll certainly reply to you if you take the time to write. Please do pass this post on if you know someone for whom this might be useful.

So, in the first instance please use the contact form on my website to tell me a little bit about yourself, the cartooning that you’ve done, what you’d like to do (if you know), and why this opportunity might be of interest. I can then send you my email address so you can send a couple of examples of your work, and we’ll take it from there. I look forward to hearing from you.

[Illustration above: Being a cartoonist. Nothing to do with mentoring.]

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