Being how I began cartoons while incarcerated, I’ve learned everything that I know about the trade from either a jail cell or prison cell.
I can still remember back from when I first began creating cartoons and how I had all these crazy fantasies of finding immense success threw my endeavors even while incarcerated! That was close to five years ago, and since then, I’ve learned a hell of a lot. Like just how hard it is to get a publication to take notice of your work.
And don’t let it be a big time cartoon magazine like Playboy or The New Yorker. Those magazines get anywhere between 1500-3000 cartoons submitted to them each week!
Early into my efforts to create cartoons and then submit them to different publications I came up with a philosophy that has proven to have some truth to it.
Not a lot of people or publications are willing to take seriously a guy who is incarcerated no matter how hard he works towards creating positive changes in his life.
I remember one time I had submitted a cartoon to a magazine through a friend. I sent the cartoons to my friend Earl in a package with extra envelopes and stamps. He then repackaged the cartoons and sent them for me to the publication.
This avoided the “jail mail” stamp that would have been present on the envelope had I sent it directly myself.
Sending the cartoons through my friend was sort of successful… the magazine sent a post card back saying thanks for the submission, but they were not accepting any cartoons until the New Year.
By the time the New Year rolled around, I resubmitted again. Only by now I had lost contact with Earl so I had to submit them personally… from prison… jail mail stamp and all.
No post card was sent back this time. Not one thing saying thanks but no thanks.
In fact I didn’t hear a word.
I accepted that because I had to. Plus, rejection is 99% of cartooning anyways… you have to be able to handle rejection.
But still… a part of me couldn’t help but wonder if the fact I am incarcerated played any part in the decision process.
To make it as a successful cartoonist, it is an impossibly hard thing to do.
To make it as an successful cartoonist while in prison, chances are that it’s really not gonna happen.
But still every day I try.
And for a little more insight as to just how hard it is to be a cartoonist, check out this 60 minute segment on cartooning that just aired last night. You can find the 13 minute video here.