I entered the business of cartooning in March of 1997 having no idea what was to come. Before I embarked upon this “mysterious venture”, I decided it would be to my advantage to consult with top cartoonists around the country. I was surprised how many of them were “open and available” to speak with me were. Fortunately, I was both too young and naive to know NOT to bother “the masters”. So when Charles Schulz picked up his phone, I started asking the five journalistic W’s (Who, what, when, why, and where). His (and others) advice turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. I was starting to “develop a philosophy” of cartooning even though I had not even yet begun my amazing adventure into online cartoon merchandising. 4anime
Why did Schulz become a cartoonist? Like me, he’d tried just about everything else and didn’t do it very well. I asked him if there was any money to be made in such a venture. I could almost “see” his smile on the other side of the line. He assured me there was plenty, but not to expect it in newspapers. He told me that even if you do get syndicated, the money is still just pennies per newspaper and that the smart way to approach it, that is, to look at it as a career, is licensed merchandise, such as tees, caps, mugs, etc. He told me he made millions more in licensing than in publishing.
I told him I did not draw very well (which is true) and, that I wanted to try something very new and different. It was to be a color cartoon in which the artwork, for the most part was more “fine art” than cartoon art, and that I wanted a “different look and feel to each cartoon, but a theme, focused on wordplay and picture-play in which, at times, the viewer might have to take a second or two to “get it”.
Schulz assured me that nearly 20% of all cartoons we see in the newspapers are “team efforts” that is, an artist and writer, and that if I did not feel my own artwork was “up to snuff”, to recruit an artist to draw my concepts. He also encouraged me to read as much as I could about Walt Disney because what I was about to attempt was actually a “Disney model without animation”; he actually called it “Disney meets Gary Larson”, which was a bit flattering to say the least