Business of Cartooning


A few things that I’ve learned over the years that have crystalized through teaching…

• Devote your time to sharpening your art skills AND your business skills – trends, networking, contracts, etcetera all.

• Don’t pigeonhole yourself to one small aspect of the art form, like limiting yourself to just comics. Remember that Michelangelo wanted to devote himself to sculpture when he was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel.

• The people who succeed are generally the people who are working their asses off. Surround yourself with people like this, people who commit themselves fully and are getting their work out into the world. They’ll generally be better than you which is a GOOD thing – that way the bar keeps getting raised.

• Working hard isn’t enough, you have to work smart as well. You have to create work that’s marketable – that will suit the needs of someone who will then pay you.

• Working long hours with no sleep to meet deadlines isn’t the answer. Your career is a marathon, not a fifty yard dash. Eat right, exercise and sleep regularly – it’s the bare bone basics and it works.

• Start now (yesterday is even better). Research the jobs you want, look at the submission guidelines (and follow them METICULOUSLY), then work up samples that will blow the competition out of the water. I like the following advice from Steve Martin to those aspiring to enter the entertainment field as it applies to any pursuit – “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

• To cap this off… If you treat your skills as a hobby then that’s where they’ll stay, as a hobby – and that’s FINE as long as that’s your conscious decision. But if you want to have it as your job, your career, then you need to get on board and on track.

And that’s…


For more info, check out the following links:


Comics – Pricing your Work

Comic Book Inking Tutorials and Videos

Recommended Books on Drawing & Cartooning

Graphic Novels – Addendum to Lecture

Commissioning Artwork – Things to Consider

Cartoon Art Scams

Getting a Portfolio Review



Scouting Locations – Minneapolis

Using Reference – Couple of Tips


Convention Prep – AHHHHH!!!

Networking and the High Cost of Comic Conventions

Mike Wolfer on Fan art/Homage art


Work for Hire – The Fallout

Motivational Misinformation

Working From Home

My Somali Neighbors Are Not the Enemy

Appearing in a Comic Strip While Black

Comic Strip Contemplation


Intro to Anime – sorely needed…

Adventure Strip Finales

Irish Comic Book Characters

The Palm Restaurant – Cartoon Art Trashed

Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson

Flash Gordon – A History

The Five Best Flashes Anywhere

The Origin of Cow-Guy

Coloring Spider-Man

Coloring the Sunday Comics

Cartoonist Spotlight

Joe Kubert 1926-2012

George Evans

Daisuke Higuchi

Will Eisner – The Spirit

Dick Guindon

Jerry Craft

Tom Gianni – Memories from C2E2

Bernie Wrightson

Thomas Nast

John Prentice

Steve Ditko – Creating Spider-Man

Jose Delbo – Teacher

Bud Grace – Piranha Club Comes to an End

Hy Eisman’s 90th Birthday

Herb Trimpe

Charles Schulz

E. Simms Campbell – Map of Harlem

John Cullen Murphy – Interview

Gary Gianni – Prince Valiant

Al Williamson – Flash Gordon

Greg Howard – Sally Forth

Bill Mauldin

Craig MacIntosh – Mentor

And last but not least, The Business of Cartooning.
This page has a number of subcategories, including…

1 Comic News Blogs
2. Contracts
3. Resources/Articles
4. Print On Demand Publishers
5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles
6. Convention Resources
7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations
8. Financial Aid

I started these posts after teaching Comic Art at the
Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Here’s the biggest thing I learned teaching there.


…and a special thanks to Professor Barb Schulz, head of the department, for giving me that opportunity.

By Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip. From 1996-2003 he was the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.