Advice To A Young Cartoonist

(nabbed from James Sturm’s article on www.cartoonstudies.org)

Chuck Forsman and Melissa Mendes were kind enough to return to WRJ last week as visiting artists. They talked about their comics, Oily Comics, and life after CCS. During the Q&A a student asked what advice they wish they had heard when they were students. Chuck was more than prepared for this question. Here’s his response:

1. Never listen to someone giving you absolute advice. There is no ONE WAY. Pick the people you trust and listen to them. But do not lose a sense of yourself. It is always your decision. Ignore blow-hards and people who don’t know what they are talking about.

2. When writing a story, do not worry about how long it is going to be. No one cares. (Unless this plays into number 3.)

3. When overwhelmed by page-making decisions, set up boundaries. This can be a grid to work within, page-size, tool choice, number of pages

4. Serialization is not bad. It teaches.

5. You don’t have to make a “Graphic Novel.”

6. Stop thinking/worrying about your style and/or what it is. It will come eventually if you keep at it. (Ivan Brunetti said this to me)

7. Dead-ends are not a waste of time. They are very valuable. It’s okay to give up.

8. Write for yourself. Be selfish. Bury outside expectations in the ground in the backyard. Examples of this: your perceived expectations of readers, a publisher, a market, parents, etc.

9. People will respond to the work you have the most fun doing.

10. Be mindful of your health.