A large part of my business at Andertoons is creating custom cartoons and comics for clients ranging from a single person to some of the largest corporations. And while the response is always very positive, occasionally there’s a hiccup in the process, so I thought I’d share a few problems a client can avoid when commissioning their custom cartoon:
Don’t ask a cartoonist to be another cartoonist
The first thing you’re going to be doing is looking around for a cartoonist whose art and sense of humor speaks to you. Make sure you find someone that draws well, looks professional, and is, of course, funny. And then, when you find that person, make sure you hire that person.
What I mean is don’t hire a cartoonist to ape the style or sense of humor of another cartoonist. For example, I like XKCD, but I wouldn’t hire that artist if I were looking for a Calvin and Hobbes type comic. You’re asking someone to do work they’re not comfortable doing, and the end result will reflect that.
Asking a cartoonist to be a different cartoonist is asking for headaches.
Don’t overstuff your cartoon
When a cartoonist creates a cartoon, they’re racing against the clock. I’m not talking about the deadline here, I’m talking about the reader.
A cartoon has about 5-7 seconds to establish the scene, introduce the characters, set up the joke, and deliver the punchline. The most successful cartoons are all about economy.
A common misstep people make is to want to include more detail than is necessary. I’ve had clients want to include:
- Mission statements
- Caricatures of executives
- Long sections of text
- Funny sounding names
- Silly signs or posters
In general, the more you include in a cartoon, the more chances you provide for a reader to be derailed. And if you’ve ever told a rambling joke that really bombed, you know it’s not pretty.
Keep it simple.
Don’t wait until the end to voice a concern
There’s a lot of back and forth in the creation of custom cartoons. You’re going to consider topics, jokes, sketches, and, of course, the final art. But make sure if you have an issue along the way that you don’t wait until delivery of the final cartoon to bring it up.
If a joke doesn’t sound right, ask for a rewrite right away. If a sketch doesn’t look quite right, ask for a revision then and there. Don’t be shy, you’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. And a professional cartoonist probably has language in their contract that charges additional fees should you request significant changes to final art.
Save yourself time, headaches and money by addressing concerns in a timely manner.
Don’t expect everyone to love it
People love to share cartoons, it’s what makes them so effective. So it’s natural for a client to show their upcoming cartoon around the office to see what people think.
Obviously you’re going to want people to laugh, but if one person, or even a few, aren’t doubled over in hysterics, it’s OK. Not everyone one has the same sense of humor. Or maybe they’re in the middle of something important. Or maybe they’re just in a really lousy mood.
You’re never going please everyone, so don’t worry about it.
Don’t forget to promote it
Custom cartoons are a wonderful way to get some attention. They’re fast, funny, and easily shared. But as engaging as a cartoon is, it’s no good unless people know it’s there.
Tweet it, blog it, like it, pin it, plus it, email it, fax it… Take one hour and send it to customers, partners, suppliers, friends, relatives, industry leaders, anyone! You’ve crafted and paid for a great cartoon, now get out there and show it off!
The more people see it, the more they’ll share it, which means more people coming back to you to check it out, and probably sharing it again.
Custom cartoons are a fun and unique way to promote yourself, your product, or your company. And keeping the above suggestions in mind will make commissioning your own cartoon as much fun as the cartoon itself.
If you want to read more about custom cartoons, here are some additional articles: