Custom Cartoons – Five Things To Avoid When Commissioning A Custom Cartoon

Custom Cartoons Example

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:

Custom Cartoons

An increasingly large part of my business has become custom cartoons, so it made sense to make it an increasing larger part of

Custom cartoons has now been expanded into four new pages: Introduction, Gallery, How It Works, and Pricing.

1) Introduction:

Custom Cartoons 1

The Introduction page gives a good overview of why custom cartoons are a great marketing tool, offers short explanations of the other pages, and displays a nice big sample cartoon.

2) Gallery:

Custom Cartoons 2

On the Gallery page you'll find a few custom cartoons I've done for previous clients, along with an explanation of the goals of each cartoon by myself, and reactions from the clients.

3) How It Works:

Custom Cartoons 3

The How It Works page offers a step-by-step look at the process of creating a custom cartoon from concept to sketch to final art. The example cartoon from the Introduction page is shown in various stages.

4) Pricing:

Custom Cartoons 4

On the Pricing page, I lay out the uses, advantages, and fees involved in both grayscale wash and color cartoons. There's also a contact form to request a custom cartoon quote.

I think the new expanded section will give potential clients a much clearer idea of the advantages of custom cartoons, and what they can expect.

For comparison, here's a look at the custom cartoons page from the old Andertoons site:

Custom Cartoons Just For You - Andertoons Custom Cartoons (20081126)

Hope you like the new pages! Enjoy!

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Brandtellingâ„¢ Cartoon

Yesterday I finished up a custom cartoon for Arthur Germain and his Brandtelling strategy:

Brandtelling uses a series of brand stories to make your brand relevant to your target market or audience. These can be stories about the company, its products and innovations or its people. Brandtelling is built on the foundation of connecting people through a story that is relevant, real and repeatable.

After our conversations it makes all kinds of sense to me, and I spent about 20 pre-coffee minutes this morning trying to expand on the above, but Arthur’s gonna explain this a lot better at his blog.

Where I come into the picture is a cartoon I completed for him yesterday about Brandtelling:

Brandtelling Cartoon

Arthur will be using the cartoon in a number of ways, and I’m so glad he’s as pleased with the end result as I am.  (Read his take on it here.)

If you’re looking for a clever and entertaining way to get something across, try some Brandtelling in a custom cartoon!

(See how I summed it all up there?  Not bad before coffee, huh?)

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Andertoons 2.0 – Illustration and Custom Cartoons Image Overlays

I’m really pleased with the new Andertoons. And a lot of what gets me really excited are the little things.

Take the illustration and custom cartoon pages:

Old Andertoons – icky pop-up windows when you click on a thumbnail.

New Andertoons:



Nice huh?

Again, pretty simple, but I totally dig it.

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