Custom Cartoons – Where To Use Them

custom cartoon ideas

Recently I’ve been blogging a lot about custom cartoons. So the question you might be asking yourself right now is where exactly do you use them? A better question, and the one with the shorter answer, would be where aren’t you going to use them? The answer is “nowhere.” There really isn’t any such thing as a newsletter, an email, a blog, a book or a PowerPoint presentation that can’t benefit from the clear, direct message of a custom cartoon.

Custom cartoons are a secret weapon when there’s a point that absolutely must be made. While paragraphs carry their ideas slowly, one word after the other, and only if the recipient is willing and able to understand it, a cartoon shoots right into your audience’s brain like a magic bullet that carries ideas, even if the reader is trying his or her best not to pay you any attention.

For example, at almost every boardroom meeting there’s always someone who is not really there. He’s playing with his cell phone or he’s ordering the pizza and basically ignoring the PowerPoint presentation you spent all weekend on. This guy may very well hold your career in his hands and he can’t even be bothered to pay attention. Well he may be too distracted to read the charts you’re showing him, but I guarantee he’s going to sit up and take notice when the room is laughing along with a well-directed relevant cartoon.

Another one of the most common ways custom cartoons are incorporated into a project is with the classic how-to book format. With cartoons, even the lazy readers who just skim the book can walk away with a full understanding of the subject.

Blog posts are another area where the right cartoon can make a big difference and save a lot of time. How many discussions have you gotten into on your blog with somebody who just won’t see reason? Someone who just can’t understand? Well, with a cartoon that makes your message clear even to the densest readers, there’s no more wasting hundreds of words trying to explain yourself.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. The truth is that a picture speaks more than a thousand words. A picture speaks millions of words, it speaks in numbers, it speaks in logistics, it speaks in facts and figures, and it speaks to the disengaged as well as the not too swift. A custom cartoon speaks to those who can’t, don’t or won’t listen, and it does it beautifully with humor.

I could go ahead and list every possible situation where you might use a custom cartoon, but we’d be here all day, so here’s the short answer: Wherever you absolutely need to make sure that you get your point across, that’s where custom cartoons do the trick.

Examples of Custom Cartoons

Custom cartoons are a large part of my business here at Andertoons, and, of course, there’s a gallery showcasing some examples in the custom cartoon portion of the site, but I wanted to showcase a few examples of work I’ve done for clients and go a little more in depth.

We’ll start with this cartoon that I did for a client that makes software:

custom cartoons example 1

This was a few years back when the idea of cloud computing was just gaining traction. My client actually suggested something very similar and I ended up tweaking it just a bit. The end product was a calendar of software related cartoons that they gave out to their clients as a thank you.

custom cartoons example 2

I did a whole series of custom cartoons for a company that manufactured in-home intercom systems. Every month they’d include it in their newsletter which was targeted at installers and technicians.

My client was great about suggesting topics, especially since I didn’t know a lot about intercoms to begin with, and we came up with some really fun stuff that was quite popular. They had to cut the cartoons after the housing bubble burst and construction went kablooey, but it was fun while it lasted.

custom cartoons example 3

This is a cartoon I did for a company that produces a special type of hospital gown. It not only covers you up (unlike most gowns), but it attaches to a device that pumps in warm air. It’s really neat!

We did a whole series of these and I think I wrote 55 hospital gown jokes that we whittled down to a nice dozen. The color was fun to do, as was the plumber butt.

The next two cartoons are a good example of how a subtle change can make all of the difference to a client.

Take this first one:

custom cartoons example 4

This was done for an online training company. The joke is good, and the scene reads well, but the client was concerned that the person at the computer didn’t look young enough. So I made a few small changes:

custom cartoons example 5

I think they were dead on and I was happy to make the change.

custom cartoons example 6

Another one that a company used in a calendar of custom cartoons. They wanted to have some fun with project planning and flowcharts, and I must admit that, based on my days in corporate America, this rings fairly true. Especially when doughnuts were rumored.

OK, last one:

custom cartoons example 7

This cartoon was for an IT publication targeted at, you guessed it, IT people.

While I have some proficiency in the tech world, I’m certainly no expert, but I suspect that this has happened sometime, somewhere.

Hope you enjoyed a more detailed look at the process, and feel free to check out my custom cartoons section of the the site. Cartoons are great for getting your point across in a novel, fun, and engaging way, as I’m sure my clients for the above cartoons can attest.

Creating Custom Cartoons

Here’s a short video to show you how I create custom cartoons. Enjoy:

Video Transcript –

Hi, I’m Mark Anderson of and this is a short video about how I work with clients to create custom cartoons.

We’re going to start here with an example of sort of a generic finished cartoon. I’ll read the caption here for you:

“As you can see, thanks to Product X, sales are through the roof! On a side note, the roofers will be here on Thursday.”

Now I’m going to show you how this cartoon was created in three easy steps: writing, sketches, and of course the final art. Let’s begin with writing.


The way I start is by asking a client for a few ideas to work with. This can be some words or phrases, perhaps a product or attributes of that product, the company, or perhaps the entire industry.

From there I’ll brainstorm a number of ideas and whittle that down to what I think are the three best, and I will email them over.

From here a client will pick one and often there is a little bit of tweaking to be done here or there. Of course we’re going to work until we get the caption exactly right and exactly what you want, that’s no problem at all.

Once we have that we move on to the sketches.


Now for the purpose of this short video I’m just going to show you one pencil sketch to sort of give you the idea of what you would be receiving.

Often I get what the client is looking for on the first try, but if I don’t that’s not a problem, we can go back and fix and change things until you’re happy.

This is the time to make larger changes to the cartoon. So if you want to change a character, or the background, or anything else in the art of the cartoon, this is the time to do it.

We’ll keep working on it until we get it exactly right, and then we’ll move on to the final art.

Final Art

This is where I take our original pencil sketch, and turn it into this, the final cartoon.

As you can see the caption is typeset, the art has been inked and it’s crisp and clear, and we can either do a traditional sophisticated gray ink wash like this, or of course we can do it in color.

Once the final cartoon is approved I will email it over as a large JPEG. It will be 300 DPI.

You can use this in advertising, in your newsletter, in your presentation; lots of great ways to use these cartoons.

So to recap you can get your own custom cartoon in just three easy steps: the writing, the sketch, and the final art. And you end up with a great cartoon customized to your needs that’s engaging, memorable, and, of course, easy to share.

Thanks so much for watching this, and feel free to contact me at for a reasonable quote on your very own custom cartoon.

College Admission Cartoons

college admission book

It’s been a good while since I was looking at colleges (and it’s another 10 years or so before I have to worry about the kids’), but I’d have loved to have had College Admission by Robin Mamlet & Christine VanDeVelde to help me.

It’s chock full of really good advice, it’s fun to read, and did I mention the cartoons?

college admissions cartoon2

college admissions cartoon1

Yep, eight cartoons from yours truly are peppered throughout.

So go grab a copy and enjoy!

Above artwork reprinted from the book College Admission by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde. Copyright © 2011 by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde. Published by Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

The Marketing Magic of Custom Cartoons

custom cartoons

People like to laugh.

The worst days at the office, at home and in traffic, the biggest setbacks, the most embarrassing failures, the only reason we can get through them is because they’re funny later on, when we sit down and really think about it. Humor is the saving grace of life.

That’s why comics have remained relevant over time. A hundred years after the invention of movies, nearly that long since the invention of television and quite a bit longer since the invention of radio, people still stand up and take notice of a cartoon. Which is why a custom cartoon featuring your company and/or product is a great choice for businesses looking to get noticed.

Think About It

What do you do with a flyer that’s loaded with boring text for you to read? Toss it in the trash. What do you do when someone hands you a brochure with boring pictures of whatever they’re selling? Toss it in the trash. What do you do when you get your hands on one of those religious comics people hand out? … You probably give it at least a cursory read, don’t you?

Cartoons are fun, they grab your attention, they tell a story. We have an immediate connection with them. A book needs to be read, a movie needs to be watched, custom cartoons need only a few seconds of your attention in order to be understood. In a professional context, their immediate nature gets a point across right away.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

One of the great things about custom cartoons are their viral nature. Before the Internet, cartoons were the closest we had to viral videos. People would pin them up on the corkboard at work or tape them somewhere in their office. Images that reflect every day life, that show us something we can relate to, these are the comics that people like to make sure everybody sees.

That’s something that only cartoons can do: immediately transmit an idea, on sight, from one person to another. It’s almost magic. Why not get a little magic of your own? Find out more about my custom cartoons!