IS CARTOONING VIEWED as a ‘folk art’ along with macramé, pottery and morris dancing?
As a cartoonist I am often asked, “Why don’t you bugger off?” This is usually from prospective clients.
One receives the impression that cartoons are expected to be free, or at least, cheap.
The rejection slip has gone down in folklore as a euphemism for the above treatment but is used mostly in connection with unsolicited single frame joke cartoons. Jokes and cartoons ABOUT rejection slips pour effusively from the wounded souls of The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain. Thus is humour the product of pain and suffering.
My own experience of the “Why don’t you bugger off” syndrome usually occurs during the negotiations with a client.
Common tactics employed by the client are as follows:
• “Just a simple line drawing” results in numerous roughs and amendments
• “We haven’t got any money but it’ll be good exposure for you.” Yeah, right. That one doesn’t work anymore, sunshine!
• “What? £50.00 for a cartoon? I can get someone in the accounts department who can draw a little bit to do it for nothing!”
But, of course, in the end the client is always happy! Except for the one who comes back like this:
“Brilliant! It’s excellent! Everyone thought so! Fantastic!”
Because they go on to say:
“Now, could you just change this bit here, tweak it there, add a World War 2 tank in the corner, rework the final ten…”
So, why does this country treat cartoonists with such disdain?
Well, it doesn’t really. It’s just that people are blissfully unaware of our existence.
One can’t help but get the impression that photographers, illustrators and freelance journalists are up high on a pedestal while cartoonists are scraping about for breadcrumbs with the pigeons.
Maybe the word Cartoonist is detrimental to our cause. It could be that we are seen, when thought about at all, as motley-clad, pigs bladder swinging jesters grateful for a pint rather than a reasonable cheque. Maybe we should don the grey suits of the corporate world, abandon the title ‘Cartoonist’ and adopt a word that translates as ‘Expensive Professional’. Jocular Image Consultant? Humorous Resource Operator? 2-D Levity Creator?
Perhaps we have to lose the trivial image in order to avoid being told to bugger off all the time!