Just a reminder that if you’re using my 1975/2014 Marvel calendar for your desktop wallpaper, it’s time to update.
Click on the image below for March’s 2560 x 1200 image:
Wanna grab the other months? Here’s all 12 for you!
This year I’m starting something new on the cartoon blog called Tools, Techniques, and the Trade. It’s an occasional in-depth look at the weird world of drawing cartoons for a living.
I’ll explain why my pencils have to be made from California Incense-cedar wood, I’ll show you how my Photoshop Actions work, and how I keep track of thousands of cartoons’ comings and goings. (Also, I love alliteration.)
First up is a look at the various places I write my best cartoons most often.
For years I wrote and drew cartoons at a coffee table in the living room. But when our second child was on the way we moved into a slightly larger house and I grabbed a little room downstairs for my office. It’s basically a closet, but I’ve managed to cram in two sets of bookshelves, two desks, a drafting table, a file cabinet, a taboret, a chair, a stool, and probably a quarter million LEGO in various stages of organization. (I’ll show you some pictures sometime.)
When I write in here it’s mostly at my desk. I stare out my little window and jot things down either on a notepad, or in TextEdit. If I’m really feeling writerly I’ll turn on Coffitivity.
It’s a quiet place, I’m surrounded by cartoons, and I can close the door. If you can wrangle yourself a little office in the basement, I highly recommend it.
The library is a terrific place to find inspiration, and I’m lucky enough that our local library is the second largest public library in the state.
I like to go here, pick up a few books off the New Reads shelves, grab a few magazines, and set up by the big sculpture-y thing upstairs. There’s a big window with lots of morning light, just enough background noise, and millions of ideas just waiting to be pondered. It’s terrific.
This is something I discovered recently when both of the kids were finally old enough to be in school all day. I was looking for some exercise and began hitting tennis balls at a wall after dropping the kids off.
It felt good to get a bit of a workout, but what surprised me was how often cartoons ideas came to me while I hit. And not just cartoon ideas, but business ideas too. (I sussed out most of the details for my cartoon subscriptions at the tennis court.)
Now that it’s winter, and a terrible terrible winter at that, I’ve been going to the gym and writing while on the elliptical or the stairmaster, though not as often as I probably should.
There’s a ton of info on the link between exercise and creativity. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Driving is another one of those quiet reflective times, at least when I’m not shuttling the kids and/or the Mrs. around.
Sometimes I listen to the radio mining for little nuggets to play with, but sometimes I just enjoy the quiet and let things marinate in the ol’ noggin. Often I write like crazy on the drive home from the gym. It’s like a creative supercharging twofer.
But my absolute favorite, best, and most productive cartoon writing location is…
The shower is a-maz-ing. I’ve written more ideas in the shower than I can count. In fact I’ve considered putting dry erase markers next to the shampoo. (I’m not kidding.) My buddy Jeff worked in advertising for years and will also tell you his best ideas came to him in the shower.
Apparently this is actually a thing that people have researched:
Seriously, Google “shower creativity” – you’ll be amazed.
Those are my favorite writing locations. Where do you find yourself doing your best writing?
Here’s some more on how I write my cartoons:
And here’s some good general stuff on creativity:
Cartoon subscriptions have been a terrific success.
Our amazing subscribers are using their cartoons to connect via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. They’re using their cartoons to engage and gain readers on their blogs and email newsletters. And they’re publishing them on their websites, in their e-books, and even on direct mail postcards.
In fact, over the past year hundreds of subscribers from over a dozen different countries have downloaded and used more than 10,000 cartoons! WOW!
It is so incredibly gratifying to see so many people using and enjoying my cartoons. Thank you so much!
Some of the success, I think, has been due to the value people are seeing. Starting at just $20 a month you can choose from thousands of cartoons and use pretty much as many as you like. But as good as that deal is, today I’m announcing something even better that many subscribers have been asking for – yearly subscriptions:
The existing Pro and Premium monthly plans are still available and will continue to be, but some subscribers asked if there was a way they could be billed just once a year. So we’ve added new Pro and Premium plans that not only renew once a year, but save you money too!
Signing up for either of the new yearly subscriptions will save you a little over 16% (and 11 emails!) over the cost of the same year on a monthly subscription. Other than that, the new yearly subscriptions work exactly the same:
So, if you’re a current monthly subscriber and you’d like to change over to the yearly plan, drop me a line and we’ll get you all fixed up. If you’ve been waiting to subscribe, now’s a great time to sign up and save some money too.
How are you planning to use your cartoons?
When I saw these 1966 Doubl Glo Batman Valentines on eBay, I could not resist. And once I got a good look at them I knew I had to scan them in and share them! (I’ve even included the packaging and the teacher card.)
Check out Batman’s giant head on the Batcopter one. Nora Fries is cured and loves puns? And what is that creature Batman is apparently stabbing in the neck (THUNK!) with a heart?!
Click on the images to get nice big printable valentines you can give to your own boy wonder or feline-themed antihero!
Happy Bat-entines Day!
Wanna see some more great old superhero valentines?
And just for fun…
Want to know which Valentine’s Day cartoons get the most love? Here are the cartoons people have downloaded most!
(Click on the cartoons to buy them individually, or sign up for a subscription and download the whole bunch!)
Drawing all those little Facebook Like hands took a while, but it was totally worth it as this is by far the most downloaded valentine cartoon.
I had to draw that little candy heart relatively large to get it to read well visually. At that size you’d probably only get two or three in that box. What a gyp.
Every man’s Valentine’s Day dilemma.
My wife is a teacher and hates decorating bulletin boards, so I came up with this idea about this teacher who just keeps adding holidays to the mix.
Drawing cupids is no fun. So I have to feel really good about a cartoon if I’m going to have to draw two.
You know there’s an interesting backstory there…
Drawing people in mirrors always bugs me. Add two cupids to the mix and I must have really liked this valentine gag.
I had endless fun coming up with all the names for these valentine chocolates, but I think “White” was my favorite.
I wonder if that’s Debbie there in the meeting. Awk-ward…
So those are the most downloaded, but I also wanted to introduce you to this year’s new batch of Valentine cartoons. Enjoy:
Believe it or not coming up with “Sports Supermarket” took a while.
Objection! This so-called “expert” is a mythical winged baby!
See, that’s how they getcha!
Why is Cupid rubbing it in!? What a jerk!
Sweetest Day is just the worst. Everyone knows it.
This totally makes sense. Word is they’re also looking into securing a number of egg and dye contracts.
Still not satisfied?! Sheesh! Fine, here’s some other Valentine’s Day stuff you might enjoy:
But that’s it. Seriously, that’s all I got.