Monday, April 14, 2008

Good News, Bad News from the Gulf

Dry Bones cartoon: Good News, Bad News from the Gulf.

People always ask cartoonists "Where do you get your ideas from?". The question that they should be asking is "How do you get your head into gear so that you can think up those cartoons?".
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One of the tricks that gag cartoonists use to stimulate idea-production is a time-honored warm-up exercise. The exercise is based on the fact that there are three classic cartoon situations that are easy and which always work. The first is the guy or guys marooned on a tiny desert island. The second is the guy standing on a corner selling little wind-up mechanical men. The third is the two guys hanging on the wall of a dungeon.

What the cartoonist does is to start knocking out captions. After your juices are flowing you go on to something more original. It's simpler than it sounds.

Here's a scribbled sketch of the two guys in the dungeon scene with the first caption that came to my mind:

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When I switched from being a gag cartoonist to a strip artist I decided that I needed to devise a warm-up exercise for a comic strip. One that works is the Good News, Bad News format. But when I read this morning's news about our foreign minister in Qatar I didn't have to "warm up". Clearly a Good News Bad News cartoon jumped out at me.

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