I just arrived at SPX and the thrill of excitement over comics is a palpable thing, as the young and the young at heart (Saw Jules Feiffer walking around) gather to talk about what they love. but making a living at what you love remains a blithely ignored question mark (at best) or a looming storm cloud that colors everything (at worst.) Addressing this, James Sturm who runs the Center for Cartoon Studies, and Marek Bennett will have free copies of The World is Made of Cheese, The Applied Cartooning Manifesto at the show. The entire PDF will be available for download this Sunday,  but stop by the CCS booth to get your own copy. Sturm writes:
[T]his conversation about making ends meet as a cartoonist has always been around (and something that I’ve explored before, re: Market Day) and seems to be on the forefront of people’s minds. At SPX, with SO many cartoonists around, it will certainly be an undercurrent. So this pamphlet is a part of that conversation.
And here’s a preview of what everyone will be talking about. 003_Manifesto 004_Manifesto
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  1. 100% correct but there is no solution…consumers won’t pay $50 for a graphic novel they can read in ten minutes…I mean I liked Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” and I’m sure it took him awhile to draw…but it was certainly a poor value purchase if I was looking at dollars per hour of entertainment…so, yah, cartooning is never going to be big business for the cartoonist…they take too long to produce, are too quick to read and the market isn’t huge…that’s life…

  2. You have to love doing work in the arts, whether you are an actor, singer, dancer or cartoonist. There are always people who will do that work for free, so you need to be exceptional to make any money at it. Supply and demand.

  3. Man, so glad I have a day job. I feel so bad for cartoonists who are working hard and putting out material they love that just doesn’t hit an audience.

  4. Here’s another great resource about using comics to communicate ideas:

    See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas

    A $50 graphic novel you can read in ten minutes? Unless it’s a limited edition or a thick omnibus, you’re paying too much. IF it is an omnibus, you’re getting a big chunk of story, a satisfying read.

    The Arrival costs $20 for 128 pages. It can be a quick read, or it can be engaging and immersive.

  5. Being willing to work for free, in the abstract – because you love it so much? That’s fine.

    Those who actually work in the creative arts for free, for all the reasons that lure in the naive? Find those people, break their fingers, and their arms, and their legs and their jaws.

    The go back into the world – a world where you’re not competing with free – and you’ll have a much better ability to live off your creative skills.

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