I was brought up in Kent, England. As a child I used to love the heroes from sci-fi films like Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon Five. I am now married with two sons, and have mainly worked within the insurance industry.My father had a keen sense of humour, and this is where I got it from. I used to enjoy reading cartoons in newspapers and books. My favourite characters were Garfield the cat, and Snoopy from ‘Peanuts’. In later life I appreciated Dilbert cartoons because I was working within an office environment. The most exciting newcomer I have discovered is Nathan W Pyle and his ‘Strange Planet’.
I have two friends who are brothers. We have sent each other jokes and cartoons since we were kids. One day, I decided to create a daily joke calendar for each of them, using my own material. To my surprise, I created hundreds of cartoons within a short space of time. Once I had discovered the power of using cartoons for humour, I created an account on Instagram as Cartoon Headcase. Over the course of two years or so, I acquired over 5,000 followers. I then created a Facebook page and group. With the help of my sons I was able to self-publish six Cartoon Headcase books on Amazon. I also began to publish written and cartoon material on Medium.com, where I was designated a top writer in satire. I’ve also dabbled in stand up videos on Tiktok and Youtube, and have been featured five times on Radio Kent.
I’m not a trained artist, and my matchstick men are intentionally basic. An editor of an online magazine said this proved that if I can do it, anyone can. I love hearing from others who I have inspired to create their own cartoons. I really enjoy mentoring cartoonists, and have also helped people with publishing their books and marketing their businesses. I believe in having an abundance mindset. There’s plenty of work to go round, and we can help one another!
I am a strong believer in happy humour. I was named in an online publication as one of their ‘top three spirit lifters’. This really encouraged me, particularly as it was said during the pandemic. (I created some cartoons about the pandemic, but they only covered things like home-made haircuts!).
Comic books often reflect the changing values of a society, unless they are based in the past. I am not a fan of political satire, because it is often built on disrespect and sarcasm. I feel it’s better to do something about an injustice than just get cross about it. My personal preference is to feature evergreen humour about people and families, jobs and schools. Such things will never go out of date, and everyone can relate to them.
My future plans are to increase my presence on social media, Medium.com and radio. I also plan to explore the concept of being an online comedian.
My advice to newcomers is this: consider what makes your work different to that of other people. Be yourself, as you are unique. Create a clear brand and choose your colours strategically. There’s no point being impatient in this business. Unless a post goes viral overnight, it will take time to grow a social media following; there are strategies that will need to be employed here.
English people enjoy cartoons in their own language, so it’s mainly English and American cartoonists that are favoured. The biggest challenge for cartoonists globally is the popularity of social media. If people can see jokes for free every day, they are less inclined to pay for books. Cartoonists therefore need to diversify in order to create multiple incomes. These can come through blogging or selling mugs and shirts containing printed cartoons.
Anyone wanting to generate a social media following or make a living will need to do lots of research online. A consultation with a marketing company could also pay dividends. The internet has opened up huge opportunities for people: they can publish without a publisher, and influence thousands through social media. Why not have a go yourself? It’s going to be fun!