Interview with Dan Rosandich -Cartooning Advice

February 18, 2005

   Dan Rosandich is a professional freelance cartoonist with delightful work in prominent books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul series and noted magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, First for Women, Barron's Magazine, National Enquirer and so many more. Read on as he shares his experience and advice on the art and business of cartooning.

    (See Dan's inspiring story and more advice at: Dan Rosandich, Freelance Cartoonist )

    Dan, you are published in the most prominent magazines and books. Does it get easier to get your work published with each success?

    Definitely not. Being published in any well-known magazine is no guarantee that your work will be accepted by other magazines. It does act as a useful reference though and I highly recommend using any of your previously published works as part of a portfolio if you can. It's just logical business sense.

Are you a member of a cartooning society or professional group?

    I'm a member of the Graphic Artist's Guild based in NYC and a member in good standing of The Wisenheimer Group based in Kansas City, MO

Rosandich 1

What is your opinion of the cartooning business?

    The cartooning business will always be around and I think it will thrive. As long as humor exists, so will cartooning. Graphic imagery like cartoons will always be used to enhance magazine & book covers, children's books, textbooks, web pages & websites, presentations and funny calendars not to mention T-shirts and television commercials. Saturday morning and your funny pages would never be the same without the cartooning business and it will always be around and will always be a well-needed part of our world.

    It's one of the most unique art forms to be involved in and a person can go off on so many tangents in this profession. Whether you choose to be an animator, book illustrator, comic strip artist, graphic designer, web cartoonist or anything involved in funny pictures, ranging from greeting cards to comic books, this business provides a vast expanse of opportunities to choose from.

Has the Internet been useful?

    Building my own online cartoon catalog DANSCARTOONS.COM has been the single most important transition I've made in my career and my only regret is that I didn't make that leap sooner. I was terrified of technology but soon began learning & mastering various nuances associated with web editing & basic computer functionality. Once you display your work on the web, it's available worldwide and instant contact is constant. Knowing how to configure your meta tags, and how to configure basic html within your site is also very useful and elevates your visibility on the web that much more.

    I'm somewhat of a "creature of habit" and always relied on just sending my work out physically (through the mail, or via FedEx or sometimes fax) and kept putting the internet out of my mind. Eventually a lot of editors and current clients kept hounding me to e-mail them or send them electronic files so I decided to bury myself in the technological learning process which has helped immensely.

    Aside from buying thousands of dollars worth of advertising in specialized artist directories, and sending flyers out through the mail, or making cold calls using a telephone and paying out a couple thousand dollars a year in phone bills, having a web catalog supercedes any of that and it is highly recommended. I get requests on a daily basis to either license my existing catalogued images or to create "customized" artwork and cartoons for a variety of projects and the requests come from a wide variety of people. Not just editors or art directors but church pastors, school teachers, scientists, marketing specialists, promotional directors at various types of societies and they can be located in the U.S. or Canada or anywhere else around the globe. So it can get very interesting.

What advice would you give to struggling freelance cartoonists?

    Don't be discouraged by rejection from an editor or an art director or anyone who you show or send your work to. If you are struggling, that's a good thing. It shows you endeavor to attain a chosen goal and it can most likely be within your reach without even knowing it. Of course, God-given talent will enhance your struggle but just being talented isn't enough these days, because there is so much competition. You need to have a stick-to-it-iveness and need to be relentless in your approach. If you send work to magazines and feel that isn't your forte, then try your talents in flash animation. If that doesn't work or you notice it isn't in your best interest, then send a submission of greeting card designs out. There are so many angles you can approach this on.

    When I started out, I read a mail-order course (which I still have!) called Success International Cartooning Course, which had several booklets with contributions by well known magazine cartoonists on how to submit your work to magazines. I was mesmerized by this compilation & read & re-read it and absorbed as much of it as I could. Now that I look back at it, it is a bit comical to perceive. There is now the digital world at anyone's disposal which I think can propel any young adventurous mind into cartooning much faster & better than any printed volumes can.

    I strongly urge any youngster to get into it if this is what they'd like to do with their talent and if a parent sees any modicum of talent in a child, they should nurture that child as best they can. Even an adult looking for a career change I would recommend do it if that's what you want. It's just a lot of fun, once you get established in it.

Thanks for the great advice, Dan!

Check out Dan's website and his catalogues of cartoons:
http://www.danscartoons.com

Dan's Cartoons site bio listing his many accomplishments:
http://www.danscartoons.com/artist_bio.htm

© Susanna McLeod 2005
TheCartoonists.ca  
   
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on suite101.com.)