How to Become a Cartoonist


Cartoonist Job Description

Cartoonists may tell a story, reflect public opinion or provide social commentary by creating illustrations for newspapers, advertisements, magazines, films, television, books, newsletters, greeting cards, websites and other publications.


Cartoonists may prepare drawings that other artists make into finished ads or films.


Editorial cartoonists create single cartoons for newspapers, magazines and other publications. This involves creating caricatures of well-known people or events, often reflecting political attitudes or opinions in satiric form.


Comic strip artists draw a series of pictures that tell a story, which are usually large and become reduced for final publication.



Typical Job Duties

• Cartoonists discuss their ideas and initial drawings with an editor or publisher before finalizing them

• May use a variety of mediums to shade and fill in outlines, such as ink, water colours, markers, transparent washes and computer programs

• Create pencil sketches of their ideas

• Use computer programs to create finalized drawings

• Keep sketch book of ideas for future use



How to Get a Job as a Cartoonist

A great way to get started in a career as a cartoonist is to sell your cartoons to a magazine or publishing syndicate. Research the names of magazines or syndicates that your cartoons will appeal to and try to get in touch with art director, in person if possible.


If you are unable to meet with them in person, make sure you can speak with them on the phone and send them clean copies of your very best work immediately afterwards. Be sure to keep track of what you’ve sent them and when it was sent. You may see a lot of rejection, so keep composing cartoons and send them new cartoons week after week, month after month.


You may also consider getting a job as an assistant penciler for a popular comic strip or publishing company. This can also be an effective means of beginning a career as a cartoonist, because it will allow you to develop valuable contacts.



Relevant Scholarships for This Career

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a Cartoonist. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants. 



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming a Cartoonist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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