December 19th, 2011
by Terri Libenson
This is that time of year we either stress out completely or find things to be grateful forâ€¦or both. I have enough things to stress about all year, so at the moment I will take a deep breath and think of positive things until I gag. As a not-so- subtle nod to the late Oprah showâ€¦here are a few of my favorite things about cartooning:
Being hit with the proverbial bolt of lightning. Itâ€™s not often I donâ€™t scrape the bottom of the barrel for that one great gag that makes people hit the side of their heads and exclaim, â€œWhy didnâ€™t I think of that?â€ Thatâ€™s why those exceptional ideas are like manna from heaven. It doesnâ€™t happen often, and when it does, I perform a little mental victory dance. Better yet, that one great idea often spawns several moreâ€¦and that just makes my day.
Coloring comics. Yes, I know there are cartoonists who hire interns or family members to do their coloring or inking in order to save time. I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™m just a control freak or what, but Iâ€™d hate to turn over my pen and Photoshop software to someone else. Besides, coloring my comics is my ultimate joy. I find it relaxing. Itâ€™s usually when I get to turn on the TV or radio in the background and void my brain of thoughts. Who knew it could be so zen? I enjoyed coloring in grade school and apparently I still do.
Getting nice feedback. Yeah, Iâ€™m a sucker for it. I love seeing emails with subject headers like, â€œI love your strip!â€ The ultimate antidote to hater emails (which, thankfully, I donâ€™t receive too often), these are usually full of general praise or praise for specific strips. (Then there are the ones that make me cringe — that start off with â€œI love your strip, butâ€¦â€ and ultimately end with a grievance about a particular one.) But the love mail gives me a huge boost. What can I say, flattery gets me everywhere.
Getting in a new paper. (or clawing my way back into a newspaper that once dropped me â€“ either works) Itâ€™s like a tingly little thrill when I hear about a new paper thatâ€™s picked up the stripâ€¦especially when so many papers are shutting down. Most of the time I try not to think about drops/pickups (it gives me an ulcer), but itâ€™s always a treat when it works out.
Meeting other cartoonists. Whether itâ€™s in person or on Facebook, itâ€™s wonderful to be part of this tight-knit community. Most cartoonists are such lovely people, itâ€™s hard to believe Iâ€™m often competing fiercely with some for spots (again, I try not to think about itâ€¦ulcerville). Iâ€™ve made some wonderful new friends because of this job. The tough part is only getting to see them once every other year or so. But itâ€™s always enjoyableâ€¦and often rowdy. Did I mention these people can drink?
So there it is. On that note of positivity, Iâ€™d like to wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful, stress-free new year. Enjoy!
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