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An Interview with Cartoonist Randy Glasbergen

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Laughter is nature's best medicine and cartoonist Randy Glasbergen has no trouble keeping his viewers laughing. Randy is one of America's most popular cartoonists. More than 25,000 of Randy’s cartoons and comic illustrations have been published around the world. I met up with Randy via online interview, where he shared with me some of the experiences that got him into the cartoon profession.

At what age did you start drawing?

I’ve been drawing all my life, just for fun as a kid. I became interested in cartooning as a career when I was around 14, that’s when I got my first cartoon published… it was in a magazine called New York State Conservationist.

How did you get started in cartooning?

I drew some cartoons like the ones I saw being published and put them in the mail and somebody bought a few. I’ve basically done the same thing over and over for 30 years, gradually branching out into different media outlets and markets.

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered along the way?

Discouragement, frustration, a changing marketplace, supporting a family during the lean years. Most people get ambitious faster than they become accomplished… that can be very frustrating.

What was the hardest technique for you to learn as a cartoonist?

Color work was always a challenge for me. I like using my computer to colorize now — it lets me make changes easily until I get it the way I like. With traditional media, you couldn’t correct an error or make a change so easily.

What cartoonist has inspired you the most?

Magazine cartoonist Henry Martin was widely published when I started out. He was a big influence, mostly on my humor style and writing.

What equipment and materials do you use?

I draw with a cheap Flair pen on heavyweight typing paper and do everything else on a Mac with Photoshop.

Where do your ideas for cartoons come from?

I get my ideas by thinking about topics that I think people are interested in, family, work, health, diets, kids, pets, etc. People like to read about themselves.

What's your favorite part of being a cartoonist?

As a freelancer, every day has the potential to bring in something new and exciting. Each e-mail has the potential of great opportunity. Plus I don’t have to deal with office politics or any annoying coworkers. I work alone in a studio in my home (the third floor of a big old Victorian house in a small town). I have two enormous guinea pigs in my studio to keep me company; actually, they look more like baby panda bears.

What impact has technology had on your work?

Profound. The computer and the Internet have changed everything. Revolutionary. It can’t be overstated.

Are other members of your family creative?

Randy: My son used to draw (serious stuff) when he was younger and he was much better than I am, but he lost interest. My mom used to dabble in oil paint and she taught me a little bit about color when I was a kid. But overall, no, I don’t belong to what anyone would describe as a “creative family”.

How do you promote your work?

Mostly on the Internet. My website gets a lot of traffic and that brings in a bit of new business every day.

What opportunities do you see for those interested in being a cartoonist?

The opportunities have never been better for cartoonists. Some say the markets are disappearing, but that’s not true at all. The market for cartoons is changing, but it’s not disappearing by any means. A cartoonist can publish his own work on the web and find an audience without having to go through an editor first — that’s a huge change. The web has empowered cartoonists like nothing before. Many cartoonists are experimenting with new ways to earn money and build a career online. Right now many cartoonists are pioneers exploring a digital frontier, blazing a lot of new trails.

Randy, would you say that you have reached your goal?

My success on the Internet has brought me closer to my goals, but like most people, I’m never satisfied. There’s always something new to challenge us.

My son wants to be a cartoonist. What final advice would you give to a young aspiring cartoonist?

Don't be an artist who can write funny ideas. Be a writer who can draw funny pictures. The writing is everything. Have something to say and learn to say it in a funny way.

Where might one go to see your cartoons?

My website

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About Rose DesRochers

  • kenneth bentley

    Dear Randy hello I have many of your books and I find them interesting but I have to say I can’t look at your stuff to long because it would influence me to draw like you and that would be bad because then I would lose my idenity of being myself which is different from you . I like Mark Heath and Robert Crumb’s drawings but I can never begin to approach that level of artwork so i settle for being me and that alone is enough since I have gout in my fingers and they hurt alot . I’ve lost some of the crisp artwork I used to have when I was in my 20’s . I’m in my 60’s now an haven’t started doing anything professional . I’ve spent all those years just practicing but never doing anything with it . I give most of my work to friends and relatives. I call them doodles but I spend a half an hour on a drawing or a couple of minutes on a quick sketch . I go to the gym and draw and give them to the management there . I give away 2-3000 drawings a year . I make copies off my brother professional series center printer . I can print off 81/2 x11 to 11×14. I use a HP touchsmart 600PC . I color with a coptic marker or a colored pencil . I studied art from Chuck Thorndike
    s book The Art of Cartooning 1937.Well I am glad for your success and being famous and all the good things that have come your way .Ken

  • Anna

    The situation at the moment all over the middle east is very frightening for the christians. This is as a result of corruption and lawlessness by religious extremists and armed gangs. Just, look at Egypt, for instance. Daily, coptic women and children are abducted, drugged and raped by armed gangs. The victims are sexually exploited & forced to denounce their christian belief and accept islam as their new religion. Saudi arabia is funding the islamization of coptic christians. In every attack on Copts, criminals are protected by the authorities and never punished by the law. It’s the coptic victims that are arrested and imprisoned by the authorities. This is just injustice!!! Churches and Christian businesses and villages continue to be attacked by salafi extremists. When will this ever stop??? Egypts Islamist’s certainly threaten democratic reform, justice and equality for the Egyptian People. The Military Council are corrupted by Salafi Extremists. All these on-going media claims of mubarak and ministers of the ex regime being sentenced by the military supreme council are all false. The chaos in egypt is due to the release of dangerous criminals from prisons all over the country, by mubarak’s regime. Does the world know that there are thousands of criminals on the rampage throughout the county??? It’s not the US or Israel’s fault. Corruption and religious extremism by the regime is the main cause. Lawlessness is at its peak, since the revolution. Christian copts are targeted by armed gangs. Egypt will not get better until law & order is restored, by imprisonment of criminals with a new democratic government, supported by the U.N. The world is asleep at the wheel, believing “everything is honky dory” in Egypt, since this years revolution. Egypt is drowning, day after day. Sadly, the country is in a mess…….Everyone is now suffering in this atmosphere of corruption, inequality and injustice………