Send us your best praying mantis gag to win original art!

Every week me and @scottdools get about 10 Praying Mantis gags pitched to the podcast. Below are 5 of mine that I like… There are many, many more. I want you all to pitch your best praying mantis jokes in the comments here. Best ones get read out on next week’s podcast and the winner gets this signed original art.
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Shop Talk: A question about filing, cartoon storage & art inventory

Today’s question comes from Mel Wilson. Mel writes:

How do you label and store all your cartoons? Also how to you keep track of them all? Do you have flat files, or do you scan them and have a digital inventory?

Thanks for the question, Mel. The answer is: It depends!

For digital cartoons, I store them according to date and topic, sometimes caption.
For example, I date each cartoon according to: year/month/date (space)-(space)topic/caption
So a cartoon about space monkeys would be 20190122 - Space Monkeys Hiccup.jpg

I save all the high res jpg files in a folder called “Cartoons” with a folder for each year (2017, 2018 etc.) My entire hard drive is synced to Dropbox.
I also have another folder called xPSD where all the high res 600dpi PSD files are kept, and that, too, is synced to dropbox, but using Dropbox Smart Sync, it is only ever in the cloud to save hard disk space. When I need them, I download them individually.

For hard copy drawings, I have various labelled drawers. For sketches that might be something, I store them in “sketches”, for finished artwork that has been published, (and is for sale on the store) I put it in “Published”. I also have one just for my New Yorker cartoons.

How are they organised? …well. They aren’t. I just pick up the pile and shuffle through until I find the one I’m looking for. It’s not a fool-proof system, but it works for this fool.

If you do have a massive archive of art, or you need to index and create an inventory for your art, I highly recommend ArtworkArchive. Their blog/newsletter alone is a brilliant source of information for artists.

Got a question? Hit me up in the contact page or in the comments section below.

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New Original Art: Black Mass

This is my newest work. It’s called Black Mass.
(But between you and me, I call him Terrence.)

Ink on 300gsm card (Frame not included.)

"(F)Art" Framed Print now available in store

How rough are your roughs?

I spent this afternoon as I often do; weeping uncontrollably while looking at other cartoonists' work on Mike Lynch's incredible cartoon blog, when I realised every cartoonist who pitches cartoons has a different idea of how rough their roughs should be.

When we cartoonists sit in the cartoon lounge each week at the New Yorker waiting to see the Cartoon Editor, we sometimes allow each other to peek at our batch (if we brought one) and see what we were schilling that week. While one cartoonist has fully-finished cartoons, another might have a loosely drawn pencil rough of the toon, usually indicating the strength of the gag really lies in the words for that one. My batch usually has a combination of both finished toons and pencil roughs.

To give you an idea of how rough my 'roughs' are, here's a toon I pitched in a batch for the magazine, which they later bought as a daily cartoon.
The short answer is: it's as rough as it needs to be to service the gag. Does that make sense?

cartoon rough

After they buy it, I clean it up and draw it a bit nicer. It seems as though 9 times out of 10 I hate my tightened-up drawings because I lose the spontaneity of the pencils, but such is life. I'm sure one day I'll find the balance between roughly scribbling on the subway and overdrawing a cartoon to within an inch of its life.

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My favourite cartoons are usually the ones that use as few lines as possible to get the idea across. I love the work of Sam Gross and Ed Steed for their line economy, and ability to distil exactly what the cartoon needs down to its essentials.

Got any cartoon-related questions?