Shop Talk: On Trying to Please the Crowd with Your Art

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One big lesson I learned as an artist in the past year is this:

Create for yourself. The people who like it will find you. Those who don’t will fall away. But, you’ll be left with a loyal core of people who like what you’re doing. 

Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.

Ginger Meggs: Introducing... Rahul Jayasinha!

Ginger Meggs: Introducing... Rahul Jayasinha!

Today marks the first appearance one of three new characters being introduced to the Ginger Meggs universe in 2019: A young Australian boy named Rahul Jayasinha.

Rahul’s father was born in India, met his wife in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia to start their own medical practice. Now both Australian citizens, they had Rahul ten years after moving to Australia, making him a dinki di Aussie! He’s just moved house and so has just started at Ginger’s school.

Rahul loves nothing more than getting out in the sun and playing cricket — and giving Ginger a run for his money! He’s a little bit taller than the other boys, and can run faster than Tiger Kelly on a rampage.

The first appearance of Rahul occurs at the end of today’s Sunday strip, the second of a three-part continuation after Ginger is forced to stay in his bedroom and finish his homework before he’s allowed to go and play cricket with the boys.

Unfortunately, he arrives too late and the game is all wrapped up. He discovers they had invited the new kid to fill-in, but fast realised that he was so good, they wouldn’t mind having him on the team permanently!

Rahul will develop with the rest of the characters in the strip over time, and we’re excited to see him work his way into more storylines across the coming years. Every Aussie kid should be able to see themselves in the characters of Ginger Meggs. Stay tuned for our next introduction this year of a young indigenous Australian girl who plays music and gives the lads a run for their money on the sports field!

And of course, stay tuned for more adventures with the entire gang, every day at GoComics.com

  • A big note of thanks to my friend Dilruk Jayasinha for his advice on the character and his cultural heritage.

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Ginger Meggs: Introducing... Penny Chieng!

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Introducing the first of 3 new faces moving to Ginger’s town in 2019... Penny Chieng! A whip-smart Malaysian Australian girl who gives Fitzzy a run for his money in all things academic.

Penny’s mum, a family lawyer, just got a new job in town and moved them into a new place in Ginger’s neighbourhood. She’s starting at the school this week, and Minnie Peters will be showing her around.

Keep an eye out for Penny at GoComics: https://www.gocomics.com/gingermeggs/2019/09/12

The Simpsons Turns 25

Published 17th December 2014

Not since M*A*S*H* has an entire generation enjoyed a host of characters as genuinely funny as the people of Springfield.

The Simpsons happens to be the longest running sitcom in history and one of the most quoted television shows to boot. It can't be understated enough how difficult it is to keep a weekly show -not just a cartoon that has to be animated- but a prime time comedy show going for 25 consecutive seasons across more than two decades, and still be successful.

A lot of people will tell you The Simpsons 'lost it's mojo' in the early-to-mid 2000's for whatever personal reason, and they stopped watching. I can say with some sincerity, whatever they thought was lost, is back now. The Simpsons is funny, and it's better than ever.

I couldn't be more enamoured of an internationally syndicated comedic, satirical cartoon show that captures the zeitgeist of each decade each episode was written in. The whole shebang is an incredibly difficult thing to pull off, and with incredible consistency the writing and production team have done it so well.

I had the great pleasure of meeting one of The Simpsons' great Directors, David Silverman. Name one of your all-time favourite episodes you can remember and the odds are, he directed it.

"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" "Bart the Genius" "Bart the General" "Life on the Fast Lane" "Some Enchanted Evening" "Bart Gets an F" "Treehouse of Horror" (The Raven segment only) "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" "The Way We Was" "Old Money" "Blood Feud" "Black Widower" "Homer's Triple Bypass" "Krusty Gets Kancelled" "Treehouse of Horror IV" "Another Simpsons Clip Show" (as Pound Foolish) "Homie the Clown" "Mother Simpson" "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (as Pound Foolish) "Treehouse of Horror XIII" "Treehouse of Horror XV" (as "The Tell-Tale Silverman") "Treehouse of Horror XVI" (as "Godzilla vs. Silverman") "Treehouse of Horror XVII" (with Matthew Faughnan) (as David "Tubatron" Silverman) "The Man Who Came To Be Dinner"[/accordion] [/az_accordion_section]

David also took on the immense task of Directing the Simpsons Movie. I couldn't begin to imagine the scale of what he and the team at Fox had to work with, on top of putting out a new episode of the Simpsons every week.

We had a day to kill together after the NCS Reuben Awards weekend in Boston in 2011, so we walked around the city on foot. One of the great things about talking to David about the show is the passion he has for animation, and for cartooning in general. You can't work in the industry for as long as he has without loving every aspect of the process and its origins. He showed me classic Pogo strips and the artwork and odd vernacular in the old comics.

Every minute with cartoonists like David is a huge and invaluable lesson for young cartoonists, and I couldn't recommend coming to the Reubens and joining the National Cartoonists' Society enough for any working or up-and-coming cartoonist. If you're in Australia, the ACA is just as great a resource.

I think the biggest thing that strikes me about why the Simpsons work is the writing. Some of the best writers in television comedy have worked on the show, and many still do. It's become something of an institution, like the Tonight Show. If you want a glimpse into the mind of one of the Simpsons longest-contributing writers, take a look at Tom Gammill's Comic Strip on GoComics, The Doozies. Lord knows he doesn't promote it enough.

And now, courtesy of The Mirror, The 16 funniest newspaper headlines from The Simpsons...

1. Incontinent old man wins Miss Teen America

2. Unusually large, ugly baby born

3. Second headline less important, studies show

4. Squirrel resembling Abraham Lincoln found

5. This one

6. Old man yells at cloud

7. Even Pies

8. Angry Mob Mulls Options

9. Spinning newspaper injures printer

10. Wiggum rescues boy no, really

11. Bumblebee man caught in sting

12. Top cop surrenders to backfiring car

13. Mayor unveils erection to cheering crowd

14. Slow news day grips Springfield

15. Parade to distract joyless citizenly

16. BONUS: The Mirror on The Simpsons

Who Writes the Words for Ginger Meggs?

THE single most commonly asked question I get about Ginger Meggs is: Who writes the gags/stories? The short answer is, I do.


The slightly longer answer is; Producing a daily comic strip (in my experience), is separated into three parts: 60% is writing, 20% is drawing (the fun bit), 20% is business and syndication.

The writing is the most time-consuming and difficult part of it. That’s not to say that getting syndicated isn’t difficult (heck, it’s near impossible these days!) but as far as time goes, you spend more time and mental energy coming up with new material day after day than anything else. It’s like a stand-up comedian not being able to get up on stage and do the same routine as he did yesterday. Every day.

It used to irk me that people would assume I just “drew” Ginger Meggs, but then I realised it was because often a comic strip cartoonist is referred to as “the artist for…” which of course would lead one to assume you just draw the strip, and someone else writes it. That setup is not uncommon (ie. Zits, Baby Blues, Wizard of Id) but it’s not how the majority of comic strip cartoonists do it.

I like the challenge, and I take a lot of inspiration from guys like Gary Clark, Jerry Scott, Paul Gilligan, Sean Leahy and Tony Lopes. These people just know how to write consistently good material, and they work hard at it.

I suppose it’s like anything- the more you do it, the better you get. I’m still a novice, but my background in writing editorial cartoons and stand-up comedy gave me a good grounding for writing a daily strip. It’s been a very steep learning curve, and I’m enjoying the experience. I hope to be doing it for a long time to come!

The first writer for Ginger Meggs was his creator, James C Bancks in 1921. He was followed by Ron Vivian in 1953, Lloyd Piper in 1973 and then my predecessor, James Kemsley in 1983. A full run-down of the Ginger Meggs history is available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger_Meggs

Ginger Meggs is syndicated internationally by Universal Uclick. You can read the strip every day at GoComicshttp://www.gocomics.com/gingermeggs