When Cartoonists Should Listen To Advice (Cont.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Finally Started Listening To Advice

Early on, I can remember being open to advice. A lot of people do not believe my story but it is true. I was (about 44) when starting this venture. I had lost my job at the tv station (was never really very good at 9-5 coat/tie ventures), so it was no big loss, but….it left me with just a pocketful of change. I had just enough to buy a used IBM clone 386 beat up computer that I WAY overpaid for by some shyshter who “saw me coming”; I book called “Internet 4 Dummies” (I had never used the net), and my stray dog Thor (of whom I still have and love).

I was used to obstacles and issues by then. I had my share. This time, I was to be without a home as I could not pay my rent, even for an old beat up house. It appeared my hometown did not want a 44 year old cartoonist who didn’t draw very well and had displayed very little other talent in many arenas.

A friend of mine, a caring social worker and her husband allowed me to live and work in a beat up abandoned warehouse that happened to have a phone line and electricity, but that was it. No hot water, no furniture, nothing but junk in it. I took it.

I bought a dial up Internet service and began recruiting artists. I read the Internet 4 Dummies book several times. I talked to established cartoonists over the Internet. I plodded along, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the concrete floor for almost two years working with junk all around me. I froze in the winter and
could barely breathe in the summer; that was the climate of south Mississippi.
I was determined to create something funny and important. I had no idea what the
outcome would be.

As time went by, illustrators came and left. We were a non-commerce site; in fact I couldn’t even afford a domain and got a free one with more popup ads than cartoons.
But as time went by, I found I could write 50 or more concepts on some days, and
the concepts seemed strong enough to lure some very accomplished illustrators
willing to take a chance. I had read enough about Internet businesses to know
to “hang on tight” and “be patient”. I had no idea it would be a decade before
the world would ever notice. What they notice is at http://www.londonstimes.us
and has had over 7.5 million visitors since January of 2005. I still can’t believe it when I think about it.

Now, I imagine I have worked with at least a hundred illustrators and finished
over 6000 cartoons; probably one of the largest private individual collections of
single panel cartoons on the Internet.

I write about it for two reasons. One is, I am proud and admit it. My ego deserves
stroking. I worked very hard and at times in unbearable environments. But I
preservered as did many of my illustrators, several of them still with me; one
has been able to capitalize on all the attenion by publishing several books of his
own (he is very into Christianity and Scouting and does a terrific job at
using those themes as his cartoons and does so in good taste). His name is
Rich Diesslin and he has also managed the website for a long time now.

In 2006, I met Rosy. We fell in love. She is an attorney on the west coast and she loves the arts and creative projects. She encouraged me to work harder and
manufacturer products. I already was making tee shirts and mugs at Cafe Press but the royalties were somewhat of a joke.
kirkc.gif Very early cartoon 1997 (One of our first)

I found another manufacturer willing to take a chance and he promoted us heavily.
Londons Times Superstore was born with about 60,000 cartoon image products on 24 ifferent items in several dozen categories from science to romance to sports to
Star Wars and Star Trek. It is at http://www.londonstimessuperstore.com

More recent cartoons:

johann_picasso.gif johann_fiddler.gif     

http://www.londonstimes.us (cartoon site)

http://www.londonstimessuperstore.com (Merchandise site)

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4 Responses to “When Cartoonists Should Listen To Advice (Cont.)”

  1. Rich Says:

    And a very nice collection of cartoons it is Rick (even though I’m bias). Thanks for the kind words and, of course, all your hard work on the venture.

  2. beardiethor Says:

    Thank YOU Rich. If I had had time, I would have gone further about all the hard work that Rich Diesslin, a super-accomplished cartoonist on his own has done. Nobody would believe it if they hadn’t seen it. Rich’s cool and keen instincts (and humble attitude) alerted him that I could write and create good concepts, and market ok, but my Internet skills were somewhat lacking. On the upside, his illustration skills are remarkable and oddly enough (a rare combination) so is his skills in html and web design and other web management duties. He took them in stride. I found a super talent and he was more drive than ME!! Holy cow. And what a hard worker. Keep in mind, this was a spec project for for the first 6 or 7 years and very little came from it; a few barters for custom cartoons and a few publications but that was it. Rich hung in there; not just illustrating our cartoons but his own The Cartoon Gospel and Knots, both hilarious and
    “to the point” cartoons that are must-sees. I have visited his site often; not even told him about it; I suggest you visit it as well; no matter what your religion, or lack, thereof, you will find them hilarious and well thought-out. And I’ve seen a LOT of cartoons on the net. It is an honor to work with a master. I hope everyone is that blessed at least once in their lifetime. Thanks Rich! I am taking the liberty to show a “The Cartoon Gospel” by Rich just to give you an idea of what this guy can do. He does freelance work too and it is well worth your while to query him if you have a publication; and it doesn’t have to be on scouting or religion (though those are his specialities) Rich can tackle any topic with ease.

  3. Rich Says:

    Rick, you humble me dude. I’m going to have to start using you as a reference . I’ve enjoyed the ride and learned a lot about cartooning, marketing and pushing the envelop while working with you! Keep up the good work.

  4. londonstimestshirts Says:

    Rich, Life is so funny that way, I s’pose. I came to teach and ended up learning. I have had that pattern in my life on numerous occasions. I have a feeling it never ends. On the other hand, simply keeping on keeping on, showing up, being there, etc. someone is bound to pick up something along the way. Guess we both were and are learning new things at the same time; which, goes to prove, one CAN teach an old dog new tricks (I’m speaking of me, of course, not you)!! Rick

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