I recently decided to take my cartooning to the next level. Ten years ago this week, I started drawing cartoons in business school. Since then, I’ve doodled nights, weekends, and early mornings, dreaming of a day when I could do it full-time.
The hard part wasn’t finding the idea to turn my cartooning into a business. It was reaching a point where I had enough courage to leap.
I’m creating a business called Marketoonist. After experimenting on cartoon projects with Wall Street Journal Asia, Unilever, CaseCentral and many others, I discovered that cartoons can make powerful marketing campaigns and help spread ideas. I have a few immediate projects, including one cartoon campaign that has been running for two years, and a few in the works. I have some ideas to scale it further. Overall, I’m inspired by the potential of visual storytelling in business.
I’ll also continue to draw Brand Camp as actively as ever. Many people don’t know this, but Matt Groening, the Simpson’s creator, has been hand-drawing a cartoon called “Life in Hell” continually since 1978. He once said, “I’ll never give up the cartoon strip. It’s my foundation”. Same with me. Brand Camp is my foundation.
I want to thank all of you who have supported me by reading and sharing my cartoons with others. To celebrate ten years as a cartoonist, I’m going to send out ten signed cartoon prints, matted and ready to frame. Just add a comment to this post with your favorite Brand Camp cartoon over the years. I’ll send a print to the first ten people who mention a specific cartoon in a post (please include your email so I can get your mailing address).
I also want to announce my brand-spanking-new website, designed by the brilliant gang at Out:Think. It gives more detail on my new business and also has a cartoon bank to make it easier than ever to sift through past Brand Camp cartoons and immediately license a high-res jpeg.
I’m inspired by David and Clare Hieatt who founded the DO Lectures to encourage the world to go DO something. I was fortunate to attend the first and second DO Lectures in a rainy tent in Wales, and they had a profound impact on me. Every attendee has to pick a “DO”. Mine was to become a cartoonist some day.
I later read some perspective from David where he uses the metaphor of takeoff to describe the moment of launching any crazy unproven idea:
There is a point on a runway during takeoff that a plane reaches V1 speed. Once it passes V1 it has reached the point of no return. The point where the take off cannot be aborted. The plane has to take off. Or crash.
We wait for the right time without ever knowing how to define ‘right’. The simple truth is that there is never a right time. The stars don’t all suddenly line up in one neat little row to show us the way. On the other hand, there is never a wrong time either.
It’s called a leap of faith for a good reason. It’s a risk. And the outcome is far from certain. And that is why we tend to put off these life-changing decisions.
So maybe the answer is to create our own false V1 markers in the runway.
Set it. Stick to it. And then say ‘what the hell’ and jump.
And hope you can build some wings on the way down.