Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Online Print On Demand Stores Offer A New Opportunity For Cartoonists

Over the decades, markets have come and gone...mainly, gone. The high circulation general interest and specialty magazines which had been ubiquitous on drug store and supermarket racks, and in mail boxes...Look...Life...Saturday Evening Post...Saturday Review...and a slew of others, began to either go out of business, or drastically cut back on cartoon usage by the 1980's. Video stores and the internet had changed everything. Online cartoon brokers such as the New Yorker's Cartoon Bank (offering one-time reprint rights to NYer toons) and Cartoon Stock in the UK, were another nail in the coffin of freelance cartooning as it had been practiced for decades. But the internet has proven to be double-edged sword. While it contributed to the demise of the major magazines which were the freelancer's bread and butter, it also opened up new opportunities for cartoonists to deal directly with the public. One way of doing this is through online print-on-demand (POD) stores such as Cafe Press and Zazzle. The cartoonist uploads his drawing, makes it available on a variety of products, and when a customer purchases an item, the cartoonist receives a royalty. One example is this funny save-the-date magnet template which has proven to be quite popular at Zazzle. A few clicks of the mouse allow a customer to customize the magnet by adding her name along with that of her husband to be, and the date of their wedding, to create a unique reminder and humorous keepsake for the invitees. As you can see, my style has changed somewhat over the years.