Cartoons & Comics

A cartoonist pairs digital or hand-drawn images with writing to depict funny moments or situations to make cartoons (single frame) or comic strips (multiple panels). Some cartoonists use software such as Photoshop to make cartoons while others use pen and paper then upload the images. A business cartoonist makes images for or about business to be printed in publications, sent out in internal newsletters at a company, posted on social media, or published as satire commenting on current business events. Upwork is a great place to find independent cartoonists who specialize in designing business cartoons. Freelancers have ratings and reviews on their profiles so you can feel confident in finding the right fit.
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Cartoons & Comics FAQ

How do I start a cartoon business?

To start a cartoon business, define your brand and target audience. You can start by being self-employed without registering a company, but if you choose to start one, follow these steps:
  1. Create a business plan and budget
  2. Choose a name and turn your cartoon service into a legal entity: a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation
  3. Open a bank account and credit card and apply for an EIN to register for state and federal taxes
  4. Set up your accounting
  5. Check with your county clerk’s office or your city to make sure you get all the permits and licenses necessary for a cartoon business

How much does a cartoonist earn?

The median cartoonist salaries land between $30,000-$60,000. There are a number of factors that impact how much a cartoonist earns, such as if they are a new freelancer or if they work full-time somewhere like an ad agency or have a regular strip in a newspaper or magazine.

Large publications like The New Yorker will likely have higher budgets than small businesses.

What services does a business cartoonist offer?

The exact services business cartoonists offer will vary from creator to creator, but generally, they will offer single-panel cartoons and multi-panel comic strips that are for or about business.
One famous cartoonist, Tom Fishburne, founded Marketoonist which offers content marketing and focuses on thought leadership and culture change. His cartoons have been published in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Cartoonists might be commissioned to create office cartoons depicting humor in the workplace or political cartoons commenting on current events. They also might make them on their own and submit to publications. Cartoonists typically have a high rejection rate. Some business cartoonists might make logos, mascots, or caricatures in addition to funny cartoons and comics.

Can you make money as a cartoonist?

You can make money as a cartoonist by having magazines, newspapers, or blogs publish your cartoons or comics. You can also offer commissions and make personalized comics, greeting cards, or caricatures for people. Another option is to publish cartoons and comics using webcomic publishing portals like Webtoon or Tapas which offer ad revenue, creator rewards programs, and put comics behind a paywall.*Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.