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The power of cartoons and how to yield it

No sense of humor

Working out a cartoon takes me a few hours of diligent work. But making up the cartoon, that is the hard part. When I’m stuck or in doubt, I look at the great cartoonist Dan Piraro. I graze through his website to get ideas (cartoons), to read (blog) or hear (interviews) how he solves dilemma’s while drawing.


Dan Piraro is an example on how to do it: make a good image. For cartoons he is one of my most important inspirations. For stamina too by the way: he draws cartoons every day for over 30 years, 365 days a year. Right through disease, divorce and passing away of loved ones he delivers his cartoons daily.

And that when all he wanted to be was an artist! Making cartoons for him mostly means food on the table. For me he is a genuine cartoon artist.

De kracht van een ideeBizarro cartoon - computer virus

Why a cartoon works

When I see a Piraro cartoon for the first time it makes me laugh. It just does. Very loud sometimes. And that is exactly what a cartoon should do. It makes you laugh and at the same time you’re slightly embarrassed or shocked. Because always there’s someone or something who is the butt of the joke.

To draw a cartoon I have to look for the pain in the story – that’s what it should be about. Recognizable pain is the soil where humor can bloom. When you hit people in their heart wit a cartoon, you’ve hit the bullseye. 

Marijke loopt op het snijpunt

Why a cartoon is not an illustration

A lot of corporations think that working with humor is a risk. And it is. Because if people don’t understand that it is a joke, they can be offended. The joke would work against your product.

Using cartoons asks for guts. You need to adopt the atmosphere of a business. And aim very carefully on the fault line of humor, feeling and ration of the target audience. That will create more succes than with any respectable illustration.

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