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Cartoonist Studio hosts comic contest with Creators

Last June I wrote about the launch of The Cartoonist Studio – which back then included eight cartoonists. The Studio is now about 23 cartoonists strong and now includes an online store for their books, greeting cards, limited edition drawings and other memorabilia. The new news from the group is the announcement of a contest in February to identify an emerging cartoonists with the winner receiving a development contract with Creators Syndicates.

The contest is open to amateur cartoonist (defined by “never having worked under a syndication contract, or never earning more than 25% of your income from cartooning”) and will be voter based as opposed to members of the Studio judging the contestants. The 10 week contest begins February 28th and each week voters vote on the best cartoon. The contest allows for voters to vote up to four times a day (in six hour increments).

Contest rules and details are found on their site.

Community Comments

#1 Mark_Tatulli
January/3/2011
@ 2:59 pm

Release the Kraken!!

#2 Mike McKeenan
January/3/2011
@ 3:34 pm

Finally!

#3 Mike Cope
January/3/2011
@ 3:43 pm

“or never earning more than 25% of your income from cartooning”

… Sheesh! Even among misfits, you’re a misfit :(

#4 Jason Nocera
January/3/2011
@ 5:19 pm

What’s with the 25% rule?

#5 henry Clausner
January/4/2011
@ 8:50 am

::::sharpening my pencils

#6 Daniel Boris
January/4/2011
@ 1:14 pm

I’m IN!

#7 mike witmer
January/4/2011
@ 1:22 pm

“25% of your income from cartooning”

That means 94% of web cartoonists can apply! Hot damn, I’m shining my WACOM as we speak…and that ain’t no euphemism.

#8 Brian Martin
January/6/2011
@ 9:11 am

Just submitted some of my stuff….Good luck to all

#9 mark mason
January/6/2011
@ 5:24 pm

Nice work, Brian. Under the FAQ it states that the syndicate’s development contract lasts for FIVE years! I thought such contracts lasted a year max.

#10 Brian Martin
January/7/2011
@ 6:00 pm

yeah…i don’t get the five year thing… especially if the comic doesn’t sell…. but hey…i’ll take whatever I can get at this point

#11 Jason Nocera
January/7/2011
@ 7:34 pm

Thanks for pointing that out, Mark. A five year contract sounds like they’re not expecting to find a gem – and it doesn’t sound like they’re looking either, with readers voting (and up to 4 times a day) Sounds like people will be spending more time spamming their friends and family on social networks than drawing. If this wasn’t run by a bunch of cartoonists, there would probably be more snide comments, but you know what? Good for you, cartoonists. I hope you get tons of traffic and you sell a bunch of stuff from your store. Seriously. Good luck!

#12 Jason Nocera
January/8/2011
@ 8:37 am

@#7 Mike – I just realized that’s probably why the 25% rule is there. If any one of the top full-time web cartoonists joined in on the contest, they could easily win with the amount of internet traffic and readers they have. Of course, they could easily manipulate the contest, too, by picking a favorite and telling their readers to vote.

#13 Frank White
January/11/2011
@ 5:18 am

this development contract doesn’t have any pay either unlike that other contest a few years ago which paid $300 a month whilst being in development.

#14 Jason Dodge
January/12/2011
@ 3:06 pm

It’s a pretty obvious ploy to gather more registered users… Not that it’s keeping me from entering…

#15 Jason Nocera
January/12/2011
@ 3:17 pm

Why not just submit your comic strip directly to the syndicates?

#16 Henry Clausner
January/17/2011
@ 1:26 pm

there goes that tingle up the leg again….

#17 Frank White
February/28/2011
@ 7:27 am

IVOTE RIGGING ADVICE…n the first 5 1/2 hrs of this contest 34 votes were cast for the current winner at this time of writing (The Bun Bunch)( , I find it hard to believe that 34 people whether they be friends, family or fans would stay up to the wee early hours of the morning ast midnight to vote when they could easily do it when they get up in the morning( even then it would be one of the last things on their minds at that time of the day)
To Chari & Scott Pere I’ve nothing against voting for yourselves and rigging the contest using multiple accounts as the voting rules do allow it but be sensible and stagger out your votes a little so it doesn’t look so obvious you are doing it.

#18 Jeremy Billadeau
March/22/2011
@ 9:01 am

An inside perspective…

It’s not like the Washington Post Writers group contest at all, where there was this mentoring by peers as they preened the hopefuls with critiques and advice. Which was great and wished I had not missed that opportunity.

However in one aspect this contest does hold some appeal, for the creators at least if you do it legitimately. In that it does help in forcing us to self promote better learning that aspect in a more realistic manner. Also doubly, in the process raises awareness for your feature and of course the web-site which was undoubtedly their hope and rightfully so. But if it was just a marketing ploy, where the syndicate sponsor was just there in show, it seems to have taken a turn to some more earnest inquiry to at least some of the features submitted.

In the beginning it was purely voter driven, but that quickly changed as they realized all the follies on relying on such an easily manipulated system.. And.. some of the front running features were sub-par even so much as to be submitted on white lined paper, drawn in pencil and taken photos of with what must have been a Polaroid. So needless to say, even before the first week ended we received Emails stating that Creators reserved the right to say who made it through each round and that it wasn’t entirely up to the votes. After that round they reiterated even further that same point with more concrete wording, but played it safe and cut the low votes only. The next week however, the syndicate showed their teeth and two features that ended the week with 600+ votes got cut. Which left us wondering if we should bother seeking votes at all. Then this last cut ended the run of ‘Budda Dog’ which was an authentically appealing strip but certainly could be perceived as religious by a general audience and is a move akin to what a syndicate would make in such a case, proving a bit more that they may be a little more serious then some may have presumed.

But even so the site has it’s foibles and seems to go down every Monday morning when all those first votes come in, and I’ve had many supporters express exasperation at filling out the form to vote, and the way the strips are in no particular order, or even worse move as you vote for them. Those things make you question weather Creators is taking it seriously. And If it is true, that the development deal is not fully a legitimate deal they’ll have a really tough time actually signing the serious contestants should they be deemed the winner. It’s really in their court to make this a success or a catastrophe.

Personally, I liked it better when we couldn’t vote for ourselves, well at least the account that submitted the feature. It left us free to just promote and vote for other creators and a wonderful outpour of fellow creators reaching out to one another in support transpired. I received far more emails and calls from other contestants then. Now after they’ve allowed us to vote for ourselves, it’s become a rat race and the feeling of some, which was bound to happen anyways but now maybe a bit prematurely and possibly more fervently, has become somewhat deplorable. Although there are still a few authentic individuals left rooting for each other. All and all it’s been an intriguing and eye opening adventure to say the least…

#19 David Jones
March/22/2011
@ 9:24 am

I am enjoying this contest. I am not getting much vote support and may be out this week or next, but the experience and exposure has been great for my comic strip Just Say Cheese.

Voting issues aside, I feel the contest is well run and the best strip will eventually win… but only if we get people onboard who will actually read through the submissions and vote with their heart and brain… and not because their friend wants them to vote for them. There are a lot of GREAT strips sitting with mine who have about 30 votes…. 30 real votes… who are going to get booted if we don’t get people driven to the site who will vote for the BEST strip in their own opinion…

The Cartoonist Studio has said that the votes are ONLY a fraction of the elimination process each week. These guys are not going to let a strip win if it has no marketing appeal. Too much is at stake for the Creators Syndicate and the winning Developmental Contract.

That said, I can be booted this week and still hold my head high. I know I put a TON of work in my strip and no one contest will deter me from Spreading the Cheese!!!! Cartooning is the greatest trade for someone as odd as myself!!!

In defense of the few who gobbled up 30 plus votes within minutes of the start of the contest’s week 4, I just want to say that I do believe they received legitimate votes. The cartoonists in the top have blogs and followers of their strips who are devoted. I highly doubt these guys would pull such a stunt. I know quite a few of the contestants and they are ALL the nicest people I’ve met on Facebook.

Thanks Cartoonist Studio for such a great opportunity for us!!!… and good luck to all!!!!!!

David Jones
Creator of Just Say Cheese

#20 Jim Brenneman
March/22/2011
@ 10:20 am

Despite all the real or imagined issues the contest may have I have to admit I still get a bit of a thrill when I find out I’ve made it through to the next round. I enjoy looking at all the different cartoons and even the ones that need a few more years to mature give me more hope for the future of comics then I had when all the doom sayers were telling us how the internet and the death of the printed page would be the end of cartooning. I’ve drawn cartoons all my life and will continue to do so regardless of how the contest turns out. Although I admit winning wouldn’t be all that bad. It would be nice to tell my wife I actually do something while she’s at work.

#21 Jeremy Billadeau
March/22/2011
@ 1:40 pm

I actually wrote my review in a snobbish English accent!.. lmbo, Go back and read it in light of that!.. Cheerio!.. ;)

#22 Jason Dodge
March/22/2011
@ 2:14 pm

I was disappointed by a few of the eliminations this last round… This time, if you look at the vote numbers, those who were eliminated were done so purely on votes alone. Some very talented cartoonists in that lot.

#23 Jeremy Billadeau
March/22/2011
@ 6:59 pm

Hey Jason, There were a few that they kept that had less votes then the ones cut, Bill, Brett and Charles so it wasn’t purely votes, but they’re weren’t any big tally people this go round.. I was very surprised to see Ryan Pagelow’s strip go last round, I thought his submissions were great and showed a lot more promise than a second round drop and this week with my friend Guto’s MESS strip, there will be more too, it’s a tough call but they’ve make that call hundreds of times everyday….

#24 Andrew Caddell
March/23/2011
@ 10:07 am

I draw a comic strip called “On the seventh day . . .”. I submitted the comic into the contest but only got 4 votes. I was eliminated in the first round. Oh well. Better luck next time. :)

#25 David Jones
March/23/2011
@ 11:42 am

Don’t give up Andrew. Keep drawing and hopefully there will be a second contest. Meanwhile, please vote for those of us who are left. Read them all and vote for the strip you like the best. The better strips are hurting for votes!!!

I really wish some big media outlet would pick up this story and get a lot of non-bias voters into this contest!!!

#26 Andrew Caddell
March/23/2011
@ 1:04 pm

Hey David, thanks for the kind words. In regards to the contest, I already submitted my votes for the strips that I admire. As a side note, here in Staten Island, NY where I live there is the local newspaper called “The Staten Island Advance”. I was talking to my twin brother a couple of weeks ago to possibly mention the fact to the advance that I am entering a cartoon contest and for the locals here in Staten Island to go to the website and cast their votes. A week later . . . I saw that somebody already beat me to the punch. Some person who lives here in Staten Island, NY is also in the contest. The comic strip is about a family of rabbits. But I couldn’t believe that on the front page of the paper was this “huge” article about this person and her comic strip and the contest on the cartooniststudio.com. I said to my twin brother afterwards, “You see, they stole my idea”. :)

#27 Daniel Boris
May/4/2011
@ 2:11 pm

Hey! I made the finals of this contest too!
Between the Washington Post contest, and this one, you’d think a syndicate would be interested in my strip?!

Go figure. LOL!

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