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Welcome to the new Daily Cartoonist

Welcome to the blog’s new look. It has been an off and on again project for over a year with several reworks during that time. About a month ago, I settled into this design and made a concerted effort to get it out the door before I got the urge to scrap it and start anew.

What’s new?

You’ll notice the navigation along the top more clearly delineates the major topics and focus of the blog. In addition to my normal reporting on newspaper cartooning, I’ll be expanding my coverage to include magazine cartooning, animation, web comics and international cartooning stories. The decision to expand the scope hasn’t been easy. I’ve enjoyed the small community that a niche blog like this has created, but such a small niche can’t produce the necessary traffic needed to make more than tip jar money.

Which brings me to the second major change. I’ve created more dedicated real estate for advertising and sponsorships.

I’ve added a “store” where you can buy products through Amazon. Each purchase generates me a referrer’s fee.

I’ve also made it easier for you to subscribe to the RSS feed. Each section has it’s own RSS feed, so if you’re only into editorial cartooning and could care less about all the other topics, then subscribe to the editorial cartooning section and visit it independently of the rest of the site.

Another change is one that was requested from Milt Priggee. I’ve numbered the comments so that if we get more drawn out discussions that span days, it will be easier to pick up where you left it the day before.

Hope you like the new skin. I’d love to get your feedback in the comments below.

Thanks for your continued support.

UPDATE: Mike Lynch not only gave my redesign a plug on his blog, but a cartoon as well.

© Mike Lynch

Thanks Mike!

Community Comments

#1 Larry Levine
May/1/2008
@ 6:09 am

Alan, the site looks great!!!

#2 Norm Feuti
May/1/2008
@ 6:27 am

Looks great, Alan!

#3 John Auchter
May/1/2008
@ 7:05 am

Very clean and more usable — exactly what a redesign should be. Funny that you had to give yourself a deadline to keep from reworking it. Just goes to prove that nothing happens without deadlines….

#4 Eric Burke
May/1/2008
@ 7:15 am

SnifffffffffffAhhhhhhh! Don’t you just love that new blog smell?

#5 Ed Hall
May/1/2008
@ 7:20 am

I like the ease of navigation and the basic layout, but the site looks a little “hard,” kinda “static.” I would like to see some spot illustration or “cartoons” to soften it up a bit. It is about cartoons and cartoonists afterall. Maybe you could get some of us to contribute some small spot toons. I certainly would. Jus sayin’
-Ed

#6 Ed Hall
May/1/2008
@ 7:25 am

Alan,
One more suggestion – make your header logo “hot” on each page to take you back to the homepage. Common practice in today’s website design.
-E

#7 Charles Brubaker
May/1/2008
@ 8:24 am

Looks good. Not bad.

#8 Tom Richmond
May/1/2008
@ 8:41 am

Nice look. Great job, Alan!

#9 Dawn Douglass
May/1/2008
@ 9:12 am

Yeah, a daily cartoon on The Daily Cartoonist would be nice.

#10 Danny Burleson
May/1/2008
@ 9:12 am

Looks great, Alan, nice job!

#11 Mike Cope
May/1/2008
@ 10:06 am

Nice facelift, Alan!

#12 Vlad Kolarov
May/1/2008
@ 11:08 am

Looks great, Alan!!!

I LOVE the site!

#13 J.G. Moore
May/1/2008
@ 2:30 pm

Duuuuuuuude!!!
Translation: This site redesign is wonderful, great job.

#14 Vincent Vesci
May/1/2008
@ 2:38 pm

Alan, I like the new look. Looks great.
You do a fine job.

#15 Stacy Curtis
May/1/2008
@ 3:13 pm

Great re-design and thank you for providing such a great free service. It is much appreciated.

#16 Garey Mckee
May/1/2008
@ 3:57 pm

Looking good Alan. I do like Ed’s suggestion of actually publishing a cartoon on the site. Perhaps a rotating line up of participating and contributing cartoonists. I must echo the previous sentiments of others, thanks so much for such an interesting site. And to everyone who contributes here, thanks for making this such a great online community to be a part of.

#17 Alex Hallatt
May/1/2008
@ 4:53 pm

Great redesign. Aesthetically, easier on the eye and very professional.

Functionally, I like the separation of topics, though I’ll be checking them all out, as I hate to miss out on anything. I assume that the main RSS feed will still allow you to see all the posts on all the topics. There is a lot of crossover in the business eg. we newspaper cartoonists can learn a lot from web comic artists, especially about community-building.

But if you want to drive people away from their RSS readers and towards the advertising, maybe you won’t want to RSS the collective topics….

Thanks for keeping the content free: I’ll be sure to use your Amazon links for the next comic books I buy. Can you put more than 9 (say 25) books per page, since even on dial up, it is quick to load?

#18 Jeff Vella
May/1/2008
@ 7:36 pm

Great job on the RE-design, Alan.

I agree with Dawn, “a daily cartoon on The Daily Cartoonist” would be pretty cool if it’s done right.

In theory, you have a large enough readership where you can run a comic from a different artist every day for at least 2 or 3 years without repeating the same artist twice, right?

#19 Eric Burke
May/1/2008
@ 8:41 pm

LOVE the idea of a daily toon here, or at least a toon of the week! Great idea, Ed!

#20 Dawn Douglass
May/1/2008
@ 11:46 pm

Sorry, this isn’t on topic, but I just saw this and I think lots of people here should be very sympathetic and help spread the word:
http://www.immonen.ca/news/archives/963

This kind of stuff is very upsetting. I’m sure a lot of you have been swiped for books in Asia and elsewhere and don’t even know it.

#21 Eric J. Peterson
May/2/2008
@ 12:49 am

The redesign of the site looks very aesthetically pleasing as well as professional. I’m going to have to jump on the “jazz it up with cartoons” bandwagon, though. But this is a step forward. Well done!

#22 Alan Gardner
May/2/2008
@ 7:19 am

The request to have cartoons on a comic site are perfectly legitimate. Every time I think about doing that I run up against a couple of issues: most cartoonists want to be paid for the use of their comics (and they should!), yet I don’t have enough of a revenue stream off of the site to pay for the rights – nor do I believe adding a comic to the site increases my readership, so it would only cost me $ to add the feature with no additional $ to pay for it. So, that leaves me with the stuff that’s offered on the web for free. There are enough good ones out there that offer their stuff for free (Mark Anderson comes to mind) that I might be able to do it, but I’d treat the space more like a magazine and be selective in the cartoons that are posted (which takes time) rather than a newspaper where I run a set feature regardless of whether the actual cartoon was funny or not on a particular day.

I’m not writing the idea off completely, but it’s more complicated than it sounds.

#23 Alan Gardner
May/2/2008
@ 7:21 am

And BTW, thanks for all the kind words about the redesign.

#24 Lee Mayer
May/2/2008
@ 7:57 am

What about running an occasional cartoon that references or mentions the Daily Cartoonist in the gag? That sounds fun and site-specific.

#25 Alan Gardner
May/2/2008
@ 9:11 am

And who’s going to draw it?

#26 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 9:34 am

Alan, I’m sure there are many cartoonists here who would let you run a cartoon now and again in exchange for the free publicity / backlink to their own URL.

Couldn’t you randomize a feed with scraped toons from different artists you trust? Everybody uses the same date format for feeds, even the syndicates.

#27 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 10:01 am

Hey, I created an ad just to help get you started and put a bit of graphics on the site, and I see you already have several. Cool! I think that perks up the overall design of the site.

So I guess the lesson is that if we want our cartoons shown here, we should pay and give Alan income instead of just more unpaid work.
;)

#28 Stacy Curtis
May/2/2008
@ 11:13 am

I may be in the minority here, but I like the no graphics format of The Daily Cartoonist. I like it just being a quick read.

Would cartoons referencing The Daily Cartoonist really add anything to this ‘cartoon news’ site?

#29 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 11:32 am

Oh great Stacy, just what the art form needs: a cartoonist degrading the value of supplying cartoons on a news site. And in front of potential clients, too.

Way to go. You’ve won the raspberry award for today.

#30 Rick Stromoski
May/2/2008
@ 11:49 am

>>> And in front of potential clients, too.

Yea, Now you’ve done it Stacy. Degraded the art form in front of all those cartoon and comic buyers who come here to the daily cartoonist looking for cartoonists and now that they’ve seen your post , they’ve all changed their minds and it’s all you’re fault. Good goin’ slick.

#31 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 11:58 am

I should have said existing and potential clients. There ARE a lot of editors who come here.

Your usual hyperbole aside, Rick, don’t think editors aren’t looking for excuses to get rid of comics. When cartoonists themselves think cartoons detract from a site instead of adding value…

I’m just saying that if cartoonists don’t see the value of cartoons to draw and keep an audience, why should anybody else?

#32 Rand Aaronian
May/2/2008
@ 12:03 pm

For God’s sake, Dawn, lighten up for once.

I bet your cartoons are just a barrel of laughs.

#33 Ed Hall
May/2/2008
@ 12:11 pm

I’m not going to get into a big spitting match with everyone here, but since I started this, I’m going to come to Dawn’s defense. A few images on the frontpage (other than ads) would dress the site up. That’s all I’m saying (A randon thumbnail/link from editorialcartoonists.com comes to mind). The rest of the site is and has always been GREAT. No one is doubting the importance of Alan’s site, or the hard work that goes into maintaining it. But when he opens the floor for a critique of the re-release, then for the sake of the site we should answer with legitimate constructive criticism. It’s easy to gush, but good strong suggestions make the site better in the long run.

#34 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 12:26 pm

Seems to me that you, “Rand”, and Rick are the ones who need to lighten up. My original comment was tongue in cheek, made obvious by the raspberry award comment.

#35 Wiley Miller
May/2/2008
@ 2:02 pm

I think posting cartoons is a can of worms that Alan would regret opening. It would be a never-ending migraine.

#36 Alan Gardner
May/2/2008
@ 2:26 pm

I think posting cartoons is a can of worms that Alan would regret opening. It would be a never-ending migraine.

If I start it, I’d have to keep it going despite not making any money from of it and then people would complain if they didn’t like the cartoon and if I removed a cartoon for reasons of bad taste, offensive material, etc. I’d get even more angry email so then I’d have to start running polls and then we’d all end up with Beetle Bailey for the next 50 years.

So, while I like the idea, it’s not high on my priority list.

#37 Rick Stromoski
May/2/2008
@ 3:09 pm

>>>Your usual hyperbole aside,…

Said Mrs Pot to Mr Kettle…

#38 Garey Mckee
May/2/2008
@ 3:16 pm

After Alan’s explanation of the logistics of what would be involved in posting cartoons on the site, I understand his hesitation. It just sounded like a neat idea when Ed suggested it, but perhaps it’s not what is best for the TDC site.

#39 Stacy Curtis
May/2/2008
@ 3:42 pm

>>>Oh great Stacy, just what the art form needs: a cartoonist degrading the value of supplying cartoons on a news site. And in front of potential clients, too.

Dawn makes me laugh.

#40 Dawn Douglass
May/2/2008
@ 4:52 pm

I think the vast majority of people here, be they new readers or old, understand my voice as I intend it.

But there are obviously a few people here I’ve clashed with in the past over politics who choose to read with a harsh voice in their own heads whatever I write, no matter what it is.

So from now on, I’ll try to remember to put on a smiley face so that everyone will very clearly understand when I’m being tongue-in-cheek or teasing.

#41 Dave Kellett
May/2/2008
@ 5:23 pm

Great job on the redesign, Alan! Looks great!

Re: toonage on the site: Though you’re more than welcome to scrape my RSS feed for any free use of toonage you’d like â?? http://www.sheldoncomics.com/index.xml â?? I’d agree that I can’t see the inherent value of doing it for Daily Cartoonist.

If the blog’s intention is to be a source of industry news and interesting facts and tid-bits, a la Variety or the Hollywood Reporter, there’s no big gain in adding cartoons. The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t need a Quicktime movie of Grey’s Anatomy to report on Grey’s Anatomy.

#42 Malc McGookin
May/2/2008
@ 7:49 pm

Dawn said:
“I think the vast majority of people here, be they new readers or old, understand my voice as I intend it.”

I think that’s the very thing you’re complaining about.

As for Ed’s idea of including a daily cartoon on this site, it’s a good one, but fraught with difficulties for Alan.
He would then change from someone who sources and publishes articles about cartooning, to someone who publishes cartoons.
That way CAN lie madness, if it’s not up front and transparent.
What kind of cartoons? Gag a day, strips,
political, caricature, or all of the above?
Whatever type of cartoon, it would have to be Alan’s choice, and in that case some cartoonists would never feature.
If it were me in this situation, I would certainly feature cartoons on the site, but I would not ask for open submissions, choosing to approach cartoonists independently.
In such cases I would also NOT be offering money, as (a) I don’t have it, and (b) the exposure gained on the site would be valuable.
I do offer cartoons to very select sites because I like those sites, I feel part of a community there, and I enjoy having my work seen by my peers.
So there you have the quandary:
Either Alan offers an exposure-only deal to cartoonists whose work he appreciates, or he asks for general submissions and risks offending those whose work he chooses not to run.

#43 Malc McGookin
May/2/2008
@ 7:52 pm

One other thing:

I’m sure I’ve missed it if it exists, but is there a magic button I can press to see latest posts first? In other words have the new posts at the top of the page?

#44 Wiley Miller
May/3/2008
@ 6:29 am

“Either Alan offers an exposure-only deal to cartoonists whose work he appreciates, or he asks for general submissions and risks offending those whose work he chooses not to run.”

The breeding ground for a no-win situation, which would be the never-ending migraine headache I referred earlier. Alan would be inundated with rank amateur work, followed by incessant whining when he doesn’t post them.

Stick to what’s working.

#45 Malc McGookin
May/3/2008
@ 7:57 am

I reckon.

#46 Larry Levine
May/3/2008
@ 10:53 am

Alan, Will web cartoonists who regularly post here be able to have their blog links added to the ‘cartooning/bloggers’ list?

#47 Monty Rohde
May/4/2008
@ 8:08 am

Thanks for all the effort, and I don’t just mean the site redesign. It’s been interesting watching all the growing pangs your little blog has gone through.

#48 Alan Gardner
May/5/2008
@ 6:08 am

Larry, I’ll eventually add webcartoonists to the list. The requirements to be listed are: A. cartoonist must have a blog and B. the cartoonist is a professional*. That last requirement is the toughest for me to determine in regards to webcomics. I have in mind a formula for weeding the webcomics crowd, but it will take me a bit more time to get my head around the industry before I start listing webcomics.

* or working at a professional level (I recognize that not all print guys make their living solely from cartooning).

#49 Wiley Miller
May/5/2008
@ 6:49 am

“B. the cartoonist is a professional*. That last requirement is the toughest for me to determine in regards to webcomics.”

Perhaps this will help, Alan:

professional |prÉ?Ë?fe sh É?nl|
adjective
1 [ attrib. ] of, relating to, or connected with a profession : young professional people | the professional schools of Yale and Harvard.
2 (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime : a professional boxer.
â?¢ having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful : their music is both memorable and professional.

noun
a person engaged or qualified in a profession : professionals such as lawyers and surveyors.
â?¢ a person engaged in a specified activity, esp. a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
â?¢ a person competent or skilled in a particular activity : she was a real professional on stage.

#50 Alan Gardner
May/5/2008
@ 6:53 am

Yes, Wiley, I’m aware of the definition of a professional. Thanks for insulting my intelligence.

#51 Garey Mckee
May/5/2008
@ 1:35 pm

I think Wiley was posting that in a sardonic manner.

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