Success in Comics: Stay Tooned! publisher John Read

John Read enjoyed a 21 year career in the entertainment industry (movies, commercials) and teaching cartooning to kids age 7-12. Inspired by Jud Hurd’s Cartoonists PROfiles, he started Stay Tooned! magazine. John shared the four things NOT to do with your cartooning career and the 12 you should.


  • Stay Tooned! is an old school magazine. He plans on producing an ebook format in the future
  • 4 things you should NOT do in a cartooning career #1: Quit your job that provides health benefits
  • Recounts his years working in movies and commercials and then in graphic design. Always had benefits
  • Recounts story of Marcus Hamilton who was an illustrator working at Wal-Mart when he learned Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace) was going to retire
  • Hustled to get samples of his work to Ketcham which resulted at him becoming the artist on the strip at age 51
  • 4 things you should NOT do in a cartooning career #2: Publish a magazine about cartoons. There’s no money in it
  • 4 things you should NOT do in a cartooning career #3. Do not volunteer to produce the NCS chapter newsletter
  • 4 things you should NOT do in a cartooning career #4. Do not put on a show (exhibit)
  • 12 things you should do:
  • Attach yourself to someone (spouse) with a steady job, salary and health benefits
  • Decide and record what you want to achieve. Write it down. Your goal.
  • When early in your career, don’t get locked down into a specialty. Be flexible and open to opportunities
  • Get business card and website
  • Learn to draw caricatures. Be able to do quick sketches for people. When they learn you can draw, they often want to know if you can do caricatures
  • Create a product that can be resold that shows people what you can do
  • Network. Get away from the drawing table. Even in the “golden age” of comics, cartoonists had to hustle for work.
  • Give back. Use your talents to lift people (hospitals, etc.)
  • Public speaking. As a local cartoonist charge to come speak to groups
  • Teach and Mentor
  • Keep a sketchbook where ever you go. When an idea comes, you should record it.
  • Read Stay Tooned!

5 thoughts on “Success in Comics: Stay Tooned! publisher John Read

  1. Hey John, Thanks for taking the blown projector bulb in stride. And thanks again to Michael Jantze for being the ‘live projector’ and turning that into a positive!

  2. Sound advice.

    * I carry a notebook everywhere and write about three or four strips a day during my lunch hour. I strongly urge cartoonists to keep a pen and notebook handy.

    * Networking is so key. I have made quite a few friends in the industry thru social media. Not that it has gotten me anywhere!!! Then again, my comic strip stinks…. lol….

    * Setting goals is crucial. I did the same and never came close to hitting a single one… Time to create a new strip. I am learning drunk army ants without pants doesn’t appeal to the market. It does appeal to prison inmates age 55 – 70. I may try getting into a few prison newspapers.

  3. @ David Jones
    Your comic doesn’t stink David, it is very cool, and I love your gags and art. Have you tried getting any readers by advertising on project wonderful?

  4. @Bill Kellogg
    It was a lot fun. And I recommend to everyone interested in this business to go to the 2013 Success in Cartooning cavalcade. Great information and wonderful networking for all.

  5. It’s always frustrating when you spend a lot of time on slides and then end up winging it, but this went well, with many good tips and Michael’s tooning in the background was a hoot.

Comments are closed.