Rod McKie: Sending Roughs or Finished Cartoons?

Above: a blown-up doodle from my personal sketchbook. This is just for my reference and I rarely show it to anyone. So ... uh ... don't tell anyone I'm showing it, OK? I draw 8 sketches on each page, front & back. Just my way of saving a few dollars. All of my gag ideas go into the sketch book. We'll follow the above doodle from sketch to finish to color finish.

Rod McKie writes about sending cartoons to magazines -- should they be finished cartoons or roughs?

If you're going to be a gag cartoonist, you need to make the decision. It's up to you what you send in. Rod sends in penciled roughs. I mail in finishes.

I understand: the cartoonist is submitting on spec, and speed is important. But, still, I recommend sending finishes. We talked about the difference between roughs and finishes before.

Above: the completed, finished B&W sketch that's sent to markets, complete with a typeset gag line. You can see that now we have this fellow sitting in a chair, the obvious center of attention in the picture. And I noodled around with the wording of the gag.

In the old days, cartoon editors knew you and knew your work. Heck, you could send in something that looked like a plate of spaghetti, safe in the knowledge that they knew you would deliver a gorgeous finished cartoon.

Look at Rod's rough in the above link. It's a very good finished pencil drawing. It's specific, detailed and clear. I can see that Rod can draw solidly and the he will deliver a professional finish.

Editors who look at the cartoons should have a WYSIWYG experience. Particularly since a good number of these editors come and go as the publishing world changes.

Above: the color finish. Since the client asked for it in color, and it was going to be printed small (I always ask if they know what the published size will be), I redrew it in bold lines. I'm sorry I lost the happy dog. Now, he's just kinda generic.

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