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I became a cartoonist by accident, in a way. As a kid, I always wanted to be a cartoonist. I drew comics all the time. I read the local library's entire collection of Peanuts, and then moved on to Garfield, Far Side and Bloom County. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, "Cartoonist!"

But somewhere along the way, I lost track of my childhood dream and ended up working in a boring office job instead. Many years passed. I stopped drawing. I started getting migraines. The story could have ended there, but in the fall of 2004 - after a bad migraine and a bad day at the office - I grabbed a stack of yellow sticky notes and drew two chickens. That's how Savage Chickens began, and it changed my life completely.

Savage Chickens by Doug Savage
Savage Chickens by Doug Savage

Ten years later, I have a successful webcomic, a book, more than 2,400 comics and my work now appears on GoComics.com alongside some of the comics that I read when I was a little kid dreaming about being a cartoonist. If I think about it too much, I start giggling and dancing around.

Over the years, I've learned a lot about drawing, but my process has stayed pretty much the same. I still draw every comic on sticky notes. It just feels right, and it feels true to the original spirit of rebelling against office culture. I can't pencil my drawings first because it can ruin the sticky note, so I draw each comic in ink right from the start. When I make a mistake, I have to draw the whole thing over again, sometimes many times. I use a light box so I can loosely trace elements from earlier drafts. 

I don't work far in advance. I leave the drawing until just before I post my daily cartoon. Some days, I don't know what I'm going to draw until that point. This keeps things fresh and mildly terrifying.

What have the chickens taught me? If you're a creative person, you need a creative outlet only slightly less than you need food and water. Spend time doing something you love, every day, even if you can only spare a few minutes. You never know where it will lead!

 

Savage Chickens by Doug Savage
Savage Chickens by Doug Savage

A few other tidbits for the road:

Read Savage Chickens here or keep up with Doug on Twitter.

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