Scott Metzger (The Bent Pinky)by GoComics
Like many cartoonists, I've been drawing ever since I was a kid. Growing up, Charles Schulz' work was a huge influence on me. I loved reading Peanuts and copying the characters. I was also influenced by The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield.
I started drawing single-panel cartoons right after I graduated from college. After a few months, I put together my 10 favorite cartoons and submitted them to the syndicates, with the hope of landing a development deal for syndication. I didn't get the development deal, but King Features accepted a few of my cartoons for their syndicated feature, "The New Breed," which showcased the work of "up and coming" cartoonists. The New Breed happened to run in one of our local papers, The Oakland Tribune, so I was able to see my cartoons in print, which was very cool.
A couple of years later, I started submitting cartoons to greeting card companies. After a few rejections, I finally had some success: Oatmeal Studios accepted three of my cartoons for publication. About a year later, I started licensing my work to Marcel Schurman (now Papyrus/Recycled Greetings). Today, I have greeting cards with three companies: Papyrus/Recycled Greetings, NobleWorks and Vash Designs.
I enjoy finding the humor in everyday life. Cartoon ideas are everywhere, even where you wouldn't expect them. If I have a lousy day or if something bad happens to me, I sometimes stop and think, "Can this be turned into something funny?" Great ideas can come from that.
I jot down cartoon ideas in a sketchbook. It could be a fully formed joke or just a line I think is funny. Sometimes, I write down a joke and the next day I look at it and think, "This is terrible! What was I thinking?" I hate when that happens. If I'm on the fence about an idea, I show it to my wife. She has a good sense of humor and she's also a good artist. If she laughs, I draw it. If she doesn't, I scrap it. It's an easy way to make a decision. I often send my wife texts like this:
Someone (I wish I could remember who) once made the observation that a comic strip is like a sitcom, and a single-panel comic is like stand-up comedy. I think that's a great analogy. Ever since I was a kid, I've enjoyed stand-up comedy. For me, watching stand-up specials is a good way to get into a "funny" frame of mind. A few of my favorite comedians are George Carlin, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Rock, Louis CK and Ricky Gervais.
My two kids (6 М_ and 18 months) and my two cats (a smart one and a dim-witted one) also provide a lot of inspiration for comics. One of my cats often gets involved in the creative process by licking the side of the computer monitor while I draw. She's pretty weird.