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The CartoonistCreative Process



My name is David Gilbert. I was born in Syracuse, New York in May of 1971 and like most cartoonists, I started drawing at a very early age. My first real cartoon I recall drawing was of Speedy Gonzales copied off a McDonald's Warner Brothers Specialty glass. I was five years old. My mother framed it and hung it on a wall in the living room where it still hangs today.

In the following years, I read any comic strip and animation books I could get my hands on. Heathcliff and Family Circus were the ones most readily available to me, and with the eighties came Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes.

It was in eighth grade when I noticed at the bottom of a Garfield strip the name "Jim Davis". At that moment the thought dawned on me that this person gets up every morning, draws a cartoon then goes back to bed! 'That is what I want to do for a living!', I thought.

Here's a quick shot of me in my work studio.


Needless to say, my cartooning endeavor wasn't as easy as I first thought when I was 12. The drawing part was easy but coming up with the ideas turned out to be work.

In high school I enrolled in a cartooning course which I nearly failed. The grade never discouraged me as I kept drawing in the hopes that one day I could become a professional cartoonist. My interests had shifted from comic strips to the field of animation where I researched the human form and the art of movement.

Disney animation became my guide to cartoons and I tried to develop a style that would help me get into the door at Disney when it came time to submit a portfolio. I continued drawing comic strips, though. Being published in the high school paper proved gratifying and it gave me the encouragement to draw more.

In college I discovered the names and addresses of the major syndicates from my local paper's editorial cartoonist, Frank Cammuso. He soon helped me get a job drawing an original strip called "School Bored" in a weekly insert geared for high school students called the "hj". This was my first official cartoonist job. It by no means was high paying, but it did give me the true taste of a thing called "deadlines".

I developed cartoons through my first year of college and continued sending them off to the syndicates and accepting their rejection letters. I bought a book called Cartooning: The Art and the Business by Mort Gerberg and wore out the few pages dedicated to comic strips and animation. In it gave names of all the syndicates, greeting card companies, and book publishers of the time as well.

At the same time I was lucky enough to find a small animation company called Animotion that was local to Syracuse and found myself working on true animation projects for the first time.




These books are some of my influences which inspired and helped me with cartooning.


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