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Cartoonists convey humorous insights into people, events or incidents on behalf of newspapers, magazines or companies. They prepare satirical or humorous cartoons for publication in most visual media. Different media require different skills and most cartoonists create characters and prepare models and sketches of them.

Cartoonists may write their own scripts or illustrate the scripts of others. They need art experience and some knowledge of writing techniques.

Most cartoonists also have to keep up-to-date with politics, economics and social conditions. Political cartoonists need to keep up-to-date with current affairs, politics and economics. Television cartoonists should be very versatile and able to draw anything from comic flash cards to animated cartoons. Cartoonists specialising in advertising must be familiar with selling and advertising techniques and trends as well as with art techniques.

Cartoonists need to be diligent readers of the different media, and listen as much as possible to the radio. They often sketch on their own initiative, but are also often requested to sketch cartoons of certain public personalities and events. Such requests usually come from news, art and other editors of daily newspapers or magazines.

Areas of specialization include:

- advertising
- television
- comics
- editorials or politics
- book illustration
- animation
- caricatures

Work settings vary widely. Cartoonists may work in spacious, well-equipped studios or in small rooms at home. They may work alone or in a workspace with others. The work can be stressful due to deadlines that have to be met.

Most cartoonists start out as assistants to professional cartoonists. Some start as comic book illustrators. With talent, ability and experience, cartoonists may advance to having their own cartoons published, or having their own animated television specials. There is a great demand for cartoonists because of the ever-increasing use of cartoon techniques in industries, educational institutions and associations. This is a highly competitive vocation in which only the most talented, ambitious and experienced cartoonists succeed. This work is not seasonal nor is it limited to a particular location, but competition is strong.

Satisfying Aspects
- recognition and respect
- being able to express oneself creatively
- variety of work
- the variety of the specialities available

Demanding aspects
- meeting deadlines
- sometimes working irregular hours
- the difficulty in becoming established in this field

A cartoonist should:
- be enthusiastic, independent, persuasive and resourceful;
- have artistic ability, creativity and good sketching ability;
- be able to communicate ideas clearly;
- be able to sketch facial expressions and other situations
- get along well with others and work in a team;
- be able to accept criticism;
- have a good sense of humour;
- be able to work under a great deal of pressure - in most cases
- have manual and finger dexterity
- have good eye-hand coordination
- have good health and physical stamina

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Visual Arts, English, History, Economics

Degree: BA (Fine Arts) - most universities, RU, UJ, US, UFS, NMMU, Wits, UCT, UP, UFH, NWU, WSU.

Diploma: N.Dip. Fine Art or Graphic Design - DUT, VUT, UJ, CUT, TUT.

Certificate: at most FET colleges

Ideally the diploma or degree course undertaken will have subjects such as: Design, Photography, Layout, Painting (Art), History of Art, Anatomy and Perspective. Additional education in writing, advertising and selling techniques and economics, historical and political sciences would be helpful to those interested in certain specialities.

Cartoonists usually assemble a portfolio to display their work. A good portfolio is essential for obtaining employment and freelance assignments, as well as for job changes.

- Advertising agencies
- Public relations firms
- Newspapers and magazines
- Television
- Publishers
- Motion picture studios
- self-employment work, freelance work

National Arts Council    
PO Box 500
Gauteng, 2113
Tel: (011) 838-1383
Fax: (011) 838-6363