Sometimes you have a really great idea for a cartoon. You carefully craft each word making sure each is perfectly placed for impact and brevity. Then you sketch, ink, shade, and scan carefully so the art lives up to the gag. Finally you gather up about a dozen or so more, proudly lay your recent masterpiece on top to wow the editor, and then realize that this career-defining triumph doesn’t make a lick of sense.
This is what happened with the above cartoon. I don’t remember the original caption any more, but I do remember being horrified that what I’d considered for a short time to be sheer genius was confusing at best, and dreadfully unfunny at worst.
So, ready to send and not wanting to waste some decent art, I got rid of the first caption and quickly dashed off something that seemed serviceable, but plain.
Some years later this cartoon remains one of my biggest sellers, and I’ve learned to indulge my ‘genius’ instinct a little less, and to trust quick simplicity more often.
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About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website, Andertoons.com, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.