Art & Design Magazine

So Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

By Karl @cartoonistdiary
So where do you get your ideas from?If there is one question that all cartoonists get asked more than anything else its 'where do you get your ideas from?' and frustratingly enough its the one question we really don't have a concise, go-to, answer for. So we tend to roll out stock answers every time the question arises.
Well I've decided that is a bit of a cop out and today---and quite possibly for some time to come---I aim to answer that question as best as I can, and the way I'm going to do it is by example.
I still wont be able to give you a stock answer to the perennial question, but what I can do is show you a cartoon I've already done and talk you through the process from blank page to finished cartoon. Like I said: it's not a cover all answer, but with every example I show you, you will probably get a better viewpoint as to how these mystifying little things get created. And if it turns out to be popular enough feature, here at the Diary of a Cartoonist & Writer, I may very well seek out guest cartoonists to take you through their gag writing process.

Lets move onto our first one.
So where do you get your ideas from?
This cartoon is from a series of single panel gags provisionally titled 'Noodlepates' ( a medieval word meaning, daft, crazy or not quite all there; a very good description of my mind and the crazies that inhabit my cartoon world).
This cartoon came about from a discussion with a lady friend of mine. We were going over the fertile ground of the battle of the sexes and how women have a harder time than men, I countered with Man-flu and she hit back with giving birth.
Now this is a subject over which we men have no real point of reference, so generally they have us stumped. But when she went on to say, 'and it's not just the giving birth it everything associated with it' my ears pricked up and I asked her to elaborate. And that was when she started talking about pelvic floor exercises.
Now I didn't need that explaining to me, so my eyes rolled back, my expression became vacant and the creative ideas began to form in front of my minds eye.
The best way I can describe this part of the process is 'images'--some fully formed, others not so fully formed---fly around my head in gyroscopic formations, while all the time words and phrases start to develop; coalesce; and when a phrase or saying meets with an image they crash together and I have the idea, or the germ of an idea.
In this cartoons case I thought that if the elasticity of childbirth can cause such problems for women who have on average 2.5 children, imagine what it must be like for a creature that does it for a a hen.
Once the concept was sorted I created the first idea which had two hens discussing how they just didn't have a chance to work on their pelvic floor exercises before the next egg came along. Although it was a fun idea it lacked something; It lacked impact, and if there's one thing I want in my cartoons--- at every available opportunity---its impact.
When the word impact came into my head I saw an egg splattering against the wall and every thing started flying into place like a giant tetras game and then wham! The idea above.
Next I put the cartoon up on my Facebook page and got a lot of positive feedback, mainly---I am delighted to say---from women. And when I get that kind of response I just know I have a winner. So much so that this particular gag is now available on a mug from my Redbubble site
Like I say, I have no 'go-to' answer for my gag writing and the ideas I get, but if this helped in any way at all I will gladly do more and add this to the growing list of regular and semi regular features I produce here on the Diary of a Cartoonist & Writer
As always, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask or just leave a comment below---it's how I know you're all paying attention.
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