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With no guaranteed minimum salary and shrinking job prospects, the life of a professional cartoonist is not for everyone. However, for those with a passion for cartoons, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Not all of the benefits are tangible but being a cartoonist can be an incredibly rewarding career or hobby.
Benefit of Self-Expression
Whether you have a strong political viewpoint or just your own take on daily life, being a cartoonist allows you to share your perspective quickly with a larger audience. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a political cartoon has the ability to change public opinion, and a simple cartoon or comic strip may be clipped and posted to countless bulletin boards.
Benefit of Freelancing
Most cartoonists work on their own. For those who value the freedom to set their own schedule and work from home, the cartoonist's life is ideal. Today's market does not provide for many full-time staff cartooning jobs, which means that cartoonists can choose to work for several different companies, either syndicating their work or self-publishing.
Benefit of Merchandising
Popular web or newspaper cartoons can have second lives when reprinted on T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs and calendars. Cartoonists who self-publish or who maintain the rights to their work can continue to earn money from licensing deals with greeting card companies, merchandisers, or through printing and selling their own designs.
Benefit of Community
Although most cartoonists work alone, they have the benefit of professional organizations for networking and socializing. The National Cartoonists' Society has regional chapters for cartoonists to join and meet other local cartoonists bonded by the same professional ideals. The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is a professional organization for all levels of editorial cartoonists, offering annual conventions and an email discussion list.