How Cartoons Can Jolt You Into Being Creative

Hugh McLeod is a cartoonist. But his drawings on the back of business cards are more than just doodles – they are miniature keys to personal creativity. His novel idea got noticed and before long, he put together a book entitled “Ignore Everybody” with his own view on how to keep creative in the modern world.

This book presents 40 of his own tips on creativity, accompanied by a business card illustration. A few of my favorites are below:

 Ignore everybody.

The more ori­gi­nal your idea is, the less good advice other peo­ple will be able to give you. When I first star­ted with the cartoon-on-back-of-bizcard for­mat, peo­ple thought I was nuts. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for mar­kets to digest i.e. cutey-pie gree­ting cards or whatever?

The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.

The sove­reignty you have over your work will ins­pire far more peo­ple than the actual con­tent ever will.

Put the hours in.

Doing anything worthwhile takes fore­ver. 90% of what sepa­ra­tes suc­cess­ful peo­ple and fai­led peo­ple is time, effort, and stamina.

You are res­pon­si­ble for your own experience.

Nobody can tell you if what you’re doing is good, mea­ning­ful or worthwhile. The more com­pe­lling the path, the more lonely it is.

Keep your day job.

I’m not just saying that for the usual rea­son i.e. because I think your idea will fail. I’m saying it because to sud­denly quit one’s job in a big ol’ crea­tive drama-queen moment is always, always, always in direct con­flict with what I call “The Sex & Cash Theory”.*

*THE SEX & CASH THEORY: “The crea­tive per­son basi­cally has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, crea­tive kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Some­ti­mes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense dua­lity will always play cen­ter stage. It will never be trans­cen­ded.”

Every­body has their own pri­vate Mount Eve­rest they were put on this earth to climb.

You may never reach the sum­mit; for that you will be for­gi­ven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find your­self lying on your death­bed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

If you accept the pain, it can­not hurt you.

 The pain of making the neces­sary sac­ri­fi­ces always hurts more than you think it’s going to. I know. It sucks. That being said, doing something seriously crea­tive is one of the most ama­zing expe­rien­ces one can have, in this or any other life­time. If you can pull it off, it’s worth it. Even if you don’t end up pulling it off, you’ll learn many inc­re­di­ble, magi­cal, valua­ble things. It’s NOT doing it when you know you full well you HAD the oppor­tu­nity– that hurts FAR more than any failure.
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25 thoughts on “How Cartoons Can Jolt You Into Being Creative

  1. I was fortunate enough to work on the Space Shuttle Main Engine program for over two decades before retiring. For a space cadet, nothing much sexier than working on rocket engines used to hurl humans into space. I love Hugh’s work. Thanks for visiting . . . and for sharing 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Cassidy Weyel, Makeup Designer and commented:
    Seriously wise. Creative types, read this. I especially like, “Don’t quit your day job”. As someone who once dreamed of quitting her day job to pursue her “higher creative callings”, and suddenly found herself fired from her job with no idea how to turn art into money (oh the irony!), take it from me…

  3. Love, love, love this! Proverbs for creative types. It’s got me thinking about the sovereignty over my own work and why the idea of making a buck off it leaves a bad taste in my mouth (though it might just be the taste of solvency, an unfamiliar meal in our house).

  4. Facinating as always – I was wonderign about cats and animation – they always seems to be portrayted in a fairly aggressive/shifty manner. Can you think of any that are positive? Stupid question I know!

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