The new cartoon reality:
1. Newspapers can no longer afford editorial cartoonists and are replacing them with cheaper content from syndicates. 2. Cartoonists can now bypass the newspapers and syndicates and post their work directly to the web which pays us...nothing (unless you can sell a cartoon book or a t-shirt once in awhile).
Therefore the only way many of us can make money from our labor is to use a crowdfunding platform like Patreon.
Rather than quit I have chosen to continue cartooning "without a net" and hope enough readers still appreciate my work enough to support it directly through Patreon.
Needless to say, being one'a them independent N'Hampsha bootstrap fellas I'm a bit uncomfortable asking people to please support my work. But when you are one'a them INHBFs ya do what'cha gotta do so this is what I'm doing.
I'm coming up on two years producing UP on the HiLL. I really enjoy doing it and would like to continue (there's no politics like New Hampshire politics!). If you'd like to see the comic continue (and get some free stuff!) please consider becoming one of my Patrons at www.patreon.com/UPOnTheHiLL. Patreon is secure and Patrons remain anonymous.
Strip: #1 Feb 21, 2017 Latest strip #322 Jan 21, 2019
(Note-- Harlan and Gemma do do a little more than just sit in those chairs!)
I keep files of news items I "clip" from the online newspapers and news sites I read each day (this used to be in the form of an actual clipboard with real newspaper clippings back in the old days, y'know, way back in 2012). I read all my papers in eEdition format - haven't read a "paper" newspaper for a few years now. I read the Concord Monitor, The Union Leader and my local paper, The Keene Sentinel. I also get news from InDepthNH, NH Public Radio, a few podcasts, WKBK Keene & Google News. I read The Boston Globe for years but had to cut my subscription due to budget cuts I had to make when I started losing my newspaper editorial cartoon papers. I do not miss the "paper" papers at all. I get minimal news from TV, not a big fan of network newsbites or the cable news channels, though I do catch a few minutes of them now and then. I usually watch WMUR at noon while eating lunch.
I DO NOT rely on Facebook or Twitter for real news. Naturally, I enjoy all the anti-trump memes on Facebook and I like the #nhpolitics Twitter feed to get the behind-the-scenes NH politics stuff and for those right-wing extremist trolls who supply me with tons of material for UP on the HiLL, although it's actually quite disturbing to see people spewing that stuff and a few are downright scary with their locked'n'loaded, god'n'guns crap. Glad their not my neighbors!
I have two files, one for New Hampshire news from which I draw ideas for the UP on the HiLL editorial comic strips and one for The Beach that used to be titled "national news" but is now pretty much all trump because he sucks all the air out of the daily news cycle (I've renamed this file MORON!.)
When I was drawing editorial cartoons for the Monitor items in the "National" folder usually had a shelf life of about a week - I used to draw all my cartoons on Monday & Tuesday and the subjects would remain fresh for the rest of the week. These days I have to clean that damn folder out almost daily because stuff from two days ago has been overwhelmed by today's pile of stupid from trump. Ideas I had for Beach strips yesterday seem almost irrelevant compared to what I should be addressing today. To use an already well-worn metaphor, the man is a firehose of news spew. I get ideas daily for The Beach, but can't draw them all because it would take me away from my other paid comic strip work. I currently make nothing from The Beach - I have a "Support The Beach" donate button but nobody's ever clicked it ( :( ). I'm still trying to find a way to monetize the strip, but in the meantime I'll continue to draw The Beach because it keeps me from going insane from watching what this administration and it's supporters are doing and saying. Every. Freakin'. Day.
As always, your questions & comments welcome. :)
I've been going through some my editorial cartoons recently, 2003 specifically, and was struck by how similar a lot of the topics were that year to those in 2018. It's mind boggling how little progress we make in this state and country. Below is a sampling from just the first six months of 2003...
The addition of Violet Finch to my UP on the HiLL webcomic also means the return of The Old Man Diner which
means The Old Man Diner stuff is back in my CafePress store.
You can check it out here: www.cafepress.com/uponthehill
NH state rep Violet Finch, formerly of my editorial comic strip Birch & Finch, will be returning to the comics! She'll be joining her cousin Gemma as an ongoing character in Up on the HiLL.
Patreon is a membership platform that enables artists to get paid directly from their readers.
For creators, Patreon is a way to get paid for creating things (webcomics, videos, songs, whatevs). Fans pay as little as a few bucks per month for direct access to the creations.
For patrons, Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator's community and pay them for making the stuff you love. This means the creator actually gets paid for their work and you become a bonafide, real-life patron of the arts. And imagine your favorite creators making a living doing what they do best… because of you.
From my Patreon 'About" page...
Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me to continue editorial cartooning this circus we call New Hampshire politics. And a big Thank You to those of you have become Patrons of Up on the HiLL! Having lost the opportunity to continue my editorial cartooning in the state's newspapers I have now moved my work entirely online and it is being funded by you, the readers. I Would greatly appreciate your contributions in support of this endeavor (and I'll give you free stuff!).
Up on the Hill is the continuation of my New Hampshire editorial cartoon work.
My opinions are now expressed through the characters of Harlan and Gemma Whetstone, a couple of wicked liberal, rural natives whose formative years were during the 60s and 70s. The Whetstones live up on a hill in Mapleville New Hampshire in an old New England farmhouse with their dog Pup and a cat named Mister.
I produce at least three strips a week - one will be open-posted and the rest will be for Patreon members only starting at the $3 level. Members will receive the strips on Mondays as soon as I finish them - before they're posted anywhere else! I'll also be posting Patron-only extras as time permits.
The changes just keep a'comin'.
As of this year I have been cartooning professionally in one form or another for 39 years.
For the first time since 1978 I find myself without a newspaper editorial page to call home.
After 38 years with the Littleton Courier, 29 years freelancing to the Concord Monitor and an eight-month run with InDepthNH.org I am now on my own.
I am pursuing alternatives to fill my editorial cartoon void, but I do plan to continue churning them out
occasionally. Above is the first editorial cartoon I've drawn since early August.
It looks noticeably different than my previous work as I've drawn it with pencil rather than ink.
Two reasons for this - - one, I can draw faster and looser with a pencil which I've always liked and two,
the joys of late middle age - arthritis is making it increasingly difficult to draw. It has reduced my control when inking and has made lettering especially difficult. Readers have no doubt observed that I have been relying more and more on digital type for my lettering.
And just to make it even more interesting I have benign essential tremor. Which means my hand shakes when I draw. It always has but up until recently I've been able to compensate. Meds help but not entirely and it, too is getting worse with age.
Which also explains why I'm making my two webcomics The Beach and UP on the HiLL mostly
on computer -- faster with less wear 'n' tear on the hand joints.
That's it. Not complaining, just explaining.
Things may change, but I will continue cartooning.