Jerry King Live!

Cartoonists take to the drawing board to share their sense of humor, sometimes to vent anger or as an outlet to turn their imagination loose. With a transcendental fusion of text and images, their purpose may be varied, such as entertainment, propaganda, literature or plain art.

Jerry King is one such prolific and versatile cartoonist with cartoons ranging on subjects like technology, relationships, health & fitness, pets, sports and office humor. He is a virtual cartoon factory that churns out over 300 cartoons a month. His work has appeared in thousands of greeting cards, magazines, websites, cartoon books, children’s books, newspapers and newsletters. Jerry’s client list includes names such as Disney, Playboy, American Greetings, Gibson Greetings, Current, Marcel Schurman, Renaissance, NobleWorks, Better Homes and Gardens, Golf Digest, The Saturday Evening Post, National Enquirer, Woman’s World, Comstock and The United States Golf Association. An award-winning cartoonist, Jerry’s work has also been recognized by two former US Presidents, George Bush and Bill Clinton.

Aside from greeting cards and magazines, Jerry is the author and illustrator of seven cartoon books. He has also illustrated ten children’s books, and has provided illustrations for numerous publications. One of his cartoon characters has even been turned into a stuffed animal.

After serving three years in the army as a medic, Jerry went on to graduate from The Ohio State University with a BA in English. He now resides in N. Canton, Ohio with his wife Annie, daughter Giana, two dogs and two birds. He draws editorial cartoons in the local newspaper The Canton Repository and when he’s not at the drawing board, he spends most his time at the golf course, indulging in his favorite sport. Jerry even had a long and successful amateur boxing career and now assists as trainer in the local boxing circuits.

ArtYears contacted Jerry King to find out more about the cartoonist and his art. We present an exclusive interview with the artist who is happiest at his drawing board:

What actually attracted you to take up the art of cartooning?
I was bored in school, so I doodled a lot. Eventually my doodles got better.

Is it important for a cartoonist to acquire formal training at an art school?
No it isn’t. Probably most cartoonists do not have formal art training. But it couldn’t hurt.

How and when did you first get your work published?
The very first cartoon of mine ever published was when I was in the 9th grade in high school. I did a Christmas cartoon in art class, and the art teacher gave it to the school newspaper and they published it. I thought I was cool

I was bored in school, so I doodled a lot. Eventually my doodles got better.

Could you name some of your favorite cartoonists or artists you have been inspired by?
I like Glenn McCoy, Gary Larson and Mike Williams. Two out of the three are fellow Playboy cartoonists.

Your succinct style draws people to your cartoons. How many hours in a day do you dedicate to your profession?
I try to spend as many hours as I can. But I golf a lot and have lots of friends, two dogs, two birds, a baby and a wife. So sometimes, I get a little distracted.

Your work is varied with humor drawings for numerous periodicals as well as corporate clients. Can you describe some of your more recent projects?
I loved working for Disney, it was fun and the money was great. Playboy is also a lot of fun. I am going to start working on a couple of cartoon strips with a couple of other cartoonists.

How do you go about the idea of producing your cartoon books?
As in all my work, I try to come up with stuff people can relate to.

How would you describe an editorial cartoon? What makes it different from other cartoons?
Regular cartoons are meant to entertain. Editorial cartoons are meant to comment on the news and politics of the day. I do editorial cartoons, but on a local level. This way I have an effect on my community.

Cartoon ideas come from everyday life. I just put a funny drawing to it.

Being a gifted cartoonist with a great sense of humor, what would you describe as your proudest moment?
Personally: My wife and child. Professionally: getting to do this job fulltime.

Your cartoons have put you in the spotlight and brought you close to a number of personalities. How do they react to your art?
I feel everyone loves cartoons, and many would like to be cartoonists. It’s probably the funniest and easiest job on the earth. I envy no one, which is a great thing.

You seem to draw on every subject under the sun. What sparks ideas for your cartoons?
Cartoon ideas come from everyday life. I just put a funny drawing to it.

On an average, how long would it take to complete a cartoon from concept to finish?
Most of my cartoons only take 15-20 minutes to finish. I have to be fast because I do 300 per month.

Is it vital for a cartoonist to possess writing skills?
Yes. It’s a well known fact that good writing can help bad art, but good art can’t help bad writing.

How much does a drawing style determine the success of a cartoonist?
Not much really. There are several very successful cartoonists who can’t draw a lick. But their humor is good. Dilbert and Cathy are good examples of poor art, but good writing.

Your work whether on the web or in the print media is usually time-bound. How do you handle deadlines?
I’m usually behind. Having to do 300 cartoons or more in a month for numerous clients, I’m always on a deadline.

It’s a well known fact that good writing can help bad art, but good art can’t help bad writing.

How has the Internet affected your lifestyle and the volume of work that you produce?
The Internet has saved me. Print magazine buy less and less cartoons these days. Web sites love humorous content. I can also send cartoons via e-mail all over the world in a matter of seconds.

You are an ardent golfer and even trained as a boxer. How much time do you devote to sports?
I’m now a sparring partner and assistant trainer for a couple of local pro boxers, which helps me keep in shape. I golf way too much in the summer.

How would you deal with a person with no sense of humor?
I don’t. I avoid them!

Jerry King produces a wide range of cartoons in his crisp, clean style and covers everything that involves humor. For more information about his work, you can visit his website WWW.JERRYKING.COM

The cartoons reproduced in this feature are copyright ©Jerry King and used with his permission.


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