I get a lot of letters from younger cartoonists and people who make pictures for a living, asking for advice. Once upon a time I used to write these letters myself. I try to answer them, but to be honest, there isn’t a great deal of useful stuff you can say. If the author has desire to draw real-life it will come out anyway, with outside advice or not. We all have a talent for expressing ourselves in varying degrees. However, the one consistent thing I always say, is to learn the economic, legal and financial value of what is made with their skill. This is because, sadly, life and some people being what they are, you will undoubtedly find your work and ideas are, at some point, ‘borrowed.’ The trick at this point is in being to take the backhanded compliment. This last bit of this process is a bit like a finishing school for makers of creativity. It’s happened to me several times in the past decade and will no doubt happen again. There’s a good quotation by an Indian gentleman caled Ananda K.Coomaraswamy about it.
It’s not a question of an artist being a special kind of person, but of every person, who is not an parasite or an idler, being a special kind of artist.
Enough, time for a few days off.8th December 2007
Matt Buck’s animated drawings