Exposing Your Funny Bone

Many years ago I wrote radio and TV commercials for ad agencies. Whenever they asked for a humorous commercial, I knew the job would be extra challenging. Have you ever tried to write or draw something funny? Try it, following the steps below. This may turn out to be a new avenue of artistic expression for you … or you may end up with a special respect for humorists, cartoonists and comic strip artists.

1. Think of something funny. It could be something rather mundane that just happens to strike you as off-beat.

2. Try to suggest this humorous episode or slice-of-life in a cartoon or comic strip.

3. Sometimes it?s difficult to portray the scene in images that allow the reader/viewer to “get” the punch line, so add whatever verbiage is necessary to lead him or her to your humorous payoff.


Here?s my attempt. Let?s just say I won?t give up painting landscapes any time soon. The wonderful thing about stretching yourself with attempts at humor is that it shows how important the relationship with your audience is. Viewers have to “get it” for your cartoon to work.

In any piece of art you need something for your viewers to “get”?something to respond to. They need to vest themselves in your art. So if drawing humor is your thing, great. If not, return to your chosen genre and keep in mind the unspoken agreement you have with your audience: You?ll supply your part of the equation and they?ll respond.

A signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society, Catherine Anderson lives in Glen Ellen, California. Visit her Web site at www.catherineanderson.net.

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