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Is luck involved in “making it” as a cartoonist?

Please discuss!

Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, DO YOU!?

Luck…what about it?

I saw an interesting thread on Facebook where the question was posed: Is luck how a lot of cartoonists “make it”?

I found it fascinating. Many believe it IS all luck. Some think it’s a combination of hard work and luck. Some say it’s who you know. All kinds of responses!

I thought this would be fun to ask YOU.

What do you think? Is luck involved in “making it” as a cartoonist? Or not? Please elaborate in the comments section.

I’ll chat with you down there…


  1. Darlene says:

    Hi Nate,
    Hey, I feel lucky today because I needed to reflect on this subject in order for me to get back to work. I’ve been in a bit of a slump, not drawing everyday, and instead feeling sorry for myself for all the lucky, successful ones out there making it happen and I’m not!

    I think every successful cartoonist can probably talk about a point in their creative endeavors to say, “ l was lucky, or fortunate, to have had (fill in the blank) To me luck is just a teeny tiny little piece of the story. It is never just about a lucky break! Although, having said all of that, I do consider luck or good fortune to be about timing…about opening yourself up to allowing luck to find you. I can’t simply sit around and wish I had the luck to make it. I always laugh when I hear people say something like, “Wow, she won the Eisner award. She’s so lucky.” No, she’s lucky from the years of work and sacrifice she put in. When we take the time to look closer we see the artist had years of life experiences, creative adventures, and hard work that helped move her towards claiming this “ lucky” prize.

    As Ray Bradbury says, “Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see his gusto.”

    We need the zest and gusto to practice our art everyday…not luck.

    I think it was David Mamet who said he wasn’t any more of a brilliant writer than anyone else, he just sat down and did it everyday. Same for Stephen King, “Sit your butt in the chair and write,” is what he’d tell anyone who asked, “How do you get published?”

    Dilbert, comic artist, Scott Adams, in his book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” really tells the story for me. ( The man never gave up)… “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to any discussion of success: luck. My worldview is that every element of your personality, from your perseverance to your risk tolerance to your ambition to your intelligence, is a product of pure chance. You needed the genes you were born with and the exact experiences of your life to create the person you are with the opportunities you have. Every decision you make is a simple math product of those variables.
    What good is a book that discusses success if success isn’t entirely luck? That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to wonder. And it matters because if you believe all success is based on luck, you’re not likely to try as hard as if you believe success comes from hard work. No matter what genes and circumstances you have, history tells us you still need to work hard to pull it off. Does a belief in pure luck work against you?
    It can, but it doesn’t need to.”

    Thanks for asking this question Nate,
    Here’s to working with Zest and Gusto everyday,

    1. Nate Fakes says:

      Hi Darlene,

      Thanks for posting all of that! It’s interesting to hear others take on the topic. I read Scott Adams book awhile back and I remember finding a lot of what he said resonating with me as well. I believe most luck can’t happen without hard work. Hard work and luck go hand-in-hand. Obviously, there are some things you can get “lucky” with — such as height if you want to play for the NBA or a good hand if you want to draw — but, in general, it’s dedication and working on making your own luck.

      Early in my career, I would look at other successful cartoonist and think, “Boy, they’re lucky!”. Yes, I was pretty naive. I’ve learned a lot about what they all went through since then.

      Thanks again for posting!



  2. Thaiss says:

    Sure, if by luck we’d consider a good idea coming at the right moment. :)))

    1. Nate Fakes says:

      Very true! That definitely can happen sometime. Some of the best ideas I get are when I’m in the shower or doing other random tasks.



    2. Darlene says:

      I agree Thais, and then making sure we grab ahold of that idea and build on it. Not just last it float back out into the universe.

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