Digitisation, stiffer competition and of course the explosive development of social media have thoroughly altered the creator’s role. Having to manage everything on one’s own is difficult and creators need a partner who is on their side
“Without Bulls I’d never have been able to reach as many papers as I’m able to do today,” says Niklas Eriksson, the creator of cartoons including Carpe Diem, Fia and #Sverige. “I’m of course particularly grateful for the joint American launch by Bulls and King Features.”
Because of all the competition and the enormous amount of information we are fed on a daily basis, it has become increasingly difficult to get paid for content. Nowadays, more “market sell” is needed to get content out – and get paid for it. But the growth of social media is a boon other ways, providing good channels for creators.
“Unfortunately, it’s not the golden age for comics right now, given the drop in newspaper reading,” says Niklas Eriksson. “On the other hand, it’s easy to get a good drawing across via social media and to spread your stuff there.”
Greater focus on creating
Having a partner like Bulls means that creators get help with negotiations, contracts and control of their brand, which in turn means they can focus on creating new output.
“I’m not at all comfortable in the marketing role – I find it enormously difficult to beat my chest and say that I’m good,” says Malin Biller, the cartoonist behind the Biller series. “Thanks to Bulls, I don’t have to think about that side of things.”
Sometimes, Bulls also helps out with colouring, distribution and translation, as well as in cases where the creator wishes to produce a book, a magazine or the like.
“Bulls helps me with the translation and colouring. And that is great because I can then focus on just creating,” says Niklas Eriksson.
Most creators work digitally nowadays
In the old days, cartoonists delivered their strips as originals on paper in envelopes. Today, everything is distributed digitally. Many creators work completely digitally with the aid of things like graphics tablets and software for digital drawing etc. But there are exceptions.
“I prefer to draw on paper but I work faster with the aid of the computer,” says Malin Biller. “I usually draw in black and white on paper and then colour it digitally.”
If it was just up to her, Malin would colour her drawings on paper as well, which she sometimes does. Quick deliveries are at a premium today, however, and doing everything on paper is time-consuming.
“I actually want to be a bit artistic, and colouring with watercolours has a completely different feel, but there isn’t always time for that,” says Malin Biller.
Greater scope before, faster tempo now
The advent of social media has led to more polarisation. Creators are at greater risk of being misunderstood – content can appear in the wrong context and be misinterpreted as a result. Here, Bulls’ editors help out.
“I have a free hand but I get help from Bulls with proofreading and discussing jokes that may be a little sensitive,” says Malin. “You have to be a bit provocative, otherwise things can easily fall flat. “It’s a balancing act.”
The tempo is constantly increasing as a result of today’s intensive news flow, and fresh things are happening all the time that can be joked about.
“If you do topical satirical drawings you need to get them out really quickly before the subject ‘fades away’ and is overtaken by the next scandal,” says Niklas Eriksson.
The world is changing all the time but Bulls still believes in a bright future for these cartoon strips.
“There’s a lot going on in the media nowadays and things are moving quickly” “But good content is still of paramount importance,” says Mikael Tegebjer, Chief Business Development Officer.
© Malin Biller/distr. Bulls
© Niklas Eriksson/distr. Bulls
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