Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 51 · 8 months ago

From the Vault: Cartooning and Brand Building with Dave MacDonald


Dave MacDonald from Crafted1K joins the podcast to talk all things cartooning. He shares how he developed a love of comics and doodling at a young age, how accidentally stumbling into a sales career led to his current business, and why every brand should tap into the "humor effect."

Good people, cool things, an podcastfeature and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians andother creatives, get inspired by their stories to do your own whual faith andhere's. Your host joy help hello and welcome to good people coolthings. This is an episode, that's from the vault going back to two thousandand nineteen, when I hosted an episode with a Dave McDonald who is the founderof crafted one K and I've really enjoyed this podcast t from a year anda half ago, but it's still rings so true Dave talks about how he developeda love of comics and doodling at a young age, shout out to Calvin an Hamsand Garfield the two top comics for Dudalan, along to at least that I thinkI cannot draw Helvin to save my life, but that's just such a good cartoonstrip, we're geeking out about it for sore in this episode, but we're alsotalking about how dave accidentally stumbled into a sailes career and howthat led to his current business. It's just a fantastic story of followingyour passion and hey, sometimes you're, going to accidentally discover what youenjoy. What you like doing and those circuitous routes are sometimes themost fun things in the long run. So we're talking all about that. How Davegot to where he is today and how you can use your own brandof content toengage with your customers, your audience and make more sales makepeople happier which are all great things to be doing and as a reminder,all this month, all February support good people cool things. At the Merchshop head over to good people, cool thingscom shop, everything is twentypercent off. Doesn't matter what you get, you get one Hoodie, it's twentypercent off! You get four mugs. Five hats, three shirts, a little baby bornit's twenty percent off your whole order is twenty percent off it'sfantastic! There's! NO MINIMUM! NO MAXIMUM! Go Hug wild because we'recelebrating one year of good people, cool things, we're not past the yearthreshold, but we're still celebrating all month. Long and all of your supportnot only gets you some cool swag. It helps keep the show running, gettingall these great guests and sending Fan tastic. So you can keep doing coolthings, but enough of that, let's top on into the conversation with Dave. Itsounds like you were cartoonist. You had cartoonous aspirations from a youngage, but it looks like you know, maybe maybe a couple couple different detoursalong the way. So can you just kind of talk about your journey growing up?Maybe a couple cartoons that you loved reading as a kid yeah. No, obviously socartoons were huge for me. Big Ones back in the day were obviouslyCalvenn, hobs and and Garfield were like my two go tos as a kid, and it was always for me. It was kindof like my little my little place to get away had a little bit of anxiety,growing up and dodling and drawing was kind of. Like my reprieve. It's liketoday's meditation back. Then it was. It was me pulling out a pencil in andDud Imon a little bit, so it was always Ingreato me. Actually, there was onetime in elementary school where my mother had to write a note to theschool, to tell them that it's okay, that I'm doodling I'm still listeningto them, because they thought I wasn't payingattention in class. But that's you know, even even when I get older throughcollege, that's most of my notes are kind of like these little doodles anddrawings, but it's all the info. It just looks a little different. Oh Yeah,I've seen I've seen folks at conferences, I'll see them takin likedodle notes, and I I'm always impressed by it. I'm like this is a lot neaterand cleaner than my furious scribbling of notes. I just wish I could you knowcompetently draw something like that bean fair enough abis. That was that was big for me fora while and then continue do to drag kind of for fun andthen got into a couple newspapers through high school and then collegeand then after college. I worked at a newspaper called the Albany BusinessReview. It's part of American city... journals and I got a chance tocartoon in their paper for about a year and a half, so it was really cool. You knowdefinitely always something always something that's been around for me. Awesome. Do you remember the very firststrip you ever got in the paper, the first one that that's memorable waswell. This would have been so I went to college at a an upstate New York,Franciscan college called Sianna College and in their newspaper thePromiki and I created a cartoon called Saints, bepraised Nice. So it was funbecause on campus there was a bunch of friars would live in each torm and theywere kind of cool guys. We just get to know them a as people. You go to themfor advice for guidance. Occasionally when you're old enough, you can grab abeer with them, but a that was my first fun strip right.I took a lot of those experiences of what it's like on campus and put itinto a Fryar and cartoon form Nice. I like that yeah, and then I guess the other oneafter that, when I was in the visit Toview, that cartoon was called life ofa salesman at the time I that was when I first got into sales, so I was makingjokes and lightness of anything. You went through from cold calling tohangups to getting shut down or landing a deal orfighting with office supplies, so that was that was kind of like a Jo, aDibert esk cartoon. It was fun. Nice, yeah, there's plenty to draw fromIIN sales. I would imagine oh yeah yeah every day's, an adventure, so you had mentioned o me that you kindof accidentally fell into sale. So how did that happen? Yeah? Well, when I Iwent to school from marketing and then when I was at the business frealwasactually their marketing coordinator. So this was two hsand and eight two housand early, two thousandand nine. So I was working with their first email, newsletters and startingtheir their twitter account was kind of like my first two projects and then acouple months into it: the Sales Guy that sold the paper. ECAS these paperswere going to like CEO sales managers executives that were using theinformation that's going on in that marketplace and use that to make theirdecisions for their day today lives. So he quit so they were out of anybody tosell the paper and a publisher came up to music. Would you mind doing this fora little while? So I helped him out, I said yeah sure, and then, after that they dissolve themarketing coordinator position and I got got jumped right into sales rightoff the bad, nice, nice, and so I'm sure some of these were probablychronicled in your comics, but you remember a particularly sort of intensesales interaction you had well. Most of it was because that that particular role wasan inside sales role. So you were, you are hammering the dials out eightyninety hundred calls a day, so there's plenty of cartoons aboutlosing your soul into the telephone without without a doubt. So that's Ha.That was my coking mechanism will call because there there're some great dayswhen you actually had something that works and you got to sail. But there'splenty of of hangups stop bothering me who are you? How did you get thisnumber that you're like all right? Let's, let's see if we can makesomething to this nice, and so how long were you in thatrole before you kind of realized? Wait a minute. I can combine my cartooningmy marketing background and what I'm doing here in sales all into one sortof business, which became crafted one k. It took a few years. You know for awhile. I ended up. I actually, ironically, got good at sales and thatinside job, so my career path, kind of shifted a little bit. I went more of atraditional sales and business development route for about twelveyears and it wasn't UN til, probably the lastsix months or so I started I've always...

...been drawing. I started posting more onInstagram and I started noticing that there is a a lot of generic images. A genericquotes that people are using for their posts and internal messaging for maybenewsletters to their own employees, and things like that they just was. It wasannoying to look at just flip through them, so I'm wondering I was startthinking you what'. I pull these old cartoons in again and then use some ofmy experience in sales and marketing to Aybe create a service to help peoplestand out a little bit more. So after a couple months of thinkingand thinking, I finally said all right: Let's just do it, so that's that's whathappened in three months ago, nice three month, anniversary Congrat.It is thank you and obviously there are some some goodbenefits to cartoons of having an image or you know something more eye catchingthan just like you were saying, just like a generic quote. Can you talkabout a few of those benefits that you've seen yeah, I mean the biggest thing I meanit's kind of boils down to. I guess three different segments is what I talkabout. Is People remember cartoons, you know, there's a concept called the humor effect andsteady show that when something's funny, it's more easily recalled so the biggest benefit when you'reusing cartoons it S. just it makes a little l. You can make light of aparticular topic where, in other words, it could just be very boring and rigid.Even though some of that information, that's boring and rigid is important,and you need to understand it. If you can make it a little bit more funny,it'll thinking a little bit more deeply than it would just you know, planetextor an image of a mountain, and then they I mean a couple o otherthings are the obvious one they're fun to Sharif. You know we grew up. I meanI'm thirty four now so I still grew up with a newspaper reading that on theweekend so clipping those out hanging them on the the fridge like my mother,still has half of her fridge with random cartoons I created over theyears, but we we like to laugh and we like to laugh with others and share it.So cartoons are fun for Your Business because now you can share them. Youknow through any means that you use whether it's through your socialaccounts to your email or obviously getting to speak itverbally through a podcast like this and then kind of going off that humaneffect they're just they're, just more effective than your standard text. Sowhen 're you're likely to remember something like ten percent ofinformation that you just read, but if you read that information cared with arelevant image, you're retaining sixty five percent more of that Info, so draiht off the batages at you're,recognizing it more it's staying intact because, instead of just words, there'sa picture, that's kying everything together for you! So for me that wasthat was a lot of fun to figure out how he can do that with a cartoon and helpthose with their messaging. And so let's say that I am a businessthat was kind of struggling with my messaging and want to. You know, maybereach some people using cartoons. What does that process look like in workingwith businesses? Well, a lot of times. It'll come downto what what's your initiaive like? What's yourgoal, what are you trying to do? You're, trying to just reach more people oryou' trying to engage with who you currently have and then once you getthat we yo get an understanding of where they want to try to go a lot of.It would come down to what's the message you're trying to get outbecause ultimately they're the ones you know the customers, the clients are theones that are the masters of their brand. What do they want to talk about?What dare they? What do they represent? What's the brand, they want to portraythe message, the message they want to get out there and for me most of mycartoons now on, like the formati'll do, for just my normal post is I'll. Take atopic I want to talk about I'll, find some interesting quotes, and then, fromthat quote, the cartoon kind of comes to life. So for the clients, it thesame same process of what's the message of you're trying to get out there,whether it's a new product of service, an initiative or O, maybe a nonprofityou're connected with or the message... want and then just kind of threwsome creative juices. The cartoon comes out of that, and are you typically getting prettypretty creative control on days or are some companies more hands on with theirapproach? It's FIE sity? Ultimately they have. They have the NSA. So mostof the times when we come out with an idea, I usually have up to threerevisions. So it's kind of Ike s, a mutualunderstanding where you guys have your message. That's important, you'rehireing me. So you kind of know what my skill set is, but we also know we needto work together. SO THAT'S SOWELL! That's where the boundaries come intoplay, but F, fifty some of them just say, run with it. Others are like well.We want to have a little more tailor this way or maybe watch some of thelanguage. On this particular topic. Do you have a preference O on which kind of style I like both actually but he cu e?Obviously, when it's free rain, that's that's Super Fun, but also some otherconstraints that they put on. You know within reason: It's a fun new challengewhere you got to try to fit what you're doing in, not necessarily in a box butin some parameters. That's will definitely challenge you creatively,yeah, I feel like sometimes- and this is coming wore from a writingperspective. I, if they're, just like hey right about whatever I'm like I'mjust watching that cursor blink on the page off eahthestraints can helpsometimes yeah so yeah, just just little pass little guidance. It worksout well awesome and as far as distributing these cartoons, then youmentione a couple different ways. Sometimes it might just be internalemails for I employees that currently work at a business or maybe trying toget some more new fans more new clients getting it out there. That way. Haveyou found one method more effective than the other, or is it kind of awhole integrated approach that works best? It's more integrated? It dependson what they're trying to do. For example, you know if you have a salesteam, that's trying to launch out some new initiatives. The cartoons workreally well within t eitheir, email newsletters ar nemail messaging,especially if you're trying to do you Gan a set Uf followups with your team,it kind of brings to light. You know, maybe a challenging periadeyou'r going through whether it's for looking for a new growth or or tryingto get ridtention the cartoon on that email kind of just lightens a Lotte,but it also makes the team look forward to receiving it each week. And then youknow on the flip side, when snoone's trying to do more of a promotionthrough social, the cartoons typically ha they're, typically going to be teamsaround the same either character and or topics. So the audience then gets o geta fiel foright. Let's see what the next three weeks are going to be, becausethis is kind of fun to see where this guy's going with this particular idea. I like that, it's like I, I continuous sort of like adventure thatyou get to see unfold over span of a few weeks, instead of all just at once.I like that yeah, you know o Nowa very much so kind of reminiscence of the oldwhen you're at the newspaper. The cartoons in the paper you'd read aparticular clip and then your can o ockright. Now O got to wait till nextSunday to figure out what happens next, but you're going to get next Sunday'spaper cans. You want to see what happens and then next Sean Yeah. I always think when I because Iwould say now the bulk of my comic I consumption comes either online or inthose collection books that come out A. I always think when I'm reading it I'mlike man. I wonder what this would have been like to read over because likegoing to Calvin and hobs, which we will also get back to it a bit but yeah justsome of those strips that were, like you know, two or three weeks, longstorylines, and I just think of how fun that would have been to just you knoweach day come home and be like okay, what's you know? What's coming up tothis this day I and reading it all in a...

...collection all at once. I mean it'sstill enjoyable for sure, but I always kind of wonder like I wonder if I wouldhave kind of consumed this differently over the course of three days. Insteadof three minutes. Oh yeah, I had the same conversation on a separate topicwith my kids, who are watching the show and like I want another episode andwe're like we're, taking a break for the time and like you guys, are luckybecause you get to watch another episode, but when Ie wanted to watchthother episode, we had to wait a whole week for another Tuesday at eighto'clock. For the next episode of that show to come back on, but now you knowthey git Hav to click of their finger. Yes, I remember have covered the similarconversation around breaking bad, which I didn't get into until the gap in thefinal season, how they ran like half of it and then took a maybe thi summer offand then came back in the fall with with the final half. So I was watchingeverything from season one to like five and a half for the middle of five. Allin that little time frame- and I was talking to someone and they were like-oh so, you probably saw how spoiler Larde tanyone Ho's listening, how theman character, while white gets a lot more evil throughout. I because you'rewatching it faster and they were like. I thought it was a lot more subtlebecause they had kind of like rewatched everything to like get back up to speedtheyw're like yeah when I was watching this, like. I totally didn't realizekind of how sort of quick that that shift happens because they had beenwaiting every week to watch it and so yeah. It's definitely a an interestingmindset of how you consume something base exactly you can get it Eah, that'sand that's what some of the cartoons playoff of like when you have thosecampaigns where it's you know three four five long keeps the keeps yourcustomers and your friends and your followers whatever engaged to see.What's the next one, so it's it works out, really really ell, it's a coolformap and from a planning perspective, do you have everything thought out atthe beginning or is it kind of like a Yol, publish one and then you're likeokay? I got to figure out how how to keep this going recently, it's been more of it'll, come and burst. Where I'll havethis moment where I can bang out six seven, eight nine different like what Ifeel like are just great cartoons for topics. It's fun, it's and then there'sthe other corage, where I'm like just truggling to figure out like. What'sthe next word, I'm going to write so for those moments. I got ta kind ofUnplug and get away, but for the most part, when the idea comes I'll, know itand then once it's there, it's like let' just go until evens keep goingwith it awesome nice yeah. I can imagine thatcould be stressful if it's like. Oh, I need thisnext one to come out later today and I've got yeah. You can't you can't WORCit it's tough, I mean, but then sometimes you're behind the deadlineing.You got to make it work, since it's a lot of get up, move change, differentroom, put a different song on you know, maybe maybe grab a coffee or a beerdepending on the type of day. Ita Im grab a beer. I like it, we don't judge it's twenty, I thinkexactly it' five o'clock summer and I wanted to touch a little bit onlettering, because I remember reading a Dilbert collection where Scott Adamshad a little notes kind of in the in the margins about the differentcartoons, and he mentioned there was like a week or two period where he wasbattling arthritis or or something in his hand, and wasn't really able to dothe lettering. So he had someone else doing it and he's like. I think it's so noticeableand I'm like, I guess, if you hold it up next to each other like a little bit,I can see maybe like a slight difference. Yeah. I imagine that's probably somethingthat's more more close to t e, the actual cartoonist that they would bemore noticing of that. But has your sort of like lettering style changed itall over the the years? Hif You kind of had to hon it, or was it just somethingthat just came naturally and you found it work from the Gigo? No, it'sdefinitely been an evolving. I guess crafts that I've turned more totech. For than anything my Chit, my...

...handwrite is chicken scratch it'ssomewhat terrible, which is ironic because for someone that likes to drawso much, I can't write t save my life. It's like hat my mind, just moves sofast, so I did write a lot and they were okay, but ther's still a challenge,because every other s would look different and Iwoul frustrate the lifeout of me. So for most of my cartoons now I actually use an APP calledprocree to create them in. So I use a lot of the font and texts that protratehas populated to gin to get a feel for for the messaging and high one deliver.It's still a challenge. I mean writing and writing, and even or using settexes. You still want to try to portray the voice that you're look that you'relooking for. So it's it's definitely something I'm still working on. Youknow, as an artist to try to figure out the right way to have a text look tomatch with the picture but yeah. I definitely have transtransferred frommore of a handwritten to using the the tech, based, probably a little easier on t e, therisk to Oh yeah yeah, absolutely all right, so I do again, of course,want to get back to Kelvin and Hobbs because sure we're similar age, I'mthirty one. So we both Hav, we both had the newspapers growin up, both calenand hobs, was Wat's there. For us is kid, that's it,and if I like to kind of wrap up a lot of these episodes with the top threeand so since we're both calen and Homs fans, I'd love to hear, if you havethem your top three Callenan hob strips I'll, also accept story lines. If you,if that's a little easier, the top three all right, that's a funchallenge. One of them, I'm trying to remember wasit was a series of four or five strips and I think Calalvvin had came across. It was some animal that had died and I'm trying to remember off the topof my head, but if it was something, let's just call it. I think it was asquirrel, maybe itwas a squirrel. I was going to say a budy, but it died andLiy. That was a really. I really liked how he wrote that strip out for thefirst for the couple where it showed a really different side to calvin avulnerable side to him where he did understand death, which is how I lovewhat Bill, how he put these these thoughts into images like that, wherenone of us really understand it that well, and he just talked o Abelt- how it wasit could be such a cruel world sometimes and then he gives hobs a hugsand just make sure you don't leave me no buddy, and I love I just love thatsthret. I ow for some reason that always always resonated with me and then then the funny one. So reallyany time he was eating dinner, andtthis six thing, because I had my own kidswhere newyork it's gross, it's they ddn't even know. What's it what we madeyet, but any of those strips were hilarious, because the food would comealive, there's one that the food came alive and tried to eat him. Those were always epic and then actually, I have his leather bound collection of every cartoon. He createds like a threeleather, bound books. My wife got me a number of years ago and I was readingit with my daughter, the Otother Day and e came across the the last one heever did where it's its a fresh snowfall and they're talking about howthis is such a magical, place and Ow, let's go exploring and that was kind ofbuilds sign off. Yes, so that would be a sweet one too, because that's it comes back to kind of where I'm atin this point. In my life with with my young family and then branching outwith craft to one kawith cartoons, as you know, let's just go exploring,because for so long it was following me social norms of what you should do getout o of College, get a job move up the ladder. You know this that and theother- and for this time it's kind of scary, you know being on your own beingselfemployed, because there's a lot of unknowns, particularly with kids, yougot you got insurance. You got to think...

...about. Thankfully my wife, we get thatthrough her at this point, but yeah that last strip it's go exploring. I think that says a lot,to least for me right now. Yes, I love all of those he the dinner win for sure I like weal,the mom has to say like Oh, it's eyeballs and brains. Tew, like you didO just to get him to eat it. He or he's bringing his lunch to school and Het'se Suzi Derkins is like what do you have today, it'sthe insides of a Lizard Ibought, and it's just pee, but er Jelly, but that's just terrific, so good I got TA. I got ta get that that leather bound collection.That sounds great, I feel, like I probably have most of the strips of insome kind, but to have it all in one place like that, it's nice yeah, youknow I pulled it out. The other day I haven't looked at I a little while Ihave a couple of his random books, kind of scattered on each floor. F, my house,but that was it's a cool cool, little collection. They have yeah and it's still amazing howWerewe're coming up on twenty five years after the last one and yeah.Still it's still just like so relevant like I'll Tak. At this a it's amazinglyrelevant. You know- and it's there's so many topics in there just shows nowusit's humans. We really haven't changed all that much because we'restill going through the same type of issues, struggles, questions there wasone he did the other day, not the other day, but then I read the other day thathad to do as the the environment and how humans don't take care of. It wassomething where Cavin was kicking a bunch of garbage that was left in aforest. I'm just you know w thinking of the challenge we have today withclimate change is jis like haven't, really learned a whole lot in twentyfive years, slightly alarming for sure yeah, very,very sad. Everyone just listen to Calvin. Well, sometimes Tim Jut'St Godin trouble, Yeah Yeah, not all the time we can't throwl thro snow balls atgirls anymore. We get in trouble. I, if you're interested in checking outsome of Dave's workhead on over to instagram and follow him at craftedDave or head over to his website, crafted one KCOM and Signup for aSaturday morning cartoon series he gives you these fun little drawingsthat come right to your email inbox, it's just as rewarding as waking upsuper early on Saturday, when you were a kid pouring, a big old bowl of cerialshoutout to resis, pomps and cinnamon. Toast crunch, probably my two go tos asa kid before I was like. Maybe I'll make my cereals a little bit healthierand throwing some rice checks. CRISPIX wheat check, sort of action there, butloved all the sugar loved watching cartoons on TV special Shouta to recess,but I feel, like a lot of people didn't watch that show it's such a good showgo, find it watch it recess. Is Great. Dave is great lots of good stuff here.Thank you for listening. We'll still end with a corny joke, live it up. Why did the picture get arrestedbecause it was framed get after it today, people good people, cool things is produced inAustin Texas. You dug this episode, go ahead and hit that subscribe button,whether you're on apple podcast, Sponifi, stitcher, pod, chaser or anyother podcast APP. I want to keep delivering great content to you. Youwant to keep hearing it tap that subscribe button. We'll see you nexttime.

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