Cartoon comparison: 2008 versus 2018
February 2018
Stuart McMillen: cartoon comparison of a self-taught cartoonist.

Evolution of my artwork style: a cartoon comparison

This is a legitimate side-by-side comparison of my 2008 illustration style, against my 2018 illustration style.

Today I completed an illustration of me standing in front of a city, that reminded me of one that I drew 10 years ago. Here is the side-by side comparison:

Stuart McMillen: cartoon comparison of a self-taught cartoonist. A basic scene of a man standing in front of a city skyline.

Crude cartoons: my self-taught beginnings

The image literally compares the the best ‘Stuart standing in front of a city’ scene that I could manage ten years ago, next to a brand new scene that I completed today.

The 2008 image often comes to mind when I think about my early days as a self-taught cartoonist. The crudeness of the cartoon Stuart against a backdrop of unadorned rectangles, representing a city. (For some reason I drew myself with bug eyes, rather than the squinty eyes that I sport in real life!)

When I decided to become a cartoonist, I simply picked up a pen, and decided to teach myself how to draw. I was very much “learning by doing”, with each published comic being slightly better than the previous one.

Looking back on this cartoon from my 2008 Urban Heat Island comic, it is amazing to think that I considered this image to be ‘fit to publish!’

Very simple, crude drawing of cartoon man standing in front of city.

Ten years later: the value of perseverance and practice

This comparison shows the slow transformation that comes from perseverance and practice.

If someone ever tells me “I wish that I could draw comics, but I have no artistic skills”, I tell them about my humble beginnings.

Understand that we are all novices when we begin a skill. But that it is possible to improve, given enough time and dedication.

Every time I published a comic to my old website, I reflected upon the finished piece. The comic would be a mixture of ‘good panels’ and ‘bad panels’. Each time I published a comic, I would look for the images that I enjoyed the most. Then, next time, I would try to ratchet-up the standard of the whole next comic to the quality of that favourite panel.

I began cartooning without any formal training, and have continued down that self-taught path right to this day. And here is the result of ten years of ‘ratcheting-up’:

Detailed illustration of young man looking out over an urban city, with apartments sprawling up the hillsides.

Next steps for me

Thanks so much to all of my readers for encouraging me along the way. Thanks especially to my Patreon crowdfunding supporters, who directly fund my work, as I pursue comics as my career.

This new image forms part of a new comic that I am drawing right now, that I will publish in approximately one month.