“Midlife Thesis”: Here Are 25 Of My Funniest Single-Panel Cartoons
Thank you so much for checking out my cartoons! My name is Tod Pronto, and you may know me from my other creative outlet as a singer/songwriter, or you may have seen my cartoons online somewhere. Either way, I couldn’t be happier to have you here and checking out my cartoons!
Being a cartoonist is something I have wanted to do since childhood. I would draw nearly nonstop, hoping that one day my cartoons would appear next to Garfield in the newspapers. I even created my own cartoon character named “Fussy the Cat” in homage to the great Garfield. Not the most original idea, but hey, I was 10 years old. I didn’t have much life experience to draw from. Come to think of it, my family didn’t even have a cat! I spent most of my time in the art room throughout my school days drawing and painting, honing my skills, and hoping to one day be a real artist!
At the age of 15, I was finally ready to publish a book of my cartoons for all the world to see, but I couldn’t afford to print a book. It was way too expensive for my meager salary as a newspaper delivery boy. So, the local printers convinced me that a calendar would be the cheap way to go. It would be much more affordable to print, as there would only be 12 cartoons (one for each month) plus a cover image. So, that is what I did. Alas, I was finally a real cartoonist! I printed the calendar, and the local newspaper wrote an article about it.
As for marketing my project, I did what any newspaper delivery boy would do: I sold it door-to-door along my paper route! I quickly found out that it was not going to be easy to make a living selling calendars door-to-door once a year. After all, I had made more income from my paper route sales than my calendar sales. That’s when I picked up a guitar and started down the path of being a musician. Another highly lucrative career choice.
Since then, I’ve spent years on the road to various levels of success playing music and entertaining audiences, but somewhere in the back of my mind, the cartoons were still yearning to get out. Once I hit 40 years old, instead of having the sort of midlife crisis that yields fancy sports cars, changing my appearance to look younger and hipper, and dating 20-year-olds, I decided that I was going to draw cartoons again! Hence, “Midlife Thesis” was born. It’s not the craziest midlife crisis, but I feel it’s the right one for me.
So, I’m back at it. I draw cartoons in my spare time, and I am anxious to share them in any way that I can. The cartoons draw inspiration from no particular subject other than what pops into my head on any given day and have no hidden or obvious agenda other than to be amusing. I just want to make people smile.
I find drawing and cartooning really therapeutic in a sense, and it's a great way to unwind and decompress after a long day. I enjoy working traditionally whenever possible, but due to time constraints, I find myself working digitally most of the time. However, I almost always sketch them with pencil and paper while working out my layout and ideas, scanning them into my computer, and doing the digital inking and coloring on my iPad in Procreate. Something about using a physical piece of paper and pencil tends to make the sketching process feel more creative to me. However, inking and coloring digitally is fantastic and super versatile if changes are needed down the road.
The next step is to transfer them to my computer and add the border around the cartoon and other elements using Photoshop before sharing them online. This lets me format the cartoons to the proper proportions for each particular place that I post them. For instance, what I post on my website has a different aspect ratio than what Facebook or Instagram prefer, and I like to maximize each platform's full potential so they look good when displayed. My local newspaper also runs the cartoon, and they need a different format, a header, and sidebar information. Photoshop really lets me utilize all the different formats with ease.
As an artist, I find that I have to create something every day. Even if I don't finish it, it is almost an involuntary reflex. My ideas usually come early in the morning, before I have really woken up. I will be sipping on that first cup of coffee and letting thoughts come into my mind. If it is not good, I let the next thought take over until something starts to form. Once the idea is formed, I am able to tweak it throughout the day until I get the wording just right. Usually, the original idea is trimmed down quite a bit, so only the good stuff remains. I try to tell a joke with as few words as possible, and for the drawing, I try to draw only what is fully needed to get the idea across. Sort of a "less is more" approach. I do find it takes a lot of discipline to do this, though, because we artists tend to overwork and overcomplicate things in general.
It makes me so happy to see responses to my work online, and that alone is what keeps me going and trying to get better each time I draw something new. It is amazing how just a simple comment or thumbs up can really motivate you to keep refining your work. I try not to take my work too seriously, though, because I know that a cartoon that takes me a few hours to write, refine, sketch, draw, format, and post will be read by whoever sees it in about 5 seconds, and then they will move on to other things. So, the best I can really hope for is that it makes them smile for a second. If it makes them smile, then I get to be part of their day in one way or another. Even if I was only part of their day for 5 seconds, it was all worth it.
Garfield is still around, eating lasagnas and hating Mondays, but newspapers are printing fewer and fewer cartoons by the day on the funny pages. Becoming a syndicated cartoonist is a long shot at best, so I created a website and some social media pages in hopes that my cartoons would find their way to people who would enjoy them. My local paper even prints the cartoons weekly, but they don't carry Garfield, so my dream of being next to him on the funny pages is still yet to be realized. Please feel free to share my cartoons with your friends, leave comments and feedback, etc. It’s a labor of love for me, and having you stop by to check out my cartoons makes me so happy!
Who knows, maybe someday my cartoons will be next to Garfield in the funnies? Let’s just hope that Jim Davis doesn’t retire anytime soon.