This is a list of some of the highest paying and most active cartoon markets. A “cartoon market” is a magazine, newspaper, or any publication that regularly buys rights from cartoonists to publish gag cartoons.
Most cartoonists are reluctant to share their list of markets because they’re afraid of competition. They treat it as a close-guarded trade secret. I couldn’t disagree more, for these two reasons:
- If a magazine editor likes your work, they will continue to buy from you regardless of how many cartoon submissions they receive, so if you’re good then you shouldn’t fear competition.
- Sharing information about markets encourages people to get into gag cartooning, and helps beginning gag cartoonists grow. This results in growth and recognition for our profession, which benefits us all. Those who don’t share their markets are often the same ones who complain about how few gag cartoonists exist.
In sharing this information about gag cartoon markets, I hope to encourage and promote gag cartooning.
The New Yorker has been publishing cartoons since its first issue in 1925. Today, it publishes 10 – 15 gag cartoons each week. The tone of the magazine is sophisticated and so are the cartoons it publishes. Gag cartoons of all topics are considered, except those with explicit content, celebrities’ or politicians’ names, puns, or toilet humor. It is the highest-paying market for gag cartoonists, and is therefore the most competitive of all other magazines. It also favors consistent contributors, which makes it more difficult to break into for new cartoonists. Submit cartoons weekly.
For step-by-step instructions and more information, read this full guide on submitting cartoons to the New Yorker.
Harvard Business Review
A monthly magazine with a focus on business, entrepreneurship, and management. It publishes around 3 – 5 gag cartoons in each issue. It pays quite well and therefore receives a lot of submissions from professional and beginning cartoonists. While it’s a great market for gag cartoons about business (office, meetings, interviews, etc), it also publishes cartoons about technology, arts, and common interests. Submit cartoons monthly.
A widely read monthly magazine about general interests. Reader’s Digest is more accepting of soft and family-friendly cartoons than many other markets. This market pays very well and is very competitive. It publishes gag cartoons in color, but you can submit in black-and-white and, if purchased, you’ll be asked to add color. Submitted gag cartoons can be about any general-interest topic, but must be family-friendly. Military cartoons are especially appreciated! Submit your cartoons monthly.
Update 08/15/13: Some cartoonists have reported being told that submissions are considered on an invite-only basis. If you’re submitting for the first time I recommend sending your very best cartoons and asking if you can continue submitting. Good luck!
This is a weekly financial magazine that publishes gag cartoons related to business and finance. Those categories can be loosely interpreted, as my first cartoon sold to Barron’s was about a dog shopping for a suit. This cartoon market pays moderately well but since it’s a weekly publication it buys gag cartoons more frequently. Submit your cartoons to this market weekly.
Wall Street Journal
This newspaper is printed five days per week and has one small, black-and-white cartoon in every issue. Its cartoon section is called “Pepper… and Salt.” Cartoon topics are usually about business and finance, but occasionally this market prints cartoons on general topics such as relationships, pets, doctors, and science. This market pays less than all of the above, but still a respectable price that makes submitting cartoons worthwhile. This market has a very long lead time, which means they buy cartoons several months before they actually publish them. So think several months ahead when you’re choosing which cartoons to submit.
Other Cartoon Markets
The above gag cartoon markets are very competitive, so don’t count on consistently selling cartoons just to these publications. Let this be your starting point, and continue to look for smaller and less competitive markets for the cartoons that get rejected or aren’t right for the markets above.
If you know of a market that isn’t listed here and feel like sharing, please comment below. If you found the above list helpful, please share this with other cartoonists. Encourage healthy competition.