I was searching for a New Year cartoon , when I happened to hit www.savagechickens.com .It was an amazing site with almost 20,000 readers a day, very well designed ,and the cartoons were hilarious. Dog normally doesn’t give interviews, but he has a great fan following for the cartoons he draws on sticky notes and his story of entrepreneurship as well his creative web design were something we could all learn from.Ladies and Gentlemen, the amazing Doug Savage.
1) Could you describe your career journey so far? What would your advice be to young arts graduates in these recessionary times?
I don’t know if I can quite describe it as a "career journey" – maybe a "series of lucky career accidents" instead? I drew a lot when I was a kid, but I had all but stopped drawing before I started the chickens. In late 2004, after several months of migraine-addled overtime at my day job, I just suddenly started drawing these cartoons on sticky notes. It felt like the creative part of my brain was staging an intervention. A few months later, I started putting the cartoons online in a blog. Then in the spring of 2005, I got featured on Yahoo, and things just went on from there. Now the site has had 7 million visitors and more arrive every day.
Advice for young arts grads in these tough economic times? Well obviously you’ve got to worry about paying the bills, but don’t neglect your creative side. Even if you only have 5 minutes a day that you can spend on creative work, those 5 minutes will be the most important part of your day. Creativity sustains you through difficult times. It’s as essential as food and water. Also, don’t wait around for opportunities to fall into your lap. If you want to do something, start doing it. Create your own opportunities.
2) Your website is designed by you ( and its extremely nice). Could you list say the top 5 principles or learning on keeping a photo or creative blog?
Well I’ve learned a lot more about web design than I ever intended or wanted to! If you’re starting a creative blog, be prepared to learn a lot about web design. It just goes with the territory. If I had to pick top five things I’ve learned from maintaining the web site, I’d say:
1. Before you do anything else, make sure you can get the domain name you want.
2. Pick a schedule and stick to it. It gives you a bit of structure and discipline. And readers get accustomed to coming back on a regular schedule.
3. Have fun and try new things. You don’t want it to become a grind. Keep it interesting for yourself by pushing the limits.
4. Value your work. The internet is all about free sharing of content, but when a for-profit business wants to use your work, they should pay you for the right to do so.
5. Back up your work regularly. Save your web site code, copies of your work, databases – everything!
3) How many people follow Savage Chicken now? What are the other cartoons that you like or have inspired you?
People read Savage Chickens in a lot of different ways – they come to the site, or they have it sent via email, or they read it through an RSS feed reader. So it’s hard to track them all. If I had to guess, I’d say about 20000 people read it each day.
What cartoons do I read? I’ve been inspired by Gary Larson’s "The Far Side", Matt Groening’s "Life in Hell", and Charles Schulz for many years. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels. Jeff Lemire’s work is brilliant. And online, I’ve been really enjoying Kate Beaton’s cartoons – check out her web site if you haven’t seen it yet.
4) Humor is critical to formal business. Comment please.
Humor isn’t one of those things that employers generally put into job descriptions, but I think it gives you an advantage in the business world for a couple of reasons. First, humor makes you fun to be around, and people want to work with other people who are fun to be around. If more people want to work with you, more opportunities will present themselves. Second, humor gives you fresh insight into the world around you. A lot of humor comes from looking at the world in new and strange ways. Being able to take on that skewed perspective allows you to see things that you may not have seen otherwise.
5) Do you have any Asian plans, or offering merchandise? What is the best way of ordering your merchandise outside the US.
I sell merchandise through Cafepress online, and they deliver worldwide. At this time, I don’t have any local distributors of Savage Chickens merchandise.
6) Optional- Your all time favorite top 3 cartoons
Wow. It’s difficult to choose only 3 but I’ll try. Okay here are a few that I always chuckle at:
– Explosion – http://www.savagechickens.com/2006/03/explosion.html
– The Cactus – http://www.savagechickens.com/2006/11/cactus.html
– One Cloudy Day – http://www.savagechickens.com/2008/07/one-cloudy-day.html
About Doug Savage – Doug ‘s savage chickens and his store of amazing goods are worth a dekko at http://www.savagechickens.com/category/extras
Ajay- Doug Savage and his amazing chickens can be found at www.savagechickens.com .So go ahead and smell the roses , and laugh with the chickens !!