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My first job as a newspaper cartoonist

Advice from an editorial cartoonist guided Brad Guigar into a 20-year career in newspapers

My senior thesis to earn my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alma College was all comics — editorial cartoons, a fledgling comic strip, etc. So the Art Department brought in Bill Day, the editorial cartoonist from The Detroit Free Press to juror the show.

He was incredibly kind, and over dinner that night, he gave me advice that would lead to a very happy twenty years in newspapers. I would go on to work at The (Canton, Ohio) Repository, The Akron Beacon Journal and finally, The Philadelphia Daily News. I was able to work on my craft as a cartoonist at each one (except Akron… the art direction there specifically excluded cartooning). In Philadelphia, I was actually able to do some of the very first journalism comics with Phables, a full-page comic that appeared on Mondays.

Phables earned me an Eisner nod, and because of it, I was named the Best Local Columnist in Philadelphia by the Society of Professional Journalists.

And all of it — all of it — started because of a mistake.

— Video produced by Samantha Bilello, animation by Em Krajc.