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Bubba Flint Reflects on Decades as Cartoonist

The freelancer describes the ups and downs of his career.
Graphic Courtesy of LitFest Committee

William “Bubba” Flint, a renowned Texas-based cartoonist, has seen the field of editorial cartoons change as a result of the digital age.

Flint, a Mesquite native, graduated from SMU with a degree in painting and has been drawing editorial cartoons for more than 35 years. His work has been shared in renowned publications such as the Dallas Morning News, and he has also illustrated a multitude of children’s books.

During his workshop, Flint discussed the few primary takeaways from his years in the field, focusing on the massive impact of social media on editorial cartoons.

The advent of social media left ripples in the journalism industry, and editorial cartoons did not escape these changes. For Flint, an old-fashioned cartoonist who draws by hand, the internet was both a blessing and a curse.

On the plus side, the rise of the digital age allowed Flint to broaden his target audience, providing him with a variety of clients who otherwise wouldn’t have ever known of him. In his presentation, Flint made sure to point out the many opportunities that social media has brought him, including getting flown out to New York to draw cartoons.

However, Flint also reminisced on the pre-internet age of cartoons. One downside of today’s widespread internet access being a large number of death threats from those who don’t appreciate his comics. On top of that, his traditional method of drawing often makes it hard for Flint to keep up with the pace of cartoonists who draw digitally.

Being a freelancer comes with many challenges, as it can take a lot to convince publications to use your work, but Flint made a point during his speech to emphasize the importance of creative freedom and maintaining one’s voice in art.

In fact, Flint stated that he has never shifted the angle of one of his cartoons to match that of an article, and has always stood true to his beliefs. Flint does his own research, forms his own opinions and has his own stance on each and every one of the issues he is commissioned to draw for.

Of course, nobody is perfect, not even Flint. Even after being in the field for 35 years, it isn’t unusual for Flint to find himself in a dry streak, where he can’t think of any ideas.

Out of the 250 editorial cartoons Flint draws per year, he said 100 are bangers, 50 are okay, and 100 aren’t up to par. But Flint emphasized that it’s natural for the human brain to struggle, especially when working with something as witty and aggressive as editorial cartoons. He hopes that young, aspiring artists don’t let these artist blocks get in their way of fulfilling their dreams.

About the Contributor
Will Gaffey
Will Gaffey, Design editor
What are your favorite TV shows/movies? His Dark Materials, Game of Thrones, Dead Poets Society, and Puss and Boots 2 Who are your favorite music artists? Sublime, Third Eye Blind, Kendrick, and Cage The Elephant What causes are you passionate about? I am extremely passionate about all things related to the environment