Bill Amend is a Kansas City area cartoonist, best known for his comic strip FoxTrot. He attended high school in Burlingame, California where he was a cartoonist on his school newspaper.
After a short time in the animation business Amend signed on with Universal Press Syndicate. FoxTrot first appeared on April 10, 1988.
On December 5, 2006, Universal Press Syndicate issued a press release stating that Amend’s strip, FoxTrot, would turn into a Sunday-only strip. Amend stated that he wanted to continue doing the strip, but at a less hurried pace. This news was followed by several weeks of the characters in Foxtrot discussing a “cartoonist” semi-retiring to Sundays only, and what methods he would use to phase out the daily strips. The last daily FoxTrot cartoon was printed on December 30, 2006.
On May 21, 1999, Amherst College awarded him an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters. On May 26, 2007, Amend was presented with the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.
TheCrunch.com asked Bill Amend:
TC: What are some pointers for folks who might want to go into comics? Where should they intern? What should they do?
A: As I just said, try to write and draw things that you find funny or interesting, so even if no one else likes your work, you at least made yourself happy for doing it. The web is probably the best way to go these days. It’s cheap to launch a site and with luck you’ll attract some readers who can give you feedback. Also show your work to family and friends to gauge if your jokes are working as intended. And develop thick skin. A career in comics will include lots of rejection and criticism.
If you’re still in school and there’s a newspaper or other outlet for cartoons, by all means get some practice there. My college cartooning was invaluable experience, especially in the area of drawing stuff under deadline at 4 am. Also, as my parents told me over and over back when I started, make sure you have a Plan B. There’s a lot of luck involved in being able to do what I do for a living.