cartoon ideas - how to create new ideas

Scratching your head to think up new cartoon ideas?

On this, and subsequent pages, I will be sharing some ideas about thinking up ideas for cartoons.

These ideas can be applied to other areas where you wish to generate new thought and not just for drawing cartoons. Try substituting "cartoon" for another word and see where that takes you.

There are plenty of good resources out there on how to draw cartoons, but not so many on thinking up ideas.

Please contact me if you have any cartoon ideas you'd like to share.

If you are looking for some more general ideas on the creative process, then click here:

creative ideas

some thoughts about flow

ideas surround you

Ten ideas a day

Write down ten ideas a day - EVERY day.

A few years ago a friend of mine challenged me whether I would be able to regularly think up new ideas for cartoons on a daily basis. I took up the challenge and decided to think up ten ideas everyday, seven days a week.

As with any new habit it took a while to establish but now it is something that I do automatically. On the rare occasion that I do miss a day, or come up short of ten, I make it up the next day.

Not all the ideas are great, some are pretty lousy, but ten ideas there are and from them I can choose If I am going to produce an actual finished cartoon from them.

You don’t have to choose ten, but pick a number and keep to it. Having a target to aim for can help you to stretch yourself and your creativity.

At first choose a realistic number that you know you can achieve and then aim to slowly increase it as you get into the habit. It’s similar to going to the gym and working out – start off with something you can achieve - and then slowly increase the numbers and build up your creative muscles.

Pick a theme

Choose a theme for an hour or a day. Let's choose the example of cats. Start thinking about cats, feeling about cats, imagining what cats do. Look at pictures of cats or find a video on YouTube.

Get cats on the brain and keep them there for however long you can. Start trying to see cats as you walk around or if there there are none around, imagine that there are some cats. Once you have an idea of cats in your head, really let your imagination go and see what results.

click here for more ideas for cartoon gags

Turn the situation upside down

Think of a situation and reverse what usually happens - have the dog stuck up in the tree or the little old lady at the wheel of the sports car. Any situation will do - just flip the usual situation upside down.


Try a new or different stimulus. Try thinking up ideas after the gym, meditation, a great meal etc.

Try listening to music while generating ideas. Or, if you usually listen to music, don't.

Try a different time of day. Before/after work, dawn/dusk etc.

Random Magazine

Go into your nearest newsagent or bookshop and pick up a magazine you've never seen or looked at before.

If you're a guy,try a woman's magazine. If you're a woman try something the guy's usually flick through.

Into bodybuilding? great but try a knitwear magazine this time. Flick through and see what catches your eye and imagination.

Fish out of water

Take something out of it's usual environment. Put the penguin in the desert, the ostrich into the department store, and the guy into the dress shop.


Put two things together that would never meet. What does that give you now?

Catch phrase

Play around with well known catch phrases and sayings. What images do they conjure up?


If cats could talk...If you could...If politicians were honest...If pigs could fly...

Set of Three

He had the strength of an Ox, the agility of a gazelle, and the brains of an ostrich.

What other sets of three can you think of? What twist could you put at the end? I'll be adding further cartoon ideas later.

Please contact me and share your own ideas.

Share your cartoon ideas here

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