Graduate Profile: Brad Guigar
Once the staff cartoonist for the Almanian, Alma College’s student newspaper, Brad Guigar’s art now takes form in a weekly comic strip for the Philadelphia Daily News.
The 1991 graduate also publishes “Evil, Inc.,” an online comic strip about a corporation run by super villains for super villains. It’s read by tens of thousands of people every day.
“Alma College was instrumental in helping prepare me for my career in cartooning,” Brad says. “The art instruction at Alma is second to none. They gave me guidance and opportunities that I could not have gotten anywhere else.”
The art department crafted Brad’s major to fit his career goals by bringing Bill Day, a political cartoonist with the Detroit Free Press, to campus as juror for his senior project. His advice left an impression on Brad, who has been nominated for an Eisner Award, comics’ highest honor.
“He told me to find a small newspaper looking for a newsroom graphic artist,” Brad says. “Once I was there, I could submit cartoons on the side. Twenty years later, I’m still working for a daily newspaper as a graphic artist.”
Beyond the opportunity to showcase his artwork, Brad notes that his Alma experience has provided him with knowledge that has permeated everything he has done as an artist.
“The writing classes that I took at Alma sharpened my ability to craft complex stories four panels at a time,” he says. “More indirectly, my exposure to disciplines outside of my major has enabled me to write confidently about a much wider range of topics.”
While Brad sees students with amazing draftsmanship coming from art schools, he says many have limited abilities in the other areas necessary to achieve success in the world of comics.
“Few can write an engaging story,” he says. “Fewer still are prepared for the realities of working in the arts in America today. There are few businesses hiring full-time artists, so that means you have to run your own business and understand things like tax law, cash flow and profit analysis.”
As editor-in-chief of Webcomics.com, a subscription-only website for cartoonists who want to run a self-sustaining business, Brad also recommends that artists be competent in web design and digital-distribution methods.
“Since I had a well-rounded background, I took to HTML with confidence,” he says. “I brought a wider degree of experience to every task that was placed before me. I can’t overstate how Alma prepared me for much of that.”