Lessons learned from The Peanuts
Peanuts cartoons captured my imagination as a child. The combination of simple artwork, unforgettable music, precocious dialogue and iconic characters made it my favorite comic of all time.
But that was a lifetime ago. Before I had grown up. Before I had lost my innocence. Before I had become a professional artist myself.
Recently, my wife and I sat down to watch a few episodes of the. And like the time machine that cartoons can be, every animated moment tapped into another heartwarming childhood memory. I instantly snapped back into place, reciting punchlines word for word, singing songs note for note, reconnecting with a movie I’ve probably watched a thousand times in the past thirty years.
Except this time, I noticed something different. Something that changed my understanding of the creative process forever. Because if you watch those movies closely, a pattern emerges.
Each movie, or season, was just a group of episodes. Each episode was just a group of scenes. And each scene was just a three panel comic strip from the funny pages that followed the classic formula of setup, premise, punchline.
Schulz created arguably the longest story ever told by one human being, clocking in eighteen thousand strips published in fifty years. That’s almost exactly one a day.
That’s it? That’s all you have to do to build a billion dollar cartoon empire? One good comic strip a day? Sign me up.
And remember, this incrementalist approach to success has nothing to do with drawing and everything to with discipline. Deciding what your mission piece is going to be, and then executing it every day, without fail, forever. When you break the creative process down to that simple number, it certainly makes an insurmountable task seem easier.
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What’s your version of creating one comic strip a day?
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