Employers of cartoonists include advertising agencies, comic syndicates, Hallmark Cards, American Greetings, newspapers, Disney Animation Studios, and magazines. In addition, a number of these artists are self-employed, working on a freelance basis.
A few places, such as the Walt Disney studios, offer apprenticeships or internships. To enter these programs, applicants must have attended an accredited art school for two or three years.
Formal entry-level positions for cartoonists are rare, but there are several ways for artists to enter the cartooning field. Most cartoonists begin by working piecemeal, selling cartoons to small publications, such as community newspapers, that buy freelance cartoons. Others assemble a portfolio of their best work and apply to publishers or the art departments of advertising agencies. A freelance cartoonist might hold a day job while their business grows.
Cartoonists' success, like that of other artists, depends on how much the public likes their work. Very successful cartoonists work for prestigious clients at the best wages; some become well known to the public.
To hone your skills, draw cartoons and submit them for publication in your school paper or even your local paper.
Visit the Society of Illustrators Web site, https://www.societyillustrators.org, to learn more about awards, scholarships, and competitions available for future cartoonists and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists https://www.editorialcartoonists.com/membership-information/ for student and associate membership information and benefits in this professional organization.
Enroll in art classes offered at your school or through your local district.
Ask your art teacher to arrange an information interview with a cartoonist to learn firsthand about what it's like to work in this field.
Read books about cartoons and cartoonist such as Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner (Poorhouse Press, 1996) and How to Make Webcomics by Scott Kurtz, et al. (Image Comics, 2008).