Cartooning in the Digital Age

"Bill's talk was a perfect blend of inspiration, harsh realities and humor. He weaved his personal story, his creative process, and the business side of cartooning into a stellar presentation that had our patrons completely engaged."
-- Beth McIntyre, Madison, WI Public Library

Bill has created a new two-hour public program for the trip called Cartooning in the Digital Age. This is a rare opportunity to hire Bill, who makes a living as a professional cartoonist, to speak to your library's patrons. If your town is on or near the path of his many travels, the cost for the program is just $500. Check out Bill's upcoming appearances here and contact Bill for information on scheduling him.

The following materials are intended to help libraries promote and prepare for the program. Please contact Bill if you require other materials, or have questions about the program.

Program Description

Making comic strips might just be the funnest job in the world, and thanks to the Internet it's easier than ever to put your work in front of potential readers. In this two-hour program, veteran cartoonist Bill Barnes (Unshelved, Not Invented Here) shows how he came to make a living drawing comic strips and publishing them on the web.

In the first hour, Bill describes his personal journey from avid comics fan to professional cartoonist, with practical tips for creators of all kinds.

In the second hour, Bill goes into the nuts and bolts of writing humor, drawing on a computer, and how he makes money by publishing comics on the Internet.

Attendees are welcome to attend one or both hours. It's perfectly okay to leave if the discussion becomes too technical and/or irrelevant for you!


Bill Barnes always wanted to be a cartoonist when he grew up. After developing software for several decades he went back to his roots, and now draws and co-writes Unshelved ( and writes Not Invented Here ( He's also teaching himself to play ukulele. Bill lives in Seattle.

Promotional Art

Recommended Reading

During the talk Bill will recommend the following books:

Audience Size

There really is no upper limit for audience size. If it's a small group, the program will be more interactive. If it's a large group, it will be more of a lecture. Please let Bill know your best guess as to how many attendees to expect, with the understanding that it's just a guess.

Materials and Audiovisual Needs

  • Standard laptop projector and screen.
  • Something to draw on - either a whiteboard with markers, or a pad/easel and sharpies.
  • Larger audiences may require some kind of amplification (you can make this call - you know your space better than I)
  • Participants may wish to take notes, so it would be helpful to have paper and pencils on hand.
  • Please have drinking water available.

Book Sales/Signing

If possible, Bill would like the opportunity to sell his books to participants after each hour of the talk. They can pay using cash or credit card.


Bill will begin promptly at the stated starting time. The program lasts two hours, with a 5 minute break between the two halves. Each half will end with a Q&A, and Bill can often stay to answer additional questions after the program.

Unshelved Staff Development Programs

Bill and his Unshelved co-writer Gene Ambaum have performed at over 100 staff development days and library conferences around the country. Check out their talks & appearances page for more information.