What does it take to be a cartoonist? Do you even care? You should, because you are about to enter the Spectator’s inaugural Cartoon Competition. Yes, you are. Don’t throw your Spectator down in disgust. It is a noble profession. Plus, you will make millions from it.

Do you even need to be able to draw? Well not as well as Tracey Emin, or Leonardo da Vinci, but you should be able to put pen to paper. Now to the hard part. What should your cartoon be about? Well, you’re never going to think of a good idea if you keep on looking at your phone. Put it down. Yes, I know you’re now panicking, because you haven’t got a screen in front of you. But take a deep breath. Relax. You are going to be inventive. Your ideas might be terrible at first, and it sure isn’t going to be easy, especially when you realise that you can’t think of a single funny thing to draw. But keep going.

Start by thinking of all the things you hate. People who bore you. Estate agents. Lawyers. People who can afford a house in central London. Your significant other. Have a go at them. Be fearless, and don’t worry about their feelings; they are too busy looking at their phones anyway to care what you say about them. You can get away with murder. Capture their foibles with a witty swipe of your pen and ink.

And — it’s cathartic! You’ll feel a sense of relief. You may also have discovered that you can draw. But then again, maybe you won’t have. At least it will have taken you away from your computer for a while.

The first Spectator cartoon competition launches this year, providing the opportunity for you to discover whether or not you have it in you to be a cartoonist. John Lobb is sponsoring it, and it has a theme: Man in Motion. Don’t get too hung up on this though – I’d rather have a funny, spiky cartoon than one that exactly illustrated the theme and didn’t make me laugh. Now I’ve taught you all I know, you are on your own. Do not fear rejection because, as you know, if the cartoon editor doesn’t buy your cartoon it is because he is dumb, not you.

If you want to have a go, follow these instructions:

  1. Draw up to five ideas on paper (or on your wonderful computer).  Send them off with a S.A.E to Michael Heath, 22 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9HP. The deadline is 31st October. You can also send them electronically to cartooncomp@spectator.co.uk
  2. You might win. You could discover that you are the next ‘Matt’. The prize is a cartoon drawn by me, a bottle of Spectator gin, and a year-long contract with us.

Tags: Art, cartooning, cartoonist, Leonardo da Vinci, Matt, Tracey Emin