Starting May 20th, three popular alternative newsweeklies will introduce readers to the world’s first crowdsourced comic strip. The single-panel strip, entitled SketchCrowd, gleans submissions through its public website and features work from a new artist every week. Augusta’s Metro Spirit will feature the strip in its print edition while Chattanooga’s Pulse and Charlotte’s Creative Loafing will publish it online.
Crowdsourcing is an emerging business trend in which tasks are accomplished by open call to freelance talent rather than a contained staff. Under the guidance of crowdsourcing principles, SketchCrowd models itself after Gary Larson’s classic Far Side, but maintains its own unique feel thanks to a long list of contributors and its revolutionary application. The strip, managed by a company of the same name, is envisioned as a vehicle that offers advantages to the entire print community.
Media outlets, whether struggling or healthy, can please CFOs while appealing to their base consumer. “This is a great way for print media to affect their bottom line and establish more relevance,” says SketchCrowd President T.J. Kuehn, “Not only will they find quality content at significantly reduced cost, but this is a great opportunity to pique interest and involve local readers.”
Cartoonists, on the other hand, will realize more access and publicity in an industry notorious for difficult entry and overcrowding. By offering a profit-sharing model, a forum for feedback and networking capabilities, SketchCrowd aims to establish viable markets for users and proliferate talent into the mainstream media. “We want SketchCrowd to be the first place people go when they have a concept.” says Kuehn, “Amateur cartoonists, housewives, mechanics – anybody with a creative itch.”
Readers can’t miss SketchCrowd in their respective papers. In addition to its individuality in layout and delivery, a branded header will boldly identify each entry. The work itself will remain fresh and unique as it comes not just from a new contributor each week, but from friends and neighbors. The idea, the work and the vision of the pioneering papers will surely gain comment within their communities.
SketchCrowd, founded in March 2012, maintains offices in Peachtree City, GA. Cartoonist of all ages and abilities can visit www.sketchcrowd.com to submit work.