You will be pleasantly surprised if you have never seen John Atkinson’s webtoons before. He creates webtoons about various topics, such as science and literature, that are witty and sarcastic. How do social media and popular culture interact? Do not worry; John will illustrate it for you and tell you about his creations, behind the scenes, upcoming webtoons, and which cartoons are most popular. Whether about pets, puns, social media, books, grammar, or smartphones, His cartoons have one thing in common – they’re guaranteed to make you smile.
You never know how anything will be seen
Wrong Hands is a website run by cartoonist John Atkinson from Ottawa, Canada, who creates smart, humorous webtoons. He founded it in 2011. For two reasons, he named his blog “Wrong Hands.” First and foremost, a play on the expression “falling into the wrong hands” – you never know how anything will be seen or interpreted.
Also, he is left-handed and uses his right hand to sketch all the cartoons on the computer. His unique webtoons style and the witty and sarcastic takes he makes regarding popular culture are what make him stand out from the rest.
John says he has always admired Gary Larson and Roz Chast’s work, but many other cartoonists and humorists have highly influenced him throughout the years. His webtoons about social media and technology have been the most popular thus far.
John says, “Technology changes so rapidly — it can be quite daunting at times. I suppose that is where the technology cartoons come from: slowing things down a little and grounding myself.” Wrong hands is a single-panel cartoon covering everything from anthropology and calculus to xenophobia with a bit of wordplay thrown in.
Developed a particular style
When asked how he started his cartoonist career and developed his style, he said, “Well, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, so much so that I studied fine arts at University. Cartooning came much later. When my children were very young, I would doodle with them, and they got a big kick out of it.
I guess the cartooning grew out of that. I figured if they thought it was funny, maybe other people would too. Over the years, I have slowly been honing and refining the work to develop a particular style.” His webtoon project quickly became popular.
What he finds funny
We inquired about any key influences in the cartoonist’s life that may have aided in developing and refining his style. He told us about his favorite childhood cartoonists that he looked up to.
“When I was young, it was most definitely Charles Schultz (Peanuts) and Gary Larson (The Far Side), but there are so many great and talented cartoonists currently working (Roz Chast, Kate Beaton, Tom Gauld) that my list could go on forever. I have always loved British humor (Blackadder, PG Wodehouse, Monty Python), which I think helped shape (warp) my sense of what I find funny.”
Webtoons was not his first option
When John graduated high school and had to choose a college degree to pursue, it might surprise you that making cartoons was not his first option. Instead, he wanted to study Fine Arts and establish himself as a solid artist of his own. However, things took a left turn.
“I have always loved to draw, even as a young child,” Atkinson told us in an in-depth interview. “I studied Fine Art at University and after spectacularly failing as a famous artist, took up graphic design. The webcomics are a more recent endeavor.” Graphic design was a better fit for him.
Wide range of comments
Not only do your webtoons have to be well made in high quality and with a personal style, but you also must have a unique sense of humor to complement the images. However, the public’s response is always mixed.
“Cartooning is a great way to extract the silliness bottled up in my head,” the artist said during the interview. “Humor is subjective, so reading other people’s reactions to my work is always interesting. I get a wide range of comments from “This is hilarious” to “You think you’re so clever, you’re not!” to “I don’t get it.”
Reflecting on ideas and jokes
Because art, in any form, takes a long time to practice and produce, we asked Atkinson how long it takes him to complete each of his webtoons.
“It varies from cartoon to cartoon. Some take only a few hours, while others can take weeks and still never get completed. There are some ideas I’ve been sitting on for years that I still haven’t been able to realize properly.” Comic production is not as mechanical as it may seem to some; it requires a lot of reflecting on ideas and jokes before they ever see the light of day.
The majority of the scribbles are gibberish
Being a cartoonist is difficult; one can easily experience a lack of inspiration, exhaustion, and other issues; therefore, we wanted to ask John how he handles it.
“Usually, I get ideas when sitting and staring off into space. Sometimes in the shower. I have on occasion woken in the middle of the night to jot something down only to read it in the light of day and discover I’d written the lyrics to ‘Yesterday.'” He also carries a little notebook with him at all times. The majority of the scribbles are gibberish. However, some of the doodles turn into cartoons.
It is not always possible to convey a concept
John’s webtoons usually go through several revisions, and the final product is not always what he envisioned. In some of the more involved cartoons, he gets help from his son Jacob, who serves as a creative consultant. It is not always possible to convey a concept in the simplest, most succinct manner while maintaining a sense of humor.
Digital art, like any art, is difficult and takes a lot of patience, time, resources, and, in most cases, money. John goes back to the comics and works on them until he feels okay about the end.
Instagram is a natural fit
We asked the cartoonist about how people usually react to his work online. He candidly replied, “Mostly, the response is positive. I have a small but very loyal following.” We also asked about the inspiration behind his Instagram account. He responded, “I started out by showing my webtoons to my cat, but he seemed utterly indifferent, so I thought I should try sharing them with others. Instagram is purely visual, so it seemed like a natural fit.”
When asked about social media, he says he hasn’t fully embraced the digital age yet, however he just rolls with it.
The technology webtoons
John’s work usually comments on our technological habits. He’s an active blogger with a Facebook and Twitter presence, so it appears he’s slowly embracing online platforms. The cartoonist makes a valid point when he says that online sharing and distribution offer an opportunity for everyone to have a voice. “It always amazes me that I can post a cartoon and get a response from someone halfway around the world two minutes later.”
Nevertheless, technology evolves at an intimidating rapid pace. That’s where he thinks the technology cartoons come from – a method of slowing things down a little and grounding oneself.
The most popular webtoons are…
We were curious about which cartoons generate the biggest response and which ones don’t perform as well. John says that by far, the most popular are the ones about social media and technology. Social media is the primary vehicle on which his cartoons are distributed, so it makes sense.
The comics from his “Anatomy of…” series seem to strike a chord with many of his readers. The ones that perform the weakest are probably the more traditional, one-liner cartoons. He thinks they would likely perform better distributed in traditional print, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to explore that yet.
Wrong Hands cartoonist John Atkinson has a fun way of explaining some of literature’s most famous masterpieces. He is most known for his Abridged Classics series, in which he provides hilarious “spoilers” from books like J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Geroge Orwell’s 1984.
His book reviews are kept to the bare essentials and are laced with a piercing, sarcastic wit. For example, Atkinson summarizes 1984: “Vision of a dystopian future (now called Tuesday).” The “Abridged Classics: Brief summaries of books you were supposed to read but probably didn’t” book was published in 2018.
His next book
John explained, “I thought it might be a funny idea to help everyone out and provide “tweet-sized” synopses of these famous books suitable for dinner parties or when you’re cornered at a function. They are not intended to replace reading the actual book.” Atkinson shared that he’s still posting new webtoons to his blog twice a week.
He hopes to have a follow-up book to “Abridged Classics: Brief summaries of books you were supposed to read but probably didn’t” in the next few years. The follow-up will most likely cover movies and television and is tentatively titled “Abridged Cinema.
Illustrations That will make you laugh
When Atkinson came across the findings of a poll a few years ago, he was inspired to create Abridged Classics and its spinoff comics. He said, “It indicated that over 60% of people pretend to have read works they have not, and about 40% rely on movies and television to feign knowledge of classic novels,” which sparked the idea for the series.
The illustrations will make you laugh, but they do not compare to the books. However, he always tells students not to use them as book reports unless they want a solid D- or an F.
Accessible to modern readers
When the people from the blog Austenprose reached out to John to make a spoiler version of Jane Austen, he was glad to accept the challenge. Bloggers at Austenprose were big fans of his “Shakespeare Spoilers,” and they wanted John to do the same for English author Jane Austen.
They were very pleased with the results, and they hope “Austen Spoilers” makes its way around the Internet and into the hearts of young readers everywhere, reminding them that Austen’s prose isn’t stuffy, old, ancient literature but funny, romantic, and accessible to modern readers. Let’s hope John continues to take requests.
“I haven’t even read my book”
In 2018, John Atkinson released his first book, “Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read, but Probably Didn’t,” published by HarperCollins. Abridged Classics takes a stab at the literary canon, summarizing everyone from Jane Austen to Franz Kafka with silly doodles and short captions.
Though the book extensively references literature, its appeal is universal, designed for bookworms and anyone who dreaded picking up Shakespeare in high school. Curiously, John doesn’t consider himself well read. “I haven’t even read my book,” he jokes. If you memorize his captions, you can pretend you’ve read 100 books.
Small viral bits
When asked about the reason behind the literature spoilers, Atkinson said, “I did the original three abridged classics cartoons a while back. I was thinking about how we consume information in an online world. In the past, we would spend hours/days/weeks reading great literature, but now we need to digest everything in small viral bits.”
When asked what he wished to accomplish, he replied, “I would hope that people find these funny — or at least pithy. I would also hope they might encourage some to revisit, re-read, or discover some of these great works of literature.”
Dealing with rejection
John, a graphic designer by trade, has been drawing webtoons since he was 13 years old, and has submitted drawings to the New Yorker. He continues, “I think I still have the rejection letter somewhere.” After about a year of posting his work online, he began to notice his cartoons were picking up steam.
They were shared thousands of times a day by people all over the world, making his humor universal across different cultures. Due to his increasing popularity and engagement, he started to get attention from publishing companies, newspapers and magazines, which led to many new wonderful opportunities.
The most featured cartoonist
After seven years and five million visits to his blog, John now has a greeting card line in the United Kingdom, online merch, and, most recently, a book to add to his cartooning resume. His cartoons have even landed him on Time Magazine’s pages. Nancy Gibbs, the managing editor at the time, initially approached him via email.
At first, he thought it was a joke, but as he realized it wasn’t, he “couldn’t type quicker” to reply and accept. His work has appeared in 96 issues since then, making him the magazine’s sole regularly featured cartoonist in its 95-year history.
You might have asked yourself about the origins and history of webtoons. The Korean web portal Daum created a webtoon service known as Daum Webtoon in 2003 and was later followed by Naver with the launch of Naver Webtoon in 2004. It was a response to the state of the comics industry in the country.
In the late ’90s and early 2000s, many comic publishers were shut down after an economic collapse in Korea. These long, vertical comic strips were meant to be read on smartphones. These webtoons have been gaining popularity in Western markets in the last few years.
Webtoons Vs. print
Despite the growing popularity of digital comics, print comics remain the most common form of comic distribution. Some publishers offer both online and print content at the same time. With the advent of the smartphone and tablet, webtoons have also migrated to new platforms such as apps.
There have also been sounds added to suggest additional expressions and tones, as well as interactive motions to increase excitement and draw viewers’ attention to certain things. The money that the pro and amateur creators receive depends on the page view and from ads displayed on their series. The webtoon market is continuously growing.
Are webtoons and webcomics the same?
Format is key to webtoon’s popularity. It’s called a “Webtoon” rather than a “Webcomic” for a reason. Webtoons and webcomics are similar, yet there are several key differences. While a webcomic’s episode normally spans numerous pages, webtoons usually consist of a single long vertical strip.
Webtoons are read top to bottom, rather than left to right like newspaper comics or comic books, which makes it intuitive to scroll down to keep reading. Webtoons can certainly be turned into anime, and Crunchyroll has begun adapting webtoon comics into anime series, such as Tower of God and The God of High School.
Adapting to current technology
The internet-savvy South Korean bloggers understood that web browsing relied significantly on scrolling downwards and immediately took up Naver. This site looked like a mix of a blog and a bulletin board. As a result, for a better reading experience, comic creators began structuring their panels from top to bottom.
In 2014, the prominent Japanese messaging service LINE created the LINE Webtoon app dedicated solely to displaying translated and local comics from Asia and North America. All for Western audiences. The app maintains the comics’ native top-bottom arrangement for convenient viewing on smartphones and tablets.
Empowering his rights as creator
It turns out that the apps and companies that saw the web comic’s potential for easy reading and access stumbled upon a comics format that lends itself nicely to a completely mobile experience. That’s significant, given that book publishers focus on smartphones to market their products.
It’s also not simply huge publishing houses; authors, painters, musicians, and other content creators can now realistically publish their works independently and achieve success in the internet age. Although self-publishing does not guarantee success, many artists have found it beneficial for empowering their rights as creators.
The future of webtoons
The question for the future is not whether or not all comics will be drawn from top to bottom, but rather how comic book creators will figure out how to best offer their content to a growing number of smartphone users. The webcomics’ unique vertical format is one of the ways comic book writers may appeal to these new readers.
The rise of webtoon-style apps could signal the start of a digital comics arms race, with the winner determined by which format works best for viewers who like digital comics, whether it is on people’s phones, e-readers, tablets, or laptops.
The WEBTOON mobile app
WEBTOON is a webtoon publisher (mobile app) launched by Naver Corporation in South Korea in 2004. The platform is called Naver Webtoon in Korean, LINE Manga in Japanese, both Dongman Manhua in Chinese, and simply Webtoon in English, French, Indonesian, Spanish, Thai, and German.
It was founded by Junkoo Kim, who is the global CEO of the business. According to the company, Webtoon draws over 72 million monthly active users, posting revenues of over US$100M per month. GenZ and younger Millennials make up 75% of users worldwide, and 70% of the users in the US are under age 24.
WEBTOON reached the US
Since its launch in the United States in 2014, the service has amassed a massive, highly engaged audience of mostly younger readers eager for their daily fix of Lore Olympus, Tower of God, Let’s Play, translated Korean material (“K-comics”), and thousands of other curated and user-created titles from all over the world.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, they have experienced tremendous growth because the material can be accessed from anywhere. They noticed a massive surge in the number of creators and the volume of content produced during the pandemic. As a result, the number of readers and revenue have increased.
WEBTOON’s deal with DC and Archie
WEBTOON global CEO Junkoo Kim explained the several benefits that have come thanks to the deal they closed with DC and Archie. DC [and Archie] will be able to reach younger mobile-generation readers in this new format. Webtoon readers will be able to see DC characters through new content and new kinds of stories.
DC has allowed WEBTOON to create content with their characters and extended universe. The writers of WEBTOON are telling new stories based on original DC characters. The first announced DC collaboration is a Batman-oriented title, Wayne Family Adventures, and the Archie collaboration is Big Ethel Energy.
The importance of User-Generated Content
Junkoo Kim’s approach heavily relies on user-generated content (or USG). So, what role does this play in WEBTOON’s success? To him, the most crucial aspect of content is actually diversity. User-generated content creators are giving way to new and unique content that has never been seen before.
With the help of the firm’s publishing partners, they have become huge successes. The company has had the most success with their stuff all around the world. This encourages small creators to publish their work and make their way into the industry. They get exposure, recognition and are able to gather a following.
Webtoon’s superior profit model
In comparison to other content types, webtoons have a better revenue model. Webtoons have the potential to produce more average revenue per paying user than Netflix, YouTube, or Spotify due to using microtransactions.
Quality of the content is key
Content quality is also anticipated to improve as a result of profit sharing, which provides significant motivation for writers and artists, and continual initiatives to attract new writers.
Quality content, as proved by YouTube, is a key driver of both content production and usage growth. It feeds the business model in such a way that it sets a quality standard for the platform to provide users the best content available.
Webtoon market in the early stages of monetization
Because the webtoon sector is still in its early stages of monetization, accurate data on the industry is limited, making it difficult to estimate the market size and performance of any operator.
Even in Korea, the origin of webtoons, webtoon providers have only been around for five to six years. As a result, public information is scarce, and investors have had to rely on data periodically published in media reports.
However, based on app market data, it is now possible to generate estimates about webtoon transaction volume and income. Global monetization began at the end of 2015 for brands like Lezhin Comics and Kakao.
Since November 2018, NAVER Webtoon has been making revenue in the United States and Southeast Asia. The market has been proving to be quite solid for investors and new providers are launching all over the world.
Kakao to launch webtoon service Piccoma in France
South Korea’s tech giants Kakao and Naver face off to dominate Europe’s webtoon market Kakao Corp. has announced that it plans to launch the European version of its webtoon subscription service in either April or May of this year.
Japanese subsidiary Kakao Japan Corp. developed the service Piccoma, the archipelago’s No. 1 ranked webtoon subscription service. Now, Kakao will export this successful product to France to capture the European market.
The news highlights the rising rivalry between South Korea’s two tech behemoths, Kakao and Naver Corp., for control of the worldwide online content and entertainment market.
Because of France’s strategic importance to its neighbors in terms of cultural consumption, the Korean internet titans are focusing the country to break into the European market. Last year, the French comics market grew to $298 million, making it the largest in the continent.
The two companies are pursuing different strategies
The webtoon titans have different approaches to the market. Naver is concentrating its efforts on reviving the local internet comics scene. It’s taking the lessons learned from its successful launch in the United States and applying them here.
On the other hand, Kakao concentrates efforts on customizing the intellectual property of its Korean and Japanese webtoons to suit local tastes. Such is the French experiment to earn a new public.
How the Piccoma platform works
When the service first opened in Japan, it followed the traditional approach of buying individual manga and volumes like other online stores, but it has since switched to the webtoon model, in which users can buy specific chapters and wait 24 hours to read some for free.
Piccoma provides Japanese translations of Korean webtoons and ever since 2018, Kakao Japan began delivering original Japanese, Korean, and Chinese webtoons for Piccoma.
Kakao and Tencent join forces
Kakao Corp., South Korea’s largest platform company, has partnered with Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest digital company, to enter the Chinese market and expand its reach in 2021.
The reason for this joint venture is to circumvent regulatory difficulties posed by the Chinese government. The Chinese content market is expected to develop at a rate of 5.65 percent per year through 2023, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency.
What the future holds
The rapid success that Kakao is experiencing in China will cement its stronghold in the webtoon market. We’ll see how the competition between these different webtoon app companies develops this 2022 and how the new markets respond across the world.
The webtoon format has revolutionized the comic and manga industry these past few years, we’ll see if it maintains momentum after the growth it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Webtoons are to become the future of anime?
The steady rise in popularity of manhwa in both the West and Japan stems from it being fundamentally more suited to being read in digital formats.
Whereas manga is — for the most part — read right to left, manhwa is read top to bottom so that it can be scrolled through on a phone or tablet, and often released for free or, at least, for cheaper than purchasing a manga magazine.
Unlike its Japanese cousin, the Korean manhwa is generally produced in full color rather than black and white. The world’s digital natives, who are used to reading on their phones and watching anime in full color, find it extremely tempting because of these two factors.
Webtoon is the largest webcomic publisher and one of the most prosperous comics publishing firms in the world thanks to its appeal and accessibility.
Tower of God
It came as a surprise when Tower of God was announced as an anime series since, despite the comics’ popularity, manhwa still seldom receives that kind of attention.
The most prominent example of a webcomic that has been turned into an anime (and a standard manga, too) is One-Punch Man, but there are currently very few other instances. The only other instance before Tower of God is Noblesse, another popular manhwa.
Opening the doors for manhwas
Therefore, we can probably see this as a test in a way. There is a lot riding on the success of the Tower of God animation because Japanese manga and anime publishers are averse to manhwa.
If the anime adaptation is successful, additional well-known manhwa series, such as Girls of the Wild, Solo Leveling, The Breaker, or Bastard, may get anime adaptations as well. I’ll open the doors for manhwa.
Japanese reticence to manhwa
Japanese reluctance to completely accept the new type of narrative is a major factor in why it has taken so long for something like Tower of God to be adapted into an anime.
Manhwa is still too fresh for the seasoned professionals at major publishing houses like Shueisha and Kodansha to completely commit to it. Shonen Jump Plus currently offers a small number of Webtoons in the modern vertical format.
Localization of the manhwa
There has also been opposition from Japanese manhwa fans, and this opposition stems from a perspective that could negatively impact the popularity of the Tower of God anime.
Manhwa requires rigorous localization when it is translated into Japanese, a process that successfully wipes away anything distinctly Korean. This goes beyond only changing words or titles; on occasion, it also entails altering the artwork to make the setting of the story appear more Japanese.
What the success of Tower of God could mean
Much depends on the success of the Tower of God adaptation since it represents a crucial first step in closing the gap between the Korean and Japanese comics industries.
If the program is successful, studios will probably try to acquire additional manhwa for adaptation, which will encourage the Japanese manga industry to look into more webtoon-style publications. Fans are more in favor of a broader variety of comics and anime.
Why Webtoons are not the future of manga
One thing must be far better than another in order to replace it. Or so much more practical that it might “become the future.” Example: the Amazon Kindle.
The Kindle made books digital by bringing them online from the offline world, even reducing the cost of the goods. Kindle has mostly supplanted the way we used to read books. This is demonstrated by the number of bankrupt book publishing companies.
Manga may prevail
Webcomics are a development for the global and Asian comics market. It’s not so groundbreaking or a big deal that it can enter the market and supplant Manga as if it were incomparably superior.
Webtoons are well-liked by the audience, but they haven’t yet made them believe that Manga will be replaced by them (business or otherwise). The same is true for anime studios that incorporate manga or, more recently, webtoons.
Webtoons is based on a “free” model
There is no offline industry for webtoons, in contrast to manga. Only if they’re featured on the site and receive more than 40,000 pageviews do artists receive payment.
From the creators’ perspective, however, it implies that their webcomic career is reliant on a single source. a source that, from the outside, appears to be unprofitable and is only still operating as a result of being owned by a large corporation.
What motivates artists
Curiosity and the search for beauty are among the things that motivate artists. Most people loved making artwork in their youth, especially drawing with markers, crayons and playing with PlayDoh.
Nevertheless, some seem to have gotten over it, whereas others haven’t. They still find it exciting. While the passion continues to burn, they’ll keep chasing it.
Believe in the idea
Among all the content published online, you stand out for your creative perspective. Start with an idea you are passionate about. Since starting a comic book takes a lot of time and effort, you should be committed to your characters and storyline.
You should keep a notebook handy, so you can jot down story ideas, sketches, and dialogue as they occur to you.
Develop your script before illustrating it
When you’re creating your comic book, don’t jump right in and begin drawing. If you have ever read one, you will already know how important it is to have a compelling storyline.
To create a cohesive and perfect-designed comic from start to finish, you should develop your script before you begin illustrating. As a result, you gamble dozens of panels that must be altered or tossed if the story doesn’t work.
Learn about the practices of your favorite comic book creators
After seeing enough comics, you may think you can create your own. More experienced illustrators, however, can always teach you something new. Learn about the practices of your favorite comic book creators by reading books, interviews, and blogs.
For artists who are new to comic book development, there are tutorials and tips available. Any time you feel stuck, turn to these materials and sources of inspiration.
How to build the tension right
To keep readers engaged, ensure the content fits each panel while maintaining the story’s momentum. Do you think the dialogue is functional? Are there too many actions on each page? At the end of each page, consider how you can build tension so the reader wants to read more.
You will become better at deciding when to trim your panels and how to order them if you sketch more.
Establish a consistent illustration style
The best advice from experienced comic book artists is to establish a consistent illustration style that works for your project. Texture, shading, or coloring effects could be applied to some characters or backdrops. It is also possible to limit the number of frames per page.
The goal is to maintain aesthetic consistency and avoid generating drawings that can’t be duplicated later.
A sketching process will always be different, regardless of the medium, whether it is pencil and ink, tablet, or drawing app. Irrespective of your chosen sketching approach, there are plenty of blogs, tutorials, and forums to guide you.
You’ll usually complete your comic book illustrations by drawing (outlining), inking (adding texture and depth), coloring (selecting a color palette), and lettering (selecting a font).
Your readers experience
When it comes to print comics, the format you choose impacts the entire reading experience. Magazines from Blurb are popular formats for comics. You can print many copies at a reasonable price and get a lot of space on each page.
Once you’ve determined your format, choose the publishing tool that best suits your abilities. You’ll be able to see the final product at this point.
You are in the right spot if you’re looking for more funny webtoons or something a little more troublesome and weird. And the outstanding cartoonist Joan Cornellà’s work is sure to fulfill your needs. Want to keep laughing? These webtoons will surely do it for you.
Joan Cornella Is Not Easily Found
Joan Cornella is notoriously difficult to track down. But since he’s among the most well-known webtoon and comic book artists working today, there seems to be plenty of tidbits of information about him that can be discovered on the web in a variety of different places.
At the peak of the epidemic, Joan Cornella did not feel any changes in his manner of life. That is because there wasn’t much left for him to do other than get preoccupied with his job in New York. Which, Cornella conceded, was not that different from his typical routine. But he didn’t forget to draw some uncomfortable yet funny comics for us.
A Spanish Born Artist
Joan Cornellà was born in Spain but now calls Hong Kong home. This Spanish artist blends dark humor with extreme discomfort in his silent, six-panel drawings. These comics have gained him a lot of notoriety. The works of Cornellà are concerned with mutilation and deformation, violence that is either sadistic or careless. His art also reflects the alienation caused by modernity and complete contempt for human existence.
Cornella’s aesthetic choices are opposed to the ideas he explores in his works. His hues are soft and comforting, and the people he depicts have doe-like eyes and a warm smile as if they’ve been lifted straight from a Children’s film.
Highly Articulate About His Creation
When we glance at his cartoons, it’s easy to get the impression that Cornella is just a wicked and mentally sick individual. Someone who needs treatment, yet we could not have been more incorrect about any of these assumptions. He is a very normal person like us. It’s just that he has a different style of making art.
As it turns out, Joan Cornella is highly articulate about his creations and sensitive to the idea that someone can’t tell the difference between the work and its creator. But he never leaves a chance to make commentary on current situations that need attention. For example, he did cartoons to address the buffoonery of the people who were willing to not wear masks and get vaccinated during the pandemic.
Cornella shared how often he gets perplexed by the actions taken by social media sites, given that he views them as fictional works. In contrast, other individuals take satire extremely seriously, get upset, and seek censorship. So, it should not come to all of us as a complete surprise that Cornella seems to be a vocal opponent of measures that restrict the freedom of speech of others.
Regardless of the fact that Cornella has avoided having his account deleted, he’s no stranger to receiving regular bans from different social networking platforms. He also shared how he has lost track of the number of occasions his photographs have been banned.
Not a Cynical Person
Yet he goes on to create cartoons on controversial topics. He even creates cartoons on political figures, an area most cartoonists tend not to dare touch. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of risks there. Not necessarily; Joan Cornella’s work is related to social and political themes. And not necessarily everything has a deeper meaning. Sometimes Cornella’s work just gives us cynicism on a plate.
But Cornella doesn’t think of himself as a cynical individual in the way that most people understand the term. It is someone who has no confidence in mankind and just looks out for their own best interests. But he doesn’t believe himself to be in that category! On the other hand, he has a significant fascination with cynicism, which would be a school of thinking Socrates’ disciples developed.
According to Cornellà, Behind his art, there are often various existentialist thoughts in the shadows, along with some cynicism. He added that some existentialist thinkers argue that the best starting point has no god or religion. But if we take that stance, life ceases to make sense.
However, he thinks this does not imply that life does not have a purpose since there’s always something that could be done to make life more meaningful. He believes we can think for ourselves about the things that give our life purpose. This is superior to just owning a purpose that has been bestowed upon us.
He Has Set Boundaries For Himself
Although comedy has the potential to bring people together, it is also up to interpretation. When it comes to its subject matter, black humor often tackles taboo or otherwise inappropriate topics. Cornellà gave the impression that negotiating the limits is a difficult task, saying that he believes he always has borders that he believes should not be crossed.
So even when we think he’s crossing all the limits, the truth is he does set a boundary for himself. A boundary that he never crosses. But pointing out subtle inconsistencies in the systems around us has always been one of Cornella’s main targets.
Not Exactly What Expected
At first glance, the artistic style of Joan Cornellà looks bright and cheery. Especially with symbolic imagery reminiscent of kids’ literature from the ’50s! And the color scheme consists of vivid candy hues! Because of this, it’s much more stunning when the audience recognizes the nasty or horrible subject utterly discordant with the joyful aspect of the piece.
Take the Selfie Gun by Cornellà as an instance. This popular piece of art shows a guy who looks like he is just staring and holding a selfie stick. However, instead of a device, a weapon is added to the top of this selfie stick and is pointed at the person’s smiling face.
Open to Interpretations
A variant of this is known as CCTV, which substitutes a security camera for the weapon in the original. The harsh criticism of today’s self-obsessed society that pervades social media is not subtle; nonetheless, the real message, if there’s a message at all, is left vague.
What should we make of the tales that lie dormant beneath the rigid smiles of these characters in Cornella’s comic strips, and how do we interpret them? Joan Cornella wants us to interpret in our ways, and we will do that, and so should the readers! When questioned about the purpose of some of these works, Cornella refrains from expressing his viewpoints. Rather, he adds that he wants to make the spectators interpret his artwork for themselves, which perfectly describes that old cliché about describing a joke.
Some may find these images offensive. But people who love his works beg to differ. According to them, it’s just how he uses his dark humor to ignite curiosities among viewers. By trying to make light of the mindless cruelty of contemporary life, Cornellà argues that this irreverent comedy might paradoxically alleviate one’s fear.
His cartoon reveals a straightforward presentation of a complicated effect, both humorous and macabre in equal measure. This successfully creates a curiosity in viewers’ minds. They want to know more about the meaning behind his creations. They want to know his interpretations of his work – webtoons.
Inspiration from Different Places
Joan Cornella’s inspirations were discussed in one interview, which was an intriguing experience. He shared that he was inspired to create a style that resembled antique graphics, which he called “vintage-esque.” Joan likes the childlike innocence of the vintage commercials, complete with phony grins in plenty.
He once stated that even his rendition of “smiling face” was not taken from just a single source of inspiration but rather is something of a combination of several faces. So he takes inspiration from various places, making his works even more different and unique than his contemporaries.
My Life Is Pointless
“My Life Is Pointless by Joan Cornellà” is the artist’s third and biggest show in Hong Kong in the past five years. It was held at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery on January 29, 2021; they exhibited 48 works by Cornellà.
There has been significant development in the intervening three years since Joan Cornellà’s first Hong Kong exhibition in early 2017. In “My Life Is Pointless,” Cornella revisits several of his most famous topics, but this time with a significant amount of new language. His exhibition in Hong Kong consisted of life-sized panels, curved panel paintings, and bronze sculptures, in addition to a collection of limited print pieces. But still, his uploads on different social media sites gather the most attention. People appreciated the subtle nonsense humor it offered them.
Collaboration with AllRightsReserved
This exhibition also marked Cornella’s collaboration with the creative partner AllRightsReserved, guided by SK Lam. Lam is the founder of AllRightsReserved . His other identity could be that he was the artistic brain behind various local gems. Gems like the larger-than-life “Kaws sculptures” and the huge rubber duck moored in Victoria Harbour just a few years ago.
Lam shared how he first heard about Cornella’s debut exhibition in Hong Kong three years ago and how perplexed he was by his popularity. However, he could not attend the event due to the staggering number of interested people. Nevertheless, it left him wondering what all the hubbub was about.
Honest and Thought-provoking
After some time, Lam realized that Joan was a singular artist who entirely differentiated himself from, for example, other modern painters that we are familiar with. Even if its forceful message is masked by obvious comedy, Cornella’s work has always been engaging, thought-provoking, and honest. Furthermore, it is completely genuine in its delivery of that message.
The way his artwork is connected to events that are happening worldwide is probably why many people admire and appreciate his work. It’s not only the bright hues of his cartoons or how adorable the figures are because he is not a self-centered artist; it’s a combination of those things.
Thomas Bernhard & Samuel Beckett
Thomas Bernhard’s poems and novels deal extensively with human suffering and death, among Cornella’s prior major influences. This Austrian author’s writings had a dark undertone in his phrases that would quickly turn amusing. Joan’s recent works also have the same kind of taste to them.
Cornella’s sense of humor is more akin to the bizarre style of writing of Samuel Beckett or even the antics of Monty Python. We may find several such artists and forms of art that have the type of surreal comedy plus black comedy that provides a method to make issues that are meant to be weighty or dark much easier to absorb.
Talking About What’s Relevant
Sometimes, it seems that our life makes no sense in any way and that events are outside our control. On the other hand, many believe that our life could make meaning in a variety of different ways. They think this to be relatable and that one has the ability to choose whatever interpretation they want to make.
Cornella’s works have always had a certain type of a grim tone. But it’s possible that anyone may tie the subjects of his works to what’s happening worldwide right now.
Born in 1981 in Barcelona, Spain, Cornella began drawing at an early age. After completing his degree in Fine Arts, Cornella has worked as a collaborator for various businesses. He had contributed illustrations to several prestigious publications and periodicals like The New York Times. He even assisted with producing several festivals.
At the beginning of his career, Cornella worked as an illustrator for publications like El Periódico, La Cultura del Duodeno, Ara, and The New York Times. When he was young, he was mostly inspired by renowned Spanish artist Salvador Dali’s works and started drawing like him. We could see this influence of absurdity in his later works.
Mox Nox, Sot, and Zonco
Cornellà has also written three volumes in what would become his signature writing style. These works are titled Mox Nox, Sot, and Zonco. Cornella’s works are quite famous in the meme world. There’s a subreddit dedicated to his works, and he also has his own reference section on the site “Know Your Meme.”
In 2009, he won the third edition of the Josep Coll Award, under the 30s with his album Abulio. That was published the following year by Ediciones Glénat. Zonco (Published in 2015) is the long-awaited follow-up to the 2013 hit, Mox Nox. It adds 48 pages to Joan Cornellà’s hilarious universe of violent, inconsequential, and outdated surrealism.
On the other hand, the Cornella’s work has been seen in New York & Hong Kong, where it has been shown in exhibits, and on secondary markets, where it has been seen fetching prices of up to $45,000. The popularity of Joan Cornella comes largely attributable to the fact that his supporters share his content on social media.
His work is popular because people are relatable. How he brings out the world’s hypocrisies rings a bell to many. This could be proven by the huge fan following he has across different social media sites. His works are almost always a hot topic when they come out.
Skepticism is something that both the audience and the members of Cornella’s works have in common, which serves to connect them. They believe they all are awful at this at the same time. Even if they are suffering through horrific things, the figures in his comics always bring a smile on their face and look as though they were facing the same situations
His works may seem too real, but Cornella claims that everything is sensationalized, even though some behaviors may have some basis in reality. No matter what, we think his followers do really share the same skepticism as he or his characters does.
A Lesson To Learn
Cornella believes a valuable lesson is to be learned from the contrast between the bright colors of comic books. And also the dirty violence of the characters in his works. As he thinks that we all find humor in other people’s misfortune, and this can be educational to investigate the origin of such humor.
We also believe people find humor in miseries to some extent, and often we wonder why it is. Cornella’s work makes us question the root of this kind of behavior. That’s why as Cornella said, there is surely a lesson for us to learn.
Many are Familiar With His Works But Not Him
The cartoon pictures created by Joan Cornella are, to put it mildly, thought-provoking. His writing is characterized by a great deal of gloomy humor and ruthless honesty regarding numerous aspects of life. Because of the straightforward messages they convey, his cartoons frequently become viral on the Internet.
However, many people have utilized his work to create memes. While others frequently spread his work without realizing that it is the work of a talented cartoonist. For instance, we were not aware that he was the guy behind those viral memes that included his works.
Cornella Considers Himself Hong Kong Based
Cornellà is widely acclaimed on the global stage. His artworks have been displayed everywhere from Tokyo, Beijing, and Hong Kong to London, as well as in New York and Paris. He has approximately eight million followers across his many social media platforms.
But he shared that if he had to pick one place to call home, it would be Hong Kong. Especially considering how much time he has spent there over the past couple of years. He considers it to be his permanent base. Besides, his most devoted followers can be found in Hong Kong and in Asia in general. In addition, Hong Kong is where people first became aware of him.
Not Everyone’s Cup Of Tea
The thing we most love about Cornella’s work is that in just one glance, we’ll never really know what we’ll get. Joan Cornella’s works have always had an unexpected aspect to them. At first sight, Joan Cornella’s comics give off an upbeat and joyful vibe; nevertheless, things quickly change drastically for the worse. All sense of reality is taken away, putting it entirely within the realm of fiction.
Joan Cornella and his humor are not everyone’s cup of tea. Those who get the dark humor he always presents don’t really mind it. Instead, they root for him! However, those who don’t understand them can find his works offensive and even creepy.
Not Just for Shock Value
For Cornella’s humor to work, he needs to use bright-colored visuals. Especially the grinning character types that look more like a vintage how-to book than anything that could be real. The bright-colored visuals give a shock value at the end of his content. This is also a reason why many people love his webtoons. They like the surprise at the end. The shock at the end thrills the audience.
However, Joan Cornella is not solely interested in creating work for shock value. Even though they are extremely satirical, the works touch on serious themes such as the rise of social media obsesses in the internet world.
The Absurd World of His Works
We have to agree that the absurdity of Cornella’s webtoons crosses all the limits. As does with our world too. There’s nothing we can do about our need to be liked and popular, the world’s ills, or the basic ignorance of humanity. Cornella is doing everything in his power to bring these issues to light and make fun of them. And those who are capable of independent thought have noticed that this is the case.
In this day and age of political correctness, certain things should be said, and Cornella has discovered the ideal means to say them. Although the graphic style may occasionally repulse the viewers, this does not change the fact that certain things should be spoken, even if absurd.
All topics are fair game
The world has taken a perverse turn. The most recent webtoons by Joan Cornellà are the ones that best exemplify this point. Through a variety of out-of-the-ordinary experiences in the past, Cornella has acclimated the audience to the gloominess of his signature style.
Even though he has set boundaries and has limitations to what he would work on or not, no topic is off-limits for him. He is willing to touch on every topic if it’s within his boundaries. Whether it’s people’s connections to social networks, the “culture” of bare selfies, or the challenging political concerns like addiction or gender inequalities.
Characteristics That Set Cornella’s Work Apart
Cornella’s choice of calming, attractive colors and its overall form of art, which seems like it has been drawn for children’s books, is the antithesis of all the misery exhibited within the wordless webtoons he presents. Cornellà is particularly well-known for the fact that he frequently gives his characters an expression that is similar to an empty smile.
This face and smile, which wraps up several of his comics, eventually would become one of the well-known trademarks associated with Cornella. Aside from the awkward laughing, Cornell’s work often has a forthright message. He does not apologize for it. To give one illustration, the author has produced cartoons in which he addresses the issue of police brutality directed toward minority groups.
His Characters Are Not Sadistic
Despite popular belief that the characters he creates are sadistic and are always willing to put themselves or others in pain, Cornella doesn’t think it that way. In his opinion, none of his characters like putting themselves through hardship. It seems more like the characters are content even when they are causing harm to themselves because they have no other options left.
They don’t have time for misery because these characters live in an environment where enjoyment is at an extreme. Life is amazing, and it sounds like they never stop having a good time. Or rather, they must have fun all the time.
Watercolor on Paper
Cornella usually sketches very methodically on paper. But many wonder what medium he uses to create his arts. We also wondered if most of his work is done with watercolors or acrylics.
Apparently, he uses watercolors on paper. In the past, he painted with ink, and in most of his more recent pieces, he has switched to painting with watercolor or acrylic paints. His preference is for hand-drawn comics, so in this case, having a story to tell is the primary requirement for writing a good comic; the aesthetics of the comic are far less significant to him than the content. He also dabbled in digital comics for a brief period.
He Likes Silence
Although social media played a huge role in his popularity, other things made contributions too. The absence of texts, in addition to having attributed the pieces a multiplicity of perceptions, has given his work universal interpretability, leading to his achieving international popularity.
When talking about his textless creations, he exclaimed that he adores silent comedies and appreciates SILENCE. When he’s at work, he requires complete and utter silence. But there are moments when he stops what he’s doing and starts whistling while he looks up at the ceiling of his room. In this instance, he says that he covers his hearing by covering his ears because he is perpetually out of tune.
Not Big in Spain
Although Cornella’s works have already made their marks worldwide, it seems they couldn’t make much fame in his birthplace. His webtoons are not as popular in Spain as in cities like New York and Hong Kong. But what could be the reason behind it? It seems Cornella has his own interpretations.
Cornella feels that people outside of Spain appreciate him and his works more than they do in Spain. It does seem to him that people outside of Spain enjoy his work more, although he is not sure why this is the case. He thinks it’s probably because most Spanish speakers cannot follow the plot of silent comedies. Or they simply dislike them. Maybe they simply prefer noises more than silence.
Debut in Metaverse
At the beginning of April, the artist made his debut in the metaverse well by releasing theNFT collection titled “MOAR.” This collection was produced in conjunction with the popular collectible experts at FWENCLUB.
Cornellà planned his set of 5,555 limited-edition NFTs in many stages. The subsequent editions are scheduled to launch throughout the year 2022, and they will include a metaverse location where proprietors of the NFTs may congregate. The artworks were initially sold in the form of “blind boxes,” which concealed their contents (a group of avatars designed in a cartoonish style) until after a predetermined amount of time had passed.
His First NFT Launch Was More Than Successful
This Spanish artist’s initiative had climbed to the top of the roster! That too, just within twenty-four hours of the launch on the marketspace OpenSea, surpassing other popular collections such as “Azuki” and “Bored Ape Yacht Club.” The success was enormous, and people started to focus more on his work. Besides, because of this, his webtoons started to go viral again.
Soon even popular personalities also shared his works or took part in the launch. Cornellà’s launched avatars were quickly noticed dominating the online accounts of notable people. He caught the attention of people like Brooklyn Beckham and KAWS, JJ Lin. Shortly after, the artist made a name for himself in the metaverse world for the first time.
The story told in “MOAR” takes place inside a mansion that exists in the metaverse. It’s a building in which 5,555 different creatures, together with their spirits, were coined as non-fungible tokens using the ERC721 blockchain. Even though the rest of the globe is under lockdown owing to an alien invasion, those residing at the “MOAR” can coexist peacefully. Each one is different, hand-drawn, with over 180 unique features.
In the mansions, there could be humans, cyborgs, zombies, aliens, or anything else that comes to mind. There are 5,555 creatures in total. It’s a fairly peculiar mansion in which we may discover a variety of stores, games, and digital displays. It combines the experience of art with that of the metaverse.
It’s Been Over Nine Years Now
Cornella’s experience in this field spans over nine years at this point. He has this experience because he completed his studies in fine arts in Barcelona at an institution particularly dedicated to conceptual art.
Cornella shared that even though he started drawing from school, he wasn’t very interested in it; rather, he was more into other things. There is a possibility that the work he was doing then has some bearing on the work he is doing at the moment. But we can say that his hard work for over nine years has indeed been successful in making an impact in the eyes of art enthusiasts.
On Politics and Social Media’s Comments
Cornella says that he does get pretty violent comments on social media. But he makes an effort to stay out of the discussion that’s going on in the comments. He said the comments could be distressing if they take it in a direction that is diametrically opposed to what he was attempting to convey via his webtoons. After publishing an artwork he had created about a controversial political figure, he noticed a significant drop in the number of people who followed him.
Cornella often thinks that people are divided in their opinions when discussing politics. He thinks often there isn’t even a dispute; instead, it is an abrasive discussion, particularly in the United States. After that, it was disseminated worldwide, particularly through social media.
Cornella is Here to Stay
It’s not funny to bring up mortality or prey on children’s weaknesses all the time. Unless it’s by Joan Cornella, it’s bound to be off-limits. The work of Cornellà is just as bleak as a dark comedy can get. Cornella’s work makes light of topics that are generally regarded to be taboo or even off bounds.
It’s undeniable that Cornella has successfully built a fan following across the globe. They acknowledge the candor in his acerbic view on life, even though he’s a somewhat controversial figure. Besides, Cornellà’s recent collaboration with AllRightsReserved has made Cornellà’s webtoon more accessible and tangible. We will probably see more exciting works from him in upcoming years!