Coming Up with Jokes
First of all, it is a great idea to get a notepad small enough to fit in your pocket or bag. Come on, they are no more than a buck-fifty—unless you buy one from Gucci. Have it on-hand throughout the day; in school, at work, while you read the newspaper, etc. The fact is that you come across plenty of humorous things throughout your day, but unless you keep your eyes and ears open, you will let them pass you by.
So now you've got your guard up for anything funny. Great! But you still have to memorize them for the time you sit down to draw cartoons. Well, this is where the notepad comes in handy. Whenever you encounter something funny, just flip open your notepad and jot it down. It doesn't even have to be a complete sentence, just a few keywords that will help your remember the idea. Besides, in this modern day and age, who has the time to write complete sentences?
Now it's time to draw a cartoon. Instead of sitting for a half-hour with a pencil in your ear thinking of something funny, you can just flip open your notepad. If you haven't been lazy with writing things down, you should have a good amount of ideas to choose from. Pick one that you like, and start working on it: How can this idea be illustrated? Can the joke be shortened or rephrased? Will the majority of the audience understand it? Like a sculptor with a piece of clay, you should take the idea and turn it into a great cartoon.
The last step is to make sure the cartoon makes sense to people other than you. Steer clear of inside jokes, or jokes that only a very specific group of people would understand (unless that is your target audience). Finally, you need to triple-check the spelling and grammar. If you're not sure about the spelling of a word, consult a dictionary. It will take less than 30 seconds if you're nearby a computer or a dictionary. Take the extra time to make sure it's right, or else people will notice that you don't put any effort into it.
Once you're done, open your notepad again and mark off the idea you just used, just to make things easier the next time you're sifting through the noted ideas.