Like many post-grad students with a creative degree, Sherilyn Jones worked from job to job, searching for that one position to fulfill her creative aspirations. After a few years of coming up short, she finally made the decision to put her destiny in her own hands and created her company, Concept Media Group.
Since then, she has been able to create exactly what she wants, when she wants. While Sherilyn’s services include everything from graphic design to printing t-shirts, her biggest claim to fame from her company is her childhood dream: cartooning. Her series, Can’t Keep Up With the Joneses (CKUWTJ), has afforded her many opportunities, including designing cartoons for her church and developing a cartoon series for a professional basketball team last year.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Dallas’ rising cartoonist and get into her creative mind.
How long have you been cartooning?
I’ve been drawing since I was like eight or nine years old. I actually got into comics because of my grandfather. He would give me comic books and strips when I was little, and it just picked up from there. I went through school taking art classes, and went to college at an art school for computer animation. When I couldn’t find a full-time job in the field doing what I loved, I started creating my own cartoons and then started my company.
What is Can’t Keep Up With The Joneses about (CKUWTJ)?
CKUWTJ is about a group of siblings who go on adventures – it’s a cartoon that people can relate to. They [the characters] play sports, they go to church and go through other hilarious family situations too.
What was the inspiration behind your characters?
I was looking to create characters that people could relate to. If you can’t relate to one character, you can probably relate to another. Evan is smart; Raymond is the mischievous one; Sigamore, is like the prankster; and Shonre is the quiet one, but she’s always asking questions.
How did you come up with their names?
It wasn’t really off of inspiration. I needed a funny and unique name, and Sigamore just popped into my head! And Shonre is just a cute name.
Do you have any upcoming cartoon episodes?
Right now, I’m working on the third episode of my anti-bullying series. I want this to be an ongoing series, so it really depends on if I’m inspired. I go off of inspiration. If I don’t feel the comic or get anything from it, I don’t expect anyone else to. I only put out work that I’m feeling.
What has been your most rewarding experience since pursuing your career as a cartoonist?
Just being able to see my cartoons, and people loving my work, hitting me up on social media to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I didn’t even know how to draw when I started – I had to teach myself, and I just kept going at it. So, it’s like a dream come true for me to actually create my own comic strips.
You have an impressive following on social media… How has this been a good tool for you and your cartoons?
Yes! Social media has turned me onto a lot of different opportunities. I got a chance to do a comic strip for the professional basketball team here in Dallas because of it. They saw CKUWTJ online and reached out to me and asked if I would do a little version so they could post it on their own social media. It has been a really great networking tool for me.
Do you keep up with technology?
Yes, I keep up with technology. It's the one thing that allows me to showcase my creations. I love using social media. Computers, digital cameras and even my cell phone have played a roll in my creative journey. Technology also makes it a lot easier to get work out in front of my audience.
Has technology helped your creative process any?
Technology has helped my creative process by allowing me to use social media as a networking tool. It also helps me reach out to others for constructive criticism. Using discussion boards and blog sites to talk about what I do, and give people the opportunity to email and comment on my work is all a part of my creative process. That gives me something to feed off of and drives me to keep creating even more for everyone to enjoy.
What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
Probably the freedom to be creative and do what I love. It’s just amazing to see the final product when you get to help somebody else accomplish their dreams. That’s the main reason I started my company – for people who have trouble finding someone to help them creatively. So, I want to be that person to others. Even if I can’t help that person myself, I want to be the one to guide them in the right direction.
Where do you want to see CKUWTJ in the next five years?
I want it to become an animated series, and probably after that maybe a movie. I just want it to go as far as it can go! But, I really want to focus next on making it an animated series. If I can’t find a company to produce it, it would be really cool if I can build Concept Media Group up to a point where I can produce it on my own.
To learn more about Sherilyn and keep up with her Jones’ and the rest of her work, visit cantkeepupwiththejoneses.com.