After YEARS of work, my picture book The Cartoonist is finally on its way to the printers!
This book is a very personal book for me. As a political cartoonist for News Ltd for ten years from 1992..yes..way back when newspapers were valued, I took free speech for granted. I had a ball drawing cheeky caricatures of Keating, Hawke, Pauline Hanson and my fav, John Howard. John Howard even SIGNED my caricature of him, with good grace.
In 2001, I was invited to work for a promotions company in China drawing caricatures for a promotions gig for Carrefour . I traveled to fourteen cities all over China doing this work, However, I was told to NOT draw ANY political cartoons. The first time I had ever run into censorship of my work. How could CARTOONS be so threatening to a powerful government?
Later, I moved to DUBAI to live and continue my work. I ran into even stricter cartoon censorship. I had a weekly spot cartoon for a local newspaper and was given a list of subjects I was NOT to draw. I lived in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar and was always on my guard with what I drew.
Then came the terrible Charlie Hebdo shooting of cartoonists..and the world woke up to the POWER of CARTOONS!
After speaking on various panels and in the print media in Australia about the subject of Political cartooning, I felt I just wasn't communicating the message through effectively. How could I find a way to talk about how dangerous political cartooning is when you draw Tyrants and oppressive governments, but in a fun easy approachable way. Tricky!
When I returned to live in Qatar I wrote, illustrated and designed my picture book, The Cartoonist.
I couldn't risk having this printed in Qatar in case I stood on powerful toes. I tucked it away and worked on it from time to time.
Then I came home to Australia and out came all my Cartoonist book work. I finally finished it and...here we are!