Bloghorn’s Artist of the Month for July is John Roberts. John specialises in caricature, gag cartoons, humorous illustration and has been a highly successful on-the-spot caricaturist for the last ten years.
He is also one of the founders and organisers of the annual Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.We asked John how he had become a cartoonist.
Believe it or not I wanted to save my sanity. In a previous life (good salary, company car, expenses etc etc) I found that if I didn’t change tack then I’d lose my marbles and so I had to have a major re-think.
I knew that I could make a living out of drawing so I decided to try to make it as a cartoonist. In the very early days I sent some caricatures to the Guardian and believe it or not they wrote back saying they’d like to use me and to ‘stand by’ for the phone call. At that time I was working flat out (24/7 as the dudes say these days) so I wrote back saying that that would be difficult in my present situation and so I turned them down! Probably the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life……
I eventually put a decent portfolio together and remember showing it to the late John Witt (cartoonist extraordinaire who used to have a cartoon studio in Chester) who took one look and said “Ever thought of doing ‘live’ caricaturing?”. Over the years I’ve often thought about John and what he had said and wondered if he suggested live caricaturing just to hack off his studio colleague and old friend Tim Leatherbarrow (caricaturist extraordinaire, of no fixed abode) but alas, caricaturing has been the mainstay of my work.
There will be another chat with John about his work next Friday.