My First Cartoon in The Hobart Mercury

Yesterday, I had my very first cartoon published in The Mercury, Tasmania's largest newspaper. Making it was an intense experience, which made me appreciate the end result even more. I thought I'd take you through it.

So obviously, in order to get a cartoon in the paper for a Saturday, you've got to do the work for it the day before. Most of the time, with political cartoons, the joke has to be relevant to current events. So, that means keeping up with the news. I got up early on Friday morning, watched the 7:00 news and then trawled the web for other new and popular stories. One thing to remember is that you want as many people to get your joke as possible. So, you've got to stick to the popular stories more than the ones that you find interesting or joke-worthy.

The next thing that you've got to stay on top of is what other cartoonists around the country have been doing. You DON'T want to repeat a joke that someone else has done.

So, I did this till about noonish. Then I worked up two cartoon ideas and sent them to the editor for approval (they want at least two ideas to choose from):

This one was my first idea. The Australian dollar is the highest it's been in decades. But, it's not gonna last (it always dips back down) This was the biggest news for that day. (Briony and I even frantically tried to think of something to buy from amazon.com, but just couldn't.) Combine this with the ongoing news of Australia getting new and faster broadband, but the rollout of this plan is gonna be achingly slow.

This idea came from a statement Julia Gillard (our Prime Minister) said about not feeling comfortable in The Lodge just yet. She's only been PM for a few weeks and most of that time, she's been out and about traveling around. I had this idea that she was probably not comfortable because of the residual guilt of booting Kevin Rudd out of office. And then I drew Tony Abbott whimpering outside the window. He almost got in, but thank heavens he didn't.

I emailed these cartoons off to the editor. And got a reply to go with the Australian Dollar one. I also felt like that was my strongest one, so I was pretty stoked with that response.

For the next four hours, I worked up this finished cartoon. I felt like my first sketch didn't have enough movement in it. The rollercoaster car looked like it was just sitting, stuck on the top of the rollercoaster. Putting in a bit of movement elevates that sense of urgency. Plus, I wanted other people on the coaster, just for fun.

And then, the next morning, I went down to the corner market to buy some milk and presto, there's the Saturday paper with my first cartoon!


Freckled Sparrow said...

Proud of you sweet cheeks!

Jason said...

Oh man, that's so exciting, man! Really happy for you. The comic looks great :)

Anthony Woodward said...

Looks great!

John Retallick said...


Well done Chris. A good one too.

Sonia and I will be in Tas from 23-31. We'll be down your way in later half. Hope to catch you then.


Sam Spina said...

DUDE!!! wow chris that's so awesome! I love hearing about the process of political cartoons, and that coloring looks GREAT!

Neale B said...


Sheikasaurus Rex said...

I love seeing the idea sketch then the finished cartoon afterward. Great job!

FerGil said...

Chris, you made a great cartoon! I love the style you have, and now that I see it applied to news cartoons, I think it goes very well with that! Will you post your newspaper cartoons on the web for the non-Aussie readers?

Matt said...

Congratulations, man! It couldn't happen to a nicer or more talented guy. I wish you lots of continued luck and success, brother.

David Ano said...

Awesome. Editorial cartoons are hard to do because you have top put a complicated subject and a complicated cartoon and have it fit in just one panel. When I drew comics years and years ago, I tried editorial cartoons, but it seemed like the real debate happened after the comic on the forum arguing how poorly the message was made or not.

I wish you continued luck on this endeavor!