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Interview Meet the cartoonist

The Morning Star's pages are enlivened by some of the country's best political cartoonists. One of them is Bristolian STELLA PERRETT

What prompted you to draw cartoons?

To try and pacify the bullies at school, plus a steady diet of British and American comics as a child.

Have you any formal artistic training?

Only up to O-level Art.

What's the most difficult thing about producing a cartoon?

The hardest part is often getting the spatial balance right on paper and the precise wording. Japanese artists say it’s what you leave out that is most important and they are right.

How do you pick the subject?

I read a variety of newspapers and websites and listen to the radio news.

Is it difficult for you to “get” the likeness right in a caricature?

There are thousands of cartoonists better at caricature than I am, so I rarely attempt it. I have done portraits of animals, as they are less likely to complain!

What annoys you most in public figures and do you see the ridiculing of them as your duty?

Like Jeremy Corbyn, I “don’t do abuse.” It’s unnecessary to get your point across. I prefer to try and depict the effect their policies or actions have on us, using cartoon people.

How important are cartoons as comic relief?

Massively. People have only survived extreme conditions by finding humour in their situation. A cartoon without humour is not a cartoon, it’s an illustration.

How do you hope readers will react to your satire?

That they appreciate the lack of personal abuse and get some of the surrealism — I hope the cartoon accompanying this piece is a good example.

Cartoonists are said to be gloomy. Are you?

Growing up with disability and its fallout — lack of confidence, bullying, domestic violence — gives you a high daily dose of stress. But in order to achieve anything at all, in spite of your experiences, you have to be optimistic.

Do women cartoonists get a fair crack of the whip  in the profession?

Of course not. The Cartoonists Club of Great Britain is practically Masonic.



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