NZ’s best cartoonist launches book

Garrick Tremain who in my subjective and biased opinion is New Zealand’s best cartoonist, has launched a book containing his favourites from the past 20 years.

Politics from the pen of a leading cartoonist contains 153 cartoons which is about 2% of what he has produced.

He said developments in his work were evident over the years, particularly in his drawing style.

“I can pretty much date a cartoon from the style of drawing, although drawing is the one thing which constantly disappoints me.

”I’m frequently pleased with the ideas I put into a cartoon but my drawing is always a disappointment.”

Blgging can be like that too – the ideas are good but the writing can be a disappointment 🙂

Tremain said he had not become increasingly controversial in his cartoon work, although newspaper editors had relaxed their own issues about content.

“The media has become more adventurous, less politically correct, and less restrained.

”Even though my tendency is still to do cartoons which may offend a lot of people, there used to be no show of editors publishing my work and now there are more happy to have my cartoons in their newspapers,” he said.

It depends on who you define offend, but good political cartoons should provoke a reaction.

Despite this, Tremain said audiences still had taboo subjects and the topics likely to cause offence changed from region to region.

South Island audiences were less likely to appreciate jokes about sex and toilet humour than their North Island counterparts, but were not so adverse to racial cartoons.

“The further south you go, the more frightened people are of anything risque.

”At the same time, I’ve noticed over the years they [South Islanders] are more accepting of anything which could be construed as a racist remark, which probably has a lot to do with population spread in this country.”

Being more risque-averse could be a result of Presbyterian upbringings, but I hope being less offended by what might be a racist remark does not mean we southerners are more racist.

Tremain said of all the audiences he had drawn cartoons for in his career, Otago people understood him better than anyone, as the region had been more exposed to his style of satire.

“It’s Otago where I first started and found an affinity with.

”I enjoy drawing for an Otago audience. ”They are very loyal,” he said.

When you’ve been enjoying someone’s work for 20 years, he’s earned your loyalty.

Despite trying to retire last year, Tremain said he was humbled and appreciative of the support he received to continue his work, and there was no end in sight for his career at this stage.

“It’s nice to know that what you do is important to some other people,” he said.

And it’s nice to know Tremain and the ODT are going to be keeping us amused and/or outraged.

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