Sunday 21st of July 2019

career potential... for being shot at...


Few people ask me (actually no-one does) if cartooning is a vocation or a job... Good question I answer myself... Yes and no.. Who cares, except those who get shot. There are many types of cartoons  — from the gentle Sunday strips for kiddies to those published for adults only — such as Martin Van Maële's porn-toons in the early 1900s. (ële)

Some cartoonists make serious non-comic strips. They are adventure story books perfectly toonishly illustrated as if for kids, but these, to me, are seriously annoying like the Lord of the Ring movies. The Italians are good at this sort of stuff. I guess they inherited that style from their countless love story magazines of the 1950s-60s — using photographs like strips with dialogue in bubbles — like now TV series such as BBL do about love affairs, love gone wrong and love going right to entertain love sick women doing the ironing with some starch while being stuck at home to please Tony Abbott... 

So in published cartoons, there is a gamut between massive prejudices and gentle idiocy being exposed. Cartoonists can be professionals who get paid, thus these can spend a whole day on one image with deep philosophical satire or not, with nice line and colour work while smoking pot (or "thinking a lot"), and there are the other "professionals" who get brass-razoo and use computers to be lazy and succinct, like me. Ten minute max per image. Recycling rules. After this, there is gardening and cooking and cleaning and shopping and behaving like an "artist" with oils and turps, while shooting stray cats with a slingshot, off the water tanks.
Cartoonists are humans — possibly on the fringe of humanity, but humanly so. We carry a lot of baggage because we've got to know a lot of stuff before putting pen to paper. Knowing nothing does not stop anyone from putting an acerbic pen to paper though. Knowing too much can make us dizzy with contradictions, but we watch out for the traps we set out. We fail sometimes. 
Generally, with just a few brush/pen strokes, we hope we can paint the crazy situation of the day and show it for its real craziness/loopiness/idiocy/hypocrisy. It could take several pages of diatribe with expletives to achieve the same effect.
In the old days of western, in saloons, there was a sign placed on the piano by the bartender in regard not to shoot the pianist, during skirmishes between cowboys. The pianist was entertainment. You don't shoot entertainment. You don't shoot comics, though some simply die on stage for not being funny. I've been there, once as a kid —never again.
Satirical images have had a long history. You can see my short history of humping there but beware, the page is R restricted for minors. 
When did the cartoon evolve from cave paintings about bears, birds and bulls — and/or from the glorification of ruthless rapists and warriors in oil paintings in kings' castles? Good question...
Who knows. History is not a reliable source of information on this. Cartoons usually fall between the floor cracks or is burnt after the offender is hung for dissent. We pick what we want from "history" and one could "see" Jacques-Louis David being a satirist when he painted Napoleon for cash, after having painted the revolution for "idealism".
He had to exile himself to Belgium... Belgium, strangely could be the world centre of cartooning... 
There, there is a tension between the main two ethnic factions. Thus some cartoons, like "Gaston Lagaffe" could be designed like therapy to heel the rift. In it, the French/Belgium is a semi-clever dimwit, employed to be the gofer, lazy to the bone, like all French people are, always in strife for trying to create complex unworkable gizmos in order to do his job instead of him. His Flemish bosses, who work to the rules, stick to appointments like clockworks, are NEVER impressed and never laugh. 
Tintin came from Belgium, too. So there.
Most of the cartoon strips in this country, Orstraya, came (come) from the USA. A few are home grown and one like Ginger Meggs ( ) is a classic, now in its fourth or fifth illustrator, still closely penning in the best original style... The political cartoons were (are) their own and many cartoonist were true artists in their own right, like Norman Lindsay.
I should start a school for cartoonists, and give diplomas... Gus University degrees in cartooning. I can see the plaque at the entrance to my studio... And stand proud like my great granddad used to do in from of his Shoppe for the wooden clogs he carved himself — a great and important stature presenting his wooden goods to a public who was pining for clogs. 
There was a TV program on a school training stand-up comics learning how to piss-off people by pissing on themselves... Quite funny often in sad unfunny ways. And there are, I believe, a few individuals teaching cartooning around town. Mostly about the drawing of characters — not so much about the philosophy of the depressing brickbats. I don't really know... Unless one works in a magazine or newspaper office, one tends to live in a hole like a lonely mole. 
There is a difference between making jokes that are not directed at anyone and deliberately punching someone in the gonads with a toon. Bons mots are play-on words and on situations like leaving the iron on in a snow storm and burning the house down in minus 30 degrees. These satire do not attack anyone in particular and they show some empathy with the whatever. 
The king of the bons mots could have been Bob Hope... But modern TV comedy twisters like John Oliver are 100 times more relevant. 
For most cartoonists though, the need to draw like rabid dog on the scent is sometimes overwhelming. But we never catch the prey. The politicians always get away with their crafted crap, hiding behind the functionality of the system, as crooked as it is. No cartoon ever undid the stitching of chainmail. 
Calling upon the services of a cartoonist is not like calling for a plumber... "The society is broken"... All the cartoonist is going to do is laugh at the leaky pipes... And we all laugh together relatively till we drown in the basement... The cartoonist uses a hammer when a wrench is de rigour. That is the punch line and we have to cope with that. 
So, what's in it for cartoonists? Who knows and I don't care too much. It's like a disease ingrained in one's brain. Like smoking. But it does not destroy my lungs and promotes an inquiring mind in the prevention of Alzheimer's. I'll live with that. If I can remember. Cartooning also points out that the social pipes are rusty. It's my job I suppose to make sure you know you have rusty pipes and that the plumber your are using is actually incompetent. Tony Abbott is incompetent. Actually the smell in your bathroom does not come from behind the tiles... It's him, with the plumber's crack in the head.
Mind you, most politicians are like sadist stand-up comics who say stupid thing with the intent of making your life a misery rather than make you laugh. And contrarily to the profession of unsure depressed comical kind, politicians strongly believe in the height at which they fart... Well, some of them do... Someone like Abbott does not care about real policies to improve society, as long as he can use your life as a pin cushion for his enjoyment of making cash for his rich mates. 
Bernardi is a different kettle of fish. He is a superior type of believer, often a caricature of himself, thus difficult to extend any joke beyond him. What he says is ludicrous, though delivered with seriousness like a line of text in the bible: "And god createth woman from a man's rib, with a fig leaf between her legs" Genesis 20:VI... I made this one up...
Politicians like Pyne behave like aggressive whiny little terriers in search of biffo with much bigger dogs, but hide as soon as the kitchen they torch by playing with matches, goes up in flame. Fun. The problem is that on the other side of the street, there is no "big dogs" to really crunch him and the likes like war biscuits. The big dogs are sooks, like in the Warner Brothers cartoons... Most politicians like Pyne are sticklers for traditional constipation of thoughts. Change is the enema. They hate change, except when it's to turn the clock backwards. They think progress is to walk, towards the past. 1956 sounds nice... 
I can hear church bells ringing and mum is wearing her pleated floral skirt below the knee length, plus white gloves and a hat with a small veil that is the remnant of a full Catholic hiding garb like a burqa. Everyone smells of soap, since it's been the Sunday scrub up. "And clean up behind your ears!". The roast is in the oven and will be cooked by the time everyone comes back from church. Little fat Joe picks his noses while Julie shows her pretty undies to her friend Julia. Anthony starts to think of ways to jump off his pram and sell his parents to the highest bidder. Christopher just whines about everything. Other kids of the street make faces, some break branches off old Tom's azaleas front garden, some jump like idiots into the water of the gutter, all developing skills in the destruction of sumpthin'. Dad closes the gates to the white picket fence, with a sigh. Dad, having been through two world wars does not really fancy talking to a blind and deaf god once more. God is dead or mad or...
So some cartoons are designed to piss off some people... or annoy all people or one person. Most cartoons expose our social hypocrisy, they disrespect our religious beliefs and are quite virulent. Nothing wrong with that when the targets are idiotic, dangerous and often psychos on the loose with a right to exist protected by the United Nations to victimise women. Often the best medicine for targeted minorities is to ignore the drawing which then dies in the bum for not stirring any passion. Ignoring the image shows philosophical maturity that the Catholics have learnt to develop.  
Drawing toons can be fun and therapeutic. More of this in the next instalment

Gus Leonisky
Your prophetising cartoonist.


je ne suis plus mohammed...


The French cartoonist who penned the iconic Charlie Hebdo cover after the deadly attacks in Paris has said he will no longer draw caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"He no longer interests me" Renald Luzier, or Luz, told French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. "I've got tired of it, just as I got tired of drawing Sarkozy. I'm not going to spend my life drawing them."

The terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine's headquarters in January left 12 people dead, including the editor and several cartoonists. Luz escaped as he was late to an editorial meeting that day.

Charlie Hebdo had angered the gunmen by publishing articles critical of Islam and drawing pictures of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered by many Muslims to be an act of blasphemy.

The attacks inspired millions of people to declare "Je Suis Charlie" and a week later the magazine ran a "survivors' issue", with Luz's cartoon on the cover. It featured the prophet holding a sign saying "I am Charlie" and appeared under the heading "all is forgiven".


Read more:


See mischief and read article at top...

cartooning about sport is fraught with bruising...

A cartoon of Serena Williams having a tantrum got the dogs of political correctness barking. I did not see the incident and to say the least I did not care (and still don't) when stuff about this stuff made the news... May be I should have watched detergent, "death insurance" and period pads adverts, interspaced with a bit of tennis... I still prefer the adverts about cheap cars and fishing tackle.

tennis 2

My main bother here is that a fellow cartoonist got hammered for doing what cartoonist should do: hammer celebrities and politicians for being whatever. But whatever you do, as a cartoonist, you should never hammer the little people who are defenseless against the sharks of society. Thus Mark Knight should be allowed to do what he does best.


Editor of the Herald Sun, Damon Johnston, also defended Knight.

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” Johnston said. “It had nothing to do with gender or race.”

The Herald Sun article ended with a series of other recent Knight cartoons, but did not include one from last month about Sudanese-Australian violence in Melbourne, which also sparked accusations of racism.


read more:



Mark Knight‏ @Knightcartoons


Replying to @JulieDiCaro @theheraldsun @usopen

Well Julie here’s a cartoon I drew a few days before when Australian male tennis player Kyrgios at the US Open was behaving badly. Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour. I’ll accept your apology in writing.



A cartoonist should never ask for an apology from tight-arsed politically correct wowsers, only if it's a satirical demand.

See my cartooning effort drawn in the 1980s about sport (cycling) and republished here with my own permission:


Read from top.

it's only a game...

As a result of a conflict with an umpire during a recent US Open match, American tennis star Serena Williams received three code violations, eventually losing a point and then the whole game.

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston has responded to accusations of racism over the Australian newspaper's Mark Knight depicting US tennis star Serena Williams in a cartoon, which Johnston claimed "had nothing to do with gender or race."

"A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark's cartoon depicted that," Johnston said, in a nod to Williams' recent dispute with an umpire during the US Open final over what she described as sexist treatment.

READ MORE: 'Too Far': French Open Bans Serena Williams' Black Panther-Inspired Catsuit

Johnston was echoed by Knight who insisted that "the cartoon about Serena is about her poor behavior on the day, not about race."


Read more:


Leave the cartoonist alone... Read above and from top.

the incident...



For those who do not closely follow professional tennis, here’s a review of the controversy. Serena Williams, undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the history of the game, was facing a rising superstar from Japan, Naomi Osaka. Williams is only one grand slam championship away from tying the all-time record, but has recently struggled to triumph over her younger opponents (most tennis players retire in their early to mid-thirties; Williams is 37). Osaka had already defeated Williams with ease at the Miami Open in March.

It appeared that the U.S. Open was headed for a repeat early in the match, with Osaka asserting swift dominance. Early in the first set, however, the linesman, Carlos Ramos, called a court violation on Williams’ coach because he was signaling her—an illegal activity in the sport of tennis. Rather than accept the warning, Williams unleashed a reality TV-style tirade on Ramos, excoriating him for “misreading” her coach’s hand gestures and making bizarre reference to her daughter: “I never cheat…I have a daughter, and I stand for what is right for her.”

(Immediately following the match, in a rare and refreshing moment of honesty, Williams’ coach admitted that he was signaling her the entire time, making Williams look both deceitful and foolish. Most post-match commentary has conveniently omitted the coach’s confession from the record.)

After Williams lost the opening set’s fifth game, she slammed her racket into the ground, causing its frame to bend. Intentional damage to a racquet is a code violation, and Ramos penalized her a point, the standard punishment for a second offense. Osaka quickly won the next game, making her the winner of the first set with a lopsided score of 6-2. (Editor’s Note: This article originally made the error of reporting that Serena Williams smashed her racquet during the first set. It actually happened during the second set of play.)

Williams then began screaming at Ramos, telling him that he was wrong to penalize her and protesting that the warning she received should not count as a violation because she was not cheating. Ramos sat silently as Williams ridiculed his performance as linesman and demanded that he apologize.
Read more:


Apparently, some critics say the other problem with the cartoon apart from showing Serena in a bad light, is that Mark Knight made the Japanese girl "look more white than she is"... We can live with that... (the colouring is about right).


Read above and from top...

cartooning about sport is fraught with bruising...

not just the left...

But now it looks like even cartoons have become too risky. In our brave new world of total intolerance, PC thought police dutifully plumb the depths of our minds to determine the real messages behind our artistic impressions, even if they come in the form of a cartoon. The cruel irony of the criticism, however, should not have been lost on the Inquisition, but apparently it was; humor is not the Left’s best quality.

Observers were quick to notice a glaring double standard at play.

Many Liberals defended the right for the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, an act that is considered blasphemous to Muslims. Nevertheless, their main argument is that artists should have free license over their work and not be censured by anybody, not least of all a religion that boasts over 1 billion adherents worldwide.

Here is the Left’s brilliant logic: It’s totally fine to mock Muhammad, but not so okay to mock the lamentable on-court behavior of a single tennis star at the US Open. And people are wondering why voters are fleeing the Democratic camp in droves. Liberals somehow believe they are open-minded and progressive about everything, but the reality is that their level of tolerance doesn’t rise any higher than their personal belief system, which quite frankly is wallowing in the proverbial toilet. Anything that challenges that worldview is shouted down and condemned to the point where college campuses are now being torched. It is a great paradox, but in reality these so-called ‘progressives’ are conservatives of the very worst kind. ‘Hypocrites’ would be a better word.

Thankfully, however, the Herald Sun is not taking the abuse sitting down. In fact, they’ve just released an issue with a front page depicting the many individuals, representative of many races, which have fallen to Mark Knight’s savage wit over the years, and, it must be emphasized, without any undue incident.

It’s vital to see some pushback against this wave of intolerance, otherwise it will not just be cartoons that go missing from the public square. It will soon spell the end of our basic freedom of expression and democratic institutions as we know them.


Read more:


Not just "the left" is up in arms about this... Please read from top. As mentioned before, cartoonist have a duty to expose the "powerful", the "rich", the "police", the "politicians" and the "inconsistencies of the system", but the cartoonist should leave alone — or support — the downtrodden and the defenceless.

tacky, distasteful, but not racist...

A Herald Sun cartoon that depicted Serena Williams jumping in the air and “spitting the dummy” after losing a match to Naomi Osaka was not racist, the Press Council has found.

The News Corp cartoon came under global condemnation in September last year for publishing what some saw as a racist, sexist cartoon.

But in an adjudication published in the tabloid on Monday, the Australian Press Council accepted the Herald Sun’s argument that the cartoon was in response to Williams’ “outburst” on the court at the US Open final, and rejected suggestions that the tennis champion was in an ape-like pose.

Read more:


Having shown many politicians as monkeys in my cartoons over the years, this does not mean I am disrespectful of politicians — as I value the contribution of monkeys to this planet. Read from top.