Five questions with cartoonist Steve Bolton

by The Listener / 19 February, 2013
Continuing a series of interviews with New Zealand-based cartoonists.
Cartoon courtesy Steve Bolton

If you're an aspiring young cartoonist, consider entering the Listener/NZ Cartoon Archive Young Cartoonist Award.


Which cartoonists or other artists have influenced you the most?

I've always liked work that has some type of timeline component to it. Something that tells you something just happened, or that something is just about to happen. Good cartoons have this, with even single-frame cartoons requiring you to imagine the moments just before and after the frame you're actually seeing, and so does a lot of the art that I like.

I don't tend to think of cartooning and other arts as being different or separate from each other; I just think of them as part of the same thing. So it's artists like Jeffrey Harris and William Scott who would be the biggest cartooning influences for me, and Francis Bacon of course. The greatest cartoonist of them all.

 Is there an ideal reaction you’d like your audience to have to your work?

Not really but I do like it when people tell me what they think or what they liked about a particular cartoon. People all react in their own individual ways, which is the best kind of reaction from my point of view.

Cartoon courtesy Steve Bolton

I really like drawing regular everyday people doing regular everyday people things. At the moment, I'm drawing a lot of these quite stiff, puzzled looking people because that's what we do best in New Zealand; stand around looking stiff and puzzled and wondering what to do next.

What was the first drawing you were paid for?

Before I was really fully involved in cartooning, I spent a lot of my time painting. So the first drawing I ever got paid for would actually have been a gigantic painting.

What advice would you give to an aspiring cartoonist?

I think it's important with cartooning to be true to yourself. It's good to learn from what other people are doing but, ultimately, you really need to be working on your own stuff in your own way, using your own set of visual, illustrative and stylistic tools.


To view more of Steve's work or get in touch with him, visit his website.
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