This month Galway Cartoon Festival talks to the excellent Chelsea Saunders of The Nib.
Name: Chelsea Saunders
Where are you from? Westchester County, New York.
When did you become interested in drawing cartoons? Ever since I was two years old, I loved drawing. Shows like Spongebob Squarepants and the Powerpuff Girls sparked my desire to draw cartoon characters, but it wasn’t until I graduated college that I started making comics. I remember the summer of 2018, there was a lot of news regarding white people calling the cops on Black folks for no reason (i.e. “BBQ Becky” calling the cops because a Black family was grilling in a park). I made my first political cartoon in response to that, and it got picked up by The Nib. I’ve been hooked on making political comics since.
Who are your big influences? I get really inspired by artists like Matt Bors, Ronald Wimberly, Richie Pope, Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher, and Ralph Bakshi.
Where were you first published? The Nib published my first piece “Lowlights for Children” on their website. I pretty much owe my illustration career to team Nib; they’re the best.
What’s your favourite cartoon (single panel or strip)? Ironically, I haven’t read that many comics (as a kid or an adult), so I can’t pick a favorite! I’m trying to read more comics this year!
What materials do you use? I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet almost exclusively. I miss drawing on paper sometimes, but there’s no undo button.
On a scale from 1-10, where 1 is the thing you hang wet clothes on and 10 is the thing Gandalf rode in on, how are you at drawing horses? If I had a reference, it’d be a solid 7. Without reference, probably a 3. Those back-bending legs get me everytime. And wait… didn’t Gandalf ride an eagle to Mordor?
Did you scribble in the margins of your books in school? Oh yeah, for sure! I often tried to draw presidential portraits that were in my textbook.
Do you have any advice for aspiring cartoonists? In general, it’s important to have a body of work to show. Work begets work, and freelance offers will come in after you land your first gig. When it comes to political art specifically, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. People appreciate when you reveal societal hypocrisy, even if you’re harsh about it. It’s important —now more than ever— to call out the people in power who are failing us. Make your voice heard, and your message clear!
Where can we find you online? My Instagram handle is chelsea_saunders. And my Twitter handle is che_saund. I really wished they matched, but alas, poor foresight.
[You can see archived interviews here. We hope to host a monthly interview with cartoonists around the world, both established and up-and-coming. If you’d like to feature please get in touch.]
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
The Galway Cartoon Festival is 4 this year. Despite the pandemic we are still planning to host a physical exhibition.
Our ability to fund-raise has been severely curtailed.
If you’ve ever enjoyed an editorial cartoon please bung us a fiver.
More details of our fundraiser can be found at the link above and we have a tiered reward system! PLEASE HELP US MAKE 2020 HAPPEN!