This month Galway Cartoon Festival talks to cartoonist Osama Hajjaj.
Name: Osama Eid Hajjaj
Where are you from? From Amman the capital of Jordan.
When did you become interested in drawing cartoons?
Since I was 20 years old. My father was the one who encouraged me to enter this field because of the nature of his work at this time as a news translator. I was unemployed at this time but I was full of talent for drawing. The drawing was just as a hobby for me in this time. Then I got into the newspaper where my father works, not as a cartoonist, but as an expressive graphic artist, especially for newspaper topics with very low salary, so From here I started my way to be a cartoonist.
Who are your big influences? There’s many… not just one… Since I was young I loved comic books & tv cartoons program my big influences in this time like Stan Lee & Frank Miller, and in cartoon art like… Hajo de Reijger & Angel Boligan.
Where were you first published? My first published cartoon was in the same newspaper that my father works for, and the first newspaper I worked for as a cartoonist. It was an indescribable feeling I remember having when I saw my first cartoon published on paper. I bought 5 newspapers at that time in 1993 ☺
What’s your favourite cartoon (single panel or strip)? Mmmm .. I love them both, But most likely single cartoon
What materials do you use? In the past I was using paper and ink colors, pencil, free hand drawing. More fun, but more difficult and needs time… but now with technology I use ipad pro
And drawing programs so I am now digital artist.
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? Hahahah… nice question… 7/10
Did you scribble in the margins of your books in school? Oooh this is a big story on my life ، I’ve always scribble on my school books. It made me a lot of trouble and rebukes with my teacher, but that period or habit for me was like learning to draw and this is one of the sacrifices that affected my studies in this time. My friends liked my drawings and called me an artist. I miss those books that have so many sketches ☹
Do you have any advice for aspiring cartoonists? My advice to aspiring cartoonist… to never give up & keep trying… And to take this art a very seriously… And to keep learning I am still learning until now.
And keep updated: every time the cartoon artist needs to read and follow news and events and be educated. This time is easier on their way than in the past because you don’t need a newspaper or magazine to be a cartoonist. The future is now the social media, make your page and go.
Where can we find you online? Online you can find my work by google search or my page on facebook: osamahajjaj cartoons
And instagram: osamahajjaj
It’s that time of year again where the Galway Cartoon Festival must rattle our fundraising can to ensure this year’s Cartoon Festival happens! We are a completely voluntary organisation that seeks to promote the art of the cartoon each year through exhibitions, talks and workshops. It is the public that gets us over the line each year and this year is no different! So if you’ve ever laughed at a Larson or cracked up at a Keyes please consider getting the card out!