December 17, 2014

Matt and how he works

Matt Pritchett explaining how he produced his first front page cartoon
Matt is a pocket cartoonist. Son of Oliver and grandson of V.S. Pritchett. Celebrated for his inimitable wit and bite delivered daily, without fail, in illustrated form. As a pocket cartoonist he is one among a "diminishing species" according to Andy Davey. Matt’s big break came on Thursday February 23 1988, the date he first appeared on the front cover of the Telegraph, as above. He explained it like this: 
"I did a cartoon of two people and the line ‘I hope I have a better Thursday than I did yesterday’, which sort of went with the general mood of crisis of the readers."
It wasn’t easy at first. He said one of his first cartoons got this reaction from the editor, ‘this is the worst ———- cartoon ever’:
"I did one which I vaguely recall featured a cleaning lady or something. Anyway, they took it, but the editor of the column was away at the time. When he returned he was so furious that he stuck it up on the wall with the words ‘this is the worst ———- cartoon ever’ written all over it. In later years he would always greet me as if he had discovered me."
He said it’s all about throwing about many ideas:
"The idea is that by three or four o’clock I’ll have six, and I take those six to the night editor who’s in charge of the front page. We narrow it down to two or three."
He calls it a "scattergun approach". The idea is not to pressure himself into thinking for hours in search of a single killer joke for a cartoon but to do lots:
"No matter how crap they are I think of 20 [jokes]. Your first few are rubbish but the only thing to do is be more creative. So I have a scattergun approach.”
He also called his working process a form of creative colonic irrigation. But as he said, "I am not the best judge. The ones I like everyone else will think are silly, and vice versa." Asked if he ever gets writers block, he said
"Sometimes I do struggle to get the characters to look like they are saying what they are saying."
As for his favourite cartoon, he said as of May 2011:
"I think it would be one I did to tie-in with a story about Hitler’s watercolours being auctioned. They went for a huge sum of money. So I drew a picture of a woman painting at a canvas. Her husband was looking over her shoulder. He was saying: ‘You’re quite good, but you’re no Adolf Hitler’."
He considers himself a journalist it would seem: "Like all journalists the subjects are given to you - it’s the news. It’s more stressful but it’s exciting." Matt explains how he works here. His dad explains where the ideas come from here. Matt explains that he needs the hustle and commotion of an office environment to create ideas and cartoons, see here. Matt on how cartoons always end up in the bathroom, here. He also explained how he is often asked if he isn't right-wing enough for the Telegraph.

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