5 minutes with Sharon Murdoch – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Sharon MurdochToday we’re talking to Sharon Murdoch about her comic work, and what we can look forward to at her Comicfest panel. Sharon is a political cartoonist for The Sunday Star Times and the Christchurch Press. Born in Invercargill, Sharon moved to Wellington to attended Design School. Most of her working life has been as a graphic designer, and sometime illustrator, most notably with Wellington Media Collective, and a stint in South Africa working with a Xhosa women’s community development group, where they did comics on early childhood education and AIDS prevention. Gradually, over the past few years, Sharon has moved into cartooning full-time, although she still doesn’t regard herself as a “real” cartoonist. As well as the political cartoons, Sharon does a cartoon of a ginger cat, called Munro, which runs in the Dominion Post and the Christchurch Press. She has done over 500 drawings of this cat now. She also has two daughters, two cats and one husband. You can follow Sharon on Twitter at @domesticanimal

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
I’m doing political cartoons 3 days a week for newspapers and draw a cartoon of a cat, Munro. I took part in the upcoming Three Words Anthology of women’s comics – I think I made a bit of a hash of it and if I was doing it again I would do it quite differently. Because I trained as a graphic designer I always seem to feel torn between a “designed graphic” and a more spontaneous, freer drawing.

Sharon MurdochWhat is your favourite part of your working process?
Doing the preliminary sketches – exploring an idea. They quite often seem to have something that is hard to retain in the finished work.

Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
Lynda Barry, Wanda G’ag, Lat (a Malaysian political cartoonist), Tomi Ungerer, George Grosz – a German cartoonist/artist from the 1920s-50s, Kliban, Leunig, Tove Jansson. There are many more…

What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
Amongst others, Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, Trace Hodgson’s early work, Tim Bollinger, Sarah Lang and my step-daughter Hannah Salmon who does the zine Daily Secretions.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I also work as a designer. I’m mother to a 13 year old, which is fairly preoccupying. And I like watching the world go by.

You can catch Sharon at her Comicfest panels at the following time:
Thursday 30th of April 6 – 7.00pm – Panel: From cartoons to comics
Sharon Murdoch