I want people who see my cartoons to become as angry as I am.
The man from Montana, Ben Garrison is the Comix Voodoo Hayride's official pick for Most Controversial Cartoonist On Earth.
His political cartoons have been demonized by the outraged, altered by his enemies and even banned by Facebook.
When I asked him about his creative process, this is what he had to say.
Ben Garrison: I'm trying to encourage young cartoonists--especially conservative ones--to jump in the water and get going, because there are many important issues that need to be addressed by means of visual satire. There's plenty of room and a need for conservative female cartoonists in particular.
My process is 'old school' because I'm old. I began as a newspaper artist before computer graphics became common. I learned Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in the late 1980s, but for cartooning I prefer an old-fashioned approach. That is, I take a pencil and sketch out a cartoon on a large sheet of high quality illustration paper. Then I ink it in with an India ink brush pen. After that, I erase the pencil marks and scan in the cartoon in sections on my large desktop scanner. I have to piece it together and then I color it. I write short essays for each cartoon and my wife puts them on our site and on social media.
I don't claim to be the best. I've worked hard to develop the talent I have. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to have a voice on the Internet. The mainstream media newspapers certainly would never publish my cartoons. Almost all the remaining major metros have leftist, big-government promoting cartoonists. They draw fat salaries. I don't--I have to make it on my own. That said, I didn't start drawing the cartoons because of a desire for fame or money. I was outraged at what was happening to our country. The central banks getting bailed out, for example. I'm also against socialism in all forms and I will continue to draw cartoons that speak out against it.
I still produce commercial art to help pay the bills, but I'm hoping some day I can get enough support to draw the cartoons full time. We depend on donations to Patreon as well as the sale of signed prints and original cartoons to make that happen.
If I had my druthers, I'd be working as a fine artist first and foremost. I was in a local gallery and my work was starting to sell. Then two years ago Andrew Anglin sent his troll army to attack the owner of the gallery. She was naturally outraged and really thought I was a Nazi. She wanted me out of the gallery that very day. I explained to her about the trolling and she understood...but I had to leave because she didn't want such negative attention. After that I concentrated more on the cartooning. Now Andrew is in hiding because someone with the means to sue him is doing just that...and I have no sympathy for him whatsoever. I'm in favor of free speech, but it can be abused. Defamation, copyright infringement and libel on the Internet are real issues. Justice is difficult and expensive to obtain. Too many attack those with whom they disagree by going after their jobs and ability to make a living. That definitely happened to me.
In response to questions from artists seeking entry into the world of political cartooning Ben Garrison compiled his advice in a March blogpost. Some excerpts are listed below through permission of the author. Read the entire feature here: http://roguecartoonist.blogspot.com/2017/03/advice-to-new-political-cartoonists.htm
Ben Garrison: "Every artist, musician and writer faces something I call ‘inertia.’ Inertia consists of whatever keeps you from realizing your artistic goal. Inertia keeps you from drawing, practicing or writing. Inertia is insidious and it will do whatever it can to stop you from doing what you really want to do in life. It’s negative thinking at its finest. It will tell you there’s plenty of time—do it tomorrow. No. Do it now!
Why do you want to be an artist? More specifically, why do you want to become an editorial cartoonist? Fame and popularity? Wrong answer. Money? Wrong answer. To win a Pulitzer Prize and awards to prove your worthiness? Wrong answer. Email applause from strangers? Wrong answer. The correct answer is this: You see wrongs and corruption being committed and you see it as your civic duty to raise public awareness to right those wrongs.
Some might say that editorial cartoons have lost their relevance during this great transitional upheaval. I disagree. We now have the Internet and that means any cartoonist can have a voice."
The "2016 Election Collection" 142 page book is available on Amazon and directly from the artist here: http://grrrgraphics.com/store/p185/electioncollectionsigned
Catch daily Ben Garrison at the links below.