Photo Feature: Illustration

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Some of these cartoons are relevant today

Once again I am offering up some of my images, but they aren't photographs. I have actually enjoyed a career as a graphic artist and illustrator that ran parallel to my work as journalist and communicator. I created more than a hundred cartoons whilst working at The Newfoundland Herald, and contributed a few to The Sunday Express as well.

An email this week from someone I haven't seen in 40 years got me thinking about those illustrations. I took a look in my art folder and was surprised to see that some of them are still germane, more than 20 years after they were published. In almost all cases, the cartoons were written to supplement editorials written by Ted Warren, a brilliant if mercurial character who has more recently been generating news through his battle with multiple sclerosis.

The first cartoon is perhaps more relevant than ever. Anyone who steps forward at this time to assume the Liberal leadership knows it will be a caretaker position, involving a lot of hard work and rebuilding, and that a real' leader won't step forward until Liberal fortunes improve (as PC popularity wanes, which will happen eventually).

This cartoon was published in The Herald during June of 1984, when Brian Peckford was the messiah of the day and the Liberals were in tatters. Steve Neary eventually stepped in as caretaker leader. And I apologize for the grainy image quality of these cartoon they were scanned from newsprint.

The second cartoon, from May of 1984, accompanied an editorial that decried how election funding regulations agreed between the Grits and Tories were unfair to the NDP. In other words, if you only get a few seats, you get precious little funding. Sound familiar?

The next piece lampoons Brian Peckford and his right hand man, Bill Marshall, for taking an extra-long summer break whilst so many issues are simmering on the front burner. It pales in comparison to today's reality, which won't see a fall opening of the house at all.

The fourth cartoon was a bit of foolishness to go with a story about a new krab' product that was made out of other fish, primarily haddock.

The last item accompanied an editorial criticizing the stalemate between FPI and its union. The cartoon stands up well even now I think it renders the concept of mutually assured destruction in a way that makes words unnecessary.

Some of you may be surprised about my forays into illustration. However, those who knew me in my school years would have all predicted a career in art. My writing ability was less obvious back then (though you could see it in many of the comic books, or graphic novels', I created), but I drew constantly. I was reminded of that in an email I received this week from Don White, who taught me in elementary school.

"I do remember well how you loved to draw when I taught you in Grade 5 at Park Avenue Elementary," White wrote (and yes, it feels weird not to say Mr. White'). "I recall that Grade 5 class as one of the best (if not the best) of my career... and I mean that sincerely."

I do believe him because I feel the same way. That year stands out in my memory, partly because of the combination of people in the class they were a diverse bunch with a lot of characters' but due mainly to White himself, who was my favorite elementary teacher.

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