When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 11: Matt Wuerker

When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 11: Matt Wuerker SUTTONSIGNER.jpgBy Ward Sutton

When Cartoonists Illustrate! There's often a line drawn between cartoonists and illustrators. All this week, I'm profiling talented people known for their cartooning and showing their work in an illustration context.

Matt Wuerker is the award-winning Politico staff cartoonist and illustrator, part of the original crew of Politico--built from scratch starting eight years ago.

WARD SUTTON: How do you like illustrating compared to cartooning?

I like both. Political cartoons are a solitary creative activity and can't be beat. But it's also good to get out of your own head and mix things up. I like the collaborative aspects of illustration: bouncing  around rough ideas and brainstorming with others is a lot of fun and opens up your creative thinking in a healthy way.

2Wuerker.jpgWARD SUTTON: Do you actively look for illustration work?

MATT WUERKER: I worked as a freelancer for nearly 30 years and that was all about actively looking for work. Now that I'm a kept cartoonist the illustration work comes looking for me. I've got a great gig with Politico that has me working in a number of modes. My primary job is to do the editorial cartoon and that's all up to me. The other modes involve some illustration of articles, caricatures, and then also creating icons and logos for the website and paper.

WARD SUTTON: Have you illustrated, or would you illustrate, cartoons that others write?

MATT WUERKER: I wouldn't draw an editorial cartoon dictated by an editor or suggested by a reader. I have complete free reign to draw whatever and however I want when it comes to the editorial cartoon. People do toss ideas my way and sometimes I do take the rough nugget of those sort of ideas and rework them into something I can call my own. The kernel of a cartoon comes from all sorts of places, they can be sparked by an idle thought, a comment overheard on the metro, a fleeting image on TV or scrolling through Facebook or Twitter.

WARD SUTTON: Do you have a dream illustration gig?

MATT WUERKER: Like most of us I imagine getting to do something worthy of the cover of The New Yorker would be a dream.


Related Stories:
When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 10: Bruce Eric Kaplan
Interview with Graphics Editor Jennifer Daniel
When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 9: Emily Flake

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