When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 3: Jen Sorensen

When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 3: Jen Sorensen 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.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist, Comics Editor for Fusion.net's Graphic Culture section, and the winner of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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

JEN SORENSEN: I usually enjoy it more than drawing my regular cartoon, as there's often a lot more room to play with. With a multi-panel comic, it's always a challenge to cram things into a tiny space as efficiently as possible. Doing illustration work, especially a cover, feels liberating by comparison. It gives me a chance to try out new drawing chops, play around with color, and experiment with Photoshop techniques.

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

JEN SORENSEN: Not lately, as I've had plenty of other work. I sent out some postcards a few years ago--that was probably my last effort.

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

JEN SORENSEN: I've done this occasionally over the years with varied success. I illustrated a short cartoon once for a nonprofit, and wasn't crazy about the end result. The writer was not a cartoonist, and there was only so much I could do to make it palatable. When I was first starting out in the early 2000s, I illustrated a few longer-form comics written by other people, and I still like some of those (one was for DC Comics' Big Book of the 70's). I also collaborated with my husband once on a short strip for Mad magazine, and was happy with how that came out. Of course, he's had a lot of training as my cartoon editor! Really, it depends on the writer and the venue.

3Jen.jpgWARD SUTTON: Do you have a dream illustration gig?

JEN SORENSEN: I suppose I've always wanted to do some work for The New York Times, not that I've pursued it very much. I subscribe to the print edition. I hope it doesn't go away anytime soon.

Jen Sorensen Website
Fusion.net Graphic Culture

Related Stories:
When Cartoonists Illustrate! Part 2: Derf
An Interview with Seattle Art Director Art Chantry
When Cartoonists Illustrate: Part 1: Kate Beaton
Alt Week: Guest Editor Cartoonist-Illustrator Ward Sutton

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