Christmas Delights: Launching CIJ Cartoons

    Meet Andrew Garthwaite - our very own CIJ cartoonist. This Christmas he will be delighting you with our first ever satirical cartoons. We’ll be poking fun at “them”, at you, at the foibles and practices of investigative journalism - and, naturally, at ourselves!
    See his first CIJ cartoon here!
     
    We first met Andrew in 2016 when he applied to volunteer at that year’s  #CIJSummer Conference. We always like meeting new volunteers, as some of them will definitely succeed in the journalism field, and Andrew turned out to be someone of interest. 
     
    A self-taught journalist, (until he attended our training conference) he wrote for a local newspaper ‘Now or Never!’ while studying international development at the University of East Anglia.
     
    He was rebuffed when he first applied to the University of Kent to do an MSc in statistics; on paper it didn’t look like he had taken a maths exam in the last last ten years. So instead of shrugging his shoulders, he went to meet the course convenor at Kent in person and convinced him that he was able to do the course. 
     
    Having worked for the the University of Cambridge as a medical statistician in the cardiovascular epidemiology unit, he decide to move to London to start a PhD in statistics at the University of Greenwich. 
     
    By that time he had been drawing for a few years, but cartooning came later.
     
    “I was very resistant to making cartoons for a long time. I thought of cartoons as stylised and larger-than-life drawings, although they needn’t be. I have always written, and I had painted and done the sort of crafts that you can use for making dioramas when I was a kid, but I didn’t really start drawing a lot until I was about twenty-five, and only then still-life for quite a while.”
     
    Cartooning began with scribbling over pictures in the newspaper. Later Andrew went on to send up icons from the newspapers with pen and watercolour, using caricature and adding captions. Then followed a series of cartoons for birthday and wedding cards that he sent to his friends.
     
    An invitation to draw cartoons at conferences came shortly after Andrew moved to London. A chance meeting with Catalina Albeanu of Journalism.co.uk turned him into a live-event illustrator after Catalina saw and was impressed with the cartoons he published on his Twitter account. 
     
     
    “My main idea was to work something like David ‘Ziggy’ Greene, who draws the Scene and Heard strip for the Private Eye, but it probably would have been a bit too intrusive to go around asking the attendees what they were thinking, so I decided instead to illustrate the speakers. I took my tablet with me into a few lectures I was attending at university, and found a style that worked well to produce good images in short spaces of time. As it turned out, people enjoyed what I was producing and I was asked back. I’ve drawn at News:Rewired a few times now, as well as the WellTold long form and narrative journalism conference and the Centre for Investigative Journalism Summer Conference 2017.”
     
    Ah. With the pushiness of a good investigative journalist Andrew convinced us to let him do live cartoons at the #CIJSummer 2017, which went down a storm.
     
    What brought him to the CIJ? 
     
    “The CIJ offer an amazing range of resources to educate and train investigative reporters, as well as pursuing their own investigations and raising awareness about the state of modern journalism. At the first #CIJSummer Conference I enjoyed myself tremendously, and felt I had gained a lot from the experience, had met so many wonderful people. About a year later, after I had drawn for the WellTold conference, a friend from my data journalism meetup group, JournoCoders, nudged me towards the CIJ, and I came along to draw the presentations.
     
    “When asked if I did funny or political cartoons, I was very keen to do something - but I wasn’t certain where in the world to start. When I found out that what you wanted were cartoons about journalism itself I was very happy - there’s an awful lot of material out there, if you like gallows humour.
     
    “I’m still experimenting, but it is surprising how well comics offer exposition and commentary. You can play with the order you reveal events as long as their logical sequence is still apparent afterwards.  There are conventions that let you go from a far-off distant perspective to somewhere extremely close and personal in the space of a couple frames. My favourite part is that you can give facts in text while casting a side-eye with the drawings.”
     
    Andrew has more plans to marry journalism and cartooning. The International Journalism Festival in Perugia invited him to draw the speakers in April of next year. He’s been working with Alessandra Cugno, a great animator from Coda Story, covering issues in Iraq and Syria and its relationship to the refugee crisis. Andrew is also working on writing more light-hearted cartoons, and looking for opportunities to tell entire stories with graphical journalism. And of course he’ll be back at the #CIJSummer Investigative Journalism Conference 2018, which will take place on 28-30 June!
     
    We had a good giggle planning these series of cartoons with Andrew. We hope you like them too.  
    Follow the CIJ and Andrew on Twitter: @cijournalism and @AndGarth