GREG Smith, aka Smithy, has loved cartooning ever since he was kicked out of class for caricaturing his teachers.
The cartoonist, born and raised in Perth, has had his work featured across Community Newspaper Group publications weekly for the past 20 years.
‘I’d dragged my portfolio around for years,’ Smith said.
‘I was walking by the Community Newspaper Group building and thought I’d give it a go.
‘It’s pretty hard to get a break in the cartooning game but I was in the right place at the right time.’
The winner of eight WA Media Awards has now launched his book Smithy: A Decade of Drawing a Fine Line, alongside an exhibition of selected works at Showcase Gallery, Northbridge until November 22.
‘I sifted through over 2500 cartoons and whittled it down to just over 400 for the book,’ Smith said.
‘I picked the more newsworthy ones, the cartoons that looked at the major events over the last 10 years and just something that appealed to me whether it was poignant or funny.
‘They’re sort of like your kids and I remember every one of them, how long it took and the problems I had with them.
‘It’s amazing how fast the 10 years have gone when you think of everything that’s happened during that time with sporting events and changes of government.’
Smith learnt everything he knows from sitting next to his father, a commercial artist, and watching him draw.
Now he spends his days listening to and reading a lot of news before starting to draw mid-morning.
Each cartoon takes anywhere from two to 10 hours to complete, depending on detail, but the average is about two to four hours per piece.
Smith said the book and exhibition had been about 18 months in the pipeline and were a greater challenge than he had anticipated.
‘I’ve had a bit of prodding from readers over the years asking when I was going to put a book together, so I thought I’d bite the bullet,’ he said.
‘It’s a trip down memory lane which I hope is thought-provoking and amusing.
‘I think we’re in the business of making the news more entertaining and if people can walk away with a smile on their face, at the end of the day that’s what I’m hoping.’
Smithy: A Decade of Drawing a Fine Line is available from selected Dymocks stores and newsagencies, Showcase Gallery during the exhibition or by emailing Smith on email@example.com.