John Branch on Creating Local Editorial Cartoons

With no salaried editorial cartoonists in the state of Texas,
the larger newspapers rely on freelancers for cartoons about local issues.

John Branch is interviewed by the Houston Chronicle.

Though most of the cartoons you see in the Opinion section come through national syndication, Houston-based cartoonist John Branch is a regular contributor on Sundays. Op-Ed Editor Raj Mankad spoke to Branch about his work and his drawings for 2019.

How does the idea for a cartoon come to you?

Basically a lot of trial and error, and a lot of erasing. You try to find visual metaphors to say what you want to say and to be concise as you can be. Sometimes the ideas flow and pop in from nowhere. Of course, the deadline pressure accelerates the process. I’ve been really lucky drawing cartoons in Texas for so long. The politics here are wild. The politicians are more colorful than in other places. It is fertile political cartoon ground, for sure.

all politics is local

Most of the week, I’m looking at national cartoons so when yours arrives, it always blows me away to get the local cartoon. To see your own home shown at least the quality of the national material.

That’s one of the unfortunate effects of downsizing of papers across the country — a lot of the local knowledge and immediacy is lost. I’m grateful to be able to do drawings for the paper where I live. It’s moving for me too. It gets tiresome to draw Trump every day. Drawing cartoons about where you live is so much more meaningful.

Read the full interview, with a 25 cartoon slideshow, at the Houston Chronicle.