Sheffield Star cartoonist up in the running for national award

There can't be many people who take a keener interest in the daily news and politics in Sheffield than James Whitworth.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14 November, 2018, 11:14

The 48-year-old tunes into BBC Radio Four's Today Programme every day at 6am on the dot before reading through all of the day's newspapers.

But the early mornings and hard work as paid off after The Star's cartoonist was nominated for a prestigious award.

James, of Fulwood, is in the running for the Ellwood Atfield Pocket Cartoon of the Year for his drawing of Doctor Who, after Jodie Whittaker was announced as the first female Doctor of the BBC drama series, which featured in The Star earlier this year.

James said: 'My father Ralph was a cartoonist for 40 years and he worked at the Sheffield Morning Telegraph and Sheffield Star so I grew up in a world where it seemed that being a cartoonist was a normal job.

'It's only later you realise, that it's far from normal.'

James Whitworth's cartoon, which has seen him nominated for the award.

Former Shefield Hallam University student said he only got into the industry in his 30s and draws a minimum of two cartoons a day.

He added: 'It's very difficult to get into because there is no course. You just have to draw, send them off and hope that people like them.

'I didn't get into it until my 30s but it's something I have always loved '“ newspaper cartoons '“ and I think I just gave into fate in the end.'

Star cartoonist James Whitworth.

But he said the '˜pocket cartoon' category had been added for the first time this year.

He added: 'I think what's interesting is that for years, it's been '˜political cartoon of the year' and there has been a lot of protest about it so they've created the new category.

'A lot of the cartoons are about social issues as well as politics."

James, who also draws cartoons for current affairs magazine Private Eye, has drawn about Brexit, the Sheffield tree saga and controversial politicians in recent months.

Star cartoonist James Whitworth working on his latest piece.

He added: 'Brexit is the gift that keeps on giving from a cartoonist's point of view, just as the tree situation in Sheffield has been.

'The other thing as a cartoonist is the stranger the politician, the better.'

James will find out if he has won at an awards ceremony in London on November 27.

He said: 'I would encourage people to have a look at the cartoons and vote but I'd obviously encourage them to vote for me more.

'It's a big ask I am up against some really well-known cartoonists but on the plus side there is a free bar at the ceremony.'

Star cartoonist James Whitworth.