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Editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette not afraid of controversy

By on April 13, 2012

Editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette said any topic is fair game for his cartoons.

“I don’t think you should shy away from anything if your intentions are virtuous,” Marlette said.

Marlette spoke at GSC on April 3 in Academic 4. He is the editorial cartoonist at the Pensacola News Journal, and he’s won a number of awards for his work. Marlette showed his cartoons and explained how he got his ideas for them, after the laughter of the students and teachers subsided.

Though Marlette’s title is a cartoonist and graphic artist he considers himself a journalist, too. His art tells news stories in a way that might seem offensive had they been written.

Marlette worked for his college paper at the University of Florida, where the school paper had a bigger circulation than the local paper.

Asteroids by Andy Marlette

One of Andy Marlette's cartoons

Cartooning runs in his family. His uncle, Doug Marlette, won a Pulitzer Prize for his work at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the late 1980s. Andy Marlette paid homage to his uncle, and said he tries to carry on Doug Marlette’s tradition of fearless editorial cartooning.

Like news stories, Marlette’s cartoons can take a while to create, and he usually tries to relate his art to big news events and politicians.

Marlette talked about the ever-changing climate of journalism because of the growing social media. Networks like Twitter and Facebook make news stories free and easy to access but because of that the newspapers aren’t making much money and the news gets twisted by unreliable sources.

“I always like to take on new media and new culture because I’ve been somewhat skeptical,” Marlette said. “Newspapers today are obsessed with new media so they’ll be able to learn about the coming age of journalism.”

When asked about his drawing technique, Marlette said he still uses pencil and paper though he knows people now a days who use iPads to draw their cartoons. Sometimes it takes him three to four hours to make a drawing but some can be done in 30 minutes, depending on the subject.

“People like to have original pieces so I make a little extra money by sticking to the pencil and paper,” Marlette said. “Sometimes it’s like lightning strikes and everything happens, sometimes you have the joke but no art idea.”

Marlette is never afraid of controversy.

“I always go for the dirtiest joke possible,” he said.

You can view Marlette’s work at his web site:


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