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In our new Guest Column, we invite Abergavenny based Cartoonist Mumph (Mal Humphreys) to talk about his career producing cartoons and caricatures for The Western Mail, The Independent and the BBC.

I sold my first cartoon to a publication when I was nineteen. It may seem an early age, but in reality my journey to become a cartoonist had started long before that.

During my school days, Sketching school teachers and classmates was an everyday occurrence. I think my first commission came from a classmate called John, who asked if I could draw a giraffe chewing leaves on the cover of his history book. I’ll never know the connection between History and a Giraffe (other than they are both very long) but the kudos I received from my young piers of the day spurred me on and made me believe that cartooning was probably more achievable than my other ambition; that of playing in goal for Leeds United or Everton.

I was 31 before I finally managed to become a full time professional cartoonist working for The Western Mail in Cardiff. I am probably better known for my political cartoons about the characters and happenings at the old ‘Welsh Office’ and more recently the Welsh Assembly.


Mumph with Rolf

Mumph with Rolf Harris

Over the years I have developed a relationship with the politicians. They frequently get in touch to purchase the originals and this is a little disarming for a cartoonist. The whole point of the political cartoon is to lampoon the politicians. This doesn’t appear to be a deterrent as I have sold many of the originals to distinguished politicians, such as William Hague, Anne Clwyd and Nick Bourne.

My cartooning has taken me into a lot of interesting places and given me the opportunity to meet with many popular and well known people, Graham Henry, Goldie Looking Chain, Siân Lloyd and most recently Rolf Harris for his forthcoming BBC Wales series ‘Rolf On Welsh Art’.

There is something very powerful about a caricature, and contrary to popular belief, a caricature can just as easily be complimentary. Getting the likeness is only part of the process. A good caricature will use colours, poses and props to convey the personality of the individual.  What I like most about the caricature is that it captures the moment. Whether it’s an event, an occasion, a mishap or a celebration, a caricature makes a perfect lifetime memento which gets beyond the ink and paint.

Mumph is the resident caricaturist for the Annual Welsh Political Awards :

Article by Mumph

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