My name is Tony Kentuck, and I have worked as a cartoonist for around 40 years. I was born in London, and when I was at an early age my mother, father, elder brother and I returned to live in my mother’s native country of Wales (as Hitler was bombing the hell out of London at the time).
I mention this because with a surname like ‘Kentuck,’ you might think I was part of that ‘southern fried chicken’ family. My paternal Grandfather came from Scotland, so that’s where my surname originated from, as far as I’m concerned.
Throughout my entire school years the subject I excelled at was Art. In other subjects I was forever getting into trouble for doodling on the inside covers of my exercise books (and sometimes my desks). At grammar school it was taken for granted that I would go on to university art school and become a Fine Artist (what ever that is).
Then I saw the film ‘Lust for Life’ about Vincent Van Gogh. By all accounts he only sold one or two of his paintings in his lifetime, and those were to his brother. The victim of unrequited love, he supposedly cut his own ear off (though there is a belief that his friend, Gauguin, did the deed during a duel).
Later on, Van Gogh successfully shot himself dead.
After seeing the film, my teenage brain did the figures:
(1) I could not survive on the sale of two paintings. Of course they might sell for thousands of pounds each, but I had my doubts.
(2) At the time I was forever falling for some young lady or another (though never successfully), but I needed both ears or my specs would keep falling off!
(3) I wasn’t so stupid as to not realise that shooting what ever brains I had all over the wall was not conducive to having a successful, happy and full life. So I joined the Army! And that’s where my long journey of becoming a Cartoonist began…
It has been suggested to me a number of times, that I produce a book on ‘How to Become a Cartoonist,’ but there are far better people out there than I to do this. Perhaps through this blog I can explain, in a humorous way, that by not giving up on my dream my Cartoons now hang on walls all around the World. Maybe some would-be Cartoonists can benefit from learning about the mistakes I made (and still do make) along the way.