James Whitworth is a newspaper cartoonist and a writer. He is a local lad and is the daily cartoonist for the Sheffield Star; the news cartoonist for the Jewish Chronicle; a contributor to Private Eye and occasional contributor to various publications around the world. He is also an associate lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. His talk was about his life as the son of the cartoonist Ralf Whitworth; as a journalist with the Sheffield Telegraph and then as a professional cartoonist. Cartoons were displayed that raised laughter throughout his talk.
James is not a cartoonist dealing with super heroes or caricatures or Wallace and Grommet type stories. He does produce pocket cartoons usually based on a funny punchline. The ink of Fleet Street flows through his veins and he feels it’s his job to stand up and say “the Emperor has no clothes on”.
His father started drawing cartoons during WW2. After a spell at freelance work he walked into the Sheffield Morning Telegraph to ask for a job and stayed as their daily cartoonist for 40 years. His father worked from home and James was always surrounded by artist materials. He felt it was natural to draw and to take an interest in the work of cartoonists like Tony Hart. During his early adult years his drawing was on a back burner. In his late 20’s he started to draw again and found that he was not that good at it and the only way to improve was to draw a lot and then draw some more.
After years of gradually getting his sketches accepted by minor publications and then by HI Fi News and Weekly News, he had a cartoon published by Private Eye. This was a milestone in his career and he moved on to his present path that now includes lecturing and publishing books. Important sources of inspiration come from Sheffield City Council’s decisions and to some extent the teaching profession.
This man is a Sheffield treasure.