Perth-Andover — Editorial cartoonist Ernie Bunting is no stranger to pen and paper. With 27 years, 4 newspaper jobs and countless freelance gigs, 62-year-old Ernest “Ernie” Bunting shows no signs of slowing down. This month, Bunting will bring his unique sense of humour and master penmanship to The Manatee in the form of a weekly editorial cartoon. We spoke to Bunting in his Perth-Andover home.
When did you first decide to get into cartooning?
As a kid, I was a student of Mad Magazine. More than anything, I think that’s what did it. It just warped my mind! Otherwise, I was just into the same kind of junk that all kids are into: Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera — stuff like that. I don’t know that anyone really chooses to be a cartoonist, you just sort of do it. I know I certainly couldn’t do anything else.
What brought The Manatee to your attention?
Admittedly, I was a little late to the game. I have a Facebook page, but I’m hardly ever on it, and so my first exposure to the site was through CBC radio when that whole Halloween scare involving the police was going on.
What attracted you to the style of satire found on The Manatee?
Well I’m one of the few people who believe that really great satire should have some teeth. Again, coming back to the Halloween thing, I think that’s the kind of humour that we need in this day and age. There is just so much content out there, and we just seem to consume it all mindlessly. So, I think there is a lot of value in having a site like this that sort of provokes the reader to think critically. That being said, thanks to Google, it’s getting much harder to trick people.
What excites you most about working for an online publication?
Colour! In all my years in the newspaper business I was never able to do cartoons in colour. This was partly due to printing costs, and partly to do with the fact that it was a daily cartoon. It just takes time to do something in colour, and when you’re fighting against a deadline, every minute counts. But now, since I will be doing a cartoon every week, rather than every day, I think I’ll be able to pull it off. I don’t really know how to do any of that digital Photoshop colouring, so It’ll have be old school — watercolour paints. I think that this will give it a nice, organic look. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself [laughs]
Why did you choose to do a weekly cartoon, rather than a daily one?
Doing a daily strip can be a grind sometimes. I’m semi-retired; I don’t want this to feel like a job. I think that limiting myself to one cartoon a week will allow me to really focus on the quality of each cartoon, and give me the chance to stretch my wings, creatively.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We can’t wait for your first cartoon!
Thank you. Let’s hope I can come up with one!
Bunting’s strip, “Head-Bunting,” will premier exclusively on The Manatee this Friday.