Monday, January 16, 2012

Aislin: my first editorial cartoon

From last Saturday's Montreal Gazette:

Terry (Aislin) Mosher's first editorial cartoon.

My First ... editorial cartoon: Career began with pen, tissue paper

Readers and Gazette staffers share some defining moments in their lives

On a Sunday morning in December 1967, Ed McNally, the political cartoonist for The Montreal Star, broke his leg - and I didn't do it. Ed had suffered a skiing accident. That same afternoon, Frank Walker, the editor of the newspaper, called to ask if I could possibly deliver a cartoon for the following day's editorial page. "You bet!" I replied - but what to do?

I had recently arrived in Montreal with my young family from Quebec City, where I had graduated from L'Ecole des Beaux Arts the previous spring. Most of my time in Montreal that fall had been spent knocking on doors looking for any kind of illustration work. We were broke - and living with my mother-in-law in a two-bedroom apartment in Anjou.

When the call came from Walker, I had no art supplies - and being a Sunday, all the stores were closed. I needed an oversized piece of paper to draw a cartoon. Frantically looking around, I found some tissue paper, in one of my mother-in-law's old hat boxes, that we carefully pressed with an iron.

The previous evening, the Montreal police, along with a photographer, had raided an African entertainment production, because some of the dancers were supposedly performing topless. So I drew a cartoon of police officers developing extra sets of prints of the evidence (for themselves). While drawing the cartoon, I had to keep the pen strokes uncharacteristically wide and well spaced so the ink wouldn't bleed on the delicate tissue paper.

Borrowing bus fare from my sympathetic mother-in-law, I found my way down to the Star on St. Jacques St. and handed my drawing to a security guard at the front desk, thereby meeting my 10 p.m. deadline.

So the first of 9,000 editorial page cartoons I have drawn (to date) was published on Monday, Dec. 10, 1967. The cheque for that drawing allowed me to do two things: First, I rented a basement apartment for my young family on Laval Ave. in what is now called Plateau Mont Royal; then, I bought some art supplies.

Terry (Aislin) Mosher is The Gazette's editorial page cartoonist.

Some classic Aislin cartoons from the early 70's:

We now have lists of suspects! (Federal Minister Jean Marchand during the October Crisis)

Progressive Conservative Party leader Robert Stanfield

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