Times cartoonist Peter Brookes has been awarded the CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire- for services to the media in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list, announced earlier this evening.
The full list of honours (PDF link) includes sportsmen and women, actress Patricia Routledge (already a CBE, now a Dame, for services to theatre and charity) and comedian Ken Dodd (already an OBE) was awarded a knighthood, for services to entertainment and charity.
The New Year Honours lists 2017 recognise the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK. This year’s honours are the most diverse ever, with some 1,197 receiving one.
Matthew Parris, The Times, 13 October 2009
Peter Brookes political cartoons and regular ‘Nature Notes’, produced for The Times, are always inventive, incisive and confidently drawn, the fruit of wide experience as a cartoonist and illustrator, and of complete independence from editorial intrusion.
Born in Liverpool on 28th September 1943, the son of an RAF officer, Peter Brookes succeeded Ranan Lurie as political illustrator and cartoonist for The Times in 1982, and became its full-time political cartoonist a decade later.
“After art school, I worked as freelance illustrator for magazines and newspaper features, one of which was The Times, Peter told the News Academy last year. “I was asked whether I would be interested in doing the political cartoon however it didn’t initially work out.
“Then in 1992, I decided that I felt so annoyed with myself for not giving it a proper chance, I asked if I could have another shot. And luckily for me, they said yes.”
Since 1986, he has also shared the job of cover artist for The Spectator, with Nicholas Garland. He has also contributed to many other magazines, including Radio Times, The Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman. He has also produced illustrations for The Folio Society and Glyndebourne Opera, and has designed covers for Penguin Books and others.
He was elected to the membership of the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1988 and his work has appeared in a number of exhibitions, including a solo show held at the Mel Calman Gallery in 1978. His work is represented in the collections of the British Cartoon Archive (held by the University of Kent).
Represented by London’s Chris Beetles Gallery since 1997. It held an exhibition drawn from the first volume of his fine and funny Nature Notes, which originally appeared in the Saturday edition of The Times. Subsequent solo shows took place at the gallery in 1999, 2001 and 2004, and his work has been a regular feature of its annual exhibition, ‘The Illustrators’.
Peter Brookes is a frequent winner of awards, includng the British Press Awards Cartoonist of the Year, the Political Society Cartoonist of the Year, and the Cartoon Art Trust’s Caricaturist of the Year.
“I just wanted to draw,” he said last year. “But it’s a bit of a dead end illustrating somebody else’s thoughts, you really want your own. And that is the great thing about my job, it’s my own space and my own voice, I’m not echoing somebody else.”
And his advice for aspiring cartoonist?
“My advice is just keep plugging away. It is very difficult to be a political cartoonist when you’re in an unreal situation without a deadline and you’re unable to see the finished product in the paper at the end of the day.
“There are also only so many openings for political cartoonists in newspapers and magazines. You just have to hope, as with me, that you take your stuff round, show people it, and eventually you will get your break. People always remember you if you’re good.”
While Ken Dodd is known as a comedian, he has of course appeared in many a cartoon – and he and his Diddymen enjoyed a good run in the pages of the long-running weekly TV Comic – and even fronted annuals.
• Follow Peter Brookes on Twitter @BrookesTimes
An earlier version of this story suggested Peter Brookes was awarded an OBE – we apologise for this late night mis-reading of the honours list.
All Peter Brookes cartoons above © Peter Brookes | Ken Dodd’s Diddymnen © Ken Dodd | TV Comic © Mirror Newspapers