What inspires me to create? Everything. The life I experience. Why we do and say what we do. Observations of how people behave and interact. Trying to apply a logical framework to people’s behaviour, when often it’s not logical. And a desire to understand.

The best thing about all this is getting to spend so much time in my head. I love thinking! I love the satisfaction of having an idea that ‘sings’, that works as a comprehensive piece of logical extrapolation and exposes an absurdity. I also love playing. Imagining how a thing might look. Being open to the accidents of the process. Connecting with a receptive audience of readers who identify with my way of understanding.

The challenges of being a creator include the requirement to produce regularly to a deadline. The necessary stress. Needing to find something to say even when it seems like you’ve said it all on a particular issue. Grappling with difficult subjects, where it matters greatly how every aspect of your communication will be interpreted (e.g. Middle East politics). Plus, exposure of your own fallibility/vulnerability.

My ownership of my intellectual property is vital. It means I get to decide where and how it’s used and what it’s associated with. I can choose to claim payment for it as a thing ‘rented’ by another.

I may sell original artwork but I retain copyright – the purchaser doesn’t get to print 1000 t-shirts and sell them without my permission and without proper remuneration. What I agree to, as owner of copyright, is entirely up to me.

A group or individual may wish to use a cartoon of mine to emphasise their agenda or political view. As copyright owner, I can deny them permission, especially if I don’t want my work associated with them, or if being associated would call into question my editorial independence. If they use my work without my permission, I am entitled to seek legal redress (sometimes a withdrawal and published apology is sufficient).

Everything about my work is my property – the words and the pictures are integral. So finding them reused, redrawn and/or re-captioned is a breach of copyright.

Surveying the world for re-uses of my work would be exhausting and time-consuming. That the Copyright Agency exists to do this and to pass on payments is a great thing. I appreciate that this is all the more important for those creators who don’t have a day job – who create without certainty of remuneration.


A compilation of Joni Mitchell songs on a cassette accompanied me through my very formative late teens and early twenties. She probably helped me leave home and find my own way in life. Yes, this was music from slightly before my time, but I loved the spirit of defiance, feist and freedom in her lyrics, and the beauty of her voice and melody. I have always loved songs with substantial lyrics.