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10 Questions for Cartoonist Jeremy Nell aka Jerm


 10 Questions for

Jeremy Nell



 1. What place (in SA) do you call home, and why?

My home.  Because it's where I live.

2. Favourite place to have breakfast near(ish) where you live?

My kitchen.  It's near my study (which is where I live, mostly).  I also enjoy having breakfast in my lounge (which is near my study), but I don't usually travel that far, and the traffic is a nightmare.  I probably should get a maid.



3. How does a working day in your life look? (If you have a day job aside from cartooning, include that)

If I have a day job beside cartooning?  That's like asking a marine biologist what his day job is.  "Yes, well, I research the effects of climate change on marine life in the Antarctic.  But when I'm not doing that, I'm a plumber."

To answer the question, I wake up and get my coffee and feed my African Grey parrot.  Then I go through my emails and delete the 723 Facebook notifications. I spent the rest of the day drawing, writing, and reading.  I don't follow a routine, so it changes as I go along.

4. How did you first get into cartooning?

I've always loved cartooning, but didn't pursue it because I thought that I couldn't make a career out of it.  In 2005, I was retrenched and decided, over night, to give it a shot because, if I didn't, the opportunity would pass me by.  The internet was my platform of choice, and still is.


5. Which SA cartoon artists’ work do you admire and why?

Rico (he draws Madam & Eve).  I often tell him that I love his illustration style.  He's passionate about cartooning and it shows.  Dr Jack (previously with The Star) is also great.  His drawing skills are out of this world.  But then, so is he; he lives in a bush somewhere up north.

6. What inspires you (in your work, every day, in life)?

I'm often asked this and every time I say something different, mainly because it changes.  Life inspires me; people inspire me; comics inspire me; the internet inspires me; and most importantly, Julius Malema inspires me.

7. If you’ve travelled abroad, what do you miss about SA. If not, where would you like to travel and why?

I've been to Zimbabwe and it made me miss SA.  It lacks a lot.  Like money, electricity, and farmers.  I've been to Australia and it made me miss SA too.  It also lacks a lot.  Like languages, political incorrectness, and a decent rugby team.  I don't have that "travel bug" but wouldn't mind visiting Europe and some tropical islands.


8. Tell us, briefly, about a positive or unique holiday / travelling experience within South Africa.

Matjiesfontein.  It is a little town about 250km from Cape Town and is absolutely magical.  It has all of 300 people, and boasts an art gallery, a vintage car museum, a steam train, a hotel, and one of the greatest pubs you'll find.  I highly recommend going there for a night; take the train (because Matjiesfontein has a station).  You'll love everything about the place.

9. What has been a highlight of your cartooning career so far? And what is your next major goal as a young SA cartoonist?

The highlight is being able to make a career out of doing what I love.  Being professionally untrained and unskilled, it's been a hard road with loads of battles where I've wanted to give up.  The people close to me have kept me going.  I've also enjoyed meeting the top cartoonists, people who I admired when I was in school.  Today, I give workshops alongside them.  It's an incredible feeling.  I'm living my dream, and that's the highlight.

My next goal is to publish my first book and merchandise.

10. How do you feel your work as a satirist and cartoonist contributes to the lives of your readers?

I have no idea.  I guess I provide entertainment in some way.  Unfortunately, I don't really have a deep-and-philosophical answer.




Jeremy Nell (also known as Jerm) is a South African cartoonist working from my apartment in Cape Town, born in the Mother City in 1979.

After dropping out of tertiary education and working corporately for a few years in the mobile entertainment industry, Jeremy decided to become a cartoonist in late 2005 - an overnight decision that led to a lot of long hours and a lot of no money.

Jeremy draw two daily comics; a political cartoon for The Times and a nationally syndicated strip called The Biggish Five which appears in, among other publications, The Big Issue.

Jeremy also freelance for magazines and other publications.