Written on 05 April 2018.
Students in the MSc in Creative Business & Social Innovation programme were given a private meeting with Plantu, famed editorial cartoonist for Le Monde and Co-founder of the non-profit organisation Cartooning for Peace; an international network of committed press cartoonists, who fight with humour for the respect of cultures and freedoms.
During the 2-hour conversation, Plantu generously shared with the students his experience and insights gained from his illustrious and long career as a political cartoonist. He discussed how social media has the power to instantly globalise a cartoon and how this adds a layer of social complexity to the work. He suggested that everyone who sees your work, may not have the cultural cues to understand what you are doing.
Students were interested in learning how Plantu creates his cartoons, the decisions that he makes, the length of time it takes to draw a cartoon and the approval process that he has with his editors. In answering their questions, Plantu talked about how technological developments are changing the field and how he uses digital tools to work faster and to communicate ideas in progress.
Plantu advised the students, when working with news editors it is important to have a strong opinion about your work and to be able to communicate it. He often sends 5 different options to his editors before working on the piece selected for publication.
The work begins with pictures and sketches. “Sometimes,” he said, “I create rough ideas on the tablet.” Once he has met the approval process, and begins to work on the version for publication, “It takes about 2 hours,” he said, “to draw a cartoon.”
Over 30,000 of Plantu’s cartoons are housed in the Bibliothèque National de France, including his famous drawing signed by Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. When asked how he managed 50 years of success in a politically complex career, Plantu said, “Provocation is not humiliation.”