Portfolio: Ben Jennings

Ben Jennings studied illustration at The University of Westminster, and loves his Wacom Cintiq

Ben Jennings studied illustration at The University of Westminster, and loves his Wacom Cintiq

Where did you train, and did you specialise in any one area?

I studied BA Illustration at The University of Westminster. I had always been passionate about political cartooning, so I honed my skills in this area as well as trying lots of different types of projects; most of which still contained a satirical, black-humoured theme that defines my work.

Whereabouts are you based now?

I currently work at a shared studio space in Hertfordshire, just outside of London, with a couple of other illustrators.

What's your favourite tool and why?

Dip pens and inks go without saying, but I do love my Wacom Cintiq; which has helped me utilise digital techniques with a lot more ease.

What techniques do you use most and why?

I do a lot of topical cartoons so I tend to include a lot of caricature in my work, trying to capture likeness with bold, energetic linework. I also make physical textures and brushmarks that I then scan into photoshop and use digitally.

What has been your favourite piece you've created and why?

Probably my Gaddafi treasure map cartoon, published in The Guardian days before the Dictator was captured and killed by the Libyan people. It's certainly been my most successful piece as it was awarded "Political Cartoon of the Year 2011", and I feel it summed up that issue effectively with plenty of visual information for the viewer to dissect whilst having an overriding and rather ominous gag.

What kinds of materials do you work with?

Black ink with Dip pens, brush pens and graphite pencils... As well as a trusty HB to begin with and wads of A3 cartridge paper.

What (if any) computer packages do you use?

I use Photoshop to colour my work, and often to put a piece together (having usually done several separate drawing for one final piece).

Which clients have you worked for? Where have you exhibited your work?

I'm currently the weekly cartoonist for the i newspaper (every Saturday). I also do work for The Guardian, GQ and The World Development Movement, among others. I've had work exhibited at shows in London, Paris and in Berlin. Most notable for me was having a piece alongside the juggernauts of political cartooning in London's beautiful Cartoon Museum.

What inspires you?

The man in the street, pop culture, current affairs and politics. It's all open to question and comment.

Favourite websites / blogs?

I use an app called Zite quite a lot, that filters down numerous websites in a magazine style format based on my interests, which is quite cool. I often scroll through news websites to see whats going on in the world as well as bookmarking the websites of any artists I stumble across and like, which I often refer to for inspiration.

Published in The Guardian shortly before Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed during the Arab Spring. This piece was awarded "Political Cartoon of the Year 2011".

Cherubs, particularly in renaissance paintings, have always creeped the hell out of me, and after a trip to the Vatican I saw many of these daemonic creatures in 3D form wielding swords and alike... A very peaceful motif for a church! So I decided to draw one how I see them in this piece of personal work, coupled with connotations of the violent conflict that has and continues to come from religion.

This piece was for The World Development Movement, commenting on the marketisation of natural resources, focusing on the Rain Forest in this case.

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Cartoon for the i newspaper in which I transformed one of the Olympic mascots into an obese, McDonalds gorging, shot-putting blob to comment on the irony of McDonalds' sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics, an event that should surely have been promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Piers Morgan

Cartoon for The Huffington Post on Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch joining Twitter, amidst the controversy of his media group's phone hacking scandal.

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Nick Griffin

To all you Beliebers out there, here is your prophet...

Ben’s celebrity dartboardis a self-initiated project he called Famous Fa(e)ces. He included celebrities and politicians he dislikes; whether it be for their personality or what they stand for (or both)

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