Matt Buck studied American history and politics at Hull University, where he worked on the student newspaper, Hullfire. The course included a year in the United States, which he spent at North Carolina State University, drawing cartoons for its student paper, The Technician. “It was brave of The Technician to employ me,” Buck later recalled, “since my world view didn't chime with the robust version of Christianity espoused by some of its readers”: “This was brought home to me one morning, when I arrived to find one of my cartoons scalpeled to my desk, with a note saying I was just ‘too damn liberal...’”
After graduating from Hull in 1993 Buck took the postgraduate diploma in journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, and then worked as a reporter, later moving into newspaper infographics. In 1996 he took the postgraduate diploma in design management at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. “I trained as a journalist, as my tag, Hack, suggests”, Buck notes: “I remain passionate about politics and the news in general.”
Buck believes that cartooning “is an art form and it does have an impact”. In 2004, while producing a strip cartoon for Computing magazine, he won an award run by the British Council and the South African Mail & Guardian. The award involved a two-week exchange with young South African cartoonists, which he described as “a magnificent learning experience”.
Buck’s artistic influences range from Edward Sorel to Jean-Jacques Sempe, and include Jackie Fleming, Steve Bell, Mel Calman, Dave Brown and Wally Fawkes (Trog). He works with pencils and Pentel brush pens, and Photoshop. As he notes, “I had an unhappy period when I drew entirely on the computer and although the stuff was fine, over time, I felt it lacked character and so now, I tend to use the computer only as a finisher and a colouring box.”
Buck continued working for a number of specialist magazines, before developing an innovative animated cartoon for the Health Service Journal website. This was short-lived, but in In 2007 he began creating animated cartoons for ITN and Channel 4 News, for both digital and TV broadcast. Buck is an admirer of the work of Ann Telnaes, who in 2007 created similar animated political cartoons for The Guardian website, and in 2008 began producing animated cartoons for the website of the Washington Post. And also of Steve Brodner, who produced animations for the New Yorker website during the 2008 US Presidential Election.
Buck draws regular editorial cartoons for Tribune, the campaign group, No2ID and The Times Educational Supplement, and in April 2010, with Michael Cross, launched a weekly animated narrative - The Election: The Opinions of Tobias Grubbe - to accompany the 2010 General Election coverage on The Guardian website.
- Computing, 18 November 2004, p.12, “Out to Africa: Computing Cartoonist Wins Major Award.”
- Interview by Rod McKie, 5 July 2006 - the-cartoon-fiend.blogspot.com/2006/07/friends-of-fiend-30-matt-buck.html
- Matt Buck’s website at www.mattbuck.com