Morten Morland was born in 1979 and grew up in a small town in Norway, recalling later that “I drew all the time at school and at home.” He studied journalism, and this gave him his first experience of cartooning. “I...took up a work placement on a business paper - like a Norwegian version of the Financial Times”, he recalled: “Then their cartoonist went off on holiday and I ended up spending my whole work experience drawing, rather than writing.”
Morland was at first influenced by the work of Kevin Kallagher [KAL], and this influence continued after he moved to England and became political cartoonist for The Times in 2002. “Norwegian cartooning has more links to American cartooning than British”, he explained later: “My first cartoons for The Times had many stylistic links to KAL – big heads and small bodies. But I realised very quickly that wasn’t a popular thing to do here...It’s just not the British tradition”.
Morland studied Graphic Design at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, from where he graduated in 2003. In 2005 he won the Political Cartoon Association Cartoon of the Year Award, winning again in 2008, and in 2009 being named as Cartoon Art Trust Political Cartoonist of the Year.
“I never really enjoyed doing [Tony] Blair,” Morland confessed, “perhaps because by the time I started working in Britain he was already an established cartoon figure.” He had similar problems with the Leader of the Opposition. “Michael Howard had been satirised out”, Morland noted in 2007, “it was a relief, really, when David Cameron came along”: “We don't know much about his policies yet but I find him quite refreshing because he's got some lovely features to draw - his cheeks and chin and a poshness that's easy to get across”
Morland was keen for Gordon Brown to become Prime Minister, so that he could perfect his caricature. “He's obviously been given smiling training”, he noted in 2007: “We've only seen his teeth in the past year and it's desperately hard to draw him smiling because it's so unnatural for him.” “I’m really enjoying Gordon Brown”, he confirmed when Brown took over from Blair the following year: “Earlier on a lot of artists drew Brown with a big chin but actually he hasn’t got a big chin, that’s not quite right. I think most people have now realised it’s the jowl area that’s crucial. When he talks there is this separate movement of the jowls, they churn and boil.”
Morland’s cartoons have also appeared in the Times Educational Supplement, Agderposten (Norwegian daily newspaper), Economist Magazine, GQ Magazine, Men's Health Magazine, På Menyen, Spill, and Building Magazine. He has also done work for Channel 4 News, SKY One, BBC Four, and Breakthru Films - for a planned online series “This Sceptic Isle”.
- Sara O'Reilly “Around Town - True blues”, Time Out, 31 January 2007, p.36.
- “Interview with Morten Morland”, 6 November 2008 - thenoticeboard0809.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/interview-with-morten-morland/
- Samples of Morten Morland's work at www.debutart.com/artist/morten-morland
- Morten Morland's website at www.morlandcartoon.co.uk
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