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June 2003
Big Grin : Pete Dredge
Pete Dredge
Pete Dredge by Pete Dredge.

Nottingham man Pete Dredge is helping to organise the Big Grin Cartoon Festival, we took some of his precious time to find out more about him.

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Big Grin : Pete Dredge

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Pete Dredge Website
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The Big Grin Cartoon Festival started in 2002.

30 + professionals from all over the UK took part in the event.

The Big Grin is universal, it's for the young and old alike.
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Interview with Pete Dredge

People have probably asked you this 100 times, but how did you get into cartooning?
I always enjoyed drawing as a kid and remember being fascinated with the cartoons in Punch magazine which I used to look at while waiting for a haircut at the barbers shop in the Black Boy Hotel (sadly no more) in the early 1960's.

quote Determination, a thick skin, talent and luck all play a part in forging a career in cartooning. quote
Pete Dredge

I used to draw silly cartoons to amuse my school mates and I can remember writing funny captions to classic paintings in History of Art text books.

This early anarchic tendency simmered on the back-burner for a while as I went through art college and later working in a design studio but came to the boil again in 1976 as a 24 year old when I submitted some cartoons to PUNCH magazine and they accepted three. I've never looked back since.

You're involved in the Big Grin, how did it all start?
I can't claim credit for this. Blame local cartoonist John Clark (aka "Brick") for putting the idea to neighbour Kate Fletcher who organises the Wax Bar talk evenings. Four local cartoonists were asked to give a talk and caricature WAX Bar customers a couple of years ago and it went down so well that the idea for a cartoon festival evolved.

Do you think the festival will go on year after year?
There appears to be a lot of momentum behind the festival, not least from the visiting cartoonists who all had a great time in Nottingham last year.

quote The fact that I'm still earning a decent living from this precarious career, after 27 years, is an achievement in itself! quote
Pete Dredge

There are precious few cartoon events in the UK so Nottingham does have novelty appeal as well as a natural home in the Lace Market/Hockley area with the valued support of such partners as the Broadway Media Centre and the Galleries of Justice.

If sufficient funding can be put in place to guarantee a further three or so years I see no reason why it can't continue long-term.

How does a young cartoonist get started?
Good question. It's a lot different from when I started out 27 years ago. There were more accessible markets on the news-stand publications particularly for gag cartoonists in those days.

This is where most cartoonists would get their feet on the bottom rung of the ladder but it would still take some years to get established.

Of course today the Internet has opened everything up and new opportunities abound alongside the more traditional printed media. As always determination, a thick skin, talent and luck all play a part in forging a career in cartooning.

What have you been most proud of in your career so far?
There are so many high-spots (as well as lows):

Pete Dredge's birthday card design
Pete Dredge's birthday card design for Radio Nottingham's 35th anniversary.

First Punch cartoon sold, first Punch cover commission, being involved with Private Eye for 20 odd years, writing for Not The Nine O'clock News in the 80's and,of course, helping get the Big Grin off the ground in my hometown of Nottingham.

However, the fact that I'm still earning a decent living from this precarious career, after 27 years, is an achievement in itself!

ALSO, HOW COULD I FORGET?????? Designing Radio Nottingham's giant 35th Birthday Card this year.

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