Jason Chatfield

Photo credit - Mindy Tucker.jpg

Chatfield is an Australian cartoonist & comedian based in New York. He is Australia’s most widely syndicated cartoonist, producing the iconic 98 year-old comic strip Ginger Meggs which appears daily in over 120 newspapers in 34 countries through Andrews McMeel Syndication.
Chatfield is also the President of the National Cartoonists’ Society.
His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, MAD Magazine and other publications of wildly varying repute.

What was your latest book discovery? What are your favorite books of all time?

I just finished Waking Up by Sam Harris, which I thought was going to be way more 'woo-woo' than it was. It turned out to be a very scientific approach to meditation, neuroscience and the controlled use of MDMA. I've been meditating for 6 years and still have a crazy amount to learn about it-- It's the best thing I ever put time into learning.
My favourite book of all time is Hitch 22, the memoir of Christopher Hitchens. I go back and read it at least once a year.

Most visited blogs, websites?

EVGrieve... it's a blog that documents everything happening in my immediate neighbourhood in the East Village. It's the first thing I read in the morning. I'm also a big fan of The Daily Cartoonist, Cartoon Brew and Zen Habits.
I'm guilty of finding myself in a Pinterest art wormhole from time to time when I'm feeling uninspired.


What apps do you use the most and why?

If I'm lying, I'll tell you I use Gmail the most, but my usage stats will probably tell you lately I've been spending more time on the Chess.com app. (Getting hopelessly beaten by people on every continent.) I don't know why I do it. It makes me more miserable than Instagram.

Whats currently on your playlist?

Where Is Love? by Paul Desmond
Bewitched by Paul Desmond
Poinciana by Keith Jarrett Trio
Lost in the Stars by Kenny Burrell
For Heaven's Sake by Bill Evans
So What by Miles Davis
Strange Meadow Lark by Dave Brubeck Quartet
I'll Take Manhattan by Ella Fitzgerald
Lucky Man by Courtney John
The Champ by The Mohawks

I have a ScotchBathSunday Spotify playlist I listen to every Sunday when I have my weekly Scotchbath.

What records would you recommend to hear?

The Soundtrack to Chef is one of the best summer soundtracks you'll ever listen to.
Bossa Antigua by Paul Desmond will chill you the F out. Every time. (Good for election season)
Dave Brubeck Quartet has a great album called Time Out. Probably the best Jazz album ever.
The Oscar Peterson Trio has an awesome album called We Get Requests which is a great one to have on while drawing.
In The Wee Small Hours by Sinatra is my favourite album of his. Great for late night/early morning deadlines.
I have a Spotify Playlist for music to listen to while Drawing Cartoons.

Fresh movie finds? What films do you think everybody should watch?

Born To Be Blue - The really depressing but well-acted story of Chet Baker. Ethan Hawke surprised the hell out of me.
Thor: Ragnarok - The reinvention of Thor through the comedic genius of New Zealand director Taika Waititi (also... has an Aussie hero, Aussie villain, New Zealander sidekick. Whatever.)
Chaplin - Robert Downey Jr. is brilliant in this. Highly recommend.
How to Murder Your Wife (1965)- Mostly enjoyable due to the fact that it's a millionaire cartoonist living in a gold-plated townhouse in Manhattan. (Hah!)
Stan and Ollie - Interesting story of Laurel and Hardie. Kind of heartbreaking.
The Rum Diary - Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson. Rum-soaked gonzo journalism adventure in Cuba.


Which artists working today do you admire most?

Ok... You wanted a list? Get ready...

I love the work of Sergio Aragonés first and foremost- He's been my favourite cartoonist for a while now. His work in MAD is unparalleled.
Ann Telnaes - Beautiful Warner Brothers-style contoured linework meets razor sharp political commentary. Long-time favourite of mine.
Asaf Hanuka (and his identical twin brother Tomer)- are brilliant illustrators. Lots of editorial illustration, covers. I have their work pinned up in my studio.
Gemma Correll (Cartoonist, Illustrator from UK now based in Orange, CA) - Probably the best pug-based content you'll ever see, among everything else.
Penelope Bagieu (French cartoonist)
John Cuneo (brilliant cartoonist/illustrator) - His pornographic Instagram is great fun.
Bobby Pontillas - Not just a great animator, but is able to capture incredible likenesses in the entire body, not just the face of his subjects. Has a great tumblr.
Amy Hwang - Some of the funniest jokes delivered in the neatest, cleanest cartoons.
Ed Steed - Easily one of the funniest cartoonists being published today. "That explains the penis we saw downstairs" is one of my all-time favourite cartoons.
Ellis J Rosen - One of the funniest people in the New Yorker, and a helluva sweet hang.
Will McPhail - British New Yorker cartoonist in Scottland. Some of the best jokes, also some of the greatest poses you'll ever see in the New Yorker/
George Booth - A New Yorker legend. Lively linework, funny gags, and a gentleman to boot!
Joe Dator - Same again. His hit rate is absurd. One of the greatest eyeballs on the world.
Cun Shi - I mean.. holy crap. Just Google or Pinterest the name. Mind-blowingly beautiful illustration work. Excellent colour schemes also.
Hewll / Jamie Hewllett - You've seen the Gorillaz? That's him. Amazing work.
Mattias Adolfsson - Beautiful line. Complex drawing. Easy, neat washes. Trawling through his work is a special kind of zen.
Oslo Davis - Melbourne-based illustrator and cartoonist. Lovely linework and funny perspectives on the quotidian. His "Overheard" series is brilliant.
Maria Scrivan - Funny, multi-skilled cartoonist with a brilliant sense of humour.
Joe Ciardiello - Beautiful illustration and caricature work.
Bob Camp - Ren & Stimpy... also a fantastic human being. If you ask nicely he will sing Ren & Stimpy songs with you.
Peter Arkle - Almost a Manhattan-based Oslo Davis, but different style. Another great eyeball on the world. Also, my neighbour.
R. Kikuo Johnson - Great storytelling illustrator and NYer cover artist
Tom Richmond - MAD Parody artist and caricaturist extraordinaire!
Ralph Steadman - Ink. Splodges. Mess. Savage. Love it.
Jason Adam Katzenstein - Funny New Yorker cartoonist and talented musician!
Richard Thompson - Ok, he's not working today. But what do you say? One of the best comic strip cartoonists, illustrators, artists since Bill Watterson. Masterful.

Some of the best new cartoonists and artists at the New Yorker you may or may not have seen yet but 100% worth googling:
Hilary F. Campbell
Amy Kurzweil
Lars Kenseth
Sofia Warren
Kendra Allenby
Johnny DiNapoli
Jenny Kroik
Julia Rothman
I'm forgetting about a dozen names. I'm sorry.


What are some of your tv top tips right now?

Frasier. Early seasons, when they gave Roz and Daphne actual character arcs and more lines.
The original Office (UK version) still holds up. As does Extras. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are an amazing writing team.
The season of Curb where Larry comes to New York to get out of a social engagement is amazing. (Season 8). The Palestinian Chicken episode. The Chat-and-Cut. It's got it all.
Seinfeld. All of it.
Usually, I really enjoy Black Mirror - the first seasons are worth watching. But I think the latest ones kind of jumped the shark. They're all on Netflix.
It's a bit old-man-Chatfield, but I've been so enthralled by the World War II in colour series on Netflix. It gives it so much more weight looking at it as if it happened during 80's. I can't tell you why.

Who are you following?

Joe Dator
Ellis J Rosen
Gemma Correll
Hilary F. Campbell
Amy Kurzweil
Will McPhail
Lars Kenseth
Sofia Warren
Johnny DiNapoli
Jenny Kroik
Wine. Pugs. What more do you want? - @pugwine
Scott Dooley - My writing partner and co-host of our podcast about coming up with New Yorker cartoons called Is There Something In This? (Cheeky plug.)

Dave Brubeck Quartet has a great album called Time Out. Probably the best Jazz album ever.

What tools do you use in your work?

I use a Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, and when working by hand I keep experimenting with all kinds of material. I have a series on it called Shop Talk where I try out and review a bunch of different techniques, pens, drawing technology and paper. I also have my full process for New Yorker cartoons.

What magazines / newspapers do you read regularly?

The New Yorker. Daily online and weekly in print.
MAD Magazine. I'm in it nearly every issue which makes me all proud, but then I sink into my chair when I see how good everyone else's work is.
Esquire for the cartoons.
Hogan's Alley.

What are your favorite gadgets?

Fossil smartwatch - It doesn't do all the things an Apple watch does, but it has the basics: Sleep recording, steps/pedometer, glows in the dark, controls my phone (ie. can control music, volume, take pictures, set timers, record measurements etc.)
Pixel 3 - Best phone I've ever owned. It's fast, simple, hasn't crashed once. Best camera on any phone in the world. Highly recommend the swtich from Crapple iPhone.
Wacom Mobilestudio Pro - best mobile solution for a Cintiq. Better than iPad since it can run full version of Photoshop and has etched glass surface, and way more pressure sensitivity. (And better stylus nibs.)
1st Gen Kindle - Swear by it. No bells and whistles. Just words.
Clip-on reading light - More useful than you'd think. Also good for sketching when insomnia kicks in.
Roll-up leather pencil/pen holder - A birthday gift from a friend that is incredibly useful on a daily basis.
Tom Binh backpack - A recommendation from Ronny Chieng that I have to keep telling people he recommended to me so he gets a free backpack. Seriously though, I swear by it. Best backpack on the market.
Sony MDR-X1000X noise-cancelling headphones - Only way to get work done. Also to block out crying babies on planes.
WeMo - Wirelessly controlled outlet switch to turn on my air-conditioning before I get home. Saves power, too!
Shopify - Best storefront software in the world. I use it for Jason Chatfield Store and pair it with Printful in Carolina. Seamless e-commerce. beats Squarespace storefront by a nose.
AquaNotes - Another recommendation from a friend: Waterproof notepad and pencil for when you get your best ideas in the shower.


Jason Chatfield
Jason’s Instagram


Portrait image by © Mindy Tucker