By Aki Juan Shen
Hong Kong’s most well known editorial cartoonist said he draws what he cares about and what is funny.
He said he likes to use stereotypes but keeps it nice and not insulting.
“You can’t draw anyone the same,” Harry Harrison, the South China Morning Post’s principal political cartoonist, said in a lecture at Hong Kong Baptist University last Thursday.
Harrison moved from England, where he was born, to Hong Kong in 1994. For the past 21 years, he has been freelancing for different publications, including the SCMP and TIME, and has also illustrated children’s books.
“Cartoons have a very strong tradition in Hong Kong,” he said
Harrison is the only editorial cartoonist among the six award-winning journalists attending the HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum this week.
Harrison sense of humor came from having to make friends quickly and trying to make them laugh, he said. As a child he moved frequently because his father was in the British Air Force. He has lived in Libya, Singapore and Sydney.
Harrison’s Hong Kong studio in Central is full of his favorite things, he said, including a portrait of Mao Zedong They give him inspiration when he’s drawing, he said.
Sometimes he combines two stories, such as Donald Tsang indictment and the Swiss tourist who was ripped off by a taxi driver, into one carton. That particular cartoon wasn’t published for legal reasons, he said.
“I don’t self-censor,” he said. “The SCMP stands behind me.”
Harrison’s former editor at the SCMP, CK Lau, Associate Dean of the School of Communication, said he tried to not interfere with him when they worked together. He added that journalism students should know about cartoons in Hong Kong newspapers.
“You never know that some of you may want to be a cartoonist,” Lau said. “Cartoons are very common in publications in Hong Kong. There are many cartoonist, but only a few get to work for a newspaper.”