NINE TO FIVE: CAROL STOKES

Name

Carol Stokes, 39

Occupation

Cartoonist

Salary

pounds 10,000

Address

Halesowen,

West Midlands

Did you always want to be a cartoonist?

Not at all. My husband Neil is a mixed media artist. While he was painting something, I started doodling. That was about seven years ago. I did used to doodle at school but I never got on with school very well and didn't go unless I had to. Anyway, I progressed and after a while I put some of my cartoons in an envelope and sent them to a local paper, the Black Country Bugle. The first national paper to take my work was the Sun, a one-off gag about Roy Hattersley. Later I got a batch accepted by Punch but Steve Way, the cartoon editor, sent the second batch back so I phoned him up and asked why. He wasn't used to this, but told me what was wrong and it developed from there. I used to sign my work Caz when I first started, until somebody pointed out that everyone thought I was male, so now I write Carol Stokes at the bottom.

It must be hard trying to be funny to order

I work at my drawing board between seven and one. I stare at a blank piece of paper. I'll read the papers on the Internet and will look at what's happening in the family. We have two kids, Adrian who is 18 and Georgina, 16. They give me a lot of inspiration. You can get a lot of family jokes by watching them everyday. Recently I did a cartoon based on Tracey Emin's scruffy bedroom Turner Prize entry. It reminded me of my daughter's room.

So you like things to be tidy?

No. I work downstairs and the place looks like a bomb's hit it: reams of paper, pens, ink and paint everywhere. I still use dip pens. Except for my web-site I haven't got round to using a computer to produce cartoons. I just scan them into the machine and put them on the web-site. Everything else is done the old fashioned way.

Away from the drawing board, what do you get up to?

I read a hell of a lot - Stephen King, Robert Jordan and fantasy fiction - and I also adore Shakespeare. I'm a games addict on the PC and love zapping people. I like blood-curdling games like Systems Shock 2 and Quake. It's amazing how much tension you can get rid of when you go round shooting things. We have a dog, a German shepherd called Shandy who was rescued at six months, and we go out for walks in the afternoons.

Any other hobbies?

Neil and I cook together. We were vegans for two years but unfortunately had to start eating meat again as we were feeling so tired and run down. We like Thai food and Indian and good old fashioned meat and two veg.

Where do you live?

We have a rented end-of-terrace house. It's very small. Neil works in the bedroom upstairs, working on paintings that are sometimes 8ft by 6ft. When this happens we put the bed away and sleep on the futon. We got moved two doors down because our neighbours were so noisy and used to play music at 3am. I'd love to move to the countryside but have lived here all my life.

Any chance of your kids wanting to follow in their parents' footsteps?

Georgina is studying art and design and is especially interested in sculpture. Adrian has no inclination whatsoever and finds it totally boring.

And do you ever get to meet other cartoonists?

No, not because I've not been asked. The problem is that I'm shy so I tend to prefer to stop where I am. It's a very solitary life but a lot of cartoonists are like me - they enjoy a quiet life. Being in Birmingham doesn't help, people think you are up North and out of the way.

Do you enjoy your job?

It's very hard and tough. Every two weeks I think I'd like to go and be a road sweeper and do a job like brushing up leaves where you don't have to think. Sometimes you really do wonder where the next joke is going to come from and feel that there is nothing left to be said. But when you see yourself in print it's like a drug and you can't wait for the next fix.

The Cartoonists Club of Great Britain (tel: 01159 810984)

Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Web Application Support Manager

    £60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

    ** Secondary History Teacher Required In Liverpool **

    £120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

    ** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

    £120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

    ** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

    £120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments