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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?