Outside interests: cartooning

Published on: 12 Mar 2014

Owen Devine

Owen Devine has worked for the past four years as a planning policy officer at Portsmouth City Council.

But outside of office hours, his passion is for doodling – producing cartoons on a range of subjects. His work has been exhibited in the city, and he has just finished designing a board game aimed as an educational tool covering the topic of sustainability.

Q. How did you get into drawing cartoons?

A. I picked it up at university. I had been reading Private Eye and enjoyed the cartoons. I was reading the satire section in the student newspaper in Nottingham – thought “I can do better than this”. It wasn’t a big headed thing but I could see it was someone without much background in drawing. I was soon submitting content to the paper – originally the cartoons just supported written satire that I produced. I was also influenced by the Perry Bible Scholarship cartoons.

Q. What do you get out of cartooning

A. The main thing is that I do find them funny. That is why I do them. There is the enjoyment staying in touch with my creative side without having to having the time to do something more time consuming like an oil painting. It is an easy hobby in that sense.

Q. After you started work, how did you keep the cartooning up?

A. After university I was doing a few cartoons for my own enjoyment. I wanted to keep up drawing and I started a website where I put cartoons online. I did an exhibition about two years ago and have sold a few.

Q. Tell us about the board game

A. I have been developing it over the past couple of years, and have taken it to a number of schools in Portsmouth. A few years ago I realised there wasn’t much knowledge about sustainability as an issue, and that it was viewed as quite a dry subject. I had been playing Monopoly and noticed how divisive it can be. I wanted to create something that dealt with both issues. The aim of the game is that you manage part of Portsmouth and look to build a green economy by trading. The next stage I am hoping to do is some crowdsourcing to fund the production of the first 100 copies.

Q. Do you see any relationship between your hobby and your job?

A. Both my parents are artists so they have an art background, but when I was growing up the subjects I enjoyed most were scientific and technical. Between those two influences I developed an interest that was part science and part art - planning and architecture crosses both areas at once.