Remembering cartoonist Roy Peterson

On September 30, 2013 Canada lost one of its most talented and renowned editorial cartoonists, Roy Peterson. As a tribute, let’s take a look at his remarkable career spanning 40 years at the Vancouver Sun.

Mr. Peterson was born in Winnipeg in 1936 and studied at the Vancouver School of Art. His first forays into the art of cartooning came when he was a young man. While working as a window display artist, he began mailing his cartoons to various newspapers in northern British Columbia. In 1962 Mr. Peterson began his cartooning career at the Vancouver Sun where he carried out his duties as staff editorial cartoonist until 2009.

Early career

In addition to his work with the Vancouver Sun, Roy Peterson also collaborated with journalist Allan Fotheringham, producing illustrations for Mr. Fotheringham’s back page editorials for Maclean’s magazine. Mr. Peterson also collaborated with journalist Stanley Burke, producing a number of bestselling books aimed at satirizing Canadian politics and politicians of the day in the form of serialized children’s stories. Titles of these stories include Swamp Song, Frog Fables and Beaver Tales and The Day of the Glorious Revolution. In 1979, The World According to Roy Peterson, a solo collection of his cartoons and caricatures, was published by Douglas & McIntyre.

A unique style

Mr. Peterson had a very unique artistic style, relying heavily on the use of cross-hatching when producing his work. In Mr. Peterson’s pre-digital artistic world, cross-hatching (being a series of small intersecting lines in close proximity to one another) was produced laboriously by hand and used to designate shading and to differentiate between light and darker areas.

Distinctions

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mr. Peterson has been the recipient of many awards, most notably as the record-breaking winner of seven National Newspaper Awards. Mr. Peterson also helped found the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists. His work has been well-received internationally with exhibits at both the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations.

In December of 2004, Roy Peterson was invested into the Order of Canada, being cited as one of Canada’s “… finest editorial cartoonists. Expertly blending humour and satire, he has provided insightful commentary on our political landscape.”

Want to learn more about Roy Peterson?

Library and Archives Canada began acquiring the work of Roy Peterson in 2000. The Roy Peterson fonds (Mikan #160207) contains 1,871 pen and ink drawings and documents his work for the Vancouver Sun from 1962 to 1993.

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