Dave Walker is probably best known for his affectionate and insightful series, Cartoon Church. With the launch of his latest series of cartoons, Peculiar Goings On, Dave took time to talk with Aslan Christian Books.
1. Was making a career of drawing cartoons a deliberate choice or a happy accident?
I’d say happy accident – I started drawing as a procrastination activity whilst studying at college, but it wasn’t until 7 or 8 years later until I first sent one to a publication and then started making a living from it. At that point it became a choice as there wasn’t much else I could do.
2. Would you say that you view the church as a critical insider or as an outsider?
Good question. When I started it was certainly as an insider, but these days I feel more of an outsider. Sunday services tend to make me unhappy but I do attend a church house group, which is, I suppose, my church. These days my main contact with ‘the church’ on a wider scale is really via Twitter, but it isn’t a world I feel especially part of any more. Though I have contact with lots of lovely church people through it. As for ‘critical’, I hope that I’ve tried to be positive and uplifting rather than destructive in my humour.
3. What sort of reactions have you had to your cartoons?
Most people seem to quite like them. To a lot of people the church, and therefore my work, is an irrelevance, but on the other hand I have many kind supporters who encourage me greatly.
I’ve had a few letters of complaint, but not many. I upset a church organist once because I didn’t take organists seriously enough, and someone who was hard of hearing was cross because I implied that people who sit at the front of church must be keen. Also there was a considerable kerfuffle when I did a drawing involving liturgical dance, but I shouldn’t say too much about that.
5. Your cartoons have a particularly Anglican focus – have you considered other parts of the church?
Some of my earlier material was about Christianity more generally, but I’ve aimed to draw material that makes sense to a Church Times audience. I’d also say that it makes sense to draw mainly about the things one knows about, which in my case is largely the C of E.
6. What is the strangest place you have ever seen one of your cartoons reproduced?
A company paid me to put a cartoon on a snowboard, but I have never seen the results so I don’t know whether it happened. I rarely mingle in snowboarding circles.
7. Is there any area that consider off-limits?
8. How do you see the future of the church?
I don’t really know how to answer this. There will be some churches doing good things and some… others. But I suspect there will always be a place for humour, whether by me or someone else.