Voted 'Cartoonist-Of-The-Year' for the fifth year running - unfortunately, only by his wife, kids and Mum and Dad!
Seriously though, this year Richard Duszczak celebrates 25 years as a freelance cartoonist. Always doodling as a child - he spent more time drawing in class than studying any of the subjects (loved the art classes though!) 'I really wanted to do something in the art field but during those years there wasn't any call for cartoonists!' So I drifted off into engineering and took an apprenticeship, which I never really took to - I didn't like getting my hands dirty! Drawing cartoons in my spare time I sold a few cartoons here and there and then one day while working in a factory the engineering union called a strike for higher wages (it was the late 70's when you would down tools for absolutely anything, i.e. someone took your parking space!).'
'Instead of going on the picket line I stayed at home and drew cartoons all day long. At the end of the six-week long strike they gave us a small rise. But I had made my mind up that cartooning is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I immediately handed my notice in. Not the best of ideas at the time, but at least I was now doing what I really wanted to do. I gave it 100% everyday and got rejected right, left and centre by all sorts of magazines. But took all the constructive criticism on the chin and knuckled down to improve my ideas and drawings. After about 18 months this started to take off and I was beginning to get cartoons accepted for publication and finally earning a wage as a cartoonist. People today still wonder when I'm going to get a real job!'
'I've put my hand to anything and everything that needed a cartoon - from drawing logo's for small local one-man-bands to creating humorous greetings cards for multi-national companies like Hallmark Cards in the UK and USA.
Corporate clients include Burger King, NCH The Children's Charity, eBay Motors, Comet, Somerfields, Abbey National, Hedex, Andrews Salts, Tescos, Pentel, Baxi, Dulux, Unipart, Wash 'n' go, Weetabix and Alpen. And not forgetting Joe Bloggs Motors from around the corner!'
'A keep-fit fanatic, even at fifty something, I still play squash three times a week and five-a-side game with 'old' friends! If I wasn't a cartoonist I'd love to be a premiership player with Chesterfield F.C. But it'll never ever happen so I'm really happy to carry on drawing 'til I drop!'