Writing jokes can be hard for some but for four-time Stanley Award winner and Gosnells’ cartoonist, finding humour in tough times and making people laugh with his drawings is his specialty.
After 30 years of cartooning experience, Peter Player went from working in the steel industry to joining the army to finally pursuing his one true dream.
“I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist, since I was a nipper,” he said.
“I remember when asked on school careers night what I wanted to do, I said cartoonist.
“I was guided past all the other army, navy, steel companies etc and palmed off to the local priest Father Kelly.
“Not quite sure whether he was meant to pray for my soul or guide me into a ‘sensible’ occupation.
“Needless to say, the following year I was being taught to weld steel.
Whilst boiler making I sent cartoons out to as many magazines as I could and finally had my first cartoon published in Rugby League Week.”
Whilst he had a bit of success, it wasn’t enough just yet to pursue cartooning full-time as a career, so after the steel industry he joined the army and gave up cartooning.
“I really enjoyed military life and one of the biggest bonuses was that I got to work with some of the funniest people I’d ever met,” he said.
“I left the army after six years and, armed with a new outlook on humour (and the ability to walk in a straight line), I decided to have another crack at cartooning.”
For everyone’s benefit today Mr Player managed to get a lot of freelance work across the nation, including contributing to some of the longest running British children’s comic magazines Beano and The Dandy.
“Finding humour in tough times is something I think Australians are good at, and always have been,” he said.
“We seem to have an attitude that anything is fair game, whether it be a politician, celebrity or a pandemic … and it’s not just by cartoonists, it’s in every workplace or gathering, cartoonists just put down on paper what people think – we just observe and love a laugh.
Over the past few years Mr Player has illustrated many books and is currently working on a children’s book written by his partner, Sandy De Luca, called Alice and her Marvellous Secret.
Ms De Luca has also created an animated cartoon called Fergus the Ferret and Mr Player designed the character that is now being considered by Cartoon Network.
“I’d love to be a stand-up comedian but I have a terrible fear of public speaking and my joke telling is unbelievably terrible to the point where Sandy puts her hand on my shoulder and says ‘Don’t’ when I start to tell a joke so, I guess I’ll stick to cartooning,” he said.