20 Cartoons Showcasing Life Absurdities I Created


My name is Peta Manning. I’m a cartoonist from Australia.

In the quiet corners of my childhood home, I discovered a lifelong affair with art. I embarked on a journey that would lead from the doodles on my bedroom wall to becoming a cartoonist who found humour in the most unexpected places.

My artistic odyssey began with the adventures of Garfield and the heartfelt wisdom of Peanuts. As a child, I would cut the strips out of the paper and collect them. I would also draw my own versions of Garfield doing silly things I thought were funny, like eating a giant sandwich. While my friends played with dolls, I was engrossed in the world of animated cats and philosophical beagles.

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#1 The Influenzer

When I was a teen, I stopped drawing and became interested in making short films, but still loved reading cartoons. When I left high school, I studied a bachelor of Film & TV, later working in television, first as a creative trainee, then for ‘Funniest Home Videos.’ In my mid twenties, I became ill with ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and had to move back to the small town I grew up in to be looked after by my parents. ME/CFS is a complex debilitating medical condition. I was bedbound and housebound for about 12 years. I was unable to watch TV, listen to music, or do the simplest of tasks. The only thing I was able to do was look at simple pictures with few words, and voice ideas into a voice recorder.

#2 True Movie Classifications

#3 Other Bermudas

During this time, I started dreaming about being a cartoonist. My mum started buying me lots of cartoon books. I still have an ever-growing collection today. I voiced thousands of cartoon ideas, some which made no sense, while others I’ve turned into cartoons when I was able to draw again. It was years before I was well enough to draw again. To start with, I was only able to draw simple stick figures, then eventually more complex single-panel cartoons, which you see here.

I collected John Callaghan cartoon books, and realized he also had a disability. Despite his profound disability, he became quite an influential cartoonist. Extremely funny.

#4 Cat Dusting

#5 Vampires

Inspired and determined by Callaghan’s story, I started creating my own cartoons about the absurdities of life.

I find inspiration from many different cartoonists, from Gary Larson, to New Yorker cartoonists to many Australian creators, like Michael Leunig, Andrew Weldon, and Oslo Davis.

#6 Leopard At Tailors

#7 Rhombicosidodecahedron Technique

I draw all my cartoons now, pen on paper. I use pigment ink on 300gsm card stock, then greyscale alcohol markers to shade and colour in. I use the computer to scan the cartoons and affinity photo to do touch-ups. I then take the image into my iPad to do the final touches in the app ‘Procreate.’ I’m not able to use the iPad for long as I get headaches and nausea. Unfortunately, my ME/CFS still affects me. I try to draw about two cartoons a week.

#8 Comedy Routines

#9 Creation Of Earth

For me, coming up with the idea is very important. As Bob Mancoff, former editor of the New Yorker, says, “it’s not the ink, it’s the think.” A cartoon is like a single frame of a film, it has to tell a story in one image. I’ve always loved brainstorming ideas. I often use mind mapping, and see if anything pops out at me. Other times a conversation with a friend sparks an idea or looking at other cartoons might inspire new material.

Hopefully, I make people laugh or smile with my cartoons. I share my cartoons on all social media platforms. Thanks for reading.

#10 Fine Dining For Caterpillars

#11 The Hardly Used Room

#12 Adolescent Moon

#13 Wherewolves

#14 The Unsneakily Sneaker

#15 Inferior Design

#16 Pirate Baby

#17 Funeral Trivia

#18 Macbeth And The Splayd

#19 Pins And Needles



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