Pett, the 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning,
was also a finalist for journalisms most prestigious award
in 1989 and 1998. His thought-provoking style differs from many
of todays cartoonists in this respect: Pett tries for
well-reasoned consideration, avoiding cheap laughs. He also
uses a computer to produce his finished cartoons, a method thats
just beginning to catch on with younger cartoonists.
while the 46-year-old Pett does not yet qualify as a curmudgeon,
he believes editorial cartooning has seen better days. "Editorial
cartooning is not going through one of its strongest periods,"
says the Bloomington, In., native. "Theres a lot
of emphasis on what you might call infotainment
things that aren't really important but happen to be
in the news."
award-winning cartoonist began his career at the
Bloomington Herald Telephone as a free-lancer more than 20
years ago. It was, he admits, a move to "avoid getting
a full-time job." But success spoiled Petts part-time
assignment and he was hired as the Lexington Herald Leaders
first full-time cartoonist. Since then his work has frequently
been reprinted in magazines and newspapers around the country.
cartoonists, says Pett, are chronic complainers and self-appointed
critics: "What I dont like I complain about. One
of the attributes of writing satire is that you develop a strong
sense of how unfair this world is."
believes his cartoons are often most effective when pointed
at Kentuckys politicians. He frequently takes on local
issues ranging from deforestation to tobacco. Petts influences
include The Washington Posts Herb Block and the
late Hugh Haynie of The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.
nobody I admire more than Herblock, who is 90 and still cartooning,"