Comox Valley king of cartoons inspired by Schulz, Disney

There isn't software involved, nor an elaborate digital tablet setup.

BOB CASTLE DRAWS his award-winning editorial cartoons for the Comox Valley Record at his Courtenay home.

BOB CASTLE DRAWS his award-winning editorial cartoons for the Comox Valley Record at his Courtenay home.

There isn’t software involved, nor an elaborate digital tablet setup. In fact, the only electronic device found in Bob Castle’s studio is a darkened computer and scanner, sitting on a shelf, used for archiving.A nearby container is full of black, fine-tipped pens, sheets of plain white paper, a lamp, and a desk.Castle is not only an artist, but the Comox Valley Record’s editorial cartoonist, and just last week, has been named the best in Canada.At the Canadian Community Newspaper Association awards last week in Toronto, Castle earned first place among editorial cartoonists in the 10,000-and-over circulation category.The experienced cartoonist admitted despite working in another career, drawing has always been his passion.”I always wanted to be an artist,” said Castle in his home studio. “I worked for 31 years at the Elk Falls mill in Campbell River, but then started at The Record 15 years ago.”Now working at a local autobody shop, the born-and-raised Comox Valley Castle noted he has a passion for the printed page, and the issues which are presented each week.”I know many people read their news from the Internet or their iPhone or tablet, but there’s nothing like reading an actual newspaper,” he said, and added it is where he gets most of his inspiration for his cartoons.”I go through the papers every week, and try and focus on local issues first,” he noted, and said one of his favourite topics to illustrate is politics.”With politics, there’s no shortage of topics,” he said. “(Former Comox Valley MLA) Stan Hagen had a great sense of humour. I really enjoy when politicians can laugh at themselves or issues.”In addition to art school, Castle also took a course in animation, and said as well as Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, one of his all-time idols is Walt Disney.”He was the master of marketing,” he said, and added he tested for Disney Studios as an animator in the 1980s. He said the Valley is a great place to examine and illustrate issues because there is such a wide cross-section of people, and said despite the many other editorial cartoons in other newspapers, each community has its own issues.”With local topics, I know no other (newspaper) will have it,” he added. Castle said in addition to creating a website with a blog to showcase published cartoons and increase exposure, he is also hoping to publish a book in time for Christmas. Although somewhat a self-admitted traditionalist, Castle believes editorial cartoons, no matter in paper or electronic, will be around for a long time.”People really like editorial pages. They like reading what other people are saying, and they like seeing their name in print,” he added.photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com