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VideoJanuary 2, 2020

Summer binge watch: Two Sketches with Toby Morris


Catch up on Two Sketches, featuring Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris chatting and drawing with a selection of New Zealand illustrators, artists, comic artists, cartoonists, sketchers and doodlers.

Michel Mulipola: WWE, Marvel, Tekken and drawing The Rock

Toby draws and chats with Sāmoan artist Michel Mulipola. Apart from being a pro wrestler, Michel is also a comic book artist working for the WWE comic line and for Marvel trading cards. Michel talks about his early days learning his craft, why he feels like an outsider in the New Zealand comic scene and explains that you have to be chill to win in the ring.

Sharon Murdoch: Sexism, politics and Simon Bridges as a centaur

Sharon Murdoch is a one woman revolution. Well, in the world of New Zealand political cartooning at least. In a few short years both on the page and off it she has flipped on its head every traditional expectation of what a political cartoonist does and what they’re supposed to look like. Cartoons are supposed to be savage takedowns: powerful men in suits reduced to slobbering snarling scribbles. And people who draw them, well they’ve usually been men too.

In person, she’s understated and unassuming, the last person to hype herself or sing her own praises, but I can’t help notice the front window of her Wellington villa is propped open with an old media award trophy. She’s got a few of those lying around: Canons and Voyagers – New Zealand’s Cartoonist of the Year in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Sam Orchard: Gender identity, queer/trans comics and LEGO

In this episode Toby is a guest in the home of outspoken queer and trans cartoonist Sam Orchard. The pair traverse the valleys and peaks of gender identity, how the media gets trans stories wrong, the systemic failures of Work and Income and whether or not following LEGO building instructions is truly creative.

Metiria Turei: A life in politics, art and activism

Acouple of months before polling day in 2017, Metiria Turei changed the trajectory of the campaign, and very probably the direction of politics in New Zealand. In a speech at the Green Party AGM, the co-leader addressed the state of New Zealand’s welfare system. She recounted her own time on the DPB. And she admitted that she’d lied in order to make ends meet for herself and her daughter.

That speech led to a leap in support for the Greens. That, in turn, saw Labour slump, and its then leader, Andrew Little, stand down. As Jacinda Ardern delivered an unimaginable surge for Labour, it was the Greens’ turn to slump, as news media drilled down into the details of Turei’s past. The government changed, with the Greens for the first time taking their part of power. A casualty of that turnaround, however, was their co-leader. Turei had resigned the co-leadership and her place on the party list. She all but vanished from public life, and enrolled at art school in her Dunedin home.

More than two years on, she does not regret that speech. In her first major interview since the election, with The Spinoff’s Toby Morris as part of the Two Sketches webseries, she said she stood by the speech, its message on behalf those on benefits, and its impact in shaking up the election – despite its “traumatic” effect.

Ben Stenbeck: Hellboy, Buffy and imposter syndrome

Toby chats with Dunedin-based illustrator Ben Stenbeck, whose distinctive artwork has seen him forge a career at the top level of the American comic book industry while remaining relatively unknown at home.

From his studio, Ben discusses his 14 year career as a professional artist: how he broke into the comic industry at its peak from New Zealand, how he “made a mess” of his pages for a Buffy comic and what’s it’s like collaborating with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Toby and Ben also delve into more personal topics such as the loneliness experienced while working from home and dealing with imposter syndrome.

Bob Kerr: The secret origins of Terry Teo

Toby Morris visits the Wellington studio of children’s book illustrator and writer Bob Kerr. Bob is also the co-creator of Terry Teo, one of New Zealand’s most beloved characters. Bob spills on Tery Teo’s secret origin, discusses his career as a fine artist and tells Toby why it’s dangerous for artists to travel on planes.

Comedian Angella Dravid destroys our webseries

Angella Dravid makes herself at home in the dining room of Toby Morris’ house. Angella is an award winning comedian appearing on local TV screens in Funny Girls, Golden Boy and Jono and Ben. People use the terms “awkward” and “weird” when talking about her comedy work and her appearance on Two Sketches is no different. Expect to learn the best way to deal with a heckler, a discussion about the inside workings of brothels and an accidental Hitler drawing.

Sir Michael Hill: Cartoons, TV ads and toilets

To close out the season, and potentially the series, Toby boards the super yacht of jeweller, entrepreneur, rich lister and, now, cartoonist, Michael Hill. The two discuss how Michael amassed a fortune by selling jewellery in a way no one’s quite matched since. They also talk about why your worst enemy is often yourself and the Knight of the Realm offers up his best tip for going to the toilet.

Two Sketches with Toby Morris is made with the support of NZ On Air

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