Decorated Fairfax cartoonist Ron Tandberg has been remembered for his keen sense of justice after he died from cancer aged 74.
Tandberg won 11 Walkley awards for his illustrations, including two Gold Walkleys, and was known for his succinct style and cutting wit.
Friend and associate editor of The Age Tony Wright said Tandberg made a career out of drawing minimalist pocket cartoons which “cut through everything” and stood up to the big end of town.
“Just about every political figure that you could name of the last four decades has found themselves the brunt of that ‘simplistic little line’ as he used to call it, the abstract little line that he created,” he said.
“He was a fellow who stood for the little man, he considered himself that little man who often appeared in his cartoons.”
“He was actually a wonderful artist, very skilled at drawing and all the rest of it, but he decided that he would concentrate on just the tiniest, most minimalist cartoons possible with just a few lines that would say a great deal.
“And he did, he said a great deal, every single day.”
Tributes flow, cartoons shared
On Twitter, politicians, journalists and public figures and organisations shared their favourite works.
Editor of The Age Alex Lavelle paid tribute to Tandberg, describing him as a “great friend and inspiration” to countless members of staff, and a talent adored by readers.
“Not only was he a world-class cartoonist, he was a world-class human being,” he said.
“You couldn’t help but feel better about life after a conversation with Ron.
“Even during these impossibly hard few months while he was battling cancer, he maintained his extraordinary sense of humour and was still drawing a few days ago.”
Fellow Fairfax pocket cartoonist Cathy Wilcox paid tribute to her colleague, who she said was an institution at The Age.
“Most amazingly is that he could have been drawing for another 10 years or more — he hadn’t tired of drawing, he hadn’t tired of the news and he still had a razor sharp take on the news and politics of the day,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Tandberg was inducted into the Melbourne Press Club’s Hall of Fame in 2014, which described his cartoons as a “unique combination of portraiture and graphic art to provide compelling insight and humour”.
The club paid tribute to his work illustrating a 1980s anti-AIDS campaign, saying it “underscored a remarkable capacity to impact public consciousness”.
In an interview with the National Portrait Gallery, Tandberg said inspiration for his daily cartoons did not always come easily.
“A cartoonist has more freedom because you can interpret the news and actually give it a slant, or interpretation,” he said.
“Sometimes the ideas come quickly and easily, other times, there’s a lot of torture and often how you present it is the difference between a good cartoon and a bad cartoon.
“I think my education was pretty ordinary and I think it helped because you didn’t have the structured way of looking at things, you actually had your own little way of looking [at] things.
“I think that’s what a cartoonist has to have, is a very individual view and individual experiences.”