Pelican Press recently selected two of Barry Hunau's cartoons for its collection of "Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year," possible proof that dentists may have not only a fine hand, but a fine sense of humor.
Hunau, a Lafayette resident and retired dentist, says he has always wanted to be an editorial cartoonist. "Even when I was a pre-dental undergrad at U.C.L.A.," recalls Hunau, "I was doing cartoons for 'The Daily Bruin.' Finally, after almost forty years of teeth, I am able to direct all my energies into cartooning."
His big break came when Marc Klein, the editor and publisher of The Jewish Weekly of Northern California, saw one of his cartoons. "He took me to lunch and asked me to do a weekly cartoon for them," says Hunau. The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix also feature his cartoons regularly. "I guess I kind of have the Jewish cartoon thing locked up," he adds.
An interest in the politics of Israel and the Middle East has served Hunau well in his new career, but he has also done some non-mideast cartoons, some of which have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. The cartoons for Pelican's "Best Editorial Cartoons of The Year" are picked from the web site of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, of which Hunau is an associate member. "I have been included in "Best Editorial Cartoons" for three years in a row, which is a real thrill for me," says Hunau.
When he's creating a new cartoon, what comes first - the picture or the caption? "That depends," Hunau explains, "sometimes the caption jumps into my head and just needs the cartoon. However, sometimes I just doodle while watching TV and I come up with a drawing I like so much I have to come up with an idea for it."
Hunau and his wife Lynn have lived in Lafayette since 1971, where they raised their two children; they now have four grandchildren. Hunau reports that Lynn is happy with his second career, "because it keeps me out of her hair now that I'm home all the time."
The cartoons selected by Pelican Press appear above. More of Barry Hunau's cartoons can be viewed on his website, www.cartoonsbybarry.com.