The lighter side of farm life

Celebrating the lighter, funnier side of farming

Life & Style

Kate Rutter has found a balance between working as a cartoonist and helping out on the farm.


WORKING as a cartoonist is a long way from her first career as a vet nurse, but a childhood interest in art has continued for Kate Rutter, whose work represents the sometimes chaotic world of farming,

Mrs Rutter works from home at "Nibiru", Quirindi, where she and her husband Brady grow wheat, sorghum, seed corn, soybeans and cotton.

She's developed her self-taught talent while working part-time as a draftsperson, along with helping on the farm.

Mrs Rutter, who's also mum to Claudia, 5, and Lianna, 2, grew up on a mixed farming property at Werris Creek, where she developed an interest in animals and spent many hours reading Footrot Flats – a big inspiration behind her cartoons.

Her grandmother dabbled in painting – mainly landscape and still life acryclic on masonite – and was very encouraging, and her grandfather's cheeky sense of humour lent itself to cartooning.

"I've being drawing cartoons for years as they came so easily, and I entered a cartoon in the Currabubula Art Show in 2012, where I sold my first cartoon," she said.

Mrs Rutter now creates commission pieces for clients.

Sheep provided much of the inspiration at the start, and they remain a favourite with clients.

"The sheep were the characters in the beginning but I branched out from there – I really like Australiana and farming, and the cartoons just pop into my head," Mrs Rutter said.

"You hear stories through other farmers where things go wrong, like someone once parked truck in grain shed and fillled the shed with grain, and it was like 'where has the truck gone'.

“Cartoons can be fun and a bit cheeky, and I don’t want that old humour to die."

Her imagination – and the vivid way she can bring farming mishaps to life – has led to a friendship with the Crack Up Sisters, a country comedy duo.

"They asked me to provide them with cartoons for their trailer that they travel Australia with, and now I'm helping them incorporate cartoons in their house in Winton, which is going to be very quirky."

Mrs Rutter has also created a cartoon for one of the country's top rural photographers, Edwina Robertson, to celebrate her Wander of the West journey.

"What I do is direct message people on social media and say ‘this is a cartoon I’ve drawn based on your event or show’. Edwina got back to me and said she loved it."

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