Little Things brings big rewards for Nelson pair

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 13:00 10/08/2012
Matt Lawrey
FAIRFAX NZ

NELSON EXPERIENCE: Peter Lole and Matt Lawrey with his sons Darcy and Miro.

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Big things are under way for the Nelson duo behind the endearing parenting cartoon The Little Things, with the pair publishing their first book.

Matt Lawrey and illustrator Peter Lole celebrated the arrival of the book at Nelson bookstore Page and Blackmore Booksellers yesterday.

Mr Lawrey said the book had 120 cartoons chosen from the 400 the pair had already published.

He was thrilled that Nelson-based business Craig Potton Publishers had published the book, making it a true Nelson collaboration.

Mr Lawrey and his wife Tania Norfolk had their two children Darcy, 6, and Miro, 4 - who provided the inspiration for the cartoons - in Nelson. Mr Lawrey also met collaborator Mr Lole through the grapevine in the city.

"It's a real Nelson experience," he said.

The Little Things made its debut in the Nelson Mail and the Waikato Times in October 2010.

It is now published in eight newspapers, including one in Western Australia, the Fairfax website Stuff, and will also soon appear in a newspaper in Devon, England.

Mr Lawrey said the support of Nelson Mail editor Paul McIntyre in agreeing to publish the cartoon first, was a big factor in its success.

Mr Lawrey said he got the idea for the cartoon series a year before it was launched.

After searching for a possible cartoonist in Nelson he teamed up with Mr Lole, a match he says is a key reason for the cartoon's success.

Mr Lawrey said the appeal of their cartoon continued to surprise and they received on average two to three fan emails a week.

He was under no illusion that people got rich selling books in New Zealand and just hoped to make enough to buy a new fridge or sofa.

He believed the cartoon's success was due to it striking a chord with parents and grandparents about the funny, touching, whacky and sometimes maddening things young children do and say. Those without children also related to the cartoons.

Mr Lole said the whole process of doing the cartoons and now the book, had been "fantastic".

"In fact it's almost unbelievable."

He was still blown away by the support and positive feedback they got for their cartoons.

"That our humble little, fiddly sketches . . . that people cut them out and stick them on their fridges. It's terrific."

Craig Potton Publishing publisher Robbie Burton said it was the first time that the company had published a book of cartoons.

The company had a particular affection for publishing Nelson artists.

"Matt and Peter are really passionate about what they are doing and I really love working with artists who really care."

The Little Things, Craig Potton Publishing, RRP $14.95.

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- The Nelson Mail

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