Mike Shelton was the editorial cartoonist for The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) for 23 years. During and since then, he illustrated for the Limbaugh Letter and drew political cartoons for Watchdog.org, a news site of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. He currently draws for his own website, mikesheltoncartoons.com. A former Marine and Vietnam veteran, Shelton grew up poor in rural East Texas and studied fine art at Sam Houston State University. Politically he considers himself a right-leaning libertarian … or a libertarian-leaning conservative – whichever you prefer.
For Mike Shelton, politics, drawing and humor were part of life in his Houston home from as early as he can remember. He started drawing when he was 4 years old and began needling classmates, friends recall, as soon as he entered school. His grandfather was a die-hard Democrat and his father a union man — if you joined their conversations, you had better have your arguments in line and your wit at the ready.
Mike’s political sensibilities were shaped and deepened during his service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1969 to 1973. He rose to the rank of sergeant, served in Vietnam and received an honorable discharge.
He returned to Texas to study art at Sam Houston State University from 1974 to 1977. He began his professional political cartooning career when he joined Copley News Service in 1980. He moved from there to his first staff cartoonist position at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1982.
The following year he was hired by The Orange County Register, a major Southern California daily that circulates about 360,000 daily and 426,000 on Sunday.
Mike had a distinguished career at the Register. He produced cartoons on topics that ranged from state and local politics to international issues to the White House. Since mid-1998 he has been co-producing animated political. His politics? He grew up Southern Democrat, became a Republican and evolved to libertarian.
When Mike is not at work on his Mac, you’re likely to find him on the golf course.