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Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 05/13/2011

‘RHYMES WITH ORANGE’ guest artist ‘honored’ to be playing in Hilary Price’s creative yard

Jen Sorensen is this week’s guest artist for Hilary Price's "Rhymes With Orange." (Jen Sorensen - King Features)

Whenever a vacationing cartoonist decides to turn over her or his dedicated real estate to a guest artist, the choice is intriguing. It’s like picking a housesitter: Whom do you like, appreciate — and mostly, trust — enough to turn over your precious key to?

This week, “Rhymes With Orange” creator Hilary Price has left her single-panel abode in the ever-capable hands of “Slowpoke” alt-cartoonist Jen Sorensen.

“Working on ‘Rhymes With Orange’ was a definite departure from ‘Slowpoke’ — a welcome change of pace, in that I was free to not think about politics,” the Charlottesville-based Sorensen tells Comic Riffs.

“Writing single-panel gags isn’t something new for me, however,” she continues, “as I had drawn a number of cartoons over the years for Nickelodeon Magazine’s ‘Gag Station.’ I find it to be a fun mental exercise.”

(Jen Sorensen - King Features)

In drawing a daily comic strip instead of an alt-political cartoon, did Sorensen find herself altering her style?

Graphically, “I was told I didn’t need to imitate Hilary’s drawing style, and for the most part I think the artwork is a toned-down version of my own style,” Sorensen tells us. “But I did find myself drawing people with bulbous noses, the way Hilary draws them. The woman in the ‘Mayonnaiseum’ cartoon has one.”

And what about editorially — especially since Sorensen typically delves into sociopolitical commentary?

“The editorial tastes of daily newspapers are somewhat more mainstream, so I avoided some of the weirder or off-color humor that I can get away with in alternative newspapers,” she says. “On the other hand, ‘Rhymes With Orange’ is smarter and more offbeat than a lot of dailies, so it wasn’t like I had to censor myself or anything. There was still plenty of room to be creative.

And did she feel any special responsibility as the keeper of the King Features-syndicated strip for a week?

“It was an honor for me to work in Hilary’s ‘real estate,’ as I’ve been a fan of ‘Rhymes With Orange’ for years,” Sorensen says of the strip, which last year received an NCS divisional award. “I felt I should respect the strip’s overall feel, which I suppose could be described as bookish whimsy.”

As for Price, she wrote of the guest stint:

“I am a long time fan of her political cartoon Slowpoke and am thrilled she’s got the helm.”

Sorensen turns over the “Rhymes” house key on Sunday.

By  |  12:59 PM ET, 05/13/2011

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