The winning caption, by Louise Basham from Sidcup was "I need a project I can sink my teeth into."
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
A late afternoon walk in the woods yesterday in this snowy weather brought them back to me- in particular the tale of the witch Baba Yaga.
The description of her "little hut which stands on hen's legs" stuck in my mind. With not much else to do I've scribbled up this quick sketch of it-
No cartoon with punchline this time- sorry. I’ve had a bit of a humour bypass recently, and haven’t thought of many gags for ages. I’ll go out later and watch people fall over on the ice- that’s always good for a laugh- as long as it’s not me.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Like the lady with the bottom in the previous post it was drawn with a Japanese brush pen- I think it gives a nice relaxed feel suitable for the subject.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
This is quite an old drawing, when I was only sending a handful of cartoons off to mags in a not very professional manner. Look at that drawing style- there seems to be no evidence of a body under those blankets. And that appears to be a tape cassette on the floor- yeah, that's what 'the kids' are into...
Friday, 27 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
It's all about the current vogue for vampires to be soppy faced teenagers with issues. In my day all we had was a bloodshot eyed Christopher Lee, flouncing about in a cape in the Hammer films on late night telly- or if you were into your classics, there was old baldie Nosferatu, which is what I'm trying to represent in the cartoon.
Monday, 23 November 2009
Results just in for the caption competition a couple of months back. My original caption was only voted second favourite by the readers of Reader's Digest- but I only lost by 5 votes. So, here is the pic again- bearing in mind that it's supposed to show a Mowgli type wolf-boy, my caption is:
"You both know I appreciate you raising me, but I have some news."
The winning caption, by Edward Peppitt of Stoke-on-Trent was:
"Typical! You stand there for hours crying wolf, then two come along at once."
As the magazine points out on their website, quite where the cat comes into this is anyone's guess.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Prospect magazine has this cartoon of mine in their latest issue- It’s based on Jacques Louis David's 'Marat Assassinated'.
One of the leaders of the French Revolution, Marat used to work at a desk in his bath (I think he had a painful skin condition which was eased by being in water- or something). He was assassinated whilst in the bath, and it is this moment that David represents. I suppose assassination isn't really a jolly subject, but it was over 200 years ago, so I hope no one takes offence.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I have a cartoon in Private Eye magazine this week, but I'm far too weak and feeble to post it- *cough...splutter...wheeze*
Thursday, 12 November 2009
I only sent it to one mag, which rejected it- and then the flu that was going to end mankind sort of went away, making it no longer newsworthy. Perhaps if the promised pandemic breaks out this winter it might become topical again, and I'll be able to profit from other people's misery. Fingers crossed, eh!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Oh- and I'm also cooking a chicken based on a recipe from the Yemen.
And I wonder why I’m single- *sigh*.
(In my defence, my favourite TV programme is 'Harry Hill's TV Burp'.)
*10 points to anyone who gets the reference, without Googling.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Gunpowder, treason and plot...
This has nothing to do with cartoons-so, I’ll get back to the plot. Quite pleased this week, as I've made a couple of sales (I’ll post them when they get published) and a couple of 'holds' (nothing definite, but potential publication)- oh, and the usual rejections. Such as the following- I really liked this, so I was sad Foxy never got into print.
But... these things might have life after publishing death.
So- fret not, Foxy- you may yet end up on a mouse mat.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Double good news today- I have tomorrow off work (although it is only so I can pay a mechanic to prod about at my car), so my weekend starts here! And, I also I found out that once again Reader's Digest magazine has used one of my cartoons for this month's Beat the Cartoonist competition. http://www.readersdigest.co.uk/caption_contest.php
To repeat what I said last month: What you do is think of a caption for the cartoon below- the three best get posted online, along with my original one- it's all anonymous so you don't know which is mine- then people vote for their favourite. If yours is the caption chosen you win stuff- it's all explained a bit better at their website.
This is now the third time they've used one of my cartoons- it's quite an honour, but now my self-critical side is thinking that they think my captions are rubbish. Anyway- it's also an excuse to show this cartoon that they used for the comp a few months back.
In this case my original caption (which the readers didn't choose as the best) was, "That's Quasimodo's penthouse apartment- he made a fortune selling ringtones. "
The winning caption was, "I said they would have trouble if they appointed a woman bishop."
Sunday, 25 October 2009
You are not part of the Tour de France peloton, somewhere in the Pyrenees. And why are your outfits plastered in sponsor’s logos? Are you really being paid by IBM, Kellogg’s et al to wobble about on your 1cm thick tyres, with your face set in that steely jawed look you copied from the Gillette ‘the best a man can get’ advert you saw last night? In your head you’re Lance Armstrong, aren’t you? It’s not that much removed from running about with your arms outstretched, shouting, “look at me mummy, I‘m an aeroplane-vroom!!”
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Well, 2 weeks back into the world of 9 to 5.30 office gubbins, and I'm just about managing to keep this blog going. I will admit to there not being a lot of new stuff to write about, but I'm hoping once I’m back into a groove the cartoons will start to flow again. I'd forgotten how little spare time there is in the evening after the commute home, the 40 minute bike ride for exercise (anti-paunch measure), and then cooking me tea.
Thing is though, with this postal strike, I think I'd be panicking about cartoons getting lost in the post if it was still my only source of income- yep, despite living in the digital age, a lot of mags still require bits of paper sent in by post, rather than email.
So- I shall not panic too much about this temporary glitch in cartoon production and shall end on a positive note- I was really pleased to find out that Private Eye has used 4 of my cartoons in the new 'Private Eye Annual 2009'- a collection of some of the best bits of the magazine from the past year, it’s available in all good bookshops! I started signing copies in Waterstones the other day, until I was kicked out by the staff and accused of criminal damage. Don't these people know who I am?!
Here are a couple of the cartoons they chose (hope the copyright watermarks don't get in the way too much- I’m still undecided if I should bother with using them- is anyone really going to nick them??).
(I like cats, but I must admit they're born killers)
(This one is dedicated to my friends who have recently become parents- you know this time will come one day... )
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Is honesty the best policy if you find some money appearing seemingly out of nowhere? Well- it is when it's paid into your bank account, and therefore could be traced by Mr Taxman. This happened to me recently, and sadly it wasn't a 6 figure sum from a numbered bank account in Switzerland.
Instead I found that The Spectator had paid me for a single gag cartoon when I wasn't expecting it. I assumed I had made a mistake in my super efficient accounting system (bits of paper in a tin), and therefore accepted it was genuine- But then I got their invoice showing payment for 'cartoon in July's issue'.
Now- I knew I hadn't had anything in that issue...so- what do I do? Am I being paid instead of someone else by mistake? Am I taking hard earned cash from a fellow cartoonist? Do I keep quiet? Can I live with myself for being so dishonest? Mua ha ha! look at this collection of tenners! Mine! all mine! And I did nothing to get it! It's just like when I 'worked' at the council. Anyway- I rang the mag’s accounts department to check, cos I'm honest, like- (oh, and the taxman and his henchmen scare me).
They told me the payment was in fact genuine, and was for the following cartoon that I sent off back in 2008, and had given up as being lost-it had finally found a home and had been published in the Australian version of The Spectator. Len cartoons goes global. Woo hoo!
It’s another example of when I was using Rotring technical pens to draw- bit of a mish-mash of style, I think. The idea came about from bitter experience- I like cycling, but I’m none too keen on angry dogs that don’t like bikes.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
A modern day hybrid of Catweazle and Paul Daniels (ask your parents, kids), Derren Brown is also a very talented artist and caricaturist- much better than me..grr! I won't post any examples of his work here in case of copyright infringement- and also they'd show up my efforts.
I'm most envious of Derren's mentalist skills- I've dabbled with studying the techniques he uses, and even attended a course on hypnotherapy. I gave up after accepting I wasn't very good at it. It's probably best I left the hypnotherapy path- I can picture myself listening to a client telling me their fears and phobias, and all I’d be thinking is 'that'll make a great cartoon'.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Thursday, 1 October 2009
No wonder it was rejected- look at the length of that caption! Also, it relies on people knowing the Swallows and Amazons series of books, and one line in particular.
I'm not going to explain it if you don't already know- buy the book, and transport yourself back to an age of innocence and freedom now sadly lost forever.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
So- good luck if you choose to have a go- I'm heading back to the world of LANs n WANs... (edit-please note- I just previewed this post and it looked like this was the caption- it isn't- that would be too surreal even for a Larson cartoon)
Monday, 21 September 2009
This next cartoon was drawn last month, and is in the current Spectator. I still don’t consider myself a natural drawer, and can spend ages on what seems to be a simple design- e.g. the feet took me almost half a day to get right- it was driving me mental achieving the correct foreshortening. I could have hidden them in the folds of the robes, but I was determined not to give up.
Incidentally, I originally had the caption as ‘Don’t blame yourself- it was Caesar’s own fault for being soft on knife crime’. I sent it to Private Eye and they quite rightly rejected it. Knife crime is a bit of a cliché for cartoons now I think. So, I thought I’d try a subtler caption, with a political spin on it, and sent it to The Spectator- thankfully they liked it.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Suddenly I’m not so fed up with drawing cartoons. This might have something to do with the fact that Private Eye magazine contains 3 of my cartoons this week.
I was trying to keep this blog from having too many postings along the lines of-“Look! Look! I’m in this magazine this week!”, but I guess I’m not that modest.
So…Look! Look! I’m in Private Eye magazine!
(OK I’ll make a half-hearted attempt at modesty by only reproducing two out of the three)
This was actually accepted back in May- so I’m glad it didn’t get lost in the filing cabinet.
This next one demands a bit of the viewer- you need to know how to pronounce ‘Ennui’, and of course, what it means (I had to look it up before I got the joke myself…).
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Many years ago I began a career in IT Support- way back when computers did not have a mouse, and the screen was a green on black dumb terminal. For 10 years or so I worked in the basement of a small local authority, somewhere in the Home Counties. Hidden behind a nuclear blast door was the IT department- and tucked away at the back was the Mainframe Operations section- here you would find four sad men hermetically sealed in a paper storeroom, known as the Ops Room. The job of the Ops mostly involved pressing the ‘return’ key to acknowledge prompts, in-between printing council tax bills
One day management supplied a new gizmo- a PC running the mighty powerful Windows 3.1! With a colour screen and a mouse and everything! I forget why we were given it- probably meant to write reports and pie charts. We used it for playing Tetris.
It also had another use- drawing stuff. Myself and fellow Computer Operator Mark would take turns in creating little pieces of bitmap madness using MS Paint and a creaky old mouse.
Eventually, the council saw sense, and got rid of our jobs. Mark had the foresight to preserve the results of our creativity-the following pics are the result of too much time and borderline insanity. So, to Jim, Ken and Mark- happy memories.
Me, Jim, Mark- at the Ops desk.
Actually, there wasn't that much adventure
"Does anyone know where Ken is today?" was a popular refrain
Mark was under the illusion that he did what little work there was to do
There are loads of these mini masterpieces- I might post some more at a later date.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what's on the screen...
Friday, 4 September 2009
It's my own fault for messing with the memory of the artistic genius of E.H. Shepard- he was responsible for the original drawings for Winnie the Pooh. That's the style I was trying (not very successfully) to evoke here, rather than the flaming awful Disney version.
Every winter I go to the Illustrators exhibition at the Chris Beetles gallery in St James's, London. Should you have deep pockets you can pick up original artwork by cartoonists and illustrators- be warned though, an original pencil sketch of the Bear with Very Little Brain by Shepard might set you back 20-30000 quid or so...(my version I could let you have for a bit less than that)
Friday, 28 August 2009
With this one I thought I'd try some 'bubblegum' type solid colours, rather than a watercolour effect- it seems to work.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
(it's probably fallen down inside the sofa)
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Thursday, 13 August 2009
It's not a brilliant effort (looks a bit like Stan Laurel maybe?)- I think I've got his chin and funny sideways mouth OK, but there is something about the eyes I'm not happy with. And perhaps next time I'll add a body and some background. Ok, now that's done I'd best do some cartoon drawing! Hmm... the sun's out- would be a shame to stay indoors on a day like today.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
However, with the following cartoon I knew only a couple of mags might entertain using it, so when they rejected it there was nowhere else to go, apart from this blog. I should point out my thinking behind it before anyone takes offence (oh, and I've censored the caption slightly for this online version). I do not in any way want to belittle AIDS, or charity, or the people who genuinely support certain causes. My issue is why should one cause be more 'fashionable' and worthy of celeb endorsements than another? It's something I've thought for a long time, and I was prompted to draw this back in May after the charity Wateraid issued a report about '...the inequity between the diseases that are killing children and the amounts of money being spent on them'.
I suppose the point I was trying to make might not be obvious, which would make it unpublishable (that, and the likelihood that it's not any good- who knows? Not me, I'm just the bloke who came up with it, so I'm biased). Perhaps I should steer clear of political stuff and concentrate on talking animals and mother-in-law jokes.
(Moral outrage aside, I quite liked this drawing, so these two WAG wannabes have been recylced in a new cartoon, minus ribbon, so might one day see themselves in print)
Sunday, 26 July 2009
It's not everyone's cup of architectural tea, but I like it.
Didn't buy anything in the end- I ummd and ahhd over some old Punch magazines from the 1950's, but decided that they'd just end up in a box somewhere, so decided against buying them.
I eventually had to head back to the crowds at the Notting Hill gate side of the market, as that's where all the good food stalls are. Here you can find delicious healthy foods from across the globe- I avoid this and have a spicy bavarian hotdog of indeterminate meat (delicious!).
Entertainment was provided by this removal company...
Full of old graphic novels and comics it's a great place for fans of this sort of stuff to browse. Here I have to make a confession that will no doubt have me expelled from the cartoonist fraternity: I don't get graphic novels, and comics are things I haven't looked at since the 1970's (Saturday morning- Space 1999 on telly- new copy of 'Cheeky' comic in hand).
I've had a look at them, but can't see the appeal. I expect I'll be told otherwise, but they always seem to consist of the following subjects- dystopian cityscapes inhabited by psychologically damaged people (in the rain); angst ridden teenagers with issues (in the rain); werewolves and vampires, with issues probably (in the rain); oh, and sci-fi, which for me is just soap opera in space (unlikely to have rain in space, but i'm sure it can be included somehow).
I'll get me coat...
So, eventually I navigate a route through the tube system and emerge into Tottenham Court Road. A couple of minutes stroll into Bloomsbury and I get to my final destination- Cornelissen and Son is an art supplies shop that seems to have escaped from Harry Potter. Inside it's all creaky floor boards, wooden cabinets and drawers, multicoloured jars of strange pigments. You'd expect to find magic wands for sale amongst the art materials. They let me take a few pics.
After all that, didn't buy anything.
Nice day out though