Sunday, 27 December 2009

Well, I thought it was funny

Christmas festivities over it's back to reality with a bump, as I see once again that the original caption for my cartoon used in the Reader's Digest 'Beat the Cartoonist' competition a couple of months back wasn't considered funny. Pah!

My caption is:

"Somewhere on a flood plain, preferably."

(it's meant to be a beaver ...geddit?)

The winning caption, by Louise Basham from Sidcup was "I need a project I can sink my teeth into."

Sunday, 20 December 2009 stood on hen's legs and walked about the yard...

I think it was about this time last year that BBC7 broadcast some readings of Arthur Ransome's ‘Old Peter's Russian Tales’.
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-

Might return to the subject one day and do it properly.

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

Tidings of joy

It's Christmas soon- That strange mix of pagan tradition and Christianity.

I'm often accused of having a Scrooge-like 'Bah, Humbug' outlook on the whole thing.

That's not entirely fair. I respect those who have a strong religious conviction and see it as a celebration of the birth of their saviour. I'm also keen on the mediaeval feast day aspect- family and friends snug indoors out of the cold, full of food and drink.


But I don't think I'm alone in disliking the constant 'BUY BUY BUY- SHINY THINGS-WOW!' message we're hit over the head with from mid October.

Anyway, here's a Christmas cartoon that I couldn’t sell.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Looking at that cartoon the Oldie used for their latest annual I wish they'd chosen this one instead, as it's one of my personal favourites. They printed it a while back, and as a cartoon it's a bit of a one-off for me as it wasn't drawn on the computer, or with a Rotring technical drawing pen.

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

It's not rude, it's art

I've been discussing on one of the cartoonist online forums about how I draw everything on the computer these days. I'd like to do more stuff with proper pens, ink, n paper, so today I've been doing some doodling using a Japanese brush pen.
I'm not sure how the following rough sketch came about, but the fact that I was reading an article about Penelope Cruz in one of the Sunday papers earlier is a coincidence- honest.

I see myself as someone who is still learning how to draw, so I know this isn't the best study of the female form- but in my defence it was done without a model (i should be so lucky).

(I've had a go at tweaking the blog template to allow a bigger pic, so If you can't see the image, I apologise)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

An Oldie

I recently found out that one of my cartoons is in another book ready for Christmas, or 'holiday season' if you live your life in a movie trailer. The Oldie magazine has re-used the following cartoon in their latest annual (available in all good bookshops etc etc).

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

No-one will believe I thought of it first

Yesterday I sent off a cartoon to Private Eye which poked fun at the website 'Mumsnet'.
Annoyingly, the presenter of 'Have I Got News For You' has pretty much just made the same gag.
Seeing how the editor of Private Eye is a regular on that TV prog I guess it's unlikely that my cartoon will ever see life in print. And no, I'm not accusing him of nicking it for the show- I think they recorded the show before I emailed in the cartoon.
Grr...Curse you, coincidence!
Ah well- maybe I should be happy that I am able to think of TV quality gags.
Nope- that's no consolation.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Twiglet Zone

I think cats must be vampires- they seem to be rendered inanimate when they are hit by a beam of sunlight- all signs of life are extinguished, especially if the beam of light combines with a fur rug.

A vampire features in one of two cartoons I have in Private Eye magazine this week- it's the one I was drawing whilst being enveloped in an atmosphere of pretension, as detailed in an earlier post. Perhaps a pseudo intellectual environment has a positive effect on my cartoons, resulting in them being more likely to be accepted...hmmm...

If this is the case anything I draw today is going to go straight into the rubbish bin, as I'll soon be watching 'Carry on Dick' on telly and eating a Pot Noodle. Here's the vampire cartoon-

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

I lose again

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

It's either this or 'I'm a celebrity'...

Not sure if I've mentioned it on this blog, but I once had a go at being an art historian. It was a time long, long ago, when I had been made redundant from a job in IT support (which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in my life). Being a level headed sensible computer techie, I thought to myself 'with this redundancy cheque what I really need to get on in life is to learn about paintings'. So, armed only with a couple of irrelevant O levels, some self tutored essays and an application form as a mature student, I somehow got a place studying History of Art and Architecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

I shouldn't be too flippant about it really, as the Courtauld is a rather prestigious place- set within the impressive Somerset House between the Strand and the Thames, it has a collection of art that any national gallery would envy. Just my luck then that when I was there the gallery part was being renovated, and the collection was either in storage or on loan. The only thing I got to see in the exhibition space was a dead pigeon and builders’ materials- perhaps it was a Damien Hirst installation?
Where did it lead me? Although I might not have ended up as the paintings expert on the Antique’s Roadshow, I do have an art related cartoon published this month. All that learning didn't go to waste after all.

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

Poor me

My lurgy is slowly getting better, but I currently have a deep husky voice- I was going to go out to the pub tonight and impress the ladies with it- sadly although I might sound like Barry White I actually look more like Barry from Eastenders, so I'm staying in.

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

My night nurse, oh the pain it's getting worse...

I've struggled heroically this week with illness and pain. Several times, as I lay gasping in my sick-bed, I heard voices beckoning me 'into the light'. But no! I'm made of strong English stock, so I gave the chap with the scythe a punch up the bracket and I'm still here!

Or, to put it another way- I've had a bad cold. Still have actually, but I’m not one to complain. I'll suffer in silence. I'll curl up with a hot toddy and hope it'll go away soon (a hot totty would be better, but for now I'll make do with hot water, honey, lemon and a tot of whiskey).

I'm hoping it's not swine flu- which brings me neatly (did you see what I did there?) to this cartoon. I drew it in the summer, when swine flu was all the rage, and the government flu help line was getting flack for not being particularly useful.

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

Pretentious? Watashi? *

I've just spent the past hour listening to the premiere of Sparks' radio musical 'The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman', on BBC 6 music, whilst simultaneously watching a 1950's black and white French art documentary 'Le Mystere Picasso', whilst also trying to draw a cartoon based on the 1922 German vampire movie 'Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens'.

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

Life beyond the cartoon graveyard

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November.
Gunpowder, treason and plot...

Precious few fireworks round these parts tonight- and no one asks for a penny for the Guy anymore. These days it seems that Halloween has taken over as the choice of the kids as their preferred way of demanding treats with menaces. I read somewhere the other day that it began to take off in this country after the film E.T. came out- with its scenes of Halloween 'fun'- i.e. the tacky crap that kids dress up in, and all its commercial opportunities.

How long before the major retailers in the UK decide that what we really need in this country is to celebrate Thanksgiving?
"Good idea, R.J. Let's get the marketing guys and gals on to that one!"

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.
Most of my unpublished cartoons go to a stock cartoon service called Cartoonstock.
I haven't been with them long, but even cartoons I drew years ago, and thought would never appeal to anyone, have ended up as a design on a mug and made me a few extra pennies- such as the following- it must be old- it's drawn with real pen and ink, rather than computer technology.

So- fret not, Foxy- you may yet end up on a mouse mat.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Win things, again

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.

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

I really ought to be less intolerant

I have realised there is one thing I dislike more than dogs when I’m out cycling- and that's other cyclists. Not all of them, just those who dress up in Day-Glo Lycra outfits, and zip around en masse on their racing bikes. Here I am, pootling around Windsor Great Park of a Sunday morning, enjoying nature’s Autumn spectacle- when a pack of them whizz past, shouting to each other about ‘hydration’ and ‘optimum heart rates’.

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

Workin' nine to five (thirty)...

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

Len Cartoons goes global

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 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

Izzy wizzy let's get busy

Rainy day spent indoors today, and for no great reason other than I didn't feel like drawing jokes (OK-I can't think of any at the moment), I've had another go at drawing caricatures- this one is meant to be telly wizard Derren Brown- I don't think he really predicted the lottery result the other week- do you?

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

Guilt trip

I feel a bit guilty about this latest cartoon (which will mean nothing to those without access to British TV)- It's in the current Spectator and pokes fun at celeb royalty, Stephen Fry. The thing is though, despite the sentiment behind the gag, I do actually like the stuff he does. It's just that the joke seemed so obvious that my devilish side took over.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

12 months later

Over the past year I've become really well acquainted with the view of my back garden- the reason for this being that I became a full time freelance cartoonist working from home. I left the cosy world of IT Support in October 2008 (jump or pushed? probably a bit of both) and picked up the gauntlet of self-employment.

It's been an interesting experience. Earning money entirely through your own efforts is so much more thrilling than getting the salary of a cog in a wheel- the downside being the erratic and unpredictable nature of making sales. And as for working from home...yes, you do get to have an easy commute, and you can choose your own hours- but I also now know how a polar bear in a cage must feel as he sways back n forth in the madness of captivity.

So, after 12 months of watching next door’s cat fighting with the local fox, I’m heading back into corporate land to look after computers, and will once again bully people about the size of their email inbox, and be uttering the words 'try turning it off and on again'. I’ll be carrying on with cartooning though- and hopefully I'll get inspiration from the people I work with- such as this (old) cartoon that Reader's Digest used, which was inspired by my ex-colleagues (hello chaps!) and their sadly predictable geek world of goblins and wizards.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Rejection selection again

I think I've touched on this before, but as a kid I was never into comic books, such as Tintin, Asterix etc. I would read the odd weekly comic such as 'Buster', or nick my brother's copy of 2000AD, but as for books I preferred them to be the kind without pictures. There was however an exception to this rule- any adventure book that contained maps and charts (preferably with handwritten annotations and dotted lines showing perilous routes) was a winner as far as I was concerned.

This brings me to this latest cartoon (a rejected one, sadly) based on my favourite series of books from my childhood.

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

Win things

'Sigh'-this sunny weather we've had over the past few days has been wasted on me- i've been stuck indoors revising computer techie stuff in advance of some job interviews next week. Anyway, enough of that. I was cheered up to see that Reader's Digest has used one of my cartoons for their Beat the Cartoonist competition (no, you don't get the chance to beat me with a stick). It's at this webpage:

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 at the website.

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


I still think my cartoon style is evolving, and I thought it would be interesting to compare two cartoons drawn 1 year apart. This first one was drawn last year, and was published in The Oldie. (n.b. thinking that it would be extra clever I initially wanted the caption to read ‘Sick dog’- but that would require the reader to understand that the kids use ‘Sick’ to mean ‘cool’. Well, they used to- no doubt that particular bit of urban slang is out of date now).

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

Wasted Youth

This post is probably only going to be appreciated by myself and 3 others- so feel free to ignore the following.
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

It's a scream

OK- In case the unclothed lady in the post below is causing stress if you happen to look at it at work, here's a new Safe for Work cartoon which should move her safely down the page, and out of view.

It neatly ties together the three main things I've been involved in- computers, art history and cartoons. Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' has been used countless times in cartoons, so it's about time I had a go- The Spectator magazine liked it and printed it in their current issue.

I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what's on the screen...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Rejection selection

A decent drawing can't save an unfunny gag, whereas a funny gag can get away with having a poor drawing. With the following cartoon I really liked the drawing, but it didn't sell. Looking at it now I see that the caption is a bit clunky- too long- not that funny either I guess. I still like the drawing- but hey, you know what they say- self-praise is no praise!

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

A Summer drought

Nope- By 'drought' I don't mean the weather (in the UK Summer is not really known for its sunshine). I'm referring to the times when hardly any of your cartoons sell. That happened last month, and it wasn't pleasant. Thankfully the spuds I planted earlier in the year came up OK so I didn't starve too much.
I've made a few sales recently- such as this one in The Oldie- so perhaps the drought is over for the moment at least.

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

Last chance saloon

I haven't posted a cartoon lately, so here's one from the latest issue of Prospect. I thought that someone must have already done a gag based on 'Death, where is thy sting?', but decided to send it off on the rounds anyway. It appeared that it might have been a waste of time, as one by one each mag rejected it, until at its last port of call it got accepted. Lesson learnt- never assume things have been done already, and also don't write off a cartoon until you really have nowhere left to go.

(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?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?

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?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Practice time

I have quite a few gag ideas written down ready to be drawn- however, I always think the final drawing never looks as good as the version in my head, so I'm procrastinating by having another go at drawing caricatures instead. This is supposed to be Michael Schumacher- not for any great reason other than him being in the news recently. Shame you're not fit enough for the next GP, Mike- would have been fun watching you and your superior driving skills, such as driving into any British driver who happens to be in front of you...ahem.

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

Knowing your markets (again)

This one was used by the Oldie- I guess it pressed the correct demographic buttons.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Be afraid. Be very afraid

Doodle time- what's going on with that bull-headed woman with angel wings?!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Know your markets (and limits)

Knowing your markets is an important thing to be aware of when you draw gag cartoons. Sometimes you can guess which magazines might like a certain cartoon, but every now and then you get a surprise, and a magazine such as The Spectator takes a mother-in-law joke when you really didn't expect it.

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


This blog is entitled 'on cartoons and things', and this entry is more to do with 'things' than cartoons, but there will be the occasional reference to the world of scribbling.

Yesterday was a trip to London, with the intention of visiting one of my favourite art shops for supplies. First off however was a detour to Portobello Market. I prefer to avoid the scrum near Notting Hill, so I arrive at Ladbroke Grove and wander along the market that is under the Westway flyover. Should you ever find yourself in this part of the market I'd advise heading north up Portobello Road, away from the crowds. Here you'll find the cheaper dealers, and you might come across something interesting amongst the single ice skating boot and the packets of chewing gum on sale.

You also get to see the Trellick Tower on Golborne Road- designed by Bond villain Erno Goldfinger.

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...

Just next to Notting Hill Gate tube is this 2nd hand book/magazine shop.

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