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 Well, they used to- no doubt that particular bit of urban slang is out of date now).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)