Monday, 28 June 2010

Caption Competition No. 48 "Been away?"

Ahem! Yes, well... (cough).

Ever since I began cartooning with something approaching serious intent, one of my greatest hobby-horses was the fact that my pencils, no matter how rough or inaccurate they were, had more zip and verve than my inked drawings. Older readers will know that my working method is to use a light-box in conjunction with my pencilled work in order to produce an inked, unsurpassed masterpiece ready to grace the walls of Tate Britain. Or, in other words, a loose approximation of my original pencilled idea in India ink. Alas, gentle reader, the path of good intention is strewn with manky, lifeless inks that are merely on nodding terms with the pencils even though they were created with the same hands. What these words indicate is a deep, artistic frustration.

Well, this week was gonna be different. Oh by crikey, yes indeedy. No more dead-as-a-doornail inks for this young bucko, oh no. This week the pencils will serve as only a very loose template. Pick out the salient bits and then let your nib run free. Yes free, free as a bird. Let the ink flow. Scratch away as you would with a pencil. It'll all come right in the end.

That was the theory.

What we have here is a salutary lesson in ambtition out-stripping ability. Look at those legs fer gawd's sake. Human, equine and simian - they're all dreadful.

No more joie de vivre approaches to cartooning for me, it's too depressing. In future, I think I'd rather substitute accuracy for spontaneity.

The pencils? Here you are.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Captionless Caption Competition Cartoon Week 47

Avast me hearties! This week's subject were Pirates, ha-harrr! And didn't it bring up a chest load of booty from Davy Jones' locker. It made a sentimental old sea-faring cook like meself quite proud o' me trade to see treasure such as this. O' course, you'll 'ave to scroll down in order to feast your eyes (ha-harrrr!). I be very pleased with me own efforts this week and I'll keel-haul any scurvy dog who says I shouldn't be.
P.S. Ha-harrr!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A Quick Update

This is my entry for last week. A poor idea, badly executed (I'm quite pleased with the chemical paraphanalia, though). I've changed my ink and paper with disconcerting results. The ink seems more watery and the paper started to behave like a blotter. Curses, curses and thrice curses! I may not be able to enter this week, I have a lot going on. We'll see. Okay, that's it. Gotta go.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Caption Competition No. 45. Daleks

I'm not going to wait for the scoring this week. The points don't matter. This week's subject produced a superb crop of cartoons here. Last week's winner, Noel Ford - a cartoonist of God-like proportions - opted for a captionless competition, the theme being Daleks. Readers of this blog will know of my mild infatuation with Daleks ever since their first appearance on the goggle-box in 1963, so I was determined to do something a little bit special, if I possibly could. Whether I did or not I'll leave to others.
Having got a subject I could drool over, my imagination suddenly shut down and buggered off. At moments like these I always find it best to find time to stare out of the window and allow my mind to wander. Idea number one came up from the murk quite slowly. There has always been a comedic link between Daleks and stairs, possibly started by a Birkett cartoon in Punch magazine. A group of Daleks have assembled at the foot of some stairs. The caption is "Well, this certainly buggers our plan to conquer the universe."
The late Douglas Adams apocryphally incurred the wrath of the Terry Nation estate when he alluded to the Daleks' inability to climb anything but a slope during his stint as Script Editor on Doctor Who during the Tom Baker years.
So, what was my idea? A fallen, weeping Dalek at the foot of some stairs being observed by a group at the top.
Yeah, well. That was the first idea. Next I thought about Daleks behaving like humans, but in their own setting. If you are going to invade a planet, you would have to assemble somewhere wouldn't you. What if there were a planet Skaro equivalent of Heathrow airport? I envisaged Daleks going about Dalek duty-free shops while a huge notice board showed cancelled and delayed flights to Earth and Gallafrey, respectively. And that's as far as that thought went.
It was now Friday evening and I had pretty much resigned myself to drawing up the fallen Dalek gag-in-inverted-commas. Suddenly an unbidden image of dissolute Daleks popped into my head. What if they were has-beens? Why would they be has-beens? Some of the most scary Doctor Who stories were written by Stephen Moffat: Blink with David Tennant (almost in a peripheral part) and the recent two-parter, both instances involving the Weeping Angels. All I needed to do was add a disdainful Doctor walking past et voila.
I had a lot of fun drawing this one and the subject matter seemed to lift everybody's game. As you will have seen by now, this week's competition produced a vintage crop of cartoons. Sod the marking, it has been a good week.

A Little Bit of Politics, My Name is Ben Elton, Goodnight

I thought I'd put this up now or else it will never see the light of day. On top of which BP seem to be getting their -um - stuff together now. Seen from the British Isles, I could not understand why Americans are blaming their President for not solving an ecological catastrophe that was not of his making. Sorry for the double negative, but you know what I mean. Wossallthatabaht? Why aren't the Bush family calling on the technical know-how of their oleagenous supporters of yore? Indeed, where is Red Adair? Speaking of whom, affords me the opportunity to repeat a joke too good to be lost and forgotten through the very many veils of time.
The joke had horrific beginnings with the Piper Alpha disaster in the late eighties, but the result is this: After capping the fire on Alpha Piper, Red Adair was having a well-earned drink in a Scottish pub. After a few minutes a Scotsman approached him.
"Are you Red Adair?"
"Yes, buddy, I am."
"Well then, allow me to buy you a double single-malt whisky for saving all that Scottish oil."
"Why, thank you very much."
A few minutes later he is approached by an Englishman.
"Excuse me,but are you Red Adair?"
"Yes, buddy, indeed I am."
"I think you're a remarkably brave man. Please allow me to buy you a scotch as a mark of appreciation for saving all that British oil."
"That's very kind of you, sir. Thank you very much."
A few minutes later an Irishman with a cleft palate approached him.
"Excuse me, but are you Red Adair?"
"Yes, sir, I am."
"Are you still dancing with Ginger Rogers?"

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Cartoon Caption Competition No. 44

Big cheesy grin time this week. My grin is so big the edges almost meet at the back and the top of my head is at risk of toppling off. Yup, that big. Despite all its faults - and there are many - I came joint third with this week's cartoon. The other entries are here, but you have to scroll down a little bit. Lots of clowns this week as you may have noticed. I tried to find out if there was a collective noun for clowns on the webtrinet, but I couldn't find a genuine one. Or, at least one that I consider to be genuine. May I suggest a klaxon of clowns?
Enny whey, fifteen points and joint third place, eh? Not bad for a badly drawn cartoon. The idea was quite strong and the facial expressions came right for me. The wrong things? The strangely elongated human bodies, the cocked up perspective, the fingers that seem to contain only two joints (joints? tee hee!) and look at that door in the background. I don't know what happened there. It was the last thing I drew and suddenly I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life.
Still, I took a lot of time over the toking doggy's expression and, without wishing to brag (too much), I got it right. It's so satisfying when it clicks.
By the way, the cheesy grin is back.