Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas Chums!

I wanted to produce something in the spirit of Roy Wilson, Reg Parlett and the general celebratory nature of British comics. So here it is.
May I wish you all a Christmas of quiet contemplation and sobriety and not drunken debauchery like mine is going to be.
Your pal, the Editor.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Why This Cartoon Is Devastatingly Hilarious, But Not To 99.9% Recurring Of The Planet's Population.

Well, I think it's funny. It's not particularly well drawn as we've just acquired an English Springer Spaniel puppy and she's VERY demanding of time and attention, as any person who has trodden barefoot, in the dark, in puppy poo whilst searching for the said substance in order to clear it up will testify.
Ennywhey, on to this week's lecture which concerns cultural touchstones and their generational disintegration due to the increasingly disparate nature of mass media.
Oh do wake up! I haven't even started yet!
In order to appreciate the finer humorous points of my cartoon you would need to know why I named the patient, Mr. Talbot. I have often been accused, with good reason, of being too obscure, but I would have thought an overly hirsute individual with the monicker 'Talbot' would have awakened some cultural echoes. Now then, some of you may be entertaining the notion that I am about to launch into my theory about diminishing cultural touchstones purely because I didn't get any points whatsoever in this week's caption competition. Well, let's get this absolutely crystal clear; you'd be quite right.
 Larry Talbot is the doomed character in the 1941 film The Wolf Man (from guess which studio? - Yup! Universal) . Now, I fully understand that not a lot of people would know that, but I bet Stephen King and Harlan Elllison would. It would, therefore, follow that a sizeable number of their readership would also know that fact and would find my cartoon thigh-slappingly, erm, slightly amusing. Perhaps.
Harlan Ellison wrote a short story titled Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: (the rest of the title is a map reference which I can't replicate because I do not have the know-how). The story is based on Larry Talbot undergoing the latest scientific technological techniques in order to cure him of his lycanthropic condition (Don't you wish more parts of the body had brilliant names like the Islets of Langerhans? Tulp's Isthmus,  perhaps? Incidentally, a Merry Isthmus to all our readers - in case I forget). During the course of the story Ellison makes a reference to Carlos Castaneda who used to be another cultural touchstone. But who, nowadays, reads The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge? Cultural touchstones only hold significance for small numbers of people in different generations. I shall illlustrate this further, but before I do it is important to know that Larry Talbot was played (very well) by Lon Chaney Jr.
In the 1980's Robin Williams released a VHS recording of a stand-up stint at the New York Metroplitan (I believe some clips of it are available on Youtube). During an almost non-stop barrage of verbal imagery, Williams, through gesture and allusion had me on the floor in tears of laughter just by saying, "Tell me about the rabbits." The instant imagery in my mind was of the Abominable Snowman in the Bugs Bunny film The Abominable Snow Rabbit. The speech patterns of the Abominable Snowman are directly lifted from the character of Lennie in the 1939 film version of Steinbeck's story of porcelain male figurines from Saxony (Of Meissen Men - Come on, keep up!). The very loose use of the characters of George and Lenny were quite widely employed in Warner Brothers cartoons (see also Tex Avery's  various George and Jr. cartoons) because they would have been recognizable cultural touchstones to a wide audience. But, no longer. I would argue that if Robin Williams were to release that particular performance on DVD, the Of Mice and Men/ Warner Brothers cartoon reference would be completely lost. I have asked younger generations about things that I take for granted, Steinbeck in particular, and the response was "yeah, I think we had to read that once at school." No one had heard of the 1939 film version that was once so iconic. They hadn't even heard of the more recent, excellent, film version with Gary Sinise and John Malkovitch.
In 1939 the part of Lennie was played (iconically) by Lon Chaney Jr. which is pretty much where I came in.
P.S. I thought hard pad sounded funnier than distemper.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Look Ma! No - Well, No Nothing!

This is another departure for thine veritably. The rather amazing bit of cartoonery business you are presently perusing on the sinister side of this very column was an entry to the CCGB caption competition. It earned me five points. In other words, two people enjoyed it enough to list it as one of their top three and the pleasure that that knowledge brings is almost indescribable. I love points and we all know what points make, don't we?*
The reason why this particular cartoon is something of a departure is because it is entirely digital. I know the  earlier Leonardo Da Vinci cartoon (see older posts) was also entirely digital, but that was more of an experiment than a finished cartoon. This 'Skincare' cartoon had all the preliminaries done on the graphics tablet. No doodles on pieces of paper. No rough pencils scanned in, nuffink. Everything, from beginning to end, was entirely digital, To my jaundiced eye it isn't half bad. Not perfect, but not bad.

* Me happy.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Self-Puffery. It's All Me Me Me!

This is going to seem very presumptuous on my part, but I have nominated myself for the humor (sic) section of the Blogger's Choice Awards for 2011. Follow the link, sign up and vote like you have never voted before. If you do this, and as a thank you, you may gaze upon my Edgar Allan Poe offering. It is part of an on-going scenario-situation-parameter-interface-word/image inter-exchange-duplex-thingy-blah blah-artefactoidal project. And one day I'll get the damned thing finished.
Remember: A vote for Brendini is a vote for common sense. A vote for anybody else is a vote for SATAN and ALL his hellish minions. Therefore, a vote for anybody else will immediately consign your mortal soul to eternal torment and you wouldn't want that, now would you? Think of it - NO chocolate digestives to dunk in your tea ever again. Is that what you really want? Is it?
You have been warned.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hair on a G String

The Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain's weekly caption competition had a theme of Hair this week and the example to your left is pretty much the first thing I thought of. If you have clicked on the link above, you will have seen several variants on the soup/hair interface scenario situation, so to have been awarded twelve points for my entry is very gratifying indeed.
On a hairy theme, this month I am (in the real world) participating in the Movember hirsute pursuit of upper lip follicular madness. I actually appear in this photograph, but even armed with this knowledge I can't make out which one is me. how very self-effacing, eh?
Ordinarily, my face is permanently adorned with face fungus. So, for Movember I shaved my beard off and kept the 'tache with the promise that my upper lip will remain untouched for the rest of the month. This had two consequences. Firstly, I rediscovered the fact that shaving hurts and causes unseemly looking rashes. Secondly, and more importantly, my wife was appalled at the result. Armed with these two facts I asked for, and got, special dispensation to grow the beard back. This was granted with the proviso that the beard may be trimmed, but the moustache must remain untouched by human hand. So, there we are: divorce averted by a hair's breadth.
I just want to give a quick mention to this month's caricature competition. I had intended to enter, but left it too late, but I think you ought to take a peek. I laughed out loud. Cruel, but very, very funny. I 'ates football players, I do.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Wotta Barjayne!!!

Two, yes two, new improved formula cartoons by Brendini and all for the price of one! Which is another way of saying that I have been neglecting this blog of late. So, this is a bit of a catch up piece.
 Ooookay, one very literal scribble and one which I thought was absolutely hilarious. As is often the case in these matters; things which I think are very clever or side-splittingly amusing are generally found to be simplistic and utterly unfunny by a majority of the human race. From the foregoing it may be surmised that I didn't get many points for either cartoon, but I sulk not, gentle reader. After all, some points is infinitely better than sweet Biggin Hill points, which some poor souls endure from time to time. And what do points make? Me happy, for one.
The black and white cartoon was the result of an inviolate caption (no changes allowed). The amazing technicolour cartoon was a free for all, anything goes themed cartoon; the subject being Superheroes.
The figure of speech (Ha! Slaps thigh) really is a speech. Which one? Do I hear you ask?
Why has it suddenly gone all quiet?
It is the St. Crispin's Day speech from Billy Shakespeare's Hal Vee (Act iv, scene iii). You may see a rather marvellous rendition of said speaks here.
I spent ages trying to think of a superhero cartoon. I initially came up with ideas along the line of a committee member saying to Superman "Well, if we want any tall buildings leapt over we'll let you know." Yeah, I know.
Then I started thinking about costumes. Most superheroes of yore wore tights. What if...
The result you see before you. Technically speaking, the background could have been a gazillion times better, but I got my Bamboo layers muddled up. And when I wanted to erase some colour, it started adding more (Bad Bamboo! Bad boy!).
I still think it's a funny cartoon. I just happen to be alone with this belief.

Friday, 14 October 2011

I See A Little Silhouetto Of A Man

Who is it? Oh let's not go through all that again. Hint: It's Freddie Mercury. 'Tis my entry for this month's caricature competition (I am now pointing to where you may see all the other entries ===> Ici. Scroll down a bit for the montage.).
To be absolutely honest, when  I saw the other caricatures I thought it was going to be a Crackerjack pencil for this particular International Playboy Millionaire Cartoonist, but at the very last gasp, just before voting closed, Steve Bright (yes, the Steve Bright) awarded me two points - two very treasured points.
I worked under some self-imposed restrictions this month. Before I started I was determined to make this drawing as loose and simplistic as I possibly dared. The pencils were very loose and scribbly and I tried to maintain that looseness on the Bamboo. On the whole, I pretty much stuck to my own brief with a few corrections to a few lines as I cyber-drew it. Am I pleased with the result? Pretty much, yes. The scariest moment was putting it out to the public domain in order to be judged. Pass me my brown corduroy trousers, would you? I also changed the brush size on the Bamboo to give me a more noticeably varied line which I think worked really well.
Hello? Still awake? Would you like to share a little secret? I was never a big fan of Queen. More of a King Crimson bod, but I don't suppose Robert Fripp will crop up as a subject for caricature.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

We Are Programmed Just To Do

A belated update. This is my entry for last week's competition. If you scroll down a bit on the link you'll find a compilation of all the entries. The theme being Robot(s). Three people gave my entry their top vote and two people gave me their third choice which meant eleven points for me. In the post-competition comments some very complimentary things were said about my effort, which always infuses me with a warm glow. Warm glows are a good thing. More people should have warm glows, then the world would be a nicer place.
It occurs to me that these scribblings are the external representations of an internal thought process. There was some lengthy discussion on the CCGB boards some time ago about how people thought creatively: was it in words or images? Some people thought purely visually, some purely in words. I tend to be a mixture of both.
When this subject for the competition came up I immediately visualized a robot. I work with robots and I see them do the same thing hour after hour, day after day. Then, in words, I thought how bored they would get, what would be the result? The word drudgery came into my head. Then, household drudgery. Then, the image of the robot cutting corners on its household duties came into my mind. Then, I thought (in words), I'll go with that! So, you see, you've had a little insight as to what's inside my head. The Spiders! THE SPIDERS! GET THEM OUT! GET THEM OUT ARRRRRGGHH!!!!!
In my first pencils (which, incidentally, I can't be arsed to upload. Got a problem with that?) I gave the robot metallic eyebrows and less defined eyes, but otherwise it was pretty much what you see above. The eyebrows were raised to make it look a bit furtive.This made it seem too human in an odd way and I didn't want that. I wanted a robot. So, I lost the eyebrows and made the eyes look more like camera lenses. In my view this worked even better because, if anything, it made the robot look even more furtive and therefore funnier.
 I have now unarsed myself and uploaded the pencils. Compare and contrast. Essays in by Wednesday, please. Postal Orders gratefully received.
Ooh! I nearly forgot! I wanted to do a stippling effect for the dust, but the Bamboo pad wouldn't let me do it with any accuracy. the end result is interesting and it sort of works, but it wasn't what I had intended and has given me pause for thought. I have used stippling on other cartoons with a pen and ink (see my God, the devil and man cartoon) in the past and it's a nice effect to have at one's disposal. But, if the Bamboo can't cope with it..... Hmmmm.
Finally, a reminder. For goodness' sake, how many times do I have to tell you, if you click on the pictures you will get a bigger view.
Okay, dismissed.
P.S. My wife wanted to know why the carpet doesn't have a pattern. Drawing robots is fun. Drawing carpets isn't. Another one of my failings. Drawing anything should be fun. Either that or I couldn't be arsed (what a horrible phrase!).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ooh, E's a Card, Innee?

Now he's dropped on to the floor,
Heading for the bedroom door.
(Boris the Spider - Keith Moon)

This was my entry for last month's Caricature Competition. What's that? Where have I been? Where haven't I been! Busy busy busy. Caught Doctor Faustus at the Globe (No, it's not a disease, madam.) Brill, really enjoyed it. Scary devils and everything. But, I'm not here to talk about that. We are here to discuss the piece of art-that-may-be-enlarged-by-clicking-on-it on your left.
Overall I'm very pleased with this. Eleven points in all and fifth out of eight entries. I had intended to present this piece of cutting edge political satire in colour, but I loaded the pencils into Photoshop using greyscale (Thick? Me? Errrrmm, yes) which meant that I couldn't  access the veritable rainbow of hues usually available to me. Still, never mind. Musn't grumble and all that.
Why is he carrying a cudgel behind his back? Because, and this is just my personal opinion, I believe that behind all his 'I'm just a bluff old duffer who just seemed to blunder into extra-marital affairs and sack Metropolian Police Commissioners' face is a cunning, knowing, upper-echelon thug who knows exactly what he is doing and knows precisely why the word piccaninny is so deeply offensive.
Coo, a bit heavy this week, eh?
I didn't have time to enter this week's Caption Competition, which was a shame. I had an idea ready to draw up which I am absolutely sure would have won first place. Still, it wasn't to be. Perhaps I should draw it up anyway and post it here. Yeah, maybe I'll do that. Just a bit of fun. It involves Gangsters and cement. Intrigued? Well, don' get too nosey if ya wanna stay healthy.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Where are the songs of Spring?

There is a very Keatsian feel to my entry for this week's competition. It was a do-your-own-thing option with a theme of Autumn. Upon seeing the theme, my mind immediately switched to R.P.D.M (Romantic Poets Default Mode). In fact, I defy anybody  to look at the word Autumn and NOT think of Keats' ode To Autumn. Go on! See! It can't be done.
The walkers in my cartoon are wearing rather outmoded costumes (costumes? - apparel). I mean, come on! Bobble hats? Fair enough,but I would contend that a bobble hat is a far more sensible piece of outdoor wear than a matching cagoule and gaiters (that particular combination just looks silly).
The cartoon itself is loosely based on reality. Alas, dear reader, I am guilty of making inane comments repeatedly during inclement weather, inducing my wife to make life-threatening statements of intent. In my favour, I do not wear gaiters and my woolly hat is bobbleless (it does make me look like a serial killer, unfortunately).
Looking at the cartoon objectively, there are still areas in dire need of improvement, but on the whole I'm quite pleased with it. The cat was a fairly late addition.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

When Fetishes Clash!!!

Hmmm. The original rough sketch worked a little bit better than this,but I'm not going to show it because it was pretty much stick figures doing rude things.
By the way, this isn't me working through some deeply disturbing Freudian sexual urges (but, having drawn it, maybe it is - that's a bit worrying, isn't it?). No, this is this week's entry for the CCGB caption competition. Well, now. Quite a few flaws, but some improvements. Hands are getting better - drawing mittens helped enormously. Side-on foot is a complete no no and looks bloody amateurish. Perspective is slightly off-kilter too. In the rough I got the perspective pretty spot on and the poses were more dynamic too. The clean-up (ho ho!) pencils that preceded these inks stiffened things up (ooh -er! Fnar fnar!) which resulted in this dissatisfying artefact. I think the biggest fault is the fact that the dominatrix does not look like a dominatrix at all, but more like a comic-book super heroine. She started off with a top-knot and no flowing locks. Perhaps I should have stuck with that.
All that aside, I still garnered four ego-stroking points (stroked with mink fur and spiked heels).
As a little bit of research I tried looking for the most unlikely fetishes I could think of and I may have created a new one. I could not find anything relating to a sexual fetish for acorns, so I am officially announcing a new fetish. It involves acorns and dressing up as Eeyore. Any takers?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dear Oh Dear Oh Dear!

Well, now. This is precisely what happens when you try to rush things. It is, of course, for the weekly caption competition way over yonder at the Cartoonists' Club of Grand Britannia. Honestly, I could kick myself (grunt, grunt, OOF! Oooh me hip!). The theme being The Swinging Sixties, my thoughts turned naturally to things Dalekian. Daleks, Hippies, Beatles; what could possibly go wrong? Timing. I wanted to draw this particular cartoon in colour. I thought it might be rather groovy to have a psychedelic Dalek, but I just didn't give myself enough time. In the event I found myself hard against the clock before closing time and this was the result. The words are on a slant, the execution is pretty poor and I forgot to take the pencil layer out when I saved the image. And look! I forgot to sign it too! Probably a subconscious effort to divorce myself from the whole sorry affair. And yet, and yet it still got a vote! Not really deserved, but gratefully received.
Could do better. See me.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sherlock Holmes and the Bamboo Tablet

Hello hello, sorry I'm late. I've had a rather frantic couple of weeks in the non-cyber world, but that really isn't any of your business, now is it?
The visage on your left is that of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch. A very talented actor who can play the world's most famous detective in a telly prog, or an incompetent airline steward on the wireless. One extreme to the other, you see. So, what is he doing on the exalted pages of this blog? Well may you ask. Do I come across as a little conceited? Is there an air of self-satisfied bumptiousness in my verbal perambulations? Is my head as big as the hangar that housed the R101 (an ill-fated airship, the symbolism of which - let me assure you - is not lost on your humble author)?
The more perceptive of you will have realized by now that something rather nice has befallen me. The drawing of Mr. Cumberbatch earned me twelve points and therefore third place on the podium of this month's Caricature competition. AND that's despite the dodgy hand (dodgy hands again, you see).
In the original pencil drawing I had the modern Sherlock holding a magnifying glass. The more intelligent member of our marital partnership pointed out that, in the television programme, the great detective was more reliant on his mobile phone.
"Excellent!" I cried. "Elementary," said she.
So, in it went.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Walt Disney versus Universal Studios (Hint: Bambi Wins).

The quicker witted among you will have noticed that, once more, Universal Studios' usual suspects have been dragged kicking and screaming into one of my cartoons for your delight and, um, stuff. The quickerer wittededer among you will have noticed an anachronistic Dalek in the line-up. Well, so what? I like Daleks and they can travel through time and space. He-e-e-ey, just a minute! They're a bit like Dr Who!
Annie Whay, this is my entry for this Cartoon Competition number one hundred et deux, which (regular readers will know) may be found here. It was a free-for-all, choose yer own blimmin' caption option with a theme of Horror Films. There are some real beauties this week, so go and have a look. Stroll around. Enjoy yourselves. We only pass this way but once and I wouldn't want you to miss them. I got seven points this week week was rather satisfying and preened my ego until it purred like a duck-billed platypus.
As I am blowing my own trumpet, I'll tell you about the bits that please me with this one. Actually, no I won't, at least not yet.
Hands. Bloody hands! They just will not come right for me. Frankenstein's monster's hands are just about tolerable. Just. About. Dracula's mitt! Do you want to know how many sodding times I drew dracula's hand? AND STILL GOT IT SODDING WRONG? The answer is lots and lots and lots. Each time in a different pose. A new position with each attempt. Wrongwrongwrongwrongwrong. Curse you, Dracula! You unnatural beast!
Good bits: facial expressions. Tick. Body language. Tick(ish - sodding hands!). Dalek's lights popping off in shock. Tick.
Ooh! I nearly forgot Bambi. I found him disturbingly easy to draw. Brrrrrr! Disturbing!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Do Bears Wear a Tall Hat?

Those of you who have warm and cherished childhood memories of A. A. Milne LOOK AWAY NOW. Ah! Too late.
This is another one I couldn't sell. Too scatological, perhaps? My original caption read as follows: "Ah, Winnie, there you are!" When I put it up on the critic's forum at the Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain (for goodness' sake, don't make me put in another link! Oh very well) it was pointed out to me that Christopher Robin called his bear Pooh rather than Winnie. So I removed the name all together. I have a tendency to over-explain my cartoons through the caption. I call this patronizing, just in case you didn't understand. By removing such an obvious signpost, I think the cartoon works much better and emphasizes location rather than action. It is an allusion to the phrase 'do bears do number two doo-doos in the woods?' and, by jove, just look at where the famous bear is sitting.
I drew the original in pencil, free-hand. By that, I mean that I did not scan in E. H. Shepard's illustration and copy over it. Nah, that would be too easy. Why shouldn't I make life more difficult for myself? No, I reverted to the old eye-hand co-ordination method of drawing and then scanned my pencils into my Bamboo. Mr. Shepard's model for my version of Pooh may be found in the first chapter of Winnie-The-Pooh (Winnie-The Pooh and Some Bees) and his model for my Christopher Robin is at the very end of Expotition to the North Pole in the same volume. I only draw your attention to these facts in order to emphasize what a supreme master of his craft Shepard was. Twee, cosy and middle class? So what? When did charm become something to denigrate? Oh my god! I've just turned into the Daily Mail, haven't I?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Vegetarian Cartoon By Brendini

The scribble on your left is my entry for the Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain Caption Competition number 99. I gathered a rather lovely ego-boosting ten points, but the laugh-out-loud winners may be perused at your leisure by clicking on the word here. HERE. The theme was vegetarianism. The, um, entity in the dock is a lettuce and my original caption was going to be "Hannibal Lettuce, you are accused... etc. etc." Then, after a while, I thought that my wording was labouring the point a bit too much, so I just let the mask establish the accused's identity.
The Judge is a carrot, not a parsnip and the barrister is a tomato and not a rubber ball. I feel it is important, at times, to point these things out. Oh ambiguity has its place and I'm all for it ordinarily, but not in the case of this cartoon. I believe in calling a spud a spud. I believe in calling... oh never mind.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Further On Down The Road

Welly well well, what have we here? This, O best beloveds, is Brendini's very first venture into digital colour and as bright as bright can be. It was my entry for the weekly caption competition over yonder (this is yonder). Who is it? It is the Iceni Warrior-Queen, Boudica (It was always Boadicea when I were nowt but spangshuttler to a wragworp's bollygurner) and, as you can see, through my usual artistic endeavour I have managed to turn this noble and fierce woman into the Iceni Giraffe-necked lady. If you click on said illumination it will grow into an enormous portrait. Having done that, you will also see, I think, that despite the disproportionate body length and stuff like that, she is a bit of a fox. If you say that last bit in your own head in a Leslie Phillips voice, you'l have an inkling of just how disturbed I actually am.

Friday, 3 June 2011

I Am The Law: An Addendum

I thought I might show you the pencils for the Judge Dredd cartoon in order to illustrate what I actually did in Photoshop. It also, rather unfortunately, illustrates my disgracefully slapdash method of working. But, hey! Cut me some slack, Jack! I did say it was a very hurried job.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the main point of interest (interest? Ha!) is the substitution of the accused. I was just trying out a few ideas, hence the appearance of Isaac Newton contemplating a gravity-defying apple in the bottom left corner.
It's messy, scribbled and perhaps should have been best left unseen, but it's the way I work.
Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I Am The Law

This week's Caption Competition had a theme of Law, and - as is the case in these matters - all the entries may be perused here. There isn't a montage, you'll have to do a bit of scrolling and mouse-clicking and whatnot and stuff.
As usual, mine was one of the more simplistic ideas. Who is the law? Judge Dredd. Not only is he the Judge, but the Jury too. Yes yes, I know that he's the executioner too, but we've done away with the death penalty. This is Britain, dammit! Not Mega-City One.
It is another rather rushed job. The perspective is all over the place and consequently the prisoner in the dock is being presided over by a giant Dredd (wasn't there a Judge Giant at one time?).
It is a digital drawing and perhaps the most interesting point about it, from my point of view, is the fed-up looking accused chappy. In the original pencil drawing he was sweating and looking worriedly up at the judge. On the same sheet of paper, I drew a another figure looking resigned to his fate. When I scanned in the pencils I decided that the latter figure worked better than the former and so I replaced him using Photoshop.
You need to understand that as far as I'm concerned we have started to move on from technology and have begun to encroach upon the realms of magick. Why so? Consider this: less than a decade ago it would have taken you just less than a minute to physically walk around one meg of memory housed in an I.B.M. box. Today, I can hold in my hand a piece of metal measuring just about 9 x 4 cms and is barely 0.5 cm thick and it contains over seven (7, count 'em!) GIGAFRIGGINGBYTES! I reiterate: we have moved beyond technology.
Oh, I should have mentioned that the cause of my aged astonishment is my Apple nano. No moving parts and yet all that music!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Humbling Experience

This is my entry for this month's caricature competition. All the entries may be found here. I found this to be a very humbling experience for the following reason: I began this task by searching for an image of Jim Broadbent that really appealed to me. Having found one I set to with pencil and paper and started drawing in the time-honoured tradition of looking at the subject, looking at the sheet of paper and wondering where the hell I make the first graphite smudge. Actually, I tend to start with the glazz-balls, they being the windows to the soul and all that. Having finished the pencils I scanned the image into Photoshop and started "inking" with the Bamboo tablet (kiss kiss kiss - I love my Bamboo tablet!). The finished result has already been laid before you. Left, left - it's over to the left. That's Jim Broadbent, that is.
Now then, why all this verbose preamble? Why all this circumlocutory loquaciousness? Why all the blather? Because, well, look at it. Look at my effort and then compare it with all the other entries - especially the winning entry by Malcolm McGookin. Where I struggled, panted, sweated and gasped to achieve a passing resemblance of a fine actor, everybody else did what was asked of them, which was to produce a caricature (dictionary definition = A pictorial representation of a person, which exaggerates his characteristic traits for comic effect.).
It may well be a steep learning curve for thine truly, but if I had known it was going to be this bloody steep I would have requested a Tibetan sherpa - or, indeed, a yak. You can ride a yak, can't you? Okay, I'll take a yak. Riding piggy-back on a sherpa would merely be a graphic illustration of Western imperialism riding on the back of an oppressed nation struggling under the yoke of.... etc. (To be continued in Marx and Cartoon Allegories: A Cartoonist's Sourcebook by Che Lenin).

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Light Flight

This is my entry for this week's caption competition. Only, it doesn't have a caption but a theme. This week's theme is "Flight". My immediate thought was Moses' flight from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. I am now having whacking great huge doubts about this. Was the parting of the Red Sea part of the flight from Egypt, or is my ridiculously poorly-performing memory betraying me once again? I dunno. I don't know nuffink, guvnor. A couple of clicks on the pictorial representation on your gauche will reveal a few more details than you can see at present. I am particularly pleased with the Hebrew mother shouting at her child (the child isn't as pleasing to my critical eye). It is her channel for the general disgruntlement displayed by the rest of the crowd. Why are they disgruntled? When you're being led to the promised land you don't expect to have to wade through smelly mud, do you? I was hugely tempted to add a couple of other details. One was to have a character coming face to face with a fish on the other side of the water wall. The other temptation was to add a couple of anachronistic tin cans and a shopping trolley. I'm glad that I restrained myself because they would have dissipated the general grumpiness of the crowd.
Techy bit: Well, it's techy as far as I'm concerned. Rough pencils (and, by crikey, were they rough!) scanned into Photoshop and then inked on the Bamboo. I'm beginning to get a better feel for it now, I think. Others may disagree, but who gives two figs for what others think? Not I, for one.
(Whimpering) O lawks! I hope I haven't offended anyone!

Monday, 2 May 2011

James Bond in a Time of Austerity

I think it's fairly safe to say this one ain't going to sell. It's a pity really, because I think this is one of my wittier efforts. This is pen and ink and therefore rather indicative of its age (i.e. it isn't a more recent digital masterpiece. I am currently working on a digital project which ought to bear fruit in a few month's time; more of which, anon). The more perspicacious among you may have noticed that my Bond does not resemble any of his silver screen incarnations. This is not, let me assure you, cowardice on my part. I can do caricatures as well as the next man (yes, that badly). No, my Bond is the embodiment of Mr. Fleming's literary creation, hence the thick comma over the right eye. His, not mine - I don't have enough hair to form a full stop, let alone any other form of tonsorial punctuation. Fleming also had one of his female protagonists describe Bond as looking like Hoagy Carmichael. If you don't know what Hoagy Carmichael looks like then I have captured his likeness exactly. No no, don't bother going over to Google image, just - er - just take my word for it. After all my word is my Bond (ha ha ha!).

If you are having problems reading the caption, may I gently remind you that if you click on the ineffable brilliance that is my drawing you will be presented with a larger version. I say ineffable, but to be honest there are quite a few effs flying around when my ambition over-reaches my drawing skills. Fortunately the majority are internalised, thereby saving the blushes of my neighbours and the intrusion of the local constabulary. Sorry, I'm rambling.

I'll just add that Fleming created Bond in an age of austerity, therefore my contribution to the visual arts is all the more apposite. And to those of you that think these times are not as austere as the post-war years think on this: When was the last time the third in line to the throne had to borrow his dad's car* after his wedding? Eh? Eh?

* An Aston Martin, funnily enough.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Second Digital Foray

I really enjoyed myself with this one. This is my digital entry for the monthly caricature competition over at the Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain site here. So, how did it come about? It started off with a pencil sketch which I then scanned into the Artrage software package on the Bamboo Fun graphics pad. Next, I created a new layer in the package and "inked" over the pencils and with judicious use of "pen", "brush" and colour, I produced the almost life-like caricature you see before you. Next, I saved that particular layer which removed the underlying pencil guides so that only the "inks" and colour remained. And abracadabra, a masterpiece!

Who is it? What do you mean, who is it? It's obvious isn't it? Come on, come on, look again. Resevoir Dogs? Mr. Pink? Fargo? Ghost World? Don't make me tell you. Okay, okay. It's Steve Buscemi. How dare you? It does look like him! Yes it bloody well does! How many points did I get? Does it actually matter how many points I got? All right, all right, I didn't get a single one. There, happy now? Pleased with yourself? You certainly know how to take the fun out of creating digital masterpieces, don't you? All I'll say is this: You're going to look pretty bloody silly when the National Portrait Gallery come begging at my door. Just you wait and see.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

My First Digital Drawing - The Journey Begins

What on Earth has happened to the smooth, flowing artistry of yore? Why is Brendini, world famous millionaire-playboy cartoonist, posting an illegible scribble on his Blog? This is an historic moment, that's why. From this little effort a universe of possibilites may ensue.

What you see before you, my friends, is my very first digital, paperless, virtual, doesn't-actually-exist-in-the-real-world drawing. I fully accept its rough and ready nature, but I find it incredibly exciting. Here's the reason why: A few weeks ago my wife bought me a belated birthday present. It is a Wacom Bamboo Fun graphics pad. It comes with two software packages, Photoshop Elelments and Artrage. I've had a little play around and I found that Artrage seems to be more user-friendly than Photoshop. It ought to be emphasised that I'm using these things from the standpoint of a complete ignoramus. Photoshop, especially, is pretty much a closed book to me. Most, if not all, online tutorials that I've stumbled accross seem to be aimed at photographers and distorters of historical archives rather than millionaire-playboy cartoonsists, but even I can see the boundless artistic freedom these packages are capable of.

What I have before me is not so much as a steep learning curve, but a learning cliff-face. Having said that, I have my boots, ropes, crampons (something used by climbers - not a feminine product for ladies) and a willingness to acquire the knowledge I need.

The cartoon itself is Leonardo Da Vinci drawing a water squirting joke flower. I thought I had better explain that fact because the manner of the cartoon's execution doesn't make that very explicit. I still like it. Me, grinning as I type.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Nothing To See Here, Folks...

Update on its way soon. I have a few irons in the fire, some of which are rather ambitious. This also explains my absence on the Caption Competition front.
Spent four nights in New York, though. Brill. Ee. Yunt.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

And the Winner Is....

Two points for this week's effort, but as they come from Andrew Birch I shall wear them with a broad grin. It's nice to name-drop now and again. All the winners (and to my mind they ARE all winners) may be viewed here. My cartoon on the left may be clicked upon for the purposes of making it more easily viewable (tortuous use of language in order to prevent any unintended innuendo). I think it would have been funnier had I drawn it at the time of the actual awards, but nevertheless, I'm rather pleased with it.
It was another hurried piece, I'm afraid, as I have half a million other things going on at the moment, but I likes it, I do.
May I hasten to add that I have no animus towards Ricky Gervais, he's very likely to be a lovely bloke, but I bet some of the attendees secretly harboured the desires that I made explicit

Monday, 31 January 2011

Do Ventriloquist Dolls Give You The Creeps?

A bit of a strange one this week, I think you'll agree. I'll go into this week's cartoon's thinking and its history in a little while. In the meantime I'd like you to feast your little peepers on this lot (there's a montage near the bottom). I am always astounded by the huge diversity of styles and ideas this competition encourages week after week. Go on, it's astonshing isn't it?
Ennywhey, on to this week's scribble by yours truly. To be completely honest I didn't expect any points whatsoever. After all, it's hardly a thigh-slapper is it? The theme is Ventriloquist and Paul Mahoney (last week's winner) plumped for an optional caption. I struggled a little with the caption. My first attempt was "Helg helg! Nurder!". I thought this was hilarious - at first. This eventually evolved to "Helg, helg! Call the golice!" and then on to the final one you see above. I decided that the repetition of 'helg' was excessive, but the simple 'call the golice' was funnier because it was less fussy and more straight forward AND it only uses the ventriloquist's problem consonant once. That said, the caption was always thought about in conjunction with the drawing. The image came first. Where did the image come from? Once again we are about to delve into my childhood.
When I was nowt but a scrimbleshonker to a niddlewright (I don't know. I just made it up) I was allowed by my - I now understand to be thoroughly irresponsible - parents to watch a film titled Dead of Night. It was an anthology of four stories (if memory serves) the last one of which starred Michael Redgrave (pre-knighthood) as a ventriloquist with a strange, obsessional relationship with his vent doll that tips him over into the maelstrom of madness. Or does it? Does he project his desires from the Id through the doll or is the doll actually an autonomous thing of evil in its own right? As you can see, Dead of Night was the direct inspiration for my cartoon (in the film Redgrave 'murders' his doll) and I've continued with the ambiguous nature between vent and doll. It's a doll isn't it? We all know it is inanimate. So, are we witnessing a psychotic crisis, or is the doll really appealing for help?
Brrrrrrrrrr. Sleep well!

Monday, 24 January 2011

"Poor Robin Crusoe! Poor Robin Crusoe!"

And just how many points did yours truly garner this week? Go on, take a wild guess. That's right, not a sausage. Not even a chipolata. Zilchola. And small wonder when you consider what my scratchings were up against this week. A very deserved win, in my opinion, by Mr. Mahoney and a very nice bloke to boot.
I really am my own worst enemy at times. The brief for this week's competition was a cartoon with Desert Island as a theme with an optional caption. In other words I could have drawn and written anything I like. So, being me, I concentrated on a character from literature - Robinson Crusoe - and opted to do without a caption. An edgy maverick, that's me! Without any points.
My thinking went like this: which archetypal character do you associate with desert islands? Long John Silver. Well Treasure Island was uninhabited (except for Ben Gunn) until the Hispaniola hove into view. What if he met up with Robinson Crusoe? Mental image: Long John Silver and Robinson Crusoe looking non-plussed at each other. Either one of them could be saying, "well, one of us is in the wrong novel." Yes, hardly a side-splitter is it? Then I got to thinking about Robinson Crusoe. What is the most iconic image of this fictional character that springs to mind? Well, my mind anyway. Crusoe's discovery of a footprint, not his own, naturellement n'est pas? Would he be startled by a footprint? Possibly. Would he be startled by a Nike trainer? OH MOST UNDOUBTEDLY YES! And how hilarious would that be? OUTSTANDINGLY HILARIOUS! And how many points did it get? LLAREGYB!

Monday, 10 January 2011

God, The Devil and the Nature of Man.

Not really. Theology, philosophy, psychology pffft! I don't do deep. Shallow as a puddle on a summer's day, that's me. This is my entry for Caption Competition 76. Click here, scroll down a bit. A bit more. Just a little more. There you are, a montage of all this week's entries.
Good points: I like the devil's insouciant attitude. Bad points: God's hair. I didn't get it right. He wears a mullet, you know. And don't mention his monk's tonsor. He's very sensitive about that.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year! Good Lord! Look at the time!

Piccyless post. Crawling out from under the festive season. Had a great time. Competition entry to follow very soon.