Saturday, 22 December 2012

Parental Warning: Utterly Foul Language Shall Undoubtedly Ensue.

I would not want you to believe for one single second that I am a silly, superstitious paranoiac, but once again the conniving, vindictive, spiteful Fates (and what a malignant bunch of old biddies they are) have conspired against me in a manner designed purely to prevent me from entering a caricature competition. I am beginning to discern a distinct pattern forming here and the only logical conclusion one could possibly settle upon is that supernatural forces beyond human knowledge are waging a campaign of personal hate and vitriol aimed only at me and me alone. That, or my laptop is buggered.
Once again, time set aside for producing masterpieces was eaten up by fart-arsing about with things that are normally quite straight forward even for a technological illiterate like me. I even had to go about on some convoluted route in order to display the pencils for this entry, because my laptop and printer are only having a one-way conversation through the normal channels. Happily, the work-around isn't too arduous and is actually quite beneficial in other ways.
Enny whey, let us cast a critical eye at my uninked non-entry. I didn't think it was too bad actually. The shoulders needed to be broadened in order to balance out the proportions and the hands and jaw-line needed a little tweaking here and there. These are things that would have been ironed out at the inking stage HAD THOSE STINKING, SODDING WHORES, CALLED THE FATES, ALLOWED IT.
Life, eh? I am shrugging my shoulders and moving on. Christmas looms and there is wine to be drunk. Another life-affirming plus in this vale of tears is listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong performing They Can't Take That Away From Me. I got the pencils done and the Fates can't take that away from me.
If I don't get time in the next few days, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and an excellent New Year.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Curses, Foiled Again!

Frustrated? Me? You're gosh-derned right I'm frustrated. Last night I specifically put time aside to rough some pencils for an idea for this week's Cartoon Caption Competition. This morning I had also put time aside in order to 'ink' up the result. Suddenly my Bamboo refused to talk to my computer. Now, I don't know what this is all about, they're usually as thick as thieves. But this morning there was definitely a falling-out of some description. Acting as a responsible adult, I banged their heads together, but to no avail.
Two reboots and an innumerable amount of death threats to inanimate objects later, they both started functioning properly. Great, thanks. Too late now. All allotted time has been eaten up. Betrayed by machines.
I know for a fact that I won't have time next week. So frustrating!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Pre-Digital and Obscure to the Point of Utter Opaqueness

Life in general and shift-work in particular have put a huge dent in my ability to produce anything recently (dozing off in front of the telly may also be a contributory factor, but we won't dwell on that particular fact). My adoring fan-base (that's you, Dave) implored me to take a more active part in the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain's weekly caption competition. The truth is I have, in actual fact, tried and I have several examples of roughs up in the office that act as testament to this, but of finished product I have none. I promise I will make time and remedy this dolorous situation.
In the meantime I offer up this example from the past. It is a pen and ink re-working of an older pen and ink drawing. As my adoring fan-base will attest, it is far too obscure for a general audience (or should that be readership? What the hell are you, you unnatural beast?). At base, it is a straight forward pun - a play on the German pronunciation of Weill and the English pronunciation of    leptospirosis. Or something like that. You see, the rat in the background is singing a song from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. And the thigh-slappingly upshot is...
My goodness, that was a rather deafening silence.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dr Who, Time and BBC Contracts

I sincerely hope I have the lay-out correct for this entry, otherwise it won't make much visual sense. Thinks: Why on Earth do they allow old men access to computers? It shouldn't be allowed. There ought to be a law. Ad tedium.
Annie whey, the black and white pikchar is the one I entered for this week's caption competition AT THIS PARTICULAR SITE WHICH YOU REALLY OUGHT TO VISIT BECAUSE I GUARANTEE YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED BY IT. Now, I thought long and hard about this one. It must have been all of two minutes. You need to understand that, in my head, that is an eternity, which only goes to illustrate the mutability of Time and its relationship to the vast, unending vacuum of space between my ears. My original thought-lines ran along Dr. Who's companions looking despairingly at their BBC contracts and Matt Smith looking smug (if such a thing were possible - he doesn't strike me as the sort of individual that 'does' smug), because his contract outruns theirs. Companions are expendable, but the Doctor goes on forever.
Then I started thinking about the Tardis. Tardis is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space - at least, it was when I read it in my Armada Paperbacks for Boys & Girls (Dr Who in an exciting adventure with the DALEKS, by David Whitaker. 2/6 from all good book shops) in 1965. (Drifts into a nostalgic reverie). These things change in an ever changing world. It occurred to me that three people standing around, staring at contracts was unlikely to be the most arresting image in the world of cartooning, so I thought a little bit more and eventually came up with something even more obscure than my original thought. Tardis is Time and if that started running out... well, the Doctor wouldn't be quite so bloody smug, would he?
This would be my masterpiece (one of -ooh- so many you couldn't count them) and subsequently I set to with a will. Pencils came together well and I also intended to submit a coloured cartoon this week, but (irony of ironies) I ran out of time. I still got a very creditable number of points. The majority coming from some VERY distinguished names. I'm not a name-dropper and I actually think it would be very vulgar of me to mention Andrew Birch and Roger Kettle, so I won't.
I was very pleased with my drawing and I still wanted to colour it. So, post competition I worked on it and gave it a new caption. The result is above (HINT: it's the one that isn't black and white). Faults? Too trivial to mention really. The biggest fault is that the Doctor is behaving completely out of character, but I think that's just a bit of bravado on his part to cover up the lacerating pain he feels about the impending departure of Amy and Rory. Possibly.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Two Naked Men In A Urinal: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Do you recognize the joyful glee represented by the lettering in this addition to my infrequent epistles to the virtual ether? The drawing on the left here gained me bronze (in Olympic parlance) on the weekly Cartoonists' Club caption competition podium. The theme this week was gold.
 I'll let you into a little cartooning secret here: walking the dog releases the mind. While the dog wuffles about concerning her mind with things of doggy import,your author (and artist) is left free to wuffle about the cartooning corners of the cartoonist mind.
The theme was suggested by the London 2012 Olympics and thusly my mind turned to the ancient Greeks and thence to King Midas and after that the whole intellectual edifice came crashing down and my mind, as usual, descended to the toilet and men's gangly bits for a cheap laugh. Regular readers will know that I have no scruples.
So, why are they naked? I thought it would be a nice touch to emulate the style of the black-figure images on ancient Greek pottery. That's all. Nothing sexual at all. So, if you've come here looking for smut you'll be sorely disappointed won't you?
I drew some pencils in preparation for this one and for the first time in a long while I am more pleased with the final result than with the pencils. All in all, a jolly good week. I am, most definitely, a heppy, heppy ket.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

That's The Way To Do It!

Now this, O best beloved, is a bit more like it. Pencil preliminaries, Universal Pictures horror reference and ladies' wobbly bits. What more could a struggling cartoonist ask for?
This is the third cartoon I have drawn involving Frankenstein and mammary glands. Could this be the start of a worrying trend? Watch this space, but only if you're a little bit warped.
Onwards and upwards and alongwards and hospitalwards.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Guess What?

Those of you blessed with great acuity may have noticed my sudden inability to compose a blog page. Do you know what? Life is just a long series of poo-ey events and then we snuff it. True, no returns. Infinity. I win.

I'm Reviewing The Situation.

  What you have displayed before you for your delight and delectation are two recent(ish) entries to The Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain's caption competition. The purpose of this particular exercise is to illustrate a new approach on my part to cartooning. I have banged on in the past about my need for speed and looseness. I work quite slowly and always felt that my drawings looked cramped and tight; especially in relation to any preliminary pencil drawings. So, these two are the result of a conscious effort to, you know, like, chill out and relax and just put in, like, the essentials, you know?
  I'm still dissatisfied. They look hurried and unfinished to my eye. I feel ill at ease with the results and that is not a good place to be. They are both entirely digital in terms of composition and execution and both are lacking a, I don't know - a certain je ne sais quoi. Technically, there's an essential line missing from the magician cartoon which indicates to my mind that speed equals sloppiness of execution. I have subsequently reverted to pencil preliminaries, the results of which may be seen in later blog entries. I feel a lot happier with the results AND I have loosened up a little. I suppose we all need a comfort blanket of some description. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

I Know. I Should Be Ashamed Of Myself.

Well, not only is the subject matter utterly disgusting, but it is also blatantly obvious that I have not got the slightest clue about camel anatomy. Nevertheless, it earned me eleven points here. So, I won't be carping on about it too strongly. Yes, gentle reader, I am smiling as I type, as I did not expect many points at all.
My thoughts wandered down two different paths before I alighted on the camel (Ho ho!). One path tended toward the Virgin Mary and the other toward Jesus performing conjuring tricks. I am mightily glad I eschewed both these areas as they were depicted far more competently than anything I could have achieved, as you, gentle reader, can ascertain for yourself by clicking on the link above. It will take you to the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain website and will even deposit you right on the very doorstep of the competition under discussion. Now, how's that for service, eh?
Good Points: My depiction of hands is getting better. I have been re-reading Bill Tidy's Fosdyke Saga and noticed that the great man himself only used three fingers per mitt and yet they still looked good and natural. Taking that as a lead, I have stopped fretting over drawing each digit for the sake of anatomical accuracy. Which brings me back to the camel. You knew it was a camel didn't you? Despite the lack of deep research on my part, the creature still looks very camelesque, doesn't it? It doesn't? Oh.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bad Choice, Bad Taste, Bad Brendini

I wrestled with my conscience for upwards of - ooh - six seconds before committing this image to posterior - POSTERITY - before committing it to posterity. I'm sorry, I appear to have started this entry with a bit of a bum note. I'm being a bit cheeky aren't I (All references to the derriere courtesy of Carry On Alluding To My Bottom circa 1967)?
It is, of course, my entry for the weekly caption competition here. It was a wordless competition this week, with a theme of Bad Choice. 
My initial idea was based on a pun and wouldn't work on an international level, which is one of the raisons d'etre of these wordless entries. I won't divulge the details at the moment, because it could work as a cartoon in a different context. So, on to my second idea. Yes, well, never let it be said that I am a man of taste and refinement. Let this be a lesson to you: snakes and babies are NOT a good mix. Initially I thought about depicting the baby with a surprised expression. This was immediately dismissed by your author. Even I have limits. So I tried to go for a world-weary expression, an almost fatalistic acceptance of the situation. I also wanted to make the baby rattle stand out by using the complementary colour of orange as a background.
On the whole I think it works fairly well and it garnered seven points in total. My biggest niggle is that baby, rattle and snake appear to be floating above the blanket. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Death Again!

Yes, it's that Grim Reaper chappy again, but this time he brings good news. The click-onable effort to your left came joint first in this week's caption competition. I would have been the outright winner had a certain individual got home from work earlier and not missed the voting deadline by twelve minutes. Still, rules is rules and we all ought to abide by them. My fellow winner had more second place votes than I did so choosing next week's caption goes to him, which is only right and proper. And I am still beaming like a lighthouse.
Everything just seemed to hang together for me this week. The caption immediately suggested Death to me. A bit morbid perhaps, but still, never mind. My very first thought was to have him appear to some Second World War soldiers in action, but it struck me that this would be more poignant and not at all funny - especially in light of the fact that British soldiers are still being brought home to grieving families to this day.
So, rather than referring directly to fatal consequences, what about referring to potential fatal consequences? At this point the image of those Manhattan workers eating their lunch on a girder high above the city popped into my head. A little bit of pictorial research later and voila! the resulting cartoon that got me joint first place.
I have noticed that my most successful cartoons depict a frozen moment in time when something unexpected takes place (viz. my Bride of Frankenstein cartoon somewhere in the archives). The chap sitting on Death's immediate right is still eating his sandwich just as the Grim One appears. It is always a delight when the left and right hemispheres of the cranial grey jelly work in tandem. I just wish they would get it together more often. Your author and artist is one heppy heppy ket.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Death Makes An Apology

Hello, O best beloveds. Do you like the title for this entry? I thought it had a nice thirties or forties pulp feel to it. They often had titles like 'Death Wore High Heels' or 'Lady Don't Run', never titles like 'The Dame Was An Astrophysicist' or 'Mayhem In Comfy Slippers'
Nevertheless, I reaped a lovely seven points this week, despite forgetting to shade part of the armchair: therefore, my thanks and blessings to those lovely people who enjoyed my scribble enough to vote for it. The theme this week was British Summer Time and you may gaze upon all the entries and very worthy winners HERE. A change of cartooning routine enabled me to actually produce something. Lots of room for improvement, but then that's always the case isn't it? If it wasn't, it would be a very complacent world wouldn't it?

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It

Alas and alack, gentle reader, it is with a heavy heart that have to relate my dolorous tale as I take up my crow-quill electronic keyboard. I am afraid your author got naught but nought points in this week's caption competition. And you can see why from the sequential car-crash pictures at the top of this page. It was a weak idea weakly executed and it got worse with each rendition. The theme was evil and I thought well, you can't get much more evil than the devil, now can you? And what could be his most evil act? The thigh-slapping  idea that came to me was that he wouldn't just tell little children that Father Christmas was dead, he would show them. Then I thought, hang on, that's a bit out of season for that. As it's nearly Easter how about showing them the Easter Bunny? Yeah, that'll do it! That'll garner me a bumper crop of points!
How did I finish up with such a grotty drawing? A combination of things, really. I have found that shift-work and Springer Spaniel puppy ownership have really eaten into the available time left for cartooning. That and my own bloody bone-idleness. I only gave myself three quarters of an hour to "ink" the drawing. Halfway through I changed the brush size and towards the end I saw that rather than ink it in black I had used a dark grey! Yes, yes. I am my own worst enemy, I know. Drastic re-think and change of action required. Watch this space.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Hello, Remember Me?

Goodness me! It's been ages, hasn't it? Where on Earth have I been? What time do I call this? I just treat this place like an hotel. I seem to spend all day just picking up things I drop on the floor! Well it's just not good enough. Things are going to change around here... etc. etc.
Well, I can proffer no excuses, merely my indolence for part of the reason. Trying to keep up with a Springer Spaniel puppy is the larger part of the reason.
Nevertheless, what is the pikchar on the left all about? It is my entry for last week's Caption Competition. Or is it? The version I entered is not the version you see here. To see the original you need to click HERE. If you want to read this blog, you're going to have to do a little work. You can't expect to be spoon-fed all your life. For those of you who are too gosh-durned lazy to look HERE the caption was "OK! I'll talk!"
My thoughts turned to parrots and ventriloquist dummies. Others also thought the same way which is why this competition is so intriguing. The same idea may spring up now and again, but the individual treatment and outcome of that idea is what I find so fascinating.
I even contemplated re-using my own ventriloquist cartoon ("Call the golice!"),but changing the caption. It would have worked. Eventually the idea of a stool pigeon entered my fevered mind, so I went with that. My intention was to give the cartoon a film noir feel, so I researched period New York Police uniforms. I think these little details add a certain je ne sais quoi. Or maybe not. I dunno. In the event, I ran out of time and had to submit a very hurried facsimile of my intent. Even so, two people gave me their top marks and two more deemed it worthy of a vote too. All of which pleased me no end.
After the event I gave the cartoon a few tweaks; some subtle, some not so, and the result is what you see above. I also felt that, in keeping with the film noir feel, it could accommodate a new caption. The new caption would go as follows: " Okay, so Louis Pignatarro is at the bottom of the Hudson takin' swimmin' lessons from the fishes. An' he ain't gonna be finishin' them any time soon. Lenny Martello thinks I had a hand in it. What I'm sayin' is things is gettin' hot fer me. Too hot. What I'm sayin' is the ante has just gone up. Ya hear me? Living in a dovecote ain't enough no more. From now on, if you want me to spill, it's gonna have to be a pigeonniere."