This, O best beloveds, is my very first attempt at a strip cartoon on the graphics pad and I have to say that the result is rather pleasing on a personal level. Lots of faults, of course, but as a first attempt it has quite a few bonuses, which augurs well. It also gives me a personal green light to attempt another little project I have in mind.
As for the actual content... Harsh? Cruel? Grossly unfair? No, not me, the government.
"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Well. I believe it is called hubris. Last week I was Crufts' Best in Show. This week I am a pariah dog, scavenging on the outskirts of humanity, whimpering for the love and affection of days past and receiving none. That object of fragility, my ego, has been shattered into a gazillion shards; each shard slicing and burrowing into a heart full of woe. Ummm. Where else can I go with this? I know. I'm proper fed up, me!
From the foregoing you may have deduced that I did not get a single point for this week's effort. The entire tragic history may be seen here. Which begs the question, why? What? It's crap? I don't think there's any need to be quite so brutally frank, but yes, there is some substance in that summation. To be honest, I think the main problem rests on the fact that it is essentially a lazy cartoon. My missus immediately said, upon seeing it, that it was out of proportion. True. The perspective is - well, non-existent and its basic premise has been done before and done better. As I was drawing this week's entry, I remembered that, years ago, Mad magazine did a feature called Monstrous Cliches. I think it was drawn by Paul Coker jr. but (tellingly) I didn't go and check. From memory I could recall "Driving a Hard Bargain" and "Meeting a Crying Need", but I was pretty sure Mad didn't use Nursing a Grudge, although I may be wrong.
The other main fault with this and other more recent cartoons is that I have been doing everything from scratch on the Bamboo graphics pad. I freely admit here and now that it is not a technique with which I am entirely comfortable. Given time and effort it may become second nature, but for the time being I feel happier, initially, with paper under my hand and a pencil in my fingers. I have no problem using the pad to "ink" scanned in pencils, so I think I'll stick with that method for the time being.
On to the next task, or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as a new cartoon.
What a bonzer and apples week for yaws trooley, cobbers! You're only looking at the flamin' winner of this week's caption competition.
I actually had a choice of two to send in this week. The one I decided against involved Ned Kelly and a Dalek. Now, I fully realise that sounds like an intriguing concept, but as you can see from the pre-clean up rough, I think Skippy was the wiser choice.
This is my entry for this week's caption competition. Now then, when the caption was first announced my mind went into white noise mode. Nothing coming through. No, still nothing. Nope, not a sausage. Wait! Wait a minute! The clouds are parting! I see shadowy forms. Fish! I see fish. A mackerel dressing up as a shark and... what a crap idea.
Come Sunday morning I thought this is going nowhere, then quite unbidden that footage of the killer whale taking a seal off the beach came to mind. You know, that footage. From that David Attenborough programme. The one with the killer whale on the beach. Yeah, that one. Well that came to mind and I rushed to grab my Bamboo pad. Everything, from start to finish was done on the pad. No preliminary pencils, just two books on the polar regions for reference and away I went. The result was that two people gave me their top marks and you can't say fairer than that now can you? Especially with your mouth full! Whatever happened to table etiqette?
A couple of months ago my hard drive kicked away its zimmer frame and gave up the ghost. Then, armed with a brand spanking new hard drive I had a few problems reloading my Bamboo and Photoshop. All the foregoing hastened my growing baldness due to me grabbing huge hanks of hair in my raging fists and yanking it out. Okay, that is not strictly true. In actual fact I scratched my head a little bit where the hair grows more sparsely than other areas, but the point is my idleness was enforced. The cartoon up in the top left-hand corner is the result of my fully functioning software (at last) allowing me to get back in the saddle. A bit of a wobbly posture on the leather to be sure, but the creative juices have started to flow again. HUZZAH! say I. You may not, but I don't care. Ner nerdy ner ner. This was my entry for this week's Cartoon Competition and there are some absolute crackers to enjoy, so please do take a look.
If you click on the above image... well, I'm not exactly sure what will happen. Time was the blog would open up a larger version, but that doesn't seem to happen anymore. I dunno, nothing stays the same, the centre cannot hold, as me old mucker, Billy Butler Yeats would say.
Would you Adam and Eve it (heh heh)? This is my entry for the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain's Weekly caption competition. Now then, on first perusing the caption Adam and Eve immediately popped into my aged and befuddled brain and it was Eve talking to Adam with that serpentine satan looking evil yet cool in the background. Not funny, just weird and vaguely disturbing. Then I thought, what if the first humings weren't even God's first choice? Hmmm, getting there. Who or what would have been His first choice? Big lizards! Pissed off looking big lizards with their arms folded. Well, it works for me.
A couple of sort of technical points ought to be laid out here. First up; God's right hand. As I drew it, it really worked. I think it is the best hand that I have ever drawn in my life. Now compare it to his left. Arrrgh! My only excuse is that I have always found that left hands are sinister. Ahem, yes - well, moving on. Adam and Eve's hands look ridiculous in comparison to God's. There is a very good reason for this. I am a bit thick. When I draw cartoons on the graphics pad for the competition I size it at 72dpi. When I zoom in to work on fine details everything turns into a Cubist experiment and I get a bit lost. There is undoubtedly a solution to combat this. I just haven't found it yet.
Onwards and , er, onwards.
Okay, pay attention. This is going to take a lot of explanation. The cartoon competition was on a theme of America. The gentlemen in hats are 17th century Dutch settlers. The gentlemen in feathers are not. The lady on the right is Ella Fitzgerald. The caption is a line from Rodger and Hart's song, Manhattan. The Dutch settlers are buying Manhattanfrom the owners for a few trinkets. Ummm. That's it.
Procrastination is the thief of humour. Ella was a last minute insertion in order to indicate that the caption is a song lyric. It just doesn't work does it? Shame really, because somewhere, deep within the enfolding obfuscation, is the vague crumb of a good idea. Well, there is in my head, anyway (a confusing place at the best of times).
Not the best drawn effort on my part. Too much last minute rushing. What about the pencils? What indeed? To be honest, they aren't much better, but at least they don't include a badly drawn Ella Fitzgerald. Sorry, Ella. You deserve better than that. By way of recompense here are Ella and Louis singing Stars Fell on Alabama. It's the very least I could do.
I had completely forgotten about this one! It was just a quick sketch on the ole graphics pad, hence the VERY loose appearance of the drawing. I have been trying to loosen up my drawing style for some time now, but this is probably just a little too loose (as in Lautrec. Geddit? Too loose Lautrec. oh, suit yourselves!). Still, I like the facial expressions and, believe it or not, I remember doing some costume research for this. All for nothing and nothing for one! Did I get it right, Monsieur Dumas?
I had two of my heroes in mind when I created this little opus; Ronald Searle and Gerard Hoffnung. The Searle influence is the uncompromising use of black and expecting the viewer to know exactly where the limbs are. I also used a Searlian angle on the elbow. It is pretty much the angle Searle used on noses, elbows, legs ooh, all sorts. I did lose my nerve when it came to the legs, though, where I used some discreet white just to let you know where the legs are and what they are doing.
The Hoffnung influence is more obvious; musicians and their instruments. My introduction to Hoffnung was courtesy of the BBC showing Halas and Batchelor animations inspired by his drawings. The sequence that most readily springs to mind is that of a choirboy singing O For the Wings of a Dove. He sprouts the wings of a dove and takes off. The Cartoon Museum's Millennium exhibition had a delightful Hoffnung of a lady playing a trombone with an extension. The cartoon was in a wooden frame and the frame itself was extended to accommodate the trombone arm. The entire item was a joy to behold.
I think Hoffnung was more subtly influential than people realise. There is even an obscure reference to him in Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes wherein she mentions a concert involving a duet for two vacuum cleaners. Guess who organised that little entertainment?
This, ladies and gentle pongs, is part of the logo heading for my super-duper new website which is all rather spiffing and topping and is part of the road to supplementing the income of this international playboy millionaire cartoonist.
Do take a look and tell me what you think. Favourable responses only, please. Do I have to remind you that I have a considerable amount of house-bricks and I know where your windows are?
Bit of an oddity, this one. The competition theme was Crime scene and the first thing that came into my head was Sherlock Holmes. The next thing was The Hound Of The Baskervilles. I first read the story when I were nobbut a sprawgler to a skrangdingler. In other words, I was far too young really, as the book genuinely frightened me. Well, the first part did. Dr. Mortimer's recounting of the legend had the hell-hound standing over evil Hugo Baskerville plucking at his throat. That particular phrase froze me to the marrow.
The British Isles are replete with spectral hounds. I always thought the nearest one to me, but still at a safe distance, was Norfolk's Black Shuck. I have subsequently discovered that my home town of Stevenage is also host to a spectral black dog with glowing coals for eyes. So, that's me indoors for the rest of my life then.
Nevertheless, to return to my cartoon. I had a few technical glitches going on that suddenly reduced the opacity of my drawing. I had to hurriedly re-draw it, hence its rather raggedy appearance. But, and this will come as no surprise to you, gentle reader, I agonized for ages over la mot juste. Knowing that I was going to paraphrase Dr. Mortimer's dramatic statement at the end of chapter two, I dithered between choosing gerbil or jerboa. The phonic alliteration was the same, but in the end I opted for the letter G.
How many points? Points don't matter, I care only for my art. Points are a triviality. Points make a mockery of finer aesthetic feeling. Points only matter if... I didn't get any.
Well, what do you think? Fairly well balanced in compositional terms. Perspective is pretty well sorted out. Nice, minimal use of colour accentuated by grey tones. Amusing imagery. Hacked off looking Boris Karloff derivative. All boxes being ticked. Yup. Pretty pleased with this effort.
So, how many points did I get in this week's caption competition ? Nada, Nuffink, Llaggeryb.
Let me state this for the record. I do know where everybody lives. I do own bricks. I love the sound of breaking glass.
Never mind, it's only a bit of fun. Yes, it's only a sodding bit of bleeding fun. A bit of heart-breaking, soul-destroying, ego-corroding FUN. Fun ha ha ha! Do you hear me? FUN! HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Well, I shall not be entering this week. Not out of a sense of misplaced pique. Even I am not that childish. No, I just will not have time. I have a lot to do in preparation for something of which I am very excited about. In fact I am hugging myself about it now. When the time is ripe I shall reveal all. It's no big secret, but I want to get it right from the start. So, lots of preparation needed, hence no competition entry. See? No hissy fitting.
Just a quicky. I ventured onto Richard Skipworth territory with this one (He is renowned for his monks cartoons). Am I brave or wot?
The competition may be found here and as you may see a blank word was the option.
I tried to fix the monks in time, hence the ink-horn and the twine with stone to fix the vellum in place. This was done so hilarity would ensue by using the word Tipp-Ex out of chronological order. Or something.
Ernie Whey, I scored quite a few points, so all that research wasn't wasted.
Well, now. Where do I start? How on earth can I defend the indefensible? How can I possibly justify the desecration on your left? The short answer is that I can't.
You know and I know that when doggies wolf down doggy food, the end result is... unpleasant. In addition to this, you know and I know that Snoopy (a Beagle) just does not do... unpleasantness. So how on earth have things come to this? Don't blame me, blame the caption. It was set for this caption competition.
Now, when I first began my cogitations on things of a smelly nature, things scatological didn't even go faintly bleep on my mental radar. The very first image that came in to my head was that of two skunks investigating a discarded bottle of Chanel Number 5. Chanel was uppermost in my mind because I had recently impoverished myself by buying a bottle for my wife. The aforementioned vision of beauty incarnate (my missus) suggested that I draw two skunks walking behind Brad Pitt as he was now the face of Chanel - a marked improvement on my own idea, I think you'll agree. Yes, I thought. Yes that would work very well. And then... and then I took the dog for a walk.
Dog walking frees the mind to a ridiculous degree and as we perambulated in preparation for poos and piddles (my dog's, not mine), it occurred to me that the phrase good grief was a repeating trope in the Peanuts cartoon. Peanuts was an early love of mine, but the freed mind is no respecter of past loves and the result is the blasphemous scribble you see above.
Okay, I hear you say. I didn't have to draw it, did I? I could have gone ahead with the caricature of Brad Pitt, couldn't I? This is true and there is no denying it. So, was I just being perverse by trampling over past loves? I can honestly say no. Even I could not debase part of my own development. No. The reason is this. Charlie Brown is easier to draw.
"At Last", I hear the panting multitudes cry, "a new masterpiece by the Master!" Well, and here I blush a little, I wouldn't call it a masterpiece per se, but it is a blessed relief to be able to produce something (virtually) tangible, having sorted out a sulky and unresponsive Bamboo tablet (Naughty tablet! Go to your room!).
It is my entry for cartoon competition No. 180 on a theme of Time Travel. Ironically, time (as usual) was against me due to technical problems that have tediously been pointed out before in previous posts, but I'm still very pleased with the result. It also got me points, and what do points make? Me a very happy cartoonist, that's what points make.
The next step is to get pounds rather than points alone which would make me delirious, rather than just happy. To this end I have set up a rudimentary website. The contents and design are going to go through a radical change in the very near future, when funds allow. When that happens you will, gentle reader, be the first to know and knowledge is power, although I have yet to see a knowledge-powered light bulb.