On the eleventh of September 2017 this cartoon won the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain's Caption Competition and all the entries may be found here. As I type it is 25th October 2017. This is how on the ball I am. It was a wordless competition and the strict rules dictated that the entries must be comprehensible on an international level. So, no letters or numerals are allowed. This means no sound effects, or any other tools available to cartoonists, are permissible. Now then. I have never understood this, to me, modern phenomenon of coulrophobia or irrational fear of clowns. I have loved clowns from a very early age purely because they made me laugh. What's not to love? In the very late fifties or early sixties my father took me to the Bertram Mills Circus in Olympia in London where (and I don't know how he inveigled this) he introduced me to Coco the Clown - personally. As Coco shook my hand, and to my utmost surprise and delight, his hair lifted up! I repeat, what's not to love? I took home a souvenir Coco the Clown plastic mask, but it was quite fragile and didn't last very long, but the memory and enjoyment of the meeting have lasted a lifetime.
I'm not very sure how these illustrations will lay-out on this post. I have noticed, with great annoyance, that one post consisted of words displayed vertically, one letter at a time. One would have to be mightily persistent to have read that, so congratulations to you if you did.
Anyway, the reason for posting the three minor gems of modern visual arts above is because I wanted to illustrate how far I've come with my new laptop and software. As you can see I am still at the toddler stage. Balance is unsteady and there are one or two total collapses, but I'm getting there. Slowly.
The George Orwell is my first attempt at caricature for ages and ages and was drawn for the Cartoonists' Club Caricature Competition. I came third in an admittedly small field, but - well, blimey - third! And this while I'm still finding my legs!
The second pikcha is, yes, yet another return to Universal horror films of the 1930s and a little bit rude, but I was very pleased with the facial expressions. This was for the weekly Caption Competition and I came third in this one too. I cannot begin to tell you how big a boost to the ego that is.
Finally, the mice cartoon (sans mice) was another Caption Competition entry, this time I came sixth, but the important point with this particular cartoon is the circumstance in which it was drawn and sent.
With my old set up I would often scan in pencils from my printer and "ink" using Photoshop on my old laptop. Then, using my domestic hub I would send in my competition entry. The mice cartoon was "pencilled" on my new software (and by god it looks like graphite on cartridge paper). This was then "inked" with a virtual pen nib which just happens to be pressure sensitive. This means the strength of a single line can be varied in one stroke just like reallio, trullio actual pen and ink!
And I sent it from The Lake District while I was on holiday! All I needed was an internet connection. Admittedly, the location meant that the broadband would often drop out, but do you see what this means? It means I pretty much have a portable studio. All I need is a Wi-Fi connection and I can send off drawings from where ever I like! This is astonishing stuff as far as I'm concerned.
My next step is start experimenting with colour. Watch this space.
The little bit of silliness which you can see above, was my contribution to this week's caption competition. The theme was Scuba Diving. Members of my family will attest, with some amusement, that I am congenitally unable to pronounce the the word 'scuba' properly. This is, of course, arrant nonsense and it should go without saying that my pronunciation is the correct one.
That aside, I came joint second with fifteen points; a fact of which I am exceedingly proud.
Now then, nuts and bolts. It is inked over pencils on run-of-the-mill photocopy paper. It was drawn against the clock on a fairly busy Sunday morning, but I knew pretty much what I was going to draw a couple of days beforehand. I was going to draw the diver and shark 3/4 facing the viewer, so that we would see the shark from behind, with the diver slightly facing the viewer. I did a very, VERY rough sketch based on that idea, but felt that it would dissipate the image. I decided on a side-on image and a slow-burn left to right reading of the gag. This cartooning lark isn't just a few seconds slap-dash scribbling you know!
Upon taking cognizance of the subject, the baser parts of my imagination came naturally rushing to the fore. Was there some inevitability for my score? I believe so. It is a universal dictum that all farts are funny. So ner!
This, O best beloveds, was my entry for this week's competition. The execution of the drawing didn't go as well as I had hoped. I had sketched out an idea in pencil (which I now seem to have mislaid) with the intention of re-drawing it separately if I felt it worked okay. The more I worked on the sketch, the more I felt that it seemed to work. The result was I was reluctant to re-draw it, but the dimensions on the piece of paper and the placing of the drawing were not within the usual boundaries I commonly use.
Then, came the inking. O Lor! Then, came the inking! I had heard good things about a particular brand of Indian ink and so I bought myself a bottle. Early experiments with said ink and a dip pen suggested that it was much richer in shellac than I was used to. With great trepidation, because this ink ain't particularly cheap, I diluted it with de-ionised water, thinking this would (quite literally) be the solution to the problem. In short, it wasn't and the result was the scatchy effort above. I even had to go over my signature with a different, more reliable ink. My first purchase of this brand shall also be my last.
The good news is that I got seven points for my entry, which isn't bad at all, all things considered.