"OK fill me in – who has been naughty and who has been nice?"
Here's a Christmas cartoon from the current issue of Reader's Digest. I won't be posting a cartoon for each day of advent this year (as I did last year and the year before) but I'll feature a few throughout the month.
Here's me with fellow cartoonist Simon Ellinas and a wall full of cartoons at a recent live-drawing event in central London. It has been a very busy month cartoon-wise, hence I've not updated the blog for a while. I'll redress the balance next month when I post a load of Christmas cartoons. In the meantime, here's a recent one about gnomes. "My son ran away to join the Terracotta Army."
This book is finally released today, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who this month. I'm a fan of the show (though nowhere in the same league as Neil, the author of the book) so it's fun to be a very small and unofficial part of the celebrations.
This is the original drawing. Faber, the publishers, added the colour. And below is the illustration I drew for the back cover, a shelf full of mundane kitchen stuff alongside Doctor Who paraphernalia.
It's a bit small to see the detail here, but I had fun coming up with the titles of the books on the shelf, such as Cybermen Behaving Badly and The Doctor's Day Off. I'd like to read that last one, though there's no sigh of him taking a break any time soon.
For more on the original Wife in Space blog cartoons click here.
But it would be remiss of me not to mention that my own cartoon book is still available. Like Morrissey's Autobiography, it's an instant penguin classic – ahem – and it fits in a stocking better than those mentioned above. Click here to buy it
This is not, as you may suspect, autobiographical. I do strive to avoid daytime TV and sitting around in my underwear when working from home. However there are some days that are more productive than others and this came out of an unproductive one. But it turned out OK as it led to this cartoon, which can be seen in the new issue of Prospect.
"That may not be the best option for printing out your novel." "I suppose we'll need 3D glasses as well?" "Oh good! This will be the instructions." "I told you not to print the recipe for alphabet soup!"
These are the captions for the latest Beat the Cartoonist on the Reader's Digest site. One of them is mine but the idea is pick the one you think is the funniest.
It's a thumping great doorstep of a book, so make sure your coffee table is sturdy.
Waterstones took a unique approach to displaying the book, above. I'm fine with the "silly drawings" bit, but Private Eye might question the "pretend newspaper" part, bearing in mind how many genuine news stories they've broken over the years.
Last week I went along to the launch of the book where they got the assembled cartoonists drunk so they could take this photo. I'm in there somewhere. At the centre are the Eye editor Ian Hislop and the cartoonist Nick Newman, who edited the book.
People often think that ideas arrive out of the blue, in some kind of lightbulb moment. That can happen, of course, but it can't be relied on. You have to generate ideas. Clearly this is a bit of an off-the-wall cartoon, so how did I arrive at the idea?
Firstly, while staring at that blank piece of paper you can just give yourself a subject. So I decided I wanted to do a cowboys cartoon, as they're fun to draw. That got me thinking about the clichéd saloon door entrance that we've all seen in westerns and I wondered if there could be another way for a cowboy to make an entrance.
I could have drawn him jumping, maybe pole-vaulting, over the saloon doors and that may have led to another cartoon. Instead I started to sketch him going underneath and it occurred to me that he could limbo dance under. While I was drawing that, the phrase "the Limbo Kid" came to me. That was the lightbulb moment but, as you can see, it took some time to arrive at that point.
The cartoon appears in the October issue of Reader's Digest. One of my drawings is also in this issue's Beat the Cartoonist contest. So if you can come up with a better idea than me you can win £100 and the original drawing. Click here for details on how to enter.
This was drawn for Know your Rights, an Amnesty International booklet that reprints the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Each of the 14 cartoonists involved was asked to illustrate a clause in the UDHR. My cartoon accompanies Article 27, which is in two parts. The second is particularly relevant to working as a cartoonist. I must admit, I was ignorant of the fact that such things are included in the UDHR:
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Unusually, they also asked the cartoonists for some thoughts on the subject to go with it. I offered up the following:
"The right to participate in and enjoy culture and the arts may seem minor compared to some human rights. But enjoyment of the arts gets to the very heart of what it is to be human."
The booklet is available by the tills in branches of Waterstones for £2. Proceeds from it, and the sale of the original drawing, will go to Amnesty.
"I told him about his pension -- now he's sulking because he wants to take early retirement."
Here's a cartoon drawn for the Money page of September's Reader's Digest. It accompanies an article about getting pensions for your children. No, really. As if clothing them, feeding them and keeping them in the latest gadgets isn't enough, they now want a retirement plan too!
I'm doing a free talk about my cartoons, with slideshow, as part of the Summer Squall arts festival in Ramsgate. It's at the Kings Theatre at 11am on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.
It'll be a bit like the cartoon talk I did in 2010, above, but with more recent cartoons and a different shirt. Apparently the venue this time is very large (gulp) so there's no need to book, you can just turn up on the day (please do!)
The Cartoonists in the Bandstand event in Herne Bay on August 3rd was a huge success (I'm a bit late to writing about this, but I've been away for a week).
As the event was celebrating 100 years since Marcel Duchamp lived in the town, we all drew loads of art-based cartoons. There were more to be seen in galleries and pubs. Here's me imagining the birth of the art critic, while getting sunburnt. (Photo above by Kasia Kowalska).