Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cartoonists off to the seaside again

Here's a cartoon I submitted for the exhibition Cartoonists Beside the Surrealside which can be seen at the Beach Creative gallery, Herne Bay, from Wednesday 30 July until Tuesday 12 August. The show celebrates the town's link with Marcel Duchamp, like last year's event, so many of the cartoons will be art-themed.

I'll be one of the cartoonists taking part in the live drawing element of the event, which will be on Sunday 3 August (midday-5pm). Here's a picture of a bunch of us from last year.

Left to right: me, Kipper Williams and Chris Burke. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

It was a glorious day both in terms of weather and enjoyment, so we're hoping to do it all again at this year's event, which is supported by Arts Council England. Here's the event poster (note: the exhibition dates have been extended since the was made) drawn by Ian Baker.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Private Eye cartoon: Dangerous business

"The BBC want you back, Danger Mouse – subject to a full risk assessment."

This cartoon from the current Private Eye could land me in Pedantry Corner again. Several people have pointed out that Danger Mouse was on ITV. However, they may not be aware that this is a topical cartoon as the much-loved cartoon series is indeed returning ... to be screened on Children's BBC.

So technically it's not wrong, depends on how you read it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

UPDATE: The cartoon was mentioned in the next issue's Pedantry Corner, as predicted!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Exhibition cartoon: Pastiche or piracy?

Click image to enlarge

I've got a few cartoons in an exhibition called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy, which opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on Friday (June 20).

The exhibition, which includes contemporary artists as well as cartoonists, looks at works that riff off, and indeed rip off, other works of popular culture, as well as brands, logos etc (yes I've also got one of my many HMV dog cartoons in there!)

For this cartoon, I completely redrew (OK, traced) the Roy Lichtenstein "original" (he famously ripped off an actual a comic book image). But I wonder if that was really necessary? Should I have just changed the original in Photoshop as some cartoonists do?

Some works in the exhibition do use directly lifted material. This has been common in the art world since Duchamp, if not before, but continues to be controversial (see the comments here). Whatever you think, it looks sure to be an interesting and thought-provoking show.

Footnote: This cartoon features in my book collection Cartoons on Demand, which you can read a review of here, and buy here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pet subject: More dog and cat cartoons

"It's a battle of wills – I'm refusing to do anything funny for his YouTube page ..."

Fashions come and go, governments rise and fall, but yer humble gag cartoonist carries on drawing jokes about cats and dogs. People love 'em! The cartoon above can be seen in the current issue of Reader's Digest, the one below was in the last Private Eye.

"They're the dog's Pollocks."

Cartoonists are often the worst judges of their own material – you never know what people are going to go for – I had few hopes for this cartoon.

My surprise that it was taken by Private Eye was nothing compared to the surprise that since it appeared two weeks ago I have had emails almost every other day praising the cartoon and asking for the original, prints and redrawn versions (including a request to rework it "with the dog as identifiably an Airedale Terrier".)

Expect more dog and cat cartoons ...

Click here to buy Royston's NEW cartoon book

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Private Eye cartoon: Not exactly topical

I've just got back from a family holiday, during which I was mostly offline, so it was good to go online and find that this cartoon, which was in this week's Private Eye, got a very nice reaction and lots of retweets on Twitter (including here and here).

It was a little surprising as the cartoon refers to a song from 1979 (ask your parents, kids) so it's not exactly topical. But it seems to have tapped into a nostalgia vibe.

UPDATE: The cartoon made it into Pedantry Corner in the most recent Private Eye (13 June):

Being a bit of a pop music pedant myself, I was actually fully aware of this but I thought putting "Pop Musik" would get in the way of the joke, a view backed up on Twitter by someone who knows a bit about comedy.

UPDATE UPDATED: Here's my follow-up letter in this week's Private Eye (27 June):

Errr ... but someone pointed out that I put "Musik" instead of "Muzik" so this could run and run. Hoist by my own pedantry!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another First World War cartoon

"Due to the inclement weather conditions, you are reminded to please take extra care ..."

Here's another cartoon about the First World War. It can be seen in the current issue of Prospect magazine. Unlike my recent war silhouette cartoon, this was not inspired by the centenary coverage of the war in the media, but by something far more mundane.

I was walking through a London Tube station after we had had what can only be described as a spot of light rain. The floor was slightly damp so they played the standard health and safety recorded message about "inclement weather conditions".

Like the middle-aged person I am, I thought, "And to think we won two world wars ..." From such nonsense are cartoon ideas spun ...

Click here to buy Royston's NEW cartoon book

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

At the 2014 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

I attended the 11th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival last weekend, the 9th consecutive one I have been to. Below is my Big Board cartoon (the boards are 8ft by 6ft) drawn at the event. It's a compilation of cartoons I've drawn over the years of Nipper the HMV dog, as the festival theme was Music. Click to enlarge and see the gags.

As well as the Big Board I contributed to the instant cartoons exhibition in the Market Square, drawing music cartoons on the spot. Here's me being indecisive over which pen to use. (Photo, and the one at the top, by Kasia Kowalska)

And here's a very silly music-themed gag from the instant cartoons exhibition, which seemed to go down well, as very silly cartoons usually do.

For the first time I was also on the Melodrawma team, helping draw a live comic strip to the accompaniment of narration, music and bizarre sound effects. Words and photos can't do justice to the craziness of the Melodrawma so you'll have to just go along next year to see what that is all about!

Meanwhile, there's more on Shrewsbury at the Procartoonists blog.

Click here to buy Royston's NEW cartoon book

Monday, April 28, 2014

New cartoon book alert!

My second collection of magazine gag cartoons is available now. It's called Cartoons on Demand and is the same format as my first book i.e a 104-page glossy paperback with lots of cartoons in it from magazines such as Private Eye, Reader's Digest, Prospect and The Spectator.

Head over to my Online Shop where you can see some of the cartoons and buy a signed copy of the book for £5.99 plus £2 p+p. (Or, bargain hunters, you can buy it with the first one for just £11.49 plus £2 p+p). The perfect gift for the cartoon lover in your life etc etc.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jesus cartoons for Easter

"Oh no, I lost two followers."

As it's Easter this weekend, here's a cartoon about Jesus, which can be seen in the current issue of Prospect. I used a similar colour palette to the cartoon below, which was in the same magazine in 2011.

"He only got this job because of who his dad is."

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book

Monday, March 31, 2014

Saga magazine cartoon: Another onesie

"Grandad must have sneaked down to the pub again – there's nobody in this onesie."

This was drawn for the letters page of Saga magazine, to accompany a reader's enthusiastic missive about the onesie as a good alternative to putting on the central heating!

It's not the first onesie cartoon I've done and probably won't be the last, at least until everyone stops dressing like oversized babies.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

First World War cartoons

"Sarge, you don't think we might be at a disadvantage by fighting this whole war in silhouette"

This is my first, and possibly last, cartoon drawn entirely in silhouette. It is in the current edition of Private Eye. This year marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, of course, so we'll be seeing a lot more of this kind of imagery.

The war has been presented in such a way since day one, see the recruitment poster above left, and continues to be, as you can see from the War Horse poster. 

I thought the cartoon probably stood a good chance at Private Eye as Ian Hislop and Nick Newman of the magazine were responsible for the recent First World War drama The Wipers Times. That was all about keeping a sense of humour in the face of adversity and tragedy. My cartoon can hopefully be seen in the same way and no disrespect is intended.

Here's another First World War cartoon. This was drawn for the new edition of Isle, a local listings magazine, to accompany an article about the teaching of the war in schools.
"Looks like Sir is going over the top ..."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cartoons and the digital workplace

I was commissioned to draw seven cartoon strips for a company's staff-training programme, on the subject of adjusting to the "digital workplace". Here are two of them.

I've drawn so many cartoons about the technology that is such a part of our lives these days that I found the strips almost wrote themselves. A fun job then, and one that featured the cartoon debut of our cat Mike, above, pictured when he was a kitten.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fashion cartoon: The odd idea

This is one of those slightly odd ideas that sat around in my notebook for quite some time, in various different forms, until I decided to draw it up.

It can be seen in the March Reader's Digest.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cartoons about Lego

"I hope there's no product placement in this."

This cartoon about The Lego Movie can be seen in the current Private Eye. And here are a couple of older Lego cartoons. 

"I must say I'm not convinced by Lego Jenga."

I heard the Lego Jenga line on QI on BBC Two the other day, but I can assure you I didn't steal it from there. I stole it from my son. And talking of stealing, the one below never sold, which is a shame as I thought it was a nice visual gag.


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