It's all been done

While trying to think up ideas for cartoons, and messing about with words in my head, I came up with the phrase "ebola tombola". I was quite amused by this and thought it would probably be a good name for a spoof rock band. On a whim, I did a search for "ebola tombola" at Google and found that it is the name of a b-side by dance act I've never heard of called Blue Light Fever. So what have we learned? Simply this: THERE ARE NO NEW IDEAS. And the internet reminds us of this constantly. Harumph.


Cartoon Cliches

Radio 4 is repeating Cartoon Cliches this week at 3.45pm every day. It's an enjoyable series of 15-minute programmes on those over-familiar scenarios we see in spot cartoons, such a desert islands, firing squads etc. You can also hear it online at the station's Listen Again page.

More fun with clip art


Fun with clip art

OK, it's a bit like Get your War On, but with less swearing.


"Day job officially becomes job"

Chuckle along as an aspiring cartoonist's lifelong dreams are trampled on at: The Onion. Like a lot of the stuff on that site, it's all too plausible.


Like father like daughter

Interesting article about Sophie Crumb, daughter of the legendary underground cartoonist Robert. She's now 22, which will make anyone who remembers her from Terry Zwigoff's excellent documentary Crumb feel old. Thanks to Linkmachinego.


"I'm Bill Hicks and I'm dead now ..."

The Guardian has an article about the comedy genius Bill Hicks, who died ten years ago this month: Last laugh
If want to know more about him go to: billhicks.com


A class act

The Bash Street Kids are 50 years old and they still haven't left school: 10 facts



A client asked me to draw a cute squirrel for a logo. "We want it to be very cute," he said. After the first rough he said, "make it more cute, more cute". So I pulled out all the stops. He had commissioned roughs from several cartoonists and in the end decided to go with another. So does that mean it was cuter than this? Or did I overdo it? It was probably for the best because the little rodent is rather nauseating.

Perhaps he was rejected because of the "T-shirt and no pants" look (the client's name was supposed to go on the shirt). It is widely believed that this sartorial choice led to Donald Duck being banned in Finland, but that is apparently an urban legend.


Caricatures of people you don’t know. No 3:

Ha ha, he’s doing that thing with his glasses that he always does! Yeah, I really captured him here.


Caricatures of people you don't know. No 2:

There's no mistaking this one. And look, I've drawn him smoking! That's so him.


Caricatures of people you don’t know. No 1:

Oh it’s him all right. Ha ha, look at the hair! It’s just uncanny.


I drew a duck for my son ...

... because he’s 18 months old and he really likes ducks. In fact, his first recognisable word was “Duck!”. And he wasn’t throwing his building bricks at me when he said it. My wife says she likes the way that this duck looks like he’s popping down to the shops to get a paper. Of course, I’ve never seen a duck with a bill as fat as this one, but that’s what I like about him. Therefore, he shall be known as Fat Bill the Duck. Watch out Daffy …

Buy back your childhood with eBay!

Actually don’t bother, because there’s always someone willing to pay more than you for worthless but fondly remembered tat. Anyway you get enough of a nostalgic rush if you just go window shopping, which is what I was doing when I typed “ventriloquist dummy” into an eBay search and came up with these two bizarre toys, both of which I owned as a child.

The character on the left I knew as Mr Paliarchin. He was a popular, mass-produced dummy in the Seventies. I believe it was marketed as Parlanchin, or something similar, but he was Paliarchin to me. I must have read the box incorrectly. You might think it odd, to look at him, but I was very fond of Mr P. He was a close companion for several years, much to the annoyance of my family. My uncle got so fed-up with Mr P’s comedy shtick one Christmas that he ran off with the wee plastic fella. Mr P was later found hanged from the light-switch cord in the bathroom. These days I could probably sue for emotional trauma.

The guy on the right was called Hugo. He was not a ventriloquist's dummy at all; his eyes and mouth remained stubbornly immobile. The point of Hugo was that you stuck disguises on him and hideous scars and wounds. Except of course that you were a child so you stuck them on yourself instead, and Hugo became the world’s most useless ventriloquist doll.

The thing is, looking at these slightly scary looking characters now, I’m amazed that I turned out so normal and well balanced. And it gets worse: I also had a ventriloquist doll based on Frankenstein’s Monster. No, really. But it seems that today’s models are no less scary. Witness the George W. Bush dummy:

For a while as a child I thought I would be a professional ventriloquist when I grew up. How absurd an ambition was that? Now cartoonist, that’s much more realistic …


Kids' colouring books can be fun for adults too:

(With sincere apologies to the original artist. I'm so sorry)