History cartoon: Law unto itself

This gag appears in the new edition of Reader's Digest in the UK. It was in one of my sketchbooks for a long time before I got around to drawing it up, possibly more than a year. I simply didn't think it was that strong an idea, but that may have been because it was just sketched vaguely, with the characters in indistinct "olde worlde" garb. It was only when I started to develop it visually, using pics of the Magna Carta signing as reference (thank you Google Image Search), that I could see it was beginning to work. It's always bizarre how cartoons come together. Sometimes the complete opposite happens, the cartoon forms visually in your head at the same time as the gag.

I only drew it up to make up the numbers in a batch of cartoons, but of course it was the only one that the Digest bought. This happens a lot, as any cartoonist will tell you.


A glimpse into the cartoonist's inbox

Cartoonists often get asked to do bizarre things for no money. Thanks to the marvel that is the internet, these requests now come thick and fast by email. Here's one I got the other day: "Hi there, any chance you could do me a picture of Plug from The Beano? Can't find one on the net ..." I politely replied that the sender had perhaps not looked hard enough. I found that a Google image search turns up several pics of Plug:

Another common type of email is the type that potentially offers work to the cartoonist while giving away as little information as possible about the potential project. These are genuine and unedited, only the names have been cut:

"am looking for a catoonist for my book. think we can find out if you fit? Regards …"

"Hello, Could you please contact me regarding our need for an illustration/cartoon characters. Thank you …"

"i found your name looking for an illustrator for a childrens book I have written can you tell me what sort of costings it would be for around 10 picturesor how you work out you costings. thanks looking forward to hearing from you"

I'll cover the people that demand all the secrets to becoming a top cartoonist (like I'd know!), usually in an email dashed off in 30 seconds, some other time ...


I am the Law (Society cartoonist)

I regularly draw humorous illustrations for the Law Society Gazette, to illustrate features. Often they're about legal matters that mean little to the man in the street. But this week's is quite topical ...

Blast from the past

While sorting through a box of old cassette tapes I came across the song Cheesecake Truck by the American band King Missile, which I've not heard for years. It's from the early 1990s and is a spoken-word track, over a quirky musical backing. And it occured to me: this is a comic strip on record! Maybe I'll draw it up some day. The song always appealed to me because, well, I love cheesecake. Here are the lyrics (which I've just cut and paste from another website, but they seem accurate!):

So then I got this idea about driving a cheesecake truck,
cuz I figured at the end of the day,
I could take some of the leftover cheesecakes home.
And I love cheesecake.

So I went to the cheesecake company
and they asked me if I could drive a truck and I said yes,
and they said 'You're hired!'

So the next day I got in the truck with all the cheesecakes
and I drove about a block and I just had to have a cheesecake
so I pulled over and opened the truck
and I got a cheesecake, and I also took one for later,
and I took one for my friend Farmboy,
and I took one to bring home,
and by that time I had eaten one of the cheesecakes
so I took another one.

Then I figured I might as well stop at my house
to drop off all the cheesecakes,
so I take five cakes to eat on the way,
and I drive another block and a half to my house.

Now it's lunch time so I eat ten cheesecakes,
and a cheesecake for dessert.
I should point out, by the way,
that all of these cheesecakes were very delicious.

Anyway, I decided that the only thing to do
would be to eat all the rest of the cheesecakes
and hide the truck somewhere
and leave town.

And I miss everybody a lot
but I'm not really sorry
because they were very delicious cheesecakes.


Ancient arguments settled

I thought I might try to settle some of those niggling, on-going arguments, so we call all move on. First up: which are best, cats or dogs? Answer: cats. This picture, which has gone all over the world in recent days, is the proof. That's a bear in the tree by the way. Next week: baths vs. showers. I thank you.


My official England World Cup Cartoon

I do a regular cartoon for a local paper here in Kent. Inevitably they wanted a football one this week ...

This is funny: Mark Anderson on Hollywood's version of the typical cartoonist's day.