Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival: Making an exhibition of myself

I'll be attending the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival in a few weeks (April 20-22). I went along to the festival last year but was not an official participant. This year I am, which rather scarily means I have to draw a cartoon on an 8ft by 6ft board in the market square!

It also means I've got some cartoons in the "Mind Your Own Business" exhibition there, which opens at the Bear Steps Gallery on Tuesday (April 3). I submitted four pieces – two signed colour prints and two black and white originals. Three of the four cartoons have been previously published, but I thought I'd throw in a favourite of mine that has done the rounds of just about all the magazines I can think of but has not yet been published ... (I find that term so much more positive than "unpublished" or "rejected"!)


Dead blogs

You see so many blogs these days that appear to be dormant, but have you any idea exactly how many there are? The Guardian has a figure: two hundred million!

Why are so many people blogging off?


Private Eye cartoon: Queue here

This gag is in the current edition of Private Eye. I thought it up while waiting in a slow-moving queue at the bank. It wasn't me doing the tutting or sighing, you understand, I was busy scribbling this down in an A6 notebook that I carry around with me:

Down-time well spent, I'm sure you'll agree! Cartoons often come from real life situations, of course, so it can be problematic when you work at home on your own because you don't connect with the world enough. You have to get out from time to time, to observe people and what they are saying and doing. Even if it is being annoying in a queue.


The modern morgue

It used to be recommended that cartoonists keep a morgue, that is a file of pictures and photos that you may need for reference in the future (as opposed to a cold storage room for dead bodies, that would be weird). I always had a problem with this because, well, where do you start? You could put aside a picture of a tractor but you may never need it. Then when you find you need a picture of a rickshaw you realise you neglected to put one in your morgue. So I was never very good at it.

But now the whole idea is redundant as we have the gift to cartoonists that is Google Image Search. Now you can get 100 rickshaws of all different types from many angles. Today I had to draw a cartoon involving peregrine falcons and a cathedral. I shudder to think how long that would have taken before Image Search. It probably would have involved a trip to the library. Or a bird sanctuary. So hats off to Google, on behalf of lazy cartoonists everywhere!