Return of the penguin and polar bear cartoon

I have blogged here before about my cartoon that went to the South Pole with South African National Antarctic Expedition. Well now the penguin and polar bear cartoon is being used on a T-shirt by the Bipolar Expedition, above, an Australian project which raises funds to find better ways to manage and diagnose bipolar disorder.

As the cartoon, which was first published in Reader's Digest two Christmases ago, has proved to be one of my most popular, I also used it when I got some business cards made last year.

Inevitably, though, it's one of those cartoons that some people just don't get. I used it on some Christmas cards two years ago and a friend told me that the conversation with his wife went something like this:

Friend: Ha, check out Royston's card!
Wife: Oh, yeah. A-ha-ha-ha.
Friend: You don't get it, do you?
Wife: No.

Well, you can't win 'em all.

Royston's portfolio website


Credit crunch/recession cartoon

Here's a cartoon for these lean times, drawn recently for a regular business client. Sometimes you can just about get away with the wordy caption.

So how's your recession going? I've noticed a drop in enquiries regarding cartoon jobs lately, which I assume must be down to people feeling the pinch. I've certainly done fewer company Christmas cards than usual, with some clients saying they're not bothering this year.

Still, as Mervyn King, the Bank of England boss is fond of saying, we'll get through it! As though we have any other option. Well, I suppose we could go for the whole jumping off a tall building thing. But for cartoonists, who have depicted that scenario many times, that would be too much of a cliche.

Royston's portfolio website

Book review: Oddly Distracted

Here is a review of my cartooning colleague Gerard Whyman's new book Oddly Distracted which I wrote for The Jester, the newsletter of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain. Click the image to enlarge it and read the review.

You can see a preview of Ger’s book and order copies online at Lulu.com

Royston's portfolio website


Turner skies and seagull cries

I work in a converted attic room. I'm not quite up to posting "the artist's studio" type pictures at the moment, too much mess and general chaos. And not in an interesting way. Instead I offer this view from the window at 7am this morning.

I'm not much into photography but I was quite taken by this sky. Sometimes you can see why Turner used to regularly come down to this part of the world to paint the skies.

The birds are seagulls, of course, and do not fly south for the winter as they're hard as nails. So we get to hear their shrieks all year round! People who don't live in seaside towns love the sound of seagulls. Quite often I'll be on the phone to clients, who are usually based in London, and they'll hear the seagulls, which results in them breaking off and saying, with a wistful note in their voices, "Oooh wow, I can hear seagulls ..."

UPDATE 29/11/08: Just had another one. "Ooh, are you by the sea? What a lovely sound!" I always agree politely, of course, rather than saying, "Not when you're working all day right underneath the bloody roof they are perched on ..."

Royston's portfolio website


101 Uses for a George Bush

This cartoon was drawn for the blog 101 Uses for a George Bush, which was set up by the cartoonist Jon Kudelka.

Jon Kudelka is inviting cartoonists to help him get 101 "uses" drawn before Dubya hands over the reins of the presidency to Barack Obama on January 20.

"In the spirit of international goodwill and co-operation that George has fostered over the long years, it’s only fair that the cartoonists to whom he’s given so generously give something back," says Jon.

Hear, hear.

I decided to do a cartoon based on one of the funnier moments of the Bush presidency: Pretzelgate. If only it had all been such a barrel of laughs.

Royston's portfolio website

Michael Crichton cartoon

No cartoon goes off faster, if you'll excuse the distasteful analogy, than a cartoon about the death of someone famous. By that I mean, if you don't sell it straight away, its moment is gone. You can't tout it around all the magazines.

This one did not sell. Luckily a gag like this is quick to draw! But it made me chuckle so I'm posting it here. I like the idea of the Jurassic Park author turning up one day and saying, "Told you so".

And his death happened in the week that scientists said they may be able to clone a woolly mammoth. As Jeff Goldblum says: "They were so busy working out whether they could, they forgot to ask whether they should." Or something like that.

Royston's portfolio website

I'd better watch out ...

My six-year-old son is getting pretty good at drawing cartoons. I love this Dennis and Gnasher he came up with last week, especially the way the dog looks like he's peering fiercely over the bottom edge of the paper. Note the enthusiasm with which the black stripes on the jumper are drawn ... he's torn the paper as a result.

Cartoons by his Dad


Cartoons in Private Eye Annual 2008

I've got a couple of cartoons in the above. Including this one:

It also re-appears on the back cover, though there was no extra dosh for that particular honour. The book can be found at Amazon.

Royston's portfolio website


Music cartoon: Another from the archives

Time for another delve into the archives. This one was published ten years ago on this very day, in the New Statesman magazine.

It's quite a detailed cartoon and I remember being pleased with the way it looked when reduced to fit a single column. Like most of my early cartoons though, it looks a bit clunky to me now ... particularly those fat-fingered hands. I was clearly also experimenting with different signatures, this one's overly ornate.

This is from before I had web access, so I would not have done any picture research to get the Village People right. A Google search now reveals that they're one short: Military Guy has gone AWOL.

The New Statesman still uses cartoonists, but sadly they no longer take on-spec stuff. I had quite a few published in there in the late 1990s/early 2000s. And while it is obviously an intelligent, serious, political magazine, they didn't always go for "clever" gags. Often they'd take ones that were very silly, like this one, or even a bit rude.

Shortly before this, they published a gag of mine that featured a couple in bed. The bloke is looking smug and the woman is wide-eyed, saying "I can't believe it, Jake. To think I actually thought it was an extra leg." I'd have said that was a shoo-in for Fiesta, perhaps, but no, it was in the New Statesman.

Royston's portfolio website