Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


"Apparently, it's organic."

Well, after complaining last week that we've not had any festive snow, some did finally arrive here at the weekend. And here is the snowman we made ...



My wife tells me that the carrot is organic, which makes it a case of life imitating cartoons i.e. the one above which can be seen in the current issue of Prospect.

Talking of snowmen, I was commissioned by one of the Kent papers to do a snowy weather cartoon and somehow managed to turn it into a gag about Rage Against the Machine making it to the coveted Christmas Number One spot.


The funny thing is, I already had a punk snowman, with a carrot mohawk, in my sketchbook from months ago when I was brainstorming Christmas cartoons. I liked the image but didn't know what to do with it as a cartoon. Until now. So the moral is never throw away old sketchbooks!

I'm now taking a break from blogging until January 2010. All the best of the festive season to you. Have a good one.

Royston's portfolio website

In the Reader's Digest caption competition again



One of my drawings is being used to "Beat the Cartoonist" at Reader's Digest again. Please be gentle with me ...

Can you think of a caption? The closing date is January 10, which, coincidentally, is my birthday!

Royston's portfolio website

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review of the Year type thing



As the end of the year approaches, it's time for a round-up of my cartooning highlights, as seen through this blog. Don't worry, I'm only doing 2009, not the whole decade, as most papers seem to be doing these days ...

  • The main highlight of the year has to be being a member of the Cartoonists team on TV's Eggheads, especially as we won!

  • The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is always a highlight of the cartooning year. As is the Big Draw.

  • It's always great when posts on the blog touch a chord with people. And If this isn't nice, I don't know what is and Keep Calm and Carry on Drawing, above, both got a good reaction.

  • It's also good to get good feedback from published cartoons, of course, and inevitably this happens most with cartoons in Private Eye. The Picasso cartoon and Granny on drugs went down well, someone emailed me to tell me they carry a copy of the latter around with them to show it to people! But the most astounding reaction was to the cartoon that appeared to show purveyors of organic food in a less than positive light ... I sold many copies to owners of organic food businesses, deli owners etc. Go figure.

    "Everything here is organic, free-range, naturally produced, locally sourced, pesticide free, minimally packaged, and fairly traded – and yet, ironically, I am a complete bastard."


  • Contributing to the PCO's Travelling Moleskine, which was organised by the Culture Vulture was fun.

  • Getting a reaction to my IT Crowd-based cartoon from Graham Linehan, writer of the show, made me see there could be something to that Twitter lark.


  • It was amazing to find out that there was once another cartoonist called Royston who I later found out was a woman. I was sent a book featuring her work so I was able to see her brilliant Disney cartoon and other more saucy stuff.

  • It was nice to be one of the few cartoonists to win the Reader's Digest caption competition. And a caption contest with a difference over at the CCGB website proved to be a fun challenge.

  • Commission me in 2010, why dontcha?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Snowman cartoon: Who's that?


    Apparently, lots of people here in the UK have snow today. People in London appear to be getting particularly excited about it on Twitter. As usual, there is none here on the tip of the Kentish coast, so I have to make do with snow cartoons instead.

    This one can be found on a Christmas card in a gift shop near you (I sold the card company this and a slightly rude caption for a photo card). It can also be seen as a full-page cartoon on the back of the latest edition of Foghorn, the magazine of the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation.

    You can read an archive of the Foghorn online, just click the button on the right-hand column of this blog (scroll down). To buy a print subscription to the mag, which comes out six times a year, go here.

    In other news: There's an interview with me over at a US blog called David Wasting Paper. David is a self-confessed cartooning geek and has put the same questions to a whole load of cartoonists and comics artists, including Bill Griffith, Nick Downes, Dave Coverly, Chris Browne and Larry Gonick. There's lots to read there, well worth a look during the inevitable festive period down-time.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Office cartoon: The sick day


    "Is somebody here implying that I was not really sick?"

    One of the best things about being self-employed is that you never have to make that humiliating phone-call where you put on a croaky voice and call in sick.

    (Having said that, I do remember loving that feeling when you hang up the phone, and you know you've now got a day of watching DVDs while sitting on the sofa under a duvet ahead of you!)

    This cartoon was drawn to accompany an article about the number of working days lost to illness. Why do companies whinge on about this all the time? You're never going to get away from the fact that people get ill, and that there are some days when people just don't feel like working! I've never worked anywhere where they have "duvet days", but it sounds like a great idea.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Cartoon coasters: An ideal Christmas present


    Sets of cartoon coasters (above, click to enlarge) featuring my gags are available for sale over at cartoonz.co.uk – the ideal Christmas present for the person in your life who likes a drink and a laugh but also likes to keep their table free of marks!

    They are available as sets of four, with various designs on a drinking and socialising theme, to choose from. Steve Willis, who runs the site, gave me two sets featuring my cartoons last week and I was impressed with the quality and also how well cartoons work in this context.

    My dad worked in the licensing trade when I was a kid and I remember cartoons were very popular on beermats back then, particularly gags by Larry. Coasters and beermats are a no-brainer for cartoons really, I suppose, as you've simply got a square blank canvas which is about the size of a magazine cartoon. Go buy!

    Royston's portfolio website

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Boardroom cartoon: A man for our times


    "Our new finance director, Ebeneezer, tells me can start immediately on identifying areas where we can make cuts."

    This year seems to have been characterised by cuts, redundancies and companies banging on about cutting waste. So when I was commissioned to do a festive gag in my ongoing series of boardroom cartoons, to be used as an Christmas e-card, it occurred to me to throw Ebeneezer Scrooge in there. He'd probably be seen as an asset to most companies these days.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    More cartoons from the other Royston


    "Sometimes, Phillips, I just like to sit at home and look at the four walls."

    I managed to get round to scanning a few cartoons by the other Royston, the pseudonym of Victoria Cowdroy, who worked as a cartoonist in Australia in the 1940s.

    I posted her excellent Disney cartoon a few weeks ago, and here are three more. Like all the cartons from the 1941 Man annual, they're full-pagers, hence the captions appear small here. Click to enlarge.

    They're mostly in a "saucy" style, as above, though the one below appears to be making a comment on bankers, who were clearly held in as high esteem then as they are now.


    "Eleven o'clock, an appointment with the Consul. Lunch at one with Sir Basil Binge. The Russian Ambassador at four, and report to the Parole Board at five."

    This one, though is definitely in a more saucy vein. It's pretty racy stuff, as this couple have clearly been up to something naughty. The look on the face of the patient is brilliant, although, slightly disconcertingly, he does look rather a lot like Ronald Reagan.


    "Well, you said to pacify him, didn't you?"

    The bad crop, which turns Royston into "oyston", is the fault of the publishers, by the way, not my scanning. Thanks again to Denise Miles for sending me the book.

    Click here for cartoons from the male Royston!

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    New cartoon business card


    I decided it was time for a new business card, as my existing one has an old email address on it and I'm fed-up of crossing it out.

    So I've just knocked this together, with a cartoon that appeared in Private Eye in the summer. Its shape allowed me to design the card in a vertical shape rather than the more traditional horizontal layout. This means I can get a lot more information in, so this card includes the address for this blog as well as my portfolio site.

    Once they're back from the printers I will no doubt thrust one into your hand, reader, should we meet. If you can't wait until then, feel free to print this off and attach it to some card from a cornflakes packet.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Art cartoon: Stealing from the Masters


    "All done, squire – bish, bash, Bosch."

    This is one many art cartoons I've drawn over the years, in an attempt to make myself look clever. It's one of two gags by me that can be seen in the December edition of Reader's Digest.

    Often with art cartoons I'll draw an approximation of the original, as I did with this Picasso cartoon and this Magritte one, but here it seemed as though using the original would work better for the joke, as the decorator character is supposed to have painted it ... and would be a lot less work!

    You can see the full painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1503-4) by Hieronymus Bosch, in some detail here. It's almost like a bizarre cartoon itself, in all its wacky glory. I didn't put the usual "Apologies to ..." on this one as, well, it would have given the punchline away.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Never underestimate the power of cartoons


    "I've called you in here to keep you in the loop, as we've made some very long term investments."

    A business magazine I work for has run a short feature about my cartoons, alongside the editor's five favourite gags of the past three years. It is usually such a constant battle trying to convince people that cartoons can be a powerful asset for their business that it's a joy when you know someone gets it. Here's an excerpt:

    "You can never underestimate the power of a cartoon to get straight to the heart of the matter and say succinctly what it can take several pages to explain. This was brought home to me when I attended an annual summit and found Royston's cartoon from issue 33 (above) as part of one CEO's presentation."

    That could not be more on-message! Cartoons work. If you want to commission me, or to re-use any of my existing cartoons, email me on roystonrobertson [at] gmail.com.

    For more, visit my portfolio site.

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Restaurant cartoon: Watercolour challenge


    "I'll have the soup of tomorrow, please."

    I've been "kickin' it old school" today, breaking out the watercolours to produce some cartoons to submit for exhibition at next April's Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival.

    Here's a sneak peek at one of them. The theme is Magic, Myth and Mystery so I did a new version of a cartoon published in The Spectator and The Week last year. The colours are actually brighter than they look here. I've not quite got the hang of scanning watercolours, probably because I don't do it very often. Any tips on how to make watercolours look good on screen welcome!

    Royston's portfolio website

    Weather cartoon: No November


    I was asked to do a cartoon to accompany an article about unseasonably warm November weather, with trees in full blossom and roses in bloom in some areas. This put me in mind of the Thomas Hood poem November, because I'm such a cultured kinda guy ...

    OK, I admit that I only know the poem because it was in a pop song years ago (Opus 4 by the Art of Noise). Anyway, it was a chance to do something a little different from the usual gag cartoon and I was quite pleased with the way it turned out.

    Having said that, I may have made a mistake, as looking online now I'm not 100 per cent sure the poem is called November. I've also found references to it as simply "No!". That would make sense, as the word November is really a punchline. Either way, this is of course just an excerpt from the poem. You can read the full text here.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Art for Saatchi's sake

    Having just watched School of Saatchi, a reality-TV show about wannabe artists, I think the one thing it proved is that with contemporary art it's not what you create that matters it's how you explain it.

    The contestants appeared to be judged on their ability to waffle on about their work, rather than on the artworks themselves. So, in a bid to get my cartoons accepted by the Art Establishment, I thought it would be fun to take one of my old gags and give it the contemporary art treatment. Here we go ...


    "Well, one of us is in the wrong cartoon" (2006)
    Ink on paper, digital colour added


    This piece is, at its heart, an indignant expression of the alienation of the modern condition. The Arctic, or indeed Antarctic, wasteland depicted here can be seen as a metaphor for the cold, lifeless expanse of our technological age.

    A palpable air of mystery drives the work: Which of these animals, both in their way cultural icons, is out of its natural habitat, perhaps cast adrift by the vicissitudes of global warming? Penguin or bear? Or is it, in a very real sense, both? Or perhaps neither?

    Or is it, in fact, us, the viewer?


    What do you reckon? Can I get away with it? Anyone got Charles Saatchi's mobile number?

    More art. Explanations available on request

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    10 pun-based jokes every cartoonist has done


    "Yeah, we've been squatting here for a few months now."

    This joke, from ten years ago, is clearly a "play on words" gag. I used to do a lot of puns and word-play gags back then. I do fewer of them now, though if I think of one that seems original I'll still run with it.

    The problem with puns, you see, is that if you've thought of it, there's a very good chance someone else has too. So, I present ...

    10 pun-based jokes every* gag cartoonist has come up with

    1. Frog's porn (self explanatory)
    2. An astronaut who "needs his space"
    3. A wordy dinosaur said to be a Thesaurus
    4. In tray / Out tray / Shake it all about tray
    5. Lawrence of Suburbia (see also Suburban Fox)
    6. A cyclops baby who has "got his father's eye"
    7. His master's vice (Note. pun gags are often rude)
    8. "This is from the artist's blue period" (See note no.7)
    9. Eee-by-gum mail
    10. Cavemen going clubbing

    (*Well, every UK cartoonist at least. And yes, of course I include myself in all of these.)

    For less common but still fairly popular jokes, see also NHS Very Direct, cats "landing on their feet", Gulliver's travellers cheques etc etc. If you've got any more, add them in Comments below.

    The squatting cartoon appeared in Modern English Teacher magazine in 1999. The editor had seen it in the Journal of Silly, hence the strapline at the top. They did pay me for re-using it though, unlike JoS which was a small-press mag chock full of gags and offered only exposure. Normally such offers are best avoided but the JoS was quite widely seen and was great for those of us who were starting out at the time.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Business magazine cartoon: Bank on it


    "I'm sensing that there's a lack of trust here, Mr Trubshaw."

    Here's a cartoon drawn for an international business magazine to accompany an article about how difficult it is to know what to do with one's money these days (I wish I had that dilemma!) what with the lack of faith in banking after the financial meltdown, the Bernard Madoff scandal and so on.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    The Other Royston takes on Walt Disney


    Regular readers will recall that I blogged about the Other Royston, who worked as a cartoonist in Australia in the 1940s and who turned out to be a woman working under a pseudonym.

    Well, Denise Miles, my correspondent in Australia who brought Other Royston to my attention, was kind enough to send me the 1941 Man annual in which she found the Royston cartoons. "I always like things to go where they will be enjoyed", said Denise, rather marvellously.

    And this certainly has been enjoyed by me today. Each page (just under A4 size) is a full-page cartoon! Imagine something like that being printed today. And from the elegant cover by Jack Gibson, father of the UK's own John Jensen (who revealed to me that "Royston" was a woman) to the advert on the back, also by Gibson, it's beautiful artwork and cracking gags all the way. And there are loads by Other Royston (aka Victoria Cowdroy).

    I'll post some more here in due course, but in the meantime, I just had to put this one up, as it made me laugh out loud (click the image to enlarge it):

    My sincere thanks to Denise for sending me this, you made my day.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Cartoon illustration: Computer says no


    A business magazine wanted to use a photo of the Little Britain character Carol Beer, she of the catchphrase "Computer says no", to illustrate an article. When it proved too expensive to do so, they came to me. I'm officially cheaper than David Walliams.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Page three cartoonist


    Look, I wasn't going to mention it again, but they've only gone and put me on page three of the local paper. Shame about that grimace. Click to enlarge or read it here: Your Thanet

    Update 6.11.09: Here's another cutting, click it to enlarge. This appeared in today's Kent Messenger. More egg-based wordplay!


    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Cartoonists victorious on TV's Eggheads


    The Cartoonists on Eggheads, l-r, Alex Hughes, Royston Robertson, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell and Martin Rowson

    If you have yet to watch the show on BBC iPlayer and don't want to know the result, look away now: yay we WON!!!

    And pretty convincingly too, becoming the first team to knock out each Egghead in the head-to-head rounds and then go on to win the show. Kevin Ashman, the last Egghead standing, who finally fell on a question about cartoons, if you can believe it, said it was "the most comprehensive defeat we've ever had". I like that quote.

    To celebrate here's a rare shot of me smiling on the show (most of the time my face was in a grimace caused by sheer nerves!)


    We all drew cartoons and caricatures of the Eggheads beforehand, which we revealed on the show. I drew CJ de Mooi as a Bond villain as that is the type of "Mr Nasty" character he likes to project! He got the joke, luckily, and really liked it. I only found out via a recent episode of Eggheads that he considers himself something of an expert on Bond films, so that was fortuitous.


    Over at the Bloghorn there's another more detailed account of the Eggheads experience by team captain Alex Hughes: Cartoonists crack Eggheads Can I just say "Yay!" one more time?

    Royston's portfolio website

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Christmas cartoon books out


    "And the award for best actress goes to ..."

    Christmas is fast approaching so the cartoon gift books have arrived in the shops. And a few of my magazine cartoons make a reappearance in the Private Eye Annual 2009 and the Oldie Book of Cartoons 1992-2009.

    The above, which was in the Eye in January, shortly after Kate Winslet did her thing at the Golden Globes, can be seen in the Eye annual, and the old chestnut below, from 2006, is in the Oldie one.

    "Have you noticed how the security guards seem to follow you around the room?"



    They're the ideal present for the cartoon lover in your life, available from all good bookshops, blah blah blah. Merry Christmas!

    Royston's portfolio website

    This just in: Local news!


    From the website of the Your Thanet newspaper (click image to enlarge).

    Royston's portfolio website

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Appearing on TV's Eggheads tomorrow


    OK, I said I'd remind you nearer the time: I can be seen on the TV quiz show Eggheads tomorrow (October 29th) at 6pm on BBC Two.

    I'll be appearing with a group of fellow cartoonists from the PCO. Our team is called, logically enough, The Cartoonists. It was that or something naff like "Drawn to Quizzing"!

    The Cartoonists, seated left to right, are: Chris Burke, who was on the subs' bench but will not be seen on the show, Alex Hughes, myself, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell and Martin Rowson.

    I would say wish us luck, but of course I already know how we did! The show was recorded on January 29th, which means it will have had a gestation period of nine months to the day.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Cartoon from The Spectator Australia


    Here Today: Chimps' Dinner Party

    I only recently found out that there is an Australian edition of The Spectator, and that sometimes cartoons taken by the magazine will appear there. News has just reached these shores that this one was in an edition of the magazine last month.



    I hope my friends in Australia won't be too offended that the first thing that sprang to mind when I heard that there was an Australian edition of The Spectator was the Monty Python "Bruces" sketch, set in the "Philosophy Department at the University of Wallamaloo". You know the one: "Bruce here teaches logical positivism and is also in charge of the sheep dip ..."



    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Recession cartoon from the Foghorn


    "Sorry lads, but times are tough – I'm going to have to let one of you go."

    Is it too late for a recession cartoon? I keep hearing on the news that we're coming out of it, the crunch is over. Doesn't feel like it from where I'm standing, so here's the cartoon anyway.

    This is featured on a page of gags by me which you can see in the latest edition of the Foghorn, the magazine of the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation. You can read an archive of the Foghorn online, just click the button on the right-hand column of this blog (scroll down).

    To buy a print subscription to the mag, which comes out six times a year, go here.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Sickness cartoon: One from the archives


    24 – The next series: "Think I'll throw a sickie today."

    Here's an old cartoon on illness, because I'm full of cold and feeling rubbish. Blegh! Going on a cartoonists' jolly this weekend (to the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire) so I need to recuperate by then! Back to bed, I think.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Caption contest cartoon: Moon crash


    Once again, this week I have taken part in the "reverse caption" competition at the Cartoonists' Club public forum . The caption was "Sorry, no thanks" and I found it a bit tricky. But I've only myself to blame as I set the caption, having won last week.

    This one is a bit different to the usual gag cartoons I do, but it was fun to draw. And it was another chance to do a topical one. It just occurred to me, when the story about crashing spacecraft into the moon broke yesterday, that it's all a bit reminiscent of the famous Georges Méliès silent film Voyage to the Moon.

    "Sorry, no thanks" is a phrase familiar to all cartoonists, by the way, as it is often what is written on rejection slips!

    Here's the cartoon I won with last week, the caption was "Right, any more of that and you'll be sitting on the naughty step." Click to enlarge.


    To me, the word "step" instantly meant Dalek joke opportunity! I'm always a sucker for a Dalek cartoon.

    This next one, from a few weeks earlier, was less successful in the voting. I was surprised as I quite liked it. It was drawn for the caption "This is the best I could come up with" and I include it here as Antony Gormley's living artwork One and Another, which it spoofs, finishes next Wednesday (October 14).

    Royston's portfolio website

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Financial cartoons are not overdrawn



    Here's a selection from a bunch of icon-style cartoons I drew for a financial website. They appear on the site even smaller than you see here, so it was a new experience for me to produce cartoons that work in that space.

    I was given a list of subjects to illustrate: pensions, tax, mortgages, banks, debt, internet shopping and so on. The first thing I learned was that less is more. On the first few I'd put in detail that simply couldn't be seen when I reduced them down. So I had to start throwing things out.

    In the end, I found that as so little detail was required I could create them entirely on the computer, rather than drawing on paper, scanning and colouring on screen, which is the way I usually work. There was no need to worry about line and certainly no space for elaborate composition.

    Ironically, considering financial matters are not my strong point, I found this to be a fun job.

    Royston's portfolio website

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Cartoonists on TV's Eggheads


    You may, or may not, remember that I mentioned on this blog back in January that I took part in a recording of the TV quiz show Eggheads with a group of fellow cartoonists from the PCO. Well, we finally have a broadcast date.

    Thursday 29 October is when the show will go out on BBC2. It's still a few weeks off, so I'll remind you nearer the time (the date has already changed a few times, so it may do so again.)

    Pictured above are our team, left to right, Chris Burke, our sub in case any of us fell prey to sudden illness (or stage fright), Alex Hughes, myself, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell and Martin Rowson.

    On the back row is presenter Jeremy Vine, second left, with the Eggheads, CJ de Mooi, Barry Simmons, Daphne Fowler, Chris Hughes, Kevin Ashman, and Judith Keppel, who was the Eggheads' sub on this show.

    On each edition of the show a team of challengers are pitted against the Eggheads, who are all quiz specialists. Between them they have won most major TV and radio quizzes.

    And no, I can't tell anyone how we did. Sworn to secrecy, and all that!

    Royston's portfolio website

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Reader's Digest caption contest: Result


    "He may be a super-villain to you, but do you have any idea how many jobs he's created for the local area?"

    You many remember I mentioned that this cartoon of mine was the Reader's Digest "Beat the Cartoonist" drawing in the August issue.

    The idea was that readers submitted their captions, and the three best ones were posted on the website alongside my original wording, with no clue as to which was the original, of course. Visitors to the site were then asked to choose their favourite.

    Well the good news, revealed in the October issue, is that they made the correct decision ... in other words they voted for my caption! It's the first time for five months that the cartoonist has won. My fellow scribblers, the fightback begins here ...
    Royston's portfolio website

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Boardroom cartoon: Snack time


    "Owing to the very real threat of biscuit-related injuries, the snack of choice for meetings will now be blancmange."

    Anyhoo ... enough about the other cartoonist called Royston, here's a drawing from the current one (click to enlarge). This is the latest in the boardroom series, which I draw regularly for a trade publication. It accompanied an article about the number of accidents caused at work by biscuits. It's quite a lot, apparently!

    Royston's portfolio website

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Another cartoonist called Royston: Update

    When I found out last week that there was another cartoonist called Royston, working in Australia in the 1940s, I knew I would need to uncover more about my namesake.

    After numerous emails to cartoonists in the UK and Australia, primarily John Jensen and Lindsay Foyle, consultations in reference books on artists, and a fair bit of poking around in dusty corners of the internet, I found out a lot more. And here’s the headline news: Royston was a woman!

    “Royston” was the pen-name of Victoria Ethel Cowdroy, better known as Vic Cowdroy, an Australian cartoonist, painter, sculptor, illustrator, filmmaker and commercial artist. I feel like a bit of an underachiever compared to this Royston.


    A poster I found in an online auction, credited as the work of Vic Cowdroy, circa 1965. Intriguingly, it is signed “Royston Cooper”.

    Cowdroy was born in 1908 and moved to London after the Second World War. She married cartoonist Arthur Horner, creator of the strip Colonel Pewter. They lived and worked in Britain until the mid-1970s when they returned to Melbourne. She died on 26 June 1994.


    From The Age, Melbourne, Dec 31, 1977. Note the reference to Horner working on a Colonel Pewter film with his wife.

    You can find out all you need to know about Vic Cowdroy here. The article states: “From January 1938 Cowdroy contributed numerous joke cartoons and elegant line and watercolour drawings to Man, Man Junior, Cavalcade and other semi-salacious publications under the pseudonym ‘Royston’.”

    I couldn’t find any more "Royston" cartoons online (if you have any, please do scan them and send them to me) but this piece does contain some very entertaining transcriptions of her Man cartoons, which were more than a little risqué for the time.

    Old woman to young woman going out: “Be a good girl and have a good time.”/ “Make up your mind mother.” November 1938

    Young woman to customs officer checking her luggage: "Oh, don't worry with that one. It's only some marihuana I'm smuggling in." December 1938

    Woman with knickers round her ankles but hat intact: “Huh! I thought you said this stuff would knock your hat off.” January 1939

    So, lots of information uncovered on Victoria Cowdroy, but one mystery remains: Why earth did she chose the name Royston?!

    *********
    Many thanks to cartoonist John Jensen for being the first to tip me off that "Royston" was a woman. John's father was Jack Gibson, one of the key artists at Man, and John met Vic Cowdroy a few times.

    Thanks also and to Lindsay Foyle in Australia for a heroic amount of research, finding out info from colleagues and looking Cowdroy up in reference books on Australian art. And cheers to Matt Buck, Andy Davey, Jason Chatfield and Nik Scott.


    And this is me! THIS Royston's portfolio site

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Art cartoon: I'm so very sorry


    Picasso's "Weeping Woman", Picasso's lesser-seen "Pull Yourself Together, Woman"

    It is traditional when producing cartoons based on works of art to put "After ..." followed by the name of the artist. Out of respect, this often takes the form of "Apologies ..." which I have used here.

    It's genuinely felt too, because I love Picasso's "Weeping Woman". It's an amazingly powerful work, particularly when you see it in a gallery. The painting is about bereavement in the Spanish Civil War, and I wondered whether it was a suitable subject for a cartoon.

    In the end I decided not to let my liberal guilt get in the way of a cheap gag! So here it is, and sorry again Pablo. The cartoon can be seen in the current Private Eye.

    It was drawn with coloured brush pens, as I thought that would be better than using Photoshop. And yes, I used a lightbox to get the "Weeping Woman" right. It was quite a lot of effort to go to for an on-spec gag, much more than is usual, so I'm glad it sold.

    Royston's portfolio website

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