Music cartoon: Return of the HMV dog

"Bloody students."

This cartoon, which appears in the July issue of Reader's Digest, was the result of a deliberate attempt at getting more mileage out of a well-worn cartoon theme!

I've had a few HMV dog cartoons published over the years, so I decided to see if I could come up with some more. I opened one of them on my computer in Photoshop and played about with the elements of the drawing – the dog and the gramophone – moving and rotating them, resizing them, copying and pasting etc.

It's an unusual way of developing gag ideas, for me anyway, but I came up with a few. Once I was happy with each one, I printed off the cobbled-together image and redrew it on my lightbox, so it looked more fluid. This is the only one that has been published so far, but you may yet see more HMV dog cartoons from me.

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Sunny weather cartoon: A word of warning

Protect your eyes: Never look directly at pale legs

We British love to talk about the weather, so here's a joke about the lovely sunny spell we've been having lately. This cartoon appears in the new issue of Private Eye.

They say we're in for a "barbecue summer", so get out and enjoy it. By way of a reminder, here's a weather cartoon from last summer.

"Why are we British so obsessed ... with talking about the weather?"

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Redacted cartoon

This cartoon has been redacted but we can assure you that it was very, very funny.

We were all faced with an unfamiliar word last week: redaction, the editing out of certain "sensitive" details from the newly released MPs' expenses claims.

The distinctive black rectangle was a striking visual image and, of course, a gift for cartoonists. You can see a round-up of redacted cartoons at the Bloghorn.

This one of mine didn't sell, but I didn't feel too bad about that because all I did was take an old desert-island cartoon and put a black rectangle on it in Photoshop!

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From the archives: Football cartoon

"I must admit, your explanation of the offside rule was spot on."

Cartoonist Alex Matthews mentions this cartoon as one he wishes he'd thought of in his Cartoonist of the Month interview over at Prospect magazine's blog. It was in Reader's Digest in 2006.

This is one of those that I never had particularly high hopes for when I drew it (I thought it may have been done already) ... so, of course, it is one of the most popular cartoons I've ever drawn!

Hey, look! Here's one of those wordcloud thingies from the Wordle site. Everyone else seems to be doing them, so here's one created with this blog feed. Click to enlarge.

No surprises with most of the words that are prominent, such as "cartoon", "joke" etc. But it's always a bit disappointing that wordclouds highlight such mundane words as "come" and "going".

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Drugs cartoon: Keeping it simple

"Mother, are you sure your marijuana use is purely medicinal?"

This cartoon appears in the current Private Eye. Often, with gag cartoons, when you first come up with the idea you want to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the joke, and then you find you have to simplify it.

With this one, the old lady was originally going to be holding a Bob Marley LP, and I even considered putting her in a "Legalise it" T-shirt, complete with cannabis leaf logo! In the end the Rasta hat and slightly stoned expression seemed to be enough.

There was a time, I think, when I think a cartoon like this would have been considered racist, as it plays on black stereotypes. Thankfully, we've moved on. The fact is that a lot of humour, particularly cartoons, plays on clich├ęs and stereotypes, and as long as they're not used to incite hatred, I don't think it's a problem. This TV sketch, for example, may not have been aired a few year ago. But it's not racist, it's just funny.

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Staff handbook cartoon: Computer trouble

"I told you not to open that attachment."

I was recently commissioned to draw a series of cartoons to illustrate an organisation's staff handbook. Here's one of them, it accompanies the section on computers.

The joke here was originally used in a gag cartoon which I sent out as part of an on-spec batch to all the usual magazines. It did not sell, but I always thought it was a fun joke, so I was glad to give it an airing (and get paid for it, of course) in a different context.

Rejected cartoons, or the jokes within them, will often get used somewhere other than the newsstand magazines, so the time spent on them is rarely wasted.

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Elections cartoon: Don't forget to vote

"Something tells me they're expecting a low voter turnout."

Here's a local paper cartoon on today's Euro and council elections. Like many people who are more than a bit disillusioned with politics, I'll be going along to vote out of a sense of duty to the process itself, rather than dedication to any particular candidate or party.

This is nothing to do with the recent MPs' expenses scandal, by the way, I was disillusioned way before that! I do know I won't be transferring my vote to the British National Party, and I find it bizarre that anyone would vote in such a way to "punish" the main parties over expenses. Maybe I should spoil my ballot paper by drawing a cartoon on it. It might at least cheer up one of the people who have the thankless task of counting all the votes.

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Heaven Knows I'm Mozzerable Now

Last night I attended the AGM of the Cartoonists' Club in London. It was not the most fun meeting ever, as major changes are afoot at the club, so there was much raising of voices and pointing of fingers. (Not from me I might add!) However, I did come away with a couple of fun caricatures by Simon Ellinas, left, and Paul Baker.

I am of course, not the most difficult of people to caricature. Once you've got the qiuff, the glasses and the eyebows you've more or less captured me. Well, me or Morrissey.

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