Reader's Digest caption contest hat-trick

"You hold no authority that will allow you passage and are ignorant of the magic password ... can you at least tell me your mother's maiden name?"

The results of Reader's Digest's Beat the Cartoonist contest are in ...

Woo-hoo! That's a hat-trick for me, having won twice before. I did a lap of honour in WHSmiths when I saw that. The cartoonists' team is still behind though, with a fair way to go, as it's 10-5 to the readers.

For those not familiar with the contest, it goes like this: the mag prints the cartoon with no caption and readers submit their ideas. Then the best three are printed alongside (anonymously) the cartoonist's original and it's put to the vote.

You can see my other Beat the Cartoonist cartoons here and here.

Royston's portfolio website


Music cartoon: Taking it easy

His master's chill-out album.

It's been a while since I've had a cartoon featuring this little fella on the blog, so here's another one.

I've drawn so many variations on this theme over the years. Perhaps I should do a whole book of them and try to sell it through the HMV chain. Or maybe they would just tell me to stop.

Royston's portfolio website


Not Yet Sold: Duel cartoon

"On second thoughts, shall we go for Rock-Paper-Scissors?"

Haven't had one of my rejected cartoons on here for a while, so here's one from 2008. I was quite pleased with the drawing here but, alas, the cartoon failed to find a home.

Click the link for more Not Yet Sold cartoons.

Royston's portfolio website


From the archives: Olympics cartoon

"Behind schedule? Not at all. Over here we have the sandpit, the high-jump, hurdles ..."

This was drawn for a business magazine in 2004, shortly before the Athens Games, when the media was going crazy about how the building work was behind schedule etc. No doubt I'll get to recycle this joke for the London 2012 Games!

This six-year-old cartoon looks a little stiff and clunky to me now. It was drawn before I started using brush pens, but I can see the beginnings of my current style coming through. It was also one of the first cartoons I coloured using Adobe Photoshop, although by the look of it I was mainly just using the "fill" tool at this point.

Royston's portfolio website


I never Metamorphosis I didn't like

"On the plus side: I no longer have to pretend I know what Kafkaesque means."

Here's a "clever" cartoon, though cleverly it's about not being clever. Clever, eh? It's really a cartoon about bluffing it, and I think the bug is probably me. I must admit, I've never read any Franz Kafka but I have read Kafka for Beginners, as it's illustrated by cartoonist Robert Crumb. A good starting point.

Royston's portfolio website


Election cartoon: Winners and losers

"Remember, it's not the winning that's important, it's the not losing ..."

This was drawn for a local paper this week. I notice that another cartoonist came up with basically the same joke in the current Private Eye. This kind of thing happens a lot with topical cartoons, it's inevitable when we're all thinking about the same subjects and working within the parameters of the gag cartoon.

Now, of course, we know who won, and I suspect that the resulting Conservative and Lib Dem coalition will be a gift for cartoonists.

Royston's portfolio website


Still hanging around: Volcanic ash cartoon

OK, enough politics* already, there's another story in the news that doesn't seem to be going away.

I thought this cartoon on the volcanic ash cloud, which I drew for a local paper a few weeks ago, would have a limited shelf life, but the infamous plume appears to still be with us. So I thought I'd give it another airing here.

And it seems there is still life in the "smokers' huddle" cartoon too, one of the great contemporary clichés of UK cartooning!

(*I spent Election Night with a group of other cartoonists at the Groucho Club in London. You can read a short report on this at the Bloghorn)


Election day cartoon

Drawn for a local newspaper. I think it probably reflects the views of many. Don't forget to vote!

Royston's portfolio website


Website cartoons: More politics

Here are more examples of political cartoons, for this election week. These are part of a series drawn for the Taxpayers Alliance, which ran on its site for about three years, illustrating various pages.

Of course, the TPA is at a very different point on the political spectrum to the Green Party, proving that I am a shameless mercenary who goes where the money is. But you can't always do work that reflects your political viewpoint. As George W. Bush once famously said, a man has to put food on his family.

Royston's portfolio website


Humorous illustration: Political spin

Here's an illustration I drew a couple of years ago for a Green Party leaflet. Seems an appropriate one to dig out from the files as the political parties go into spin overdrive ahead of the UK General Election on Thursday.

In other news ... it was good to see The Guardian newspaper acknowledging the importance of cartoons in an editorial yesterday, with particular reference to the PCO, of which I am a member, and the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, which you're probably sick of me banging on about (last time – until next year! – I promise.)

Here's the article: In praise of ... cartoonists