Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fortune teller cartoon: Size matters

"You are going on a short journey ..."

This is the original version of a cartoon which appears in this week's Private Eye. The magazine was concerned that the shopping list on the man's hand might not be readable when printed, so I drew a "close-up", single-column version.

It's important to bear in mind print size, particularly when the drawing contains a key detail, as this one does. In most magazines these days cartoons are usually printed quite small. The new drawing works fine but I still prefer the original, and as it looks OK online I've used that one here. Plus, of course, on the internet there's always click to enlarge.

Royston's portfolio website


  1. Have you seen old copies of the Eye (60's and 70's)? Cartoons were massive compared to today-sigh...

  2. Yep, that seems to be the case with a lot of magazines. And no one seems to do full-page cartoons anymore.

  3. I always find it difficult to gauge how large I should make any writing that appears in the picture - it always looks huge when I'm drawing on A4. The Eye has increased the writing on a couple of my cartoons in the past, but I can imagine it would have been a lot harder for them to do so here, as the text is restricted by the size of the chap's hand.

    Print size can be tricky, can't it? I once had a cartoon published that relied on the reader being able to recognise that two of the characters were Picasso's Weeping Woman and the Laughing Cavalier (I'd used collage to include the actual images from the painting). When it was published, they crammed it into such a small gap - I think about 1cm high - that no one I showed it to could make out what was going on!

  4. 1cm high? That's smaller than a postage stamp!

  5. I just dug it out and checked, and it was actually closer to 2cm - but still tiny. The funny thing is that some other cartoons would probably have remained legible at that size, but this one definitely could have done with a bit more space.

    Oh well - at least what they paid me wasn't equally diminished!



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