Textbook cartoon: Mr Logic

This is a textbook cartoon. By which, I don't mean it's a perfect example of a cartoon, I mean it was drawn recently for a school textbook. I quite liked the joke in this one, so I thought I'd share it.

As you can see, I have attemped to draw A Young Person. An absurdly large tie and ridiculously messy haircut just about does it. I'm down with the kids, me.

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Clown cartoon: It's not so sad

"As I feared, the X-ray shows that you are crying inside."

"There's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than the tears of a clown"

– Smokey Robinson

Well, maybe. But I can't help feeling that there are quite a lot of things sadder. Genocide, child poverty, that kind of thing. So pull yourself together, clowny.

I originally drew tears in mid-air on the X-ray. But that kind of thing looks a bit old-fashioned in cartoons these days, so I took them out. But then I worried that it looks like he's sneezing. Anyway, I sold the cartoon so I try not to worry once that happens. But these are the things that keep cartoonists awake at night.

Now that's sad.

More clowning around


Battle of the Cartoonists 2010

Well, the PCO/Foghorn magazine team put together a cracking banner for the Battle of the Cartoonists at the Big Draw on Saturday, but we were pipped at the post in the "cheer-o-meter" by Private Eye.

I've written a full report on the day's fun and games over at the Bloghorn. Pictured above, with the banner, are, left to right, Cathy Simpson, Ian Ellery, myself, Robert Duncan and Nathan Ariss. Thanks to Denis Dowland for the photos.

The theme was "Make your mark on the future", and here's one of my cartoons:

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Topical cartoon: The axeman cometh

The Apprentice: Spending Review Special

Here's a cartoon drawn for a local paper on the Government's spending review, which was announced on Wednesday. I've combined reality TV with grim old actual reality.

I think a lot of people thought beforehand that the spending review would mean that councils would be forced to cut back on wasteful excesses in the area of paperclips, custard creams and so on.

They forget that real cutbacks means cutting real people's jobs. It is quite staggering that that the Government, which generally aims to cut unemployment, is about to put half a million people on the dole.

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Drawing a line in the sand with the CCGB

"Life's a beach."

This is a cartoon drawn in the sand on the beach at Skegness, where the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain held its 2010 Convention and AGM last weekend.

As mentioned here before, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little wary about this three-day event: the combination of Skegness, Butlins and October seemed like some kind of elaborate joke!

But as I have been complaining for some time that the club has had few family-friendly events for several years (brewery tours are fine but not ideal with an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old in tow) I decided to take the plunge. It proved to be the right move as I, my wife, and our two children had a great time.

Cartoon by Noel Ford, after the famous poster by John Hassall

I didn't win the Cartoons in the Sand competition – there were too many desert island gags, I think! – but I did win in the Great British Holiday cartoon competition. There were three winners picked by the judges plus one voted by the public – "The What Do the Judges Know? Prize", as it was described – and I won that one, for this cartoon.
"This is rubbish, can we please do Ibiza next year?"

The highlight of the weekend was the excellent Saturday night gala meal, which included the prize-giving, a humour-based quiz, hosted by me, which went down well, and the always enjoyable informal sing-song led by Tim "The Ukulele" Harries.

As a bonus to all this, the kids got to enjoy swimming, play parks, and all the usual Butlins stuff. A note to regular Butlins-goers though: "All you can eat" is just an offer, not a strict instruction.

So, many thanks to the Cartoonists' Club for organising such a fun event. Hi-de-Hi, campers!

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Doing battle at The Big Draw

This weekend I'll be taking part in the Battle of the Cartoonists, part of the Big Draw Festival in London.

I'm on the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation team and we'll be competing against teams from Private Eye and The Guardian. The idea is that each team produces a banner on the festival theme of "Make Your Mark on the Future".

This year we're at The Scoop, an ampitheatre close to City Hall, aka the Greater London Assembly building, and Tower Bridge on the South Bank. The Battle takes place on Saturday between 3.15pm and 5pm. Voting is by public approval, so come along and cheer for us! There will also be workshops for cartoon enthusiasts of all ages.

I last took part in 2008, that's the banner we came up with above. That event took place at the revamped St Pancras station, hence the train tickets motif.


Private Eye Christmas cards

'Tis the season to be thinking about how near Christmas is getting, and Private Eye is on the case with its usual pack of festive cards for sale. And this year one of them is by me.

That's mine second from bottom on the right-hand side. I'm not putting it on here just yet, but you can see it on the site or, better still, buy sets of 12 cards online.

And if you'd like me to draw a Christmas card for you, it's probably a good idea to start thinking about it. Annoying, I know, but true!


Holiday cartoon: Farewell to summer

As the memory of a few bonus days of sunny weather fades, here's another cartoon I submitted for the Great British Holiday competition, which is part of the forthcoming Cartoonists' Club convention.

This is a coloured version of a Private Eye cartoon from summer 2009.

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Fairytale cartoon: Health & Safety gone mad

It's inevitable, with the amount of cartoons you produce working for magazines, that you like some more than others. This one I thought was just OK, a solid enough joke but generally I'd call it a batch-filler.

So, of course, it was the only one that sold in a recent batch sent to The Spectator, and can be seen in this week's issue.

Originally, I drew it for the CCGB online cartoon contest, in one of the weeks where you have to come up with a captionless cartoon. The theme was "Hot". However, completely "silent" cartoons, i.e. with no wording in them at all, are preferred, so it didn't do very well!

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Cave-painting cartoon: The untamed line

"No! It picture of hunt. It not 'really about inner conflict'..."

All cartoonists have favourite subjects to draw, and cavemen is one of mine. It's because you can go wild with the line, as the "costume" of the character is pretty flexible. And they're usually very ugly.

With a caveman cartoon, you're usually putting them in a modern context, so you're always aware that there's a chance the joke has already been done on The Flintstones! I use the word "modern" loosely as, amazingly, The Flintstones turned 50 last week.

I was reminded of this cartoon by a documentary I saw the other day which featured footage of J.R.R. Tolkien angrily denying that the Lord of the Rings was in any way a religious allegory, as everyone insisted on telling him. It must be annoying for any artist to have someone suggest a sub-text in their work that they never intended. Thankfully, this rarely happens in cartooning.

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