Beat ye Cartoonist

One of my cartoons is the Beat the Cartoonist image in the January Reader's Digest, allowing readers to write their own captions then vote on the best.

Click here to take part.

And you can see my previous Beat the Cartoonist entries here. So far I have won three and lost one ...

Another year over: My 2011

As tradition dictates, it's time for the round-up of my cartooning year. So here are my highlights of 2012. This is not a round robin OK, as I haven't sent it directly to you and it doesn't contain details of my daughter losing her first tooth this year (although she did ...)

I went to the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival as usual, my sixth visit. I drew a Big Board, knocking out a olden-days version (you had to be there) of an early cartoon of mine. I'm now in the process of coming up with cartoons on a "flying" theme for the 2012 festival.

"I must say, your explanation of the offside rule was most pertinent."

Being part of the Private Eye at 50 exhibition was definitely a highlight of 2011, along with the accompanying opening night and, a week later, the "Golden Jubilee" bash at the Guildhall, left.

I visited the Eye offices for the first time this year, which was fun, as part of a PCO team presenting them with an award. Here's the report at The Bloghorn.

Painting a board for the Great Wall of Ramsgate, above, a public art project, was very rewarding. The wall got a great reaction from the local community. Below is a picture from the Isle of Thanet Gazette, when the wall picked up the local Town Image award.

OK, it looks a bit like The Great Wal Lof Ramsgat3, but you get the point. That's me putting the R in Great. Ahem. Click to enlarge, if you like.

As well as the Private Eye show and the Shrewsbury exhibition, I had cartoons in several exhibitions: Marriage a la Mode at the Cartoon Museum (one of which was picked for a BBC preview, below); the Chris Beetles Gallery at Nunnington Hall; a Spectator cartoon exhibition in Mayfair; and even Henley Regatta. Not forgetting the Post Nude exhibition in Whitstable.

I usually pick out some favourite cartoons of the year, so here goes: I liked this one. It was actually drawn in 2010, but it appeared in print this year.

"Hey, that one looks just like a visible mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere."

I was looking through the Private Eye at 50 book last week, which Father Christmas brought me, and was surprised to see this cartoon in it. It's about the size of the nail on my little finger, but it's there! It's in a photo of the magazine being put together.

This one, from Reader's Digest, is also a favourite and is probably the one I got the most positive reaction for in 2011 ...

Talking of public reaction ...
I achieved a long-held ambition in 2011: I made it to the letters page of Private Eye, thanks to the Doctor Who cartoon on the right. But unlike most reactions to cartoons, this was neither pedantry nor outrage.

Here are some jolly cartoonists on a cartoon jolly! The Cartoonists' Club organised a great trip to the West Country. Here's a few of us giving our best cheesy grins at Cheddar Gorge (geddit?!)

And finally ... regular readers will know that I published a book of my cartoons this year. In order to sell them I have gone ON and ON (and, indeed, ON) about it quite a lot on this blog, not least with the "Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book" links at the foot of most posts. It was great to get the book out there and it seems to have gone down very well, so I can't promise that I won't keep doing it. At least until the next one's out.

So, happy new year all. And if you haven't done so already Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book in 2011!


Cartoon advent calendar: Day 24.
It's the taking part

Here's the final advent calendar cartoon. This was my Christmas card this year, and like the drawing from day one, the gag was in the Christmas issue of Reader's Digest.

I picked this as the final one as it looks forward to 2012. Thanks for reading and a merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar: Day 23. Making a list

Today's advent cartoon is another from the Christmas Private Eye.

I did one similar to this a few years ago, which didn't sell, where he had three lists: Nice, Naughty and Misunderstood. But it seemed right to rework it this year in the light of the riots across England, after which people were searching for reasons for young people going on the rampage.

"Alienated" and "disaffected" were words used by Tony Blair in a post-riots speech.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar: Day 22. Turkey talk

This pocket cartoon was drawn this week, to accompany a local paper story about a woman who keeps a turkey as a pet -- a spot of seasonal silliness!

The glassy eyes of the turkey, to indicate cuteness, were the result of looking at my son's drawings. He draws them like that a lot, a trick picked up from watching Spongebob Squarepants and Pokémon cartoons.

It's not too late to buy Royston's cartoon book for Christmas (2012)


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 21. Recession Christmas

"Luckily for you, we're only taking on temporary staff right now."

Today's advent calendar cartoon is from the Private Eye Christmas issue, which is out today. We're on the home stretch now ...

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 20. Scrooged

"You can't have more coal for the fire, Mr Cratchit -- this firm is committed to reducing its carbon emissions."

Ebenezer Scrooge would do well if he was around today. He's committed to austerity measures, keeping costs low and running his business on as few staff as possible, and his "make do and mend" approach is also good for the planet.

This cartoon appears in the current edition of The Jester, newsletter of the Cartoonists' Club, which has a Dickens theme to tie in with the Dickens at 200 celebrations.

Banish the Hard Times blues with Royston's cartoon book ...


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 18. Food for thought

"Apparently, it's organic"

Day 18 of the cartoon advent calendar and this is the fourth snowman joke, and there may well be more to come. This was in Prospect magazine at Christmas two years ago.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 17: Bear with me

"You must come over to ours for Boxing Day."

This is one from a couple of years ago when there were lots of cartoons depicting polar bears on floating bits of ice. Maybe editors had had their fill though, as it didn't sell. Or maybe they thought that worrying about global financial crisis at Christmas time is enough, without also worrying about global warming.

To avoid a Frozen Planet controversy, I should point out that this is not a real depiction of polar bears, it's just a drawing.

Click here to buy Penguin vs Polar Bear


Cartoon advent calendar: Day 16. Him again

Here's another new one, from this week's Spectator Christmas issue, but clearly I was riffing here on a favourite theme ...

More Magritte cartoons

It's probably of interest to no-one but myself, but this month now has more blog posts than any other I've done. In your face, April 2010 (15) !


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 15. Exchanging gifts

"I feel awful -- we only got them socks."

Back to the present for today's advent cartoon. This is in the new edition of Prospect.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 13. It's a calling

"Oi! Are you looking at my four calling birds?"

For some reason that is lost in the mists of time, in 2008 Private Eye was keen to run gags, by different cartoonists, that used the caption "Oi! Are you looking at my bird?", and variations thereof. So I thought they might go for a festive take on that. They didn't.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 12. The nativity

"If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this drama ..."

Here's today's advent cartoon. This was a Private Eye Christmas card cartoon last year.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar: Day 11. Hello kitty

"Since that trip to the vet, these were the only baubles that Pickles would be playing with this year."

I know what you're thinking ... that's not a cartoon! But I did write the caption for this Christmas photo card.

A few years ago, I drew a Christmas cartoon for a card company that also sent me some photos to write captions for. They picked this one. It's a peurile joke, I know, but it all puts turkey on the table. I dedicate this to our cat, Mike, by way of apology. Normal service will resume tomorrow ...

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 10. Lighten up

"Very festive, but I can't seem to find the door."

Believe it or not, this one can currently be seen on a Christmas tree in a church!

St George's Church in Ramsgate asks local organisations to decorate trees every year, as a fundraising event, and Ramsgate Arts, for whom I did a talk, a couple of years ago, approached local artists to contribute images for theirs. This was also Prospect magazine's Christmas card in 2008.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book



Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 8. Arty Christmas

"It's my homage to Picasso."

Here's an art cartoon for day eight of the advent calendar. Drawn for a local paper last Christmas. That's three snowmen cartoon so far, and there's more to come.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 7. The accused

"It is alleged that you did pose as a clergyman in order to carry out sham marriage ceremonies ..."

After the punnery of yesterday's advent cartoon, this one is possibly a little more sophisticated -- by which, I mean that some people didn't get it. Private Eye did though, and it was in the magazine last Christmas.

Royston's cartoon book: it's got no Christmas cartoons in it but the one on the cover does have some snow in it


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 6. Clause and effect

"The lawyer was suspicious of all the dodgy Clauses."

This was a cartoon for a law firm's Christmas card from 2006, though it was reused again this year by another law firm that had seen it on my portfolio site. Which was nice.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 5. Wise move

Day five, and here's the first religious cartoon. This is from Christmas 2007 and was in Prospect magazine. There was a lot of stuff in the media at the time about MPs and donations, members' interests etc.

Christmas shopping? Why not get them a book they'll actually read this year!


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 4. Giving and receiving

"I think someone's stealing our wi-fi."

I hope you're all enjoying the advent calendar cartoons, and I can only apologise for the fact that each image does not come with a piece of funny-tasting chocolate in the shape of a robin. Today's is an unsold one from a couple of years ago.

The perfect stocking-filler ...


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 3. Meet and Magritte

Today's advent cartoon is an oldie. This was in a Private Eye Christmas issue in 2008. Day three and I'm already revisiting past glories! Mind you, I don't think I've posted this here before, though there are other Magritte cartons.

Nothing says Christmas like a book of Royston cartoons


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 2. Taking stock at Christmas

"These gentlemen are here to discuss mistakes we may have made, where we are now, and what the future holds ..."

Here's today's advent cartoon. This was drawn for a trade publication, to be sent out as part of an e-card, and is one of my regular boardroom series of cartoons.

It's fun sometimes to drop new characters into the regular scenario, and often the jokes almost write themselves. For the current economic climate, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future seemed appropriate, particularly as Future, with his scythe, gives us an indication of what's to come: i.e. more cuts. Merry Christmas, indeed.

See their faces light up this Christmas with a Royston cartoon book


Cartoon advent calendar:
Day 1. Hacking Christmas

"Perhaps you could tell us how you know if we've been bad or good?"

I'm going to treat you lucky people to a Christmas cartoon for each day leading up to December 24 -- a kind of cartoon advent calendar. They will be new and old, published and unpublished, some from magazines and others commissioned.

To kick things off, this is in the Christmas issue of Reader's Digest. Any resemblance to living people is purely coincidental etc etc.

I think this is the only cartoon I've done where the speaker is not in the cartoon. I wasn't sure it would work, but I think we're so used to seeing this kind of televised public grilling now, such as the current Leveson Inquiry, that I get away with it.

Give the gift of a Royston cartoon book this Christmas!


Strike cartoon: The home front

The kids are off school today because of the public sector strike, which makes this cartoon, which I drew today for a local paper, somewhat autobiographical.
Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


My cartoon collection ... still out now!

I've just ordered a new batch of cartoon books, so it's probably a good time to remind you that one would make an ideal Christmas present ...

Penguin vs Polar Bear and Other Ridiculous Cartoons is 104 pages long and has lots of funny cartoons in it, taken from Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator, Prospect, The Oldie, New Statesman and others.

Visit my shop to buy a signed copy for £5.99 plus £2 p+p. It's also available at the Cartoon Museum shop in London, and at their online store. Plus you can buy it at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Lulu.com. There's even a bargain-price digital download version available.


Not Yet Sold: Just say no, kids

Look, it made me laugh, OK?

It appears that I was probably alone though, hence it is currently dwelling in the file marked Rejected, er, I mean Not Yet Sold. You can see more here.

Let's pause for a cup of tea

Cuppa tea? Oil on tea towel, by Royston Robertson, circa 2008

Having a sort out, I came across some old paintings I did in an evening class a few years ago. Here's one: a still life of a tea cup. Painted on an old tea towel, I kid you not. This is from my Typhoo period. Sugar, anyone?


Cartoon for Doctor Who website

I had some fun doing this cartoon, which can be seen on the Doctor Who fansite Adventures with the Wife in Space. The site is run by Neil Perryman, an old friend from my university days, who commissioned me via Facebook, having seen me banging on (and on) about my cartoons there.

The idea behind the site is that every day he watches an episode of Doctor Who with his non-fan wife Sue, in order from the very beginning, and records her reactions, which are mostly sarcastic and very funny. They're on to Jon Pertwee now: check it out.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm not averse to drawing the odd Doctor Who-based cartoon.

Looks like I've got some competition ...

There was much excitement in our house when my son Fergus, 9, got a cartoon in The Dandy. It was in last week's issue. He came third, out of five, in a competition to design a character for the comic strip The Bogies.

His creation is Lord Booger (based on Lord Sugar -- geddit?) and a strip based on the character will appear in next week's issue. The family business beckons ...

Text Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Cowboy cartoon: Talkin' long captions

Here's a cartoon that comprehensively breaks the unwritten rule that captions should be snappy and to the point.
"This town ain't big enough for the two of us, so I'm proposing 1,000 new homes with a commitment to affordable housing plus adjacent retail park and leisure destination."

I spent quite a bit of time trawling local council websites to get the deathlessly dull phrases that they use right. "Leisure destination" is a particularly annoying one. This can be seen in the November issue of Reader's Digest.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Running cartoon: From Private Eye annual

"What are we running for? For me, it's Cancer Research this year."

The Private Eye Annual 2011 is in the shops, and I've got a couple of cartoons in it, including the one above.

This cartoon illustrates that submitting cartoons is often about timing. I drew it about a year ago but it seemed like the wrong time to be sending it out, as we headed into winter, and no-one would be thinking about "fun runs" any time soon. So I sent it in early 2011 and Private Eye took it, then used it in the week of the London Marathon in April.


Library picture

I was more than a little chuffed, when browsing in my local library here in Broadstairs, to come across a copy of my cartoon book. There it is, above, punching above its weight amid heftier tomes. I had heard that it was in there, I suppose it is a "supporting local artists" thing.

Initially I thought no-one had taken it out, but then I remembered that there's no way of knowing. The borrowing process is automated now, and you get a receipt with the return date from a machine, rather than a stamp in your book from a human being. I can't say I'm happy about that, it seems a bit impersonal, but it's better than libraries closing, which is happening all over the country. So, support your local library! (And borrow my book!)

Or, you could buy a copy. (Ideal Christmas present etc.) You can get it from Amazon and Lulu.com, but in the spirit of small enterprise I'd prefer it if you bought it directly from me, as I see more of the money that way: Visit my shop.


Religion cartoon: Keeping it in the family

"He only got this job because of who his dad is."

After two posts about my social life (it's so rare that I have one!) it's time I posted a cartoon on this cartoon blog, so here's one from the November edition of Prospect.

Watching BBC Four's Holy Flying Circus the other day reminded me how much Monty Python's Life of Brian opened the door to allow us all to be a bit non-reverential about religion. A cartoon like this may have ruffled a few feathers once, but it's hard to imagine anyone getting too worked up about it now. Actually, as a former Catholic (and altar boy!) I should probably think that's a bit of a shame.

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book

Partying with 'smartoonists' at the Guildhall

Cartoonists were outside their usual comfort zone at the Private Eye Golden Jubilee party on Wednesday -- the culmination of the magazine's 50th celebrations -- not because of the splendour of the venue, but rather the "smart dress" instruction on the invite.

The grandeur of the Guildhall, in the City of London, was punctured by the placing of cutouts of famous Private Eye "victims" (Robert Maxwell, Andrew Neil etc) on the balconies, giant Private Eye crusader logos flanking the stage, and a few well-chosen speech bubbles, right.

There was champagne, canapes, speeches from all three Eye editors, some minor-celeb spotting -- mostly of the "meeja" variety ("Look, it's Mark Lawson off of that Late Review!") -- and a little dancing. The evening is well summed up by a great reportage cartoon by longtime Eye cartoonist Martin Honeysett, along with a short article, over at the Bloghorn


Out and about with the Cartoonists' Club

Last weekend I went on a trip to Somerset with the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain, for the 2011 AGM/jolly. This, I should point out, was immediately prior to the Private Eye opening, so I had an heroic four days in a row of drinking and socialising. First time I've done that since I was a student, I think.

There were 20-odd of us on the trip, a few of whom are pictured above, at Cheddar Gorge. Left to right: Nikki and Tim Harries, Simon Chadwick, me, Rich Skipworth, and Hugh "Shug" Raine. The photo is by Ger Whyman.

The weekend is best summed-up in a letter I sent to The Jester, the club newsletter:
I just wanted to send my thanks to the committee for organising such a brilliant weekend in Clevedon. I've been on a few of these trips now (Masham, Witney, Skegness etc) but I think this may have been the most fun yet.

The weekend was filled with big laughs, good food and possibly a little too much drinking. And the vintage bus trip, to Clevedon Pier, Thatchers for the cider tasting, and on to Cheddar Gorge, was just a perfect day.

A team of us winning at the pub quiz on the Sunday night (commiserations to the other cartoonists' team!) was just the icing on the cake. We didn't even know there was a quiz on, but as Tim Harries had been posing quiz questions from his iPad all weekend, at every available opportunity, it was as if we'd been warming up!

So thanks again to the committee and to everyone who turned up and helped make it a great weekend.