Art cartoon: Express yourself

Sometimes I find I come up with ideas for cartoons but have to let them simmer gently for a while.

I must have jotted this one down but was unsure about it, as I didn't draw it up. Then I came across it a few months later and found myself laughing. So I drew it up, and it sold to the first magazine I sent it to.

It's one of two in the current issue of Reader's Digest. Both feature spot colour, rather than full colour, which is effective/lazy, depending on your point of view.

Here are some more art cartoons.

Social-networking cartoon: Don't tweet and drive

Here's a cartoon drawn to illustrate a newspaper article about tweeting and driving. A very real problem, apparently, along with texting and Facebooking while driving.

It amazes me that anyone would use a mobile phone while driving. I sometimes find I can't even listen to the radio and concentrate on the road at the same time!

The first draft of this was slightly more graphic. I lifted this drawing from an earlier, unsold (probably not surprising) cartoon about using phones while driving.

Ouch! That's gotta hurt. The paper didn't go for it, of course.

While on the subject, you can follow me on Twitter, provided you are not driving, of course.


One from the archives: Chicken fun

"You don't think you allow them a little too much free range?"

I keep hearing about the above named book, because it is now out in paperback. This cartoon appeared in Prospect magazine in May last year (along with this one) when the book came out in hardback.

Royston's portfolio website


Cartoon for the Great Wall of Ramsgate

Here's a very big cartoon ...

Cartoon: 8ft by 4ft. Cartoonist: 5ft 8ins (and a half)

This went up on a public art project called the Great Wall of Ramsgate today. I was approached to do this last year. What impressed me about the original flyer looking for contributors is the fact that it included a call for cartoonists, see below, which is rare with this kind of thing.

I don't live in Ramsgate, I live just up the road in Broadstairs, but I'm a regular visitor and was happy to help out. The idea is that the artworks create a mural that will brighten up a rather unsightly 1,000ft-long wall that has been built around the old Pleasurama site on the seafront and is going to be in place for several years. It's looking good so far ...

Rather nice photo, taken from this flickr page

I'm not sure mine fits the brief of "Ramsgate past, present and future" or that it tells "Ramsgate's story". It is a new version of a Reader's Digest cartoon from 2006. But it's a Ramsgate-type scene, with sunburt folk on the beach and a guy with a metal detector. I hope the local council don't get too upset about all the litter under the sand ... or indeed the skeleton.

Here's one of those annoying animated GIF things that shows the process of drawing and painting the board:

make gif animation
Make gif animation

I have drawn cartoons on big boards at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, in 2007 and 2008, but this is the first time I've done a full colour one, and the first time I've done something that will be seen for more than two days. It was outside my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed doing it.

I found working with acrylic paints a great medium for cartoons, far less fussy than watercolours. You can go back and change things when you make mistakes, just like Photoshop!

Here are a few more selections from the wall: Phil Baker's view of the new Thanet wind farm, Ramsgate as seen by Mike Samson, and a painting of nearby Richborough Power Station by Peter Buckey.

And here's one from the people who were kind enough to supply the paints ...

Although the materials were provided, this was not a paying job, as there was no public funding. It's just about people trying to do something for their local environment.

So I now know just how big David Cameron's so-called "Big Society" is: it's 8ft by 4ft.

Royston's portfolio website


Not Yet Sold: Cat and dog cartoon

"I couldn't imagine life without my little getaway in the country."

This cartoon has it all: a dopey looking dog, a sly cat, and the satirising of contemporary middle-class mores. Yet cartoon editors failed to see its charms, so I present it here in my occasional series on rejected cartoons: Not Yet Sold.

Royston's portfolio website


Cycling cartoon: An Olympian effort

Here's a sneak peek at one of the cartoons I have submitted for exhibition at the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2011, which takes place in April.

The theme is Olympian Sports, and this is a new version of a cartoon I drew for the Kent Messenger when the Tour de France came through the county in 2007. This version is coloured using Faber-Castell Pitt brush pens, for those that care about that sort of thing.

It was a bit of an Olympian effort coming up with four cartoons on a sporting theme, as it's not a subject I turn to a lot, to say the least. This year I'll also be drawing a Big Board cartoon in Shrewsbury market square, so I need to think of another gag too. That one won't have bicycles in it though. I hate drawing bicycles.

The theme may appear to be a year early, as the London Olympics are in 2012, but it is in fact a tie-in with the Shropshire Olympian Festival, which takes place in June, and the Wenlock Olympian Games, also in Shropshire, in July.

Royston's portfolio website


Pantomime cartoon: Nothing like a dame

As the Christmas pantomime season draws to an end, here's a cartoon on that subject, which can be seen in the January issue of Prospect magazine. Oh, yes it can! etc etc.

Royston's portfolio website


Eskimo cartoon: A question of interpretation

This cartoon appears in the current issue of The Spectator. It's a bit of an odd one. I drew it and first sent it out last February. I can't really remember where the idea came from. I think I just liked the image of igloo skyscrapers.

But as there is no caption, I could claim that it is about the unremitting global spread of western capitalism, and submit it for a European cartoon contest. It would probably be in with a chance.

Interpretation is ultimately down to the reader. As the cartoon appears in a magazine dated January 1, it also looks like it's about returning to work after Christmas, though it was never intended as such.

Royston's portfolio website