Sunday, January 23, 2011

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


  1. Lovely, Royston. Well done! Great gag, too. And what's UNOFFICIALLY the largest cartoon you've ever done, then?

  2. Thanks for your good comments about the GWR project Royston!

  3. lovely....yes it's fantastic they asked for cartoonists....nice wall!

  4. Simon, that would probably be the Big Boards at the Shrewsbury festival ... I had it in my mind that they were smaller than this, but it has been pointed out on Facebook that they're actually 8ft by *6ft*.

  5. Lovely work Royston - looks really good. Is it being displayed for the forseeable future or for a set time? Great way to brighten up the wall.

  6. Not sure, exactly. One to two years is what I heard. The wall is around a building site so when work is finished it'll come down. But I gather it is not exactly progressing at breakneck speed.



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