That was the year: 2014 in topical cartoons

If you can take another "review of the year", it's time for my now traditional look back at the past 12 months of topical cartoons.

This was a year that saw quite a few household names in court ...
One person continued to surprise us ...
Technology dominated the headlines, as ever ...
... which meant new buzz phrases ...
... and more gadgets.
In 2014 we commemorated the centenary of the First World War ...
... which at times was maybe a bit much.
This was the year of the Scottish referendum, and the many promises that went with it ...
And like it or not, Nigel Farage and Ukip was the other big political story of 2014.

There was the Rochester by-election ...
... a depressing lack of a sense of humour in another by-election ...
... and a TV showdown.

Light relief was found at the cinema ...

... and with the return of some old friends.
What were the big trends of 2014? Well, we seemed to reach "Peak Beard" ...
... and there were a lot of selfies ...
... not to mention other narcissistic trends.
But as usual we ended the year basking in the warm glow of advertising sentimentality ...
Have a happy 2015, one and all!

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Why Santa Claus's naughty and nice list is the Christmas gift that just keeps on giving

"He's making a list and checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice"

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
By John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

"They had their names removed using the right to be forgotten"

I'm very grateful to Messrs Coots and Gillespie, as those famous lines from their perennial Christmas song seem to be an endless source of inspiration for me as a cartoonist.

The gag above is one of the Private Eye Christmas cards this year. When trying to think of a cartoon about the right to be forgotten, which became a big issue this year, Santa's list of naughty children was the first thing that came to mind.

For me, it has long been a useful motif to apply to current events at Christmas time. Here's a Reader's Digest cartoon from last Christmas about the big story of that year, internet snooping by the NSA, as revealed by Edward Snowden ...

"OK fill me in – who has been naughty and who has been nice?"

Here's another from last year, a Private Eye Christmas card about the rise of Ukip ...

"I think UKIP have got to him."

Rewind to 2011 when phone-hacking was big news. What if "Santa" was hauled up before a commons select committee to answer a few questions? Actually, rather than the "naughty or nice" lyric, this one references words that come later in the same song.
"Perhaps you could tell us how you know if we've been bad or good?"

Another big news story of that year was the English riots. But the perpetrators, according to Tony Blair, were not naughty ...

It doesn't just work for topical magazine cartoons, here's one I drew for the Christmas card of a marketing company that builds websites for its clients ...

And a law firm that specialises in forensic accounting ...
Somehow, I feel sure that it's a theme I will return to!

Finally here are a couple of gags residing in the Not Yet Sold files, an oldie from when laddish lists became all the rage and the most recent "naughty or nice" one I've drawn, about the internet successor to those lists ...

"Whatever happened to the old 'Naughty' and 'Nice' lists?"

"I don't check the list twice any more, I just upload it to Buzzfeed."

Click here to buy Royston's cartoon book


Magazine cartoon: A hipster Christmas

"Everyone has beards now, so I've shaved mine off."

I'm not sure how I got to December 17 without blogging any Christmas cartoons, particularly as I posted loads last year and one every day as a cartoon advent calendar in 2012 and 2011.

This one can be seen in the current edition of Saga magazine.


Cartoon drawn for fun

I was approached to draw a cartoon recently for an event called the Whitstable Museum of Fun. They put out a call on Twitter asking for suggested themes for the cartoon.

Many, as you might expect, were about local issues relevant to Whitstable residents, but someone, apparently in New Zealand, said "How about a penguin sword fighting a unicorn?" Well, how could I say no?

The result is above. Click the image to enlarge. It was pinned up at the event and kids, who hopefully weren't too traumatised by the impaled penguin, use it as a jumping off point for their own "random" cartoons, drawn on Post-it notes (see below, click to enlarge). All good fun!


Magazine cartoons: Stone age to digital age

Here's a cartoon from last week's Spectator magazine. Cave paintings is one of those cartoon subjects that keeps on giving. And as I can still hear fireworks outside, here's my Bonfire Night cartoon from the current Private Eye.

"Cool bonfire app, man." 


Arachnid chuckles and comics festival fun

I've never really been one for Halloween or cartoons about it, so please accept this cartoon about spiders instead. They're a bit scary, aren't they? This can be seen in the current issue of Private Eye.

Here's a massive one I spotted in the house we stayed in when I visited the Lakes Comic Art Festival with the Cartoonists' Club a couple of weeks ago.

I probably should have blogged about the event really and posted photos other than one of a spider, but never mind. It was very good and I sold lots of cartoon books, cards and prints. And I chucked the spider out of the window.

Here's me, left, drawing with Tim Harries on the Cartoonists' Club stall (from this LICAF page).

And here's a cartoon I drew there, which you'll probably only get it you go to these sort of events, to be honest.


Legal matters: Some law cartoons

Here are some cartoons drawn for the Benchmarks column of the Law Society's Gazette, the trade magazine for solicitors. These always accompany difficult and often very dry subjects, but you can have a bit of fun with them. That's what the cartoon is there for, after all.


Magazine cartoon: Spud you like

"Can you take your feet of the seat, please sir?"

A cartoon from the October edition of The Oldie.


Magazine cartoon: The old switcheroo

"My dream is to walk with humans."

A cartoon from the new issue of Prospect magazine that employs the comedic device known as the old switcheroo i.e. you turn a concept on its head to create a joke.


Scottish independence referendum cartoon

"That Mr Cameron reckons ah can hae a cushion for mah bucket if ah dinnae vote Aye."

A referendum of cartoon editors voted "No", either because they didn't get the reference or because everyone is doing Scottish independence cartoons. 


Magazine cartoon: Time and tide

"Sire, the risk-assessment people say, No way."

Here's a cartoon from the September issue of Saga magazine. The subject of risk assessments and health & safety regulations has been a rich seam for jokes for some time now.


Live drawing: Love Them or Loathe Them

I did a live-drawing project last weekend as part of the Summer Squall arts festival in Ramsgate. It was called Love Them or Loathe Them and I drew a series of 3ft by 3ft cartoons of well-known divisive figures, such as the artist Tracey Emin, below, a local Margate girl ...

These were then pasted up on to the "Great Wall of Ramsgate", a hoarding around an empty building site which is itself the focus of local hate as it used to be the Pleasurama leisure park, was then supposed to become flats and is now a derelict eyesore.

The passing public were asked to give their views on the individuals depicted. We had ink pads saying “Love” or “Loathe” but they didn’t work very well, so instead people were invited to add comments with marker pens. And they didn’t hold back ...

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence party was particularly divisive. He has since been confirmed as the Ukip candidate for the area at the general election next year, so this proved to be a poll of local opinion. I counted 15 against, 7 for and 3 undecided ...

Here are the rest of the drawings. The Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans ...

Once I'd added the blood to the teeth of the footballer Luis Suarez, below, I realised I probably shouldn't have bothered with the "Barcelona" on his shirt. But as the public had to match the cartoons with the names on the poster (top) I wanted to leave no room for doubt ...

Pop star Lady Gaga ...

Boris Johnson. Another one seeking election next year ...

TV "controversialist" Jeremy Clarkson ...

Former MP/writer/TV personality Ann Widdecombe. One of the last ones I drew, hence no comments yet ...

The comedian and wannabe revolutionary Russell Brand ...

X-factor judge and record company boss Simon Cowell. I might have pushed this one a bit far, he looks a bit like Kim Jong-un. The Kids got this one no problem, though ...

Toothsome journalist and TV personality Janet Street-Porter ...

The last one I drew was Alan Sugar and I freely admit that the likeness is not really there. Looks a bit too thuggish. However, I had a get-out clause with the speech bubbles ...

It was a really fun job and the public reaction was great. Many thanks to Jeni Butler for sorting out the logistics of the job beforehand and Sue Martin for her help on the day by, particularly by helping me with the wallpapering!

UPDATE: I neglected to take pic of all of the cartoons but thankfully @standuptoUKIP were on the case (posted on Twitter by @StopFarage). Looks like more comments have been added, and someone has tried to remove Suarez! Click image to enlarge.