Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Strange Looking Bloke Wednesday

Today is a double Bloke bonus day, you lucky, lucky people!

Here's mine: The odd green and yellow strips on either side are a result of my scanner messing up, although I thought the effect quite pleasing...
Done with a brush pen. and squiggly hair with a nylon tip.
His mood is: I'm late for my date! The movie started 5 minutes ago and she's probably eaten all the popcorn!

And here's the bonus Bloke, courtesy of one Sam Compton of Newport, South Wales.
Thanks Sam!

Post Shrewsbury Report

Here's a longer report about last weekend's Cartoon Festival

I'd taken the train this year, so arrived on Thursday night heavily laden with a ton of gubbins for my workshops, a guitar for the Saturday night singalong, and plenty of clothing to combat the foul weather that was promised and never actually materialised. Didn't need the wetsuit after all...

Friday turned out to be nice 'n sunny after all, so i headed to Shrewsbury's main square where the bulk of the Festival activity was going on, and got stuck into my big board (see previous post)
Despite having a slight crisis of confidence halfway through when it was mainly big blobs of random colour, ("aaaagh, what unholy mess have I created?") I persevered and finished most of it by late afternoon. I even managed to cheat and spray my signature on there with a stencil and can of spraypaint. Someone suggested I do a bit of tagging around town, but I declined this opportunity to have my collar felt.

Clive and Simon entertain Nathan with their invisible hand puppets.

Gerard, playing the glass shaped ocarina.

Friday night was a chance to socialise, so all the invited cartoonists got together at the Cornhouse bar/restaurant for a meal, a chat and a chance to draw highly unflattering pictures of each other. I don't have any photos of these unfortunately! Anyone out there can help? Then it was back to the hotel for one of the highlights of the weekend - Pen Talk! Who knew pens could be so much fun? Off to bed at a respectable 1.30ish and I was ready for Saturday!

There was a clear winner in the 'wear a top hat to work' competition

Clive Goddard gets board

The following morning was most taken up with me missing breakfast, attending the cartoonists briefing, and then heading over to the square. Lots of other cartoonists had turned up and started on their boards, plus the caricature booth had a queue as long as a very long thing. The Festival Mechandise stall was doing brisk business and the reverse caricatures (poking your head through a display and having a cartoon body drawn below it!) were equally busy. Eager to get stuck in and finish my nearly complete board, my knees indicated that they were not, under any circumstances, going to be doing any bending today. My back agreed, so I called it quits and headed off to do my Humural (an exhibiton of cartoons created on the spot) in the Darwin Shopping Centre.

Humurals! Loads of 'em!

Time for a spot of lunch and then off to my 'Creating Comics' Workshop, which despite being in a new location was well attended, much to my relief. It was a drop in event, so as soon as a space was available, it was filled by waiting kids and parents. Over the course of 2 hours a lot of great strips were drawn, although I was beginning to flag in the last half hour. It occasionally felt like I was plate spinning, running around, trying to give everyone equal time as new visitors also arrived. Must wear roller skates next year...

The art of the captionless cartoon

Saturday's main events were over, with just a private view of Czech cartoonist Miroslav Bartak's excellent captionless cartoons to attend. After that it was a chance to freshen up and head over to the Morris Hall for the Saturday evening Supper, and a chance to relax and enjoy some fine food and questionable music. Many songs were sung, dances performed and even more highly unflattering pictures were drawn on tablecloths.

Bill Stott and the Stottettes. (Photo: Ger Whyman)

When Nathan drew Royston

Martin Honeysett and his cruel, cruel pen

As the evening drew to a close, it was back to the hotel for further socialising and the occasional rousing rendition of 'Jilted John' by John Landers. Everyone agreed that Gordon was a moron.
As the night wore on and numbers dwindled, it was decided that 'singing tv theme songs in the style of a duck' was the lowest point at which our conversation could get, so we called it a night and attempted to get a few hours rest.

Sunday morning and once again I missed breakfast. I packed my suitcase, checked out and headed nice and early to the Bear Steps Gallery for the usual 'meet the cartoonists'. I'd neglected to read the schedule however and after about 40 minutes of waiting, realised that no-one was coming. A quick look online (praise be for the iPhone!) at the Festival Events page, and I headed to the Musuem and Art Galley. There was another exhibition there, including some Heath Robinson gems, on loan from the Cartoon Museum, and well worth lingering over. Back to the Bear steps for a bit of lunch ( I knew we were doing something there!) and after some fond farewells to cartoon buddies old and new, headed home via the wonder of Arriva trains in a state of extreme tiredness. Walked home from the station at the rate of o.5 miles an hour and went straight to bed, feeling like I'd aged a few decades over the weekend. Still, it was all worth it.

Looking forward to next year, even if my knees aren't.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Board Frenzy!

Hello! Apologies for the lack of posts, I've had 2 work experience lads here, learning the finer points of cartooning. When they find out what those are, they've promised to tell me.

Anyway... here's a pic from last weekend's Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival!
I drew a big board all day Friday. The weather was good, plenty of sunshine, so I got most of it done by 4pm despite my knees giving out at about 3. Creak...

It's a step by step guide from blank board to finished art. I changed the text the next day, making a gap between in and genetic, after everyone kept telling me 'what's ingenetic mean?'

I planned on doing more to the cartoon, adding shading to the apple and beneath Newton, but my back and knees were in no state to bend any further, so it stayed as is.

Click on the pic to see a bigger version.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Off to Shrewsbury

Heading to Shrewsbury for the Cartoon Festival this evening. Will report back next week.

Here's some of my cartoons featured in last year's Art themed exhibition.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival - big boards

Hurrah! The highlight of the UK cartoonists year, The Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, is happening on the weekend (24-26 April) so I'm getting a few things ready - I'll be doing a big board in the square, taking a comic strip workshop on Saturday and drawing some gags in the humurals exhibition. Plus general larkery with lashings of ginger beer.

If you come along, say hi!

Download a Festival brochure here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strange Looking Bloke Wednesday

Today's Strange Looking bloke is sponsored by KFC. Or possibly just drawn on one of their plates. Pitt brush pen used again.

His mood: Bring on the grease!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Super Comics Fan Art

Head over to Super Comics Adventure Squad to find a 'loose collective of comic creators involved in the DFC'.

Here's the blurb on the site
'We're comic creators, writers and artists, who were involved in The DFC, the innovative British weekly comic published by David Fickling Books from 30 May 2008 - 27 March 2009. Here the spirit of The DFC lives on with some of the very best British graphic storytellers, and this blog will share our news, art, comics, events and new projects. Enjoy!'

It was a real shame that the DFC folded, but it gave me the chance to discover some excellent comic artists and cartoonists.

My own preference in the DFC was to the humorous strips rather than the adventure/manga styles, and a particular favourite was Wilbur Dawbarn's 'Bodkin and the Bear'
Hopefully we'll see the story completed at some point.

Since there's been quite a few 'fan art' pics produced on Super Comics Adventure Squad, I thought I'd have a go. Hope you're not too horrified wiLb!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Streets of London

Ok, so I've just got back from a weekend in London, and saw this delightful bit of art while strolling down Clarkenwell Road. Apologies for the poor quality pictures, courtesy of my iPhone's rubbish camera, they really don't do it justice!

It's on a hoarding outside a restaurant (being refurbished or something), and is really striking when you see it in the flesh. Great linework and the black and white made it really pop out!
If you're in the area, have a look out for it.

I'm guessing that it's John & Yoko, Liza Minnelli, George Burns (?), Hitchcock (?) and Marylin Monroe, but I could be wrong :)

Anyway, I had a closer look at my blurry pics, and I think the artist is Mister Munro. A big thumbs up to you if that's the case. If I'm waaaay off, let me know!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sketch Infectus Part Deux

Here's a few more pages from Joe Bluhm's new book Sketch Infectus which I got last week.
If you're remotely interested in the doodles and sketches of other artists, I highly recommend it. There's over 400 drawings by Joe in a variety of styles and lots of quotes from top artists - "You can never waste a page in a sketchook or waste money on a sketchbook. Fill 'em up fast and buy a new one as soon as you can" - Aaron Philby.

Since I'd pre-ordered the book , Joe also sent an original cut out from one of his sketchbooks

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2009

Here's my delayed report from last weekend's UK Web and Mini Comix Thing

So many stalls, so little time...

This was my first visit to the Thing, and it was great to attend an exhibition where the main focus was on small press, an area of cartooning/comics I haven't had that much exposure to before now.

I'll admit I was suprised at how many people were there when I arrived. Everything was in full swing - about 80 stalls all occupied and surrounded by punters. A panel was taking place on the far stage, discussing 'starting up' in web and mini comics and 'breaking in to the mainstream', although I found it hard to hear the panellists (books appointment to have ears syringed)

The panel in full swing. Speak up!

James Turner was unavailable for this picture,
so here's an artists impression.

The tables offered such a vast variety of comics and merchandise, that even after several circuits around the hall, I still managed to miss quite a few goodies (comparing my haul with fellow cartoonist and PCO memberAlex Hughes, whom I'd arranged to meet at the Thing, I kept asking 'what table was that on?' when looking through his purchases.) There was a good mix of professional and amateur work on show, with something there to suit every taste, and the overwhelming mood in the hall was one of great enthusiasm. As traditional cartoon and comic markets seem to be dwindling, it was interesting to see other avenues that creators are taking to get their work out there. I made a few mental notes and spent a bit more money than I had planned!

A comics cornucopia.

Shug's stall was well worth a visit, and I came away with a good selection of his stuff. I had been unfamiliar with Joe Decie's work, but was glad that I took a punt on his 'What I drew' comic. Another favourite was the 'Claude will fight you' mini-comic from Gronk Comics

I was also keen to buy a few things from some of the DFC contributors including James Turner's Beaver and Steve and Sarah McIntyre's 'Nice cup of tea and a deadline' I promise to say hello next time!

Sorry to everyone I promised to get back to, there simply wasn't enough time.

Shug pimps his wares

Looking forward to next year - and maybe even booking a table...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sketch Infectus - Joe Bluhm

This came in the post yesterday. Absolutely choc full of drawings and doodles from Joe Bluhm's sketchbooks. It's brilliant (and inspiring) - I'll post more about it when time permits.

Also got a small original snipped from his sketchbook when preordering the book. Result!

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

The 2009 Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is fast approaching. Keep 24th - 26th April free in your diaries.

Here's some blurb from the website:

Highlights of the 2009 Festival include exhibitions of work by political cartoonist Steve Bell and eminent Czech cartoonist Miroslav Bartak. We are also thrilled to be showing an exhibition of cartoons about science from the year of Darwin's birth, 1809 to the present day. The British Cartoon Archive, the Cartoon Museum and the British Museum have lent work for 'Science Friction' and the selection has been made by Festival patron Professor Colin Pillinger.

The Festival offers unique opportunities to see artists at work; 20 of them on huge boards in The Square during the weekend, others drawing caricatures and some running cartoon workshops for all ages.

Steve Bright adds a dash of colour to his big board.

Andy Davey's big board spills out onto the street.

I'll be taking a comic strip workshop again this year. Here's my report from last year:

One of my roles in this year’s Shrewsbury cartoon festival was running the ‘Create a Comic Strip’ workshop. Space was a little tight this year - we were situated in the corner of a large room in the Wildlife Trust, surrounded by arts and craft stalls, so experienced plenty of ‘what’s all this then?’, ‘who are you?’ and the perennial favourite ‘where’s the toilets?’ from the passing punters. That’s not to say we weren’t busy; far from it. In fact the table was a mass of pens, paper and inky fingered kids before I’d even arrived.

After briefly restoring order, worksheets were handed out and I explained the mechanics of producing a three panel strip, from character design, story refinement to actual drawing techniques. This was all duly noted and I suspect roundly ignored by several of the more boisterous participants, judging by the finished strips. I’m not complaining mind you, invariably the strips produced that day were energetic, great fun and frankly bonkers.

Children have a terrific ability to just get on with the business of drawing, unencumbered by any doubts regarding their artwork. The young chap finishing off his 12 panel creation “*Bob the flying pickle” was in no doubt that Bob was indeed a pickle that flew. More critical eyes would have perhaps renamed him “Bob the wobbly squiggle” but that’s missing the point. Fun was being had, ideas were being explored and pickles were indeed flying. And you can’t say fairer than that.

*Some names have been changed.

You can download a Festival brochure from here

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Strange Looking Bloke Wednesday

Drawn on the train going to Thing, with a cheapo Berol pen.
Mood: He's a bit sneery is this one.

Gig - The Leisure Society

Went to a gig last Friday at the Louisiana, Bristol.
The Leisure Society were playing a tour in support of their new (and first) album The Sleeper. Happy to report it was an excellent evening. The performed nearly all of the album and a couple of inspired cover versions - Gary Numan's 'Cars' and the Kinks 'People take pictures of each other', the Numan song in particular sounding very different with the addition of cello, violin, flute and ukulele. Yes, I'm happy to report there was plenty of Ukulele action, with 'Love's Enormous Wings' a particular uke highlight. It was great to see a band enjoying playing music this much, and hopefully they'll keep that enthusiasm going throughout the tour.
Can't wait to see them again.

(I have to admit I barely resisted the urge to shout 'get your haircut' at the two singers, Nick and Christian, such was the floppiness of their fringes.)