Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have a good one!

Here is my Christmas card for this year. A lovely sweet evil snowman!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ideas that make me laugh but I can't sell

Here's three examples that really made me chuckle when I came up with them, but as the title to this post states as plainly as Spainly, I couldn't sell. Strange as it may seem, the ideas that I KNOW will sell, the sure-fire winners, don't make me laugh. Or more rarely at any rate. It's these kind of quirky ones that I enjoy writing the most. The ones with a silly or surreal idea, but which are not sort of fully rounded gags. I really hoped to sell these ones, but it never happened. I'll shove 'em in a book at some point for nobody to buy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

atheism in cartoon form

Here's a fairly atheistic cartoon that was published in Prospect recently. I am fascinated with the idea of religion and why people believe, so I quite often come up with these kind of ideas because this stuff is always rattling around my brain.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not a winner

It was Dana Simpson's 'Girl' who won in the end. Never mind. I've got big plans for this strip, as I think I've stumbled clumsily into a great idea. Watch this space.
Same link again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Voting closes on Friday!

If you want to vote for my strip you've only got until friday, so get a wiggle on. Here's a picture from it, to make this blog post more interesting. Now get going. Oh, you want a link? Happy now?

ps. The winner will be announced on monday. The tension is literally bearable.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm still doing gags, though

With all the comic strip excitement I haven't posted a gag in a while. Here's my latest Private Eye cartoon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the final of Comic Strip Superstar

Rather unbelievably, I made it to the last 10 of Amazon's competition. I am now very nervous, yet as excited and frolicsome as a new born dolphin. The good news is you can vote for me, or indeed any of the others on this link: Comic Strip Superstar. All the strips are up, and all you need is an Amazon account to vote. So get on it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comic Strip Superchap

I entered's Comic Strip Superstar competition a few months ago with a new concoction called Evil Twin. It's a tale of twin brothers and their attempts at getting one over on each other, as boys are wont to do. It's inspired my childhood growing up with my younger brother and the silly things that we used to say and do. I can't post any strips here, because that would be against the rules, but the good news is that I am down to the final 50, from about 5000 entries. Pretty good going, I reckon. One more round to go where the last 10 are subjected to a public vote. Fingers crossed I get that far.

Comic Strip Superstar

Friday, October 9, 2009

You guys!

My lovely, lovely part-time foundation students in Moscow had a cake made for me for my birthday featuring my King Kong cartoon that you can see a couple of posts down. What a lovely gesture. I was all ready to fly off to england that day, and was a bit grumpy to go in to work, but that all melted away when I saw what they had done. Bit of pressure on me now to be a good teacher!

One student has posted pictures of the event here. The face I am making was an hilarious joke. The cake was delicious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Made up words vs spelling errors

When I drew this cartoon I wondered that, should it be published, would the magazine think that I had spelt 'Heavenly' wrong? I thought about changing 'Heaveny' to 'Heavenly' to avoid such a misunderstanding, but decided in the end that it took the edge off. Anyway, I forgot about it and when it appeared in this month's Prospect, they had done just that. Should have added a note saying that Heaveny was the desired spelling, but I suppose it looks too much like an error. It's not the first time a cartoon of mine has been altered. There was the great Reader's Digest added movement lines debacle. Private Eye dropped a word from a caption, and my grammar has been corrected a few times. The thing is that I spend a great deal of time trying to get the flow of words right-to mimic speech, or to make a caption more quirky and funny, so it miffs me a little. I wouldn't mind if the mag would contact me and ask about altering the caption-but they never do. It's not the worst thing to happen to my work. Teacher's TV brutalised a cartoon graphic that I had done which appeared on their channel. It was of a classroom with a large blank whiteboard, onto which they would add statistics. Unfortunately they had given me the wrong dimensions and needed it wider. They got some artistically incompetent oaf to draw some walls and details at the sides-with a mouse! It was horrific. I would have done it for them free of charge in about 10 minutes, had they asked, but they didn't and I stopped working for them. Bit hasty maybe-but principles are principles. So, comment if you would: Heaveny or Heavenly. What works better?

Added bonus: Two more from this month's Prospect. A triple whammy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Master of glove puppets

I really love the magazine Private Eye. Not for it's design, which is appalling, but for it's content. I can't spend longer than a 0.3th of a nanosecond looking at most magazines without wondering, with bewilderment, who would buy such an insipid pile of old pants? When I go to the hairdresser (barbers-can't trust 'em) they plonk a couple of magazines on the little shelf thing below the mirror-usually Stuff or GQ or Esquire, and I flick through them, sigh a bit and put them down again. They don't have anything interesting to read in them at all. Give me a New Scientist or a Prospect or a Private Eye every time. What's wrong with actually learning something when you read a magazine? I read all the sections in Private Eye, even the ones I don't understand like 'In The City' because they are well written, are based on actual research, and tell you stuff that the papers should be reporting. I'm biased towards Private Eye because they sometimes print my cartoons you might say, but let me assure you nothing could be further from something that is very far away from the truth. It's just that I don't want to read about Brangelina and tiny laptops and look at endless pictures of boobies and sweat patches.

Anyhoo, here is one of the latest ones from PE's hallowed pages.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Number 2 with a bullet.

Here's a cartoon drawing I did for the ol' CCGB compo last week and it came second, despite being a bit crapuloso. Tricky caption (and they're getting trickier by the week-I hope the thing doesn't peter out). I've also just started getting into Twitter, so click on the link on the left to follow me, and I'll follow you back.

Peter Out. That's a good name for a cartoon character. Jay Peg. That's another one.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Return to Skull Island

I've been getting a few nice comments for this cartoon that's in Private Eye right now. It's one of those ideas where you think, "Surely that's been done." Apparently not, luckily for me. It fits into that category of gag cartoon writing where you take a completely ordinary everyday line and put it into an odd situation, but a situation where the reference is obvious. They're hard to come up with, but when an idea comes along like this, you know instinctively it's a winner. It's also currently on Private Eye's cartoon webpage.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This caption thing is getting out of hand.

The Cartoonist's Club of Great Britain Unofficial Reverse Caption Competition (or CCGBURCC for short) is getting out of hand! There have been literally a number of entries for the past couple of weeks. The thread is open right now if you want to see this week's entries: CCGBURCC. Here's mine from last week. A rather poor pun and one arm is a bit short.

And here is my entry for this week, which is BRILLIANT, and a dead cert to not win. I don't normally do boob jokes BTW, Mum.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Jams

Over on the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain forum, very occasionally we have a cartoon jam. Usually it takes the form of a comic strip where one artist draws a panel and then passes it along to the next cartoonist to do the next panel in the sequence. It's done 'blind' so that no-one sees the entire thing until it's finished. These panels are from the two I've been involved in. The strips tend to make quite a bit of sense when the whole thing is viewed, contrary to what you might think.

The other day we played another game. A kind of reverse caption competition, where we had to fill in the visual part to the joke using the caption, "I see you managed to get a sponsor in the end then, lads!" It's not really my kind of punchline, so I set out to pervert the competition by not allowing myself to show either sports or a sponsor. (I was the only one who took this obscure approach). I also decided to use some copyright free clip-art because I thought it added to the feel of the joke. It wasn't a wholly successful experiment, but I kind of like it.

And as a special added super-bonus to this post, here's my latest cartoon from Prospect magazine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bingo bongo, two in the Eye!

I didn't even realise I'd sold the second one of these, but I thought they were winners when I thought them up. Gratifying that they are currently seeing print in the new issue of Private Eye.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lost "Classics"

Not so very long ago, before my King Monkey strip, I drew another strip about a useless Victorian inventor with a very big hat. I was looking to create a whole world, with a large cast of characters, rather than the smaller double-act framework of King Monkey. Apart from Isambard himself, there was his girlfriend Amelia, who was a would-be romantic novelist and poet, Enoch, his dumb pal, his Scrooge-alike boss Mr Muckworm, Ratbone the detective, Saucy Jack the fiend, Barnacle Grudge the sea-captain and Constable Dunstable. There was also a mad professor type, a pub landlord and a boxer/bouncer too, but I can't remember their names. As you can see from that list, they were all Victorian archetypes, not so original. But I think the strip worked-I just felt that there wasn't ever going to be much of an audience for it.

The following strips are from the second phase of Isambard, after I redesigned the characters and gave it a typographical overhaul, not, for once, using my own font (which is called Jumpytype, if you're interested).

And that's it. You won't find out how they fared on the moon because I never drew it. And I never will. (Unless someone pays top dollar, or top guinea in this case)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cartoons cartoons cartoons

Here are my latest published cartoons for your "enjoyment", 2 colour ones from Prospect, 1 from Private Eye. I've sold quite a few this month and I'll post the rest when they appear in the magazines. The build Rome one is not one of my better gags in my opinion, but I am very fond of the drawing. Conversely, I'm really proud of the other two, but the drawings could have been better. I tend to rush through the drawings and draw as many as I can in a few hours. Often the first and last couple of cartoons are not so well drawn, and sometimes I'll even redraw them the following day. Could be something like that happened here, but I can't quite remember.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reader 1 Cartoonist 0

I rather forgot about the Readers Digest cartoon caption competition, but it seems I did in fact lose. To this one:

It is better than mine, I reckon. Congrats to William Thomas, who wins £200 and my original artwork. Pretty good, you would have thought. Here's a link to the page that the image is on. You'll notice that the cartoonists are already doing badly. And the latest I'm hearing is that it's 3-1 to the readers now. We'd better pull our socks up.

Beat the cartoonist

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cartoonist of the 30 day period

Ah, the prestige!

I am Prospect magazine's Cartoonist of the month. They sent me some questions and I did them the very generous service of answering them, and they're also going to put up some more of my cartoons over the course of the week. Thanks must go to Prospect's outgoing cartoon editor, Susha, who has been very nice and encouraging towards me. You can see my latest cartoon for them on the link too, as well as a portrait of me by Evgenia Barinova (link to her website on the left there).

Friday, May 1, 2009

The new style

I've decided to revamp my style a bit and these two cartoons, which are in this month's Prospect, are the result. I've tried to loosen up quite a bit, simplify and create more dynamic cartoons. I've been a little dissatisfied with the look of some of my work and wanted it to be less stiff so I've moved in this direction, influenced by some classic cartoonists like Steinberg, 50's animation and modern stuff like Serge Bloch. I think the style works well with the outline-less objects I sometimes include (like the tie salesman's counter below). I also think they look great on the page of the well-designed Prospect magazine, but I am biased.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More book

A couple of pictures of my book, so you know it's, like, actually real.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Presenting my 'Humural' cartoon from last weekend's Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival. Here's the official website. Pics from 2009 taken by cartoonist Gerard Whyman should be up soon. And, here's the Professional cartoonists' Association blog about the whole event.

Crystalline Structure Friday- the book!

I've put a book together of my cartoons, which is available to buy from at a very reasonable (ok, unreasonable) price of about 9 quid. I chose a rather lovely format for the book, it's about novel size, but this seems to have made it more expensive than I thought. If you are desperate to see 100 or so of my cartoons, both published and unpublished, then this is the book for you. Or alternatively, you could meet me in person and I will give you a copy. I live in Moscow. See you there!

If you really, desperately want to know why it's called Crystalline Structure Friday, you'll also have to buy the book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Almost quite interesting

Stephen Fry is a lot harder than he looks. This phrase could be taken in many ways, but in this case it refers to drawing him. This is my second attempt after the first abortive one a few months ago. I'm still going for very simple shapes (I particularly like the 3 circle face formation that I stumbled across), but this time with a looser feel to the line and colour.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I think I draw too fast

I've been fiddling with, and decided to record myself drawing a cartoon, because I promised in a previous post that I would show the various stages I go through. I chose a simple idea, not one I'm even sure I will send out, but one that would show how I go about creating a finished gag. From start to finish it took about 9 minutes! Pretty quick - Maybe too quick. I ought to slow down or people will think it's easy being a cartoonist. It's not. Its INCREDIBLY HARD.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vote Vote Vote

You can vote for the caption for my cartoon now. In fact the voting is probably nearly closed already. Using my cartoon has made this thing a shambles if you ask me. Perhaps next months competition with a cartoon by Len Hawkins will be better.

vote now!

In other news, my Rock, Paper, Scissors cartoon has finally appeared in Reader's Digest, and I had this silly one in last month's Prospect. Nothing in the new one, though. Grrrr.

A big problem with trying to sell gag cartoons is that the mags often pick what you would consider to be a 'filler' gag (one that just bulks up the batch-sort of like every song on every Sting album). When I sent out the batch the with this one in it, I thought there were better ones in there, but Prospect had other ideas. I don't mind though, I'm kind of fond of this. It looks a bit like a Johnny Ryan gag with none of the rudeness.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Caption Competition is go.

Here's the link to the Reader's Digest caption competition featuring my pizza menu minotaur cartoon. Get you're entries in now! The winner gets 200 quid and a piece of my original artwork, which is sitting here next to me. It's a lovely dip-pen and ink version of the cartoon. Highly desirable. Copy and paste this, because adding a link isn't working for some reason:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A word about King Monkey

I'm resting it for a short time, while I work on other stuff. It's difficult to keep it going when I have a lot of other commitments and I'm not getting paid for it. I'm sending out a sample pack to the syndicates at the moment, so maybe (although probably not) you'll see it elsewhere and I'll rake in some dough.

Those idiots will return!

Multiple sales! Boo-yah!

Here's the one in this month's Prospect. I enjoyed thinking of this one, because of the simplicity of the caption. It's always good when you come up with an idea based on such a simple and well-known phrase. One kind of similar joke is 'Bad dog!'. There are three great ones that have been in The New Yorker. Danny Shanahan had a female dog telling off a male dog whilst in bed together 'Bad sex! Bad, bad, bad sex!', David Sipress has the other two. The first shows a guy telling off a crudely drawn dog 'Bad drawing!' and best of all the other has a guy waggling his finger at a cat; 'Bad dog!' I would love to come up with my own bad dog cartoon, but how can I better those?

I actually sold this one to The Spectator too, but Prospect had already taken it. Cue an awkward conversation with their cartoon editor telling them they couldn't, in fact, use it. There's another one (which is rather silly) to come in the next issue of Prospect, too.

This one's in the new Private Eye, out today. It started off as 'Love the lack of taste', but a simplification of the words made it work much better. It's a little more absurd now. I hate to draw straight lines with my drawing pad into photoshop. so this was a bit of a pain. I used to use a dip-pen and a bottle of ink, but I'm able to replicate that line digitally now, which saves time, storage and is a hell of a lot cleaner. A lot of people are surprised to hear that I don't work on paper and I don't make roughs either, other than a tiny sketch in my sketchbook when I think up the idea. I work them straight up without roughing out the shapes or anything. Perhaps I will post the stages I got through for a finished cartoon some day...

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Been a while...I must update this thing more often. This is a simple post: I'm in the new issue of Private Eye with this zinger:

It's one of those ones where you think of some stupid meaningless phrase and apply the logic of it to a situation. When I come up with one of these I always think 'It must have been done!' A cursory google search usually reveals that it hasn't been. There must be a finite amount of these cartoons that can possibly be thought of but, much like the 3 minute pop song, you can always find something new to do.

I've also sold one to Prospect, but I won't stick that up until the magazine is out. Well it might dent their sales and we couldn't have that, could we?