Saturday, 28 February 2009

Waterlogged pitch

idea from

I'll get
to doing
ones soon.

Not yet.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Shipping disaster

This shipwreck in a bottle was done on my Art Foundation course when I was about 18 or 19. It’s a disaster in almost every way. The catalogue of design flaws include a ship that’s too big to fit in the bottle, a bottle that is green(!) and the wrong shape, ‘water’ made of Das modelling clay that cracked straight away on a base made out of a thin polystyrene tile. I was going to paint the water and the base but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Even the photograph is terrible (note the direct sunlight, bad angle, and the sticking plaster holding the chair together in the background).
My 3D modelling career was over.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Off the wall: R Crumb

For a change here’s a drawing by Robert Crumb that I cut out of a magazine called 'City Limits' while at college and have had on the wall, close to where I work, ever since. It’s the final panel from a strip, the rest of which I’ve never found. It still makes me laugh whenever I catch sight of it.
Crumb is a mixture of brilliance and bad taste. His best work, for me, is the mid to late '60s stuff, like 'Fritz the Cat', done in a looser, more linear style, and 'Mr Natural'.
You can find out most about him (not necessarily the facts) by watching the 1987 Arena documentary ‘The Confessions of Robert Crumb’ which he wrote himself, and is more satisfying than Zwigoff's ‘Crumb’ in my opinion. It’s only an hour – go and watch it.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Thought for the day

This moral message is another item of student madness, conscientiously hand-traced on a machine called a Grant projector, before the days of computer graphics.
I probably thought it was hilarious at the time - no-one else did.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Troppo fortissimo

Yet another
opus studenticus.

I must have
thought the
was a good

Monday, 23 February 2009

Delinquent type

Another college
collage from the

Note the hand-
rendered wood
effect and actual
use of paint.

A very studenty
idea though.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Card luck

This rather
grubby effort
is from the
same era.

It speaks
for itself.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The race

Fast-forward four or five years and graphic design training has turned me into a rapidograph-wielding minimalist. This drawing was in my portfolio when I applied for a post-graduate degree course – I’d just discovered a new way of looking at things and didn’t know how to develop it. Another three years later and I was none the wiser and ended up as a cartoonist. After seven years of Art college I then had to start learning to draw...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Young and Freudian

Another weird artifact from the dark caves of youth. I feel I ought to say something about it but can’t think of anything. I don’t even know if it’s the right way up.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Abstract Urt

Out of sheer laziness I thought I’d post something else from when I was ‘about 17’. This glorified doodle made it into a school exhibition, believe it or not. It will probably tell you what my teenage years were like. The artroom was my sanctuary.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


This was going to be a week on the theme of busts, but the dreaded apathitis has struck again.
Here's a photo I took when I was about 17, at London Zoo. I thought at the time that it showed a lot of penguinuity on my part, but have since seen a thousand variations, usually used for caption competitions.

Monday, 16 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 7


“…Some of you may have heard the story of the two frogs. If you have not, here it is:
Two frogs were out for a walk one day, and they came to a big bowl of cream. In looking into it they both fell in.
One said: “This is a new kind of water to me. How can a fellow swim in stuff like this? It is no use trying.” So he sank to the bottom and drowned through having no pluck.
But the other was a more manly frog, and he struggled to swim, using his arms and legs as hard as he could to keep himself afloat; and whenever he felt he was sinking he struggled harder than ever, and never gave up hope.
At last, just as he was getting so tired that he thought he must give it up, a curious thing happened. By his hard work with his arms and legs he had churned up the cream so much that he suddenly found himself standing all safe on a pat of butter!
So when things look bad, just smile and sing to yourself, as the thrush sings: “Stick to it, stick to it, stick to it,” and you will come through all right…”

This is the last of these - I hope you’ve enjoyed them and learnt their lessons. I know I have.
Something else tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 6


Comfort in camp.
“…An old scout is full of resource, that is, he can find a way out of any difficulty or discomfort. He is full of “dodges,” like the boy in this picture who had to rap on the door with the knocker which he could not reach. He showed resourcefulness…”

Saturday, 14 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 5

Practices: Drill.
“…Growing lads are very apt to slouch, and should therefore do all they can to get out of the habit by plenty of physical exercises and drill.
Stand upright when you are standing, and when you are sitting down sit upright, with your back well into the back part of the chair. Alertness of the body, whether you are moving, standing, or sitting, means alertness of mind, and it is a paying thing to have, because many an employer will select an alert-looking boy for work and pass over a sloucher…”

Friday, 13 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 4

or How to be Strong

“A scout does not smoke. Any boy can smoke; it is not such a very wonderful thing to do. But a scout will not do it because he is not such a fool. He knows that when a lad smokes before he is fully grown up it is almost sure to make his heart feeble, and the heart is the most important organ in a lad’s body. It pumps the blood all over him to form flesh, bone, and muscle. If the heart does not do its work the body cannot grow to be healthy. Any scout knows that smoking spoils his eyesight, and also his sense of smell, which is of greatest importance to him for scouting on active service.”

Apologies to smokers for this one.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 3

Details of People cont.
“…I was once accused of mistrusting men with waxed moustaches. Well, so, to a certain extent, I do. It often means vanity and sometimes drink.
Certainly the “quiff,” or lock of hair which some lads wear on their forehead, is a sure sign of silliness. The shape of the face gives a guide to the man’s character.
Perhaps you can tell the characters of these gentlemen?”

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

OTS: Scouting for Boys 2


Details of People.
“…It is said that you can tell a man’s character from the way he wears his hat. If it is slightly on one side, the wearer is good-natured; if it is worn very much on one side he is a swaggerer; if on the back of his head, he is bad at paying his debts; if worn straight on the top, he is probably honest but very dull.”

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Off the shelf: Scouting for Boys 1

I thought this week I’d post some images from ‘Scouting for Boys’ by Lord Baden-Powell, first published in 1908 in weekly instalments. My copy, a fifteenth edition, is from 1930 and was given to my Dad on his 13th birthday in 1937.
The book was the fourth highest-selling of the 20th Century and contains a wealth of information about survival techniques or ‘woodcraft’. These include how to make a shelter, a rope bridge or a boat, how to find North without a compass, how to work out the width of a river or the height of a tree, how to save someone’s life, how to start a fire, make bread etc.
Having been written 100 years ago it is also suffused with the prejudices of the time and this is encapsulated in the drawings which Baden-Powell drew himself, some of which are absurdly funny. Here's the cover which isn't funny but shows the spirit of the British Empire.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Paris fraud 7

The Paris-ite, Marie Antoinette, à la fenêtre, wondering what’s going down. It was her; she was guillotined in 1793.

She definitely wasn’t there – not even her head.

This is the last post about Paris (I hope).

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Paris fraud 6

Fifi in the rain not far from the Eiffel tower (see puddle for details).

Dogs were there, but not Fifi.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Paris fraud 5

Monsieur Bonaparte standing tall under the Arc de Triomphe.

Commissioned in 1806, after his victory at Austerlitz, the Arc wasn’t finished until after Napoleon’s death. His body passed under it on it’s way to his second burial at Les Invalides in 1840.

He was never there (vertically).

Friday, 6 February 2009

From the files: Max Mandl

Due to more cold-induced apathy I’m raiding my accumulated files of ‘interesting stuff’ today.
This is a scan of a photocopy of a drawing on a page in a Portuguese book called Almanach Bertrand, published in 1914. It’s signed by Max Mandl, who, according to my in-depth research (he's not on Wikipedia), may have been born in Sibiu, Transylvania in 1864. Later he may have moved to Munich where he may have worked for the publishing house Braun & Schneider. He may have died in 1937.
I found a Portuguese blog that may be dedicated to the Almanac Bertrand but it doesn’t seem to go back beyond 1926.

None of which has anything to do with Paris, but, to quote Andy Warhol, "So what?".

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Paris fraud 4

Monsieur Quasimodo at Notre Dame.

He wasn't there (he doesn't exist).

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Paris fraud 3

Monsieur Eiffel in front of his tower.

He wasn’t there either – he was up the road in the Cimetière de Levallois-Perret.
He died in 1923.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Off the shelf: Sasek

Due to a very heavy cold the Paris fraud series is on hold. Instead, another occasional theme I wanted to start on this blog is to post work, from my bookshelves, by other cartoonists and illustrators.
Continuing my present obsession with Paris and lampposts, here’s a drawing by Miroslav Sasek, from the book ‘This is Paris’ published in 1959, reissued in 2004. My, rather tatty, copy is a reprint from 1964, picked up in a charity shop for 20p. It’s dedicated “to David, on his seventh birthday, love from Auntie Vera”.
I’m not a great fan of his work but I like the simplicity of this, especially the cat.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Paris fraud 2

Monsieur Monet at the Orangerie.

He died before it was finished.
(He wasn’t there).

Sunday, 1 February 2009