Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle ‘What? Already?!’, 90th year exhibition, Wilhelm Busch Museum, Hannover

Art, Cartoons

Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle – self portrait, originally uploaded by mike(toons).

2010 has been a year of rediscovery for me. And the greatest of these has been of Ronald Searle’s work, made possible by exhibitions in London and Hannover in honour of his 90th birthday.

The fact that I could still draw, after a decade of beating ever increasing amounts of type into smaller text boxes (sometimes laughingly described as graphic design), was also a rediscovery. The joy I felt at sketching these drawings by Searle was astonishing. I burst into tears at one point. Something had been re-established in me.

These sketchbook drawings are not intended to give a wider public much information about Searle’s work. They were really just for me. A way of connecting. Better sources for actual examples of Ronald Searle’s work are the Ronald Searle Tribute and Brian Sibley has written several pieces about him. Worth a look.

And if you can, get over to Hannover before 30 January 2011 to see the exhibition!

Exhibition sketchbook: Perhaps His Majesty's Minister is not aware of the grave displeasure with which the Primrose League views the Government's sunflower scheme.
Exhibition sketchbook: Perhaps His Majesty’s Minister is not aware of the grave displeasure with which the Primrose League views the Government’s sunflower scheme, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle - And this is Mr Eccle Shave. He wants a bloody revolution.
Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle – And this is Mr Eccle Shave. He wants a bloody revolution., originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle - Layman's Guide to the Warrior's Anatomy & Artist's Anatomy
Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle – Layman’s Guide to the Warrior’s Anatomy & Artist’s Anatomy., originally uploaded by mike(toons).

The right hand sketch (above) is missing about 30 arrows linking the artist’s attributes to his head, which I lazily omitted to draw.

Exhibition sketchbook: Some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England... (Telescopic photo taken through the open window of the ladies room of a well-known Port Said hostelry)
Exhibition sketchbook: Some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England… (Telescopic photo taken through the open window of the ladies room of a well-known Port Said hostelry), originally uploaded by mike(toons).

Exhibition sketchbook: Clown by Ronald Searle (1971)

Exhibition sketchbook: Clown by Ronald Searle (1971), originally uploaded by mike(toons).

I love the contrast between the sober normal world seen in the businessman’s clothes hanging on the pegs and the ludicrous clown in a purple striped dress.

Exhibition sketchbook: two cartoons for Le Monde by Ronald Searle

Exhibition sketchbook: two cartoons for Le Monde by Ronald Searle, originally uploaded by mike(toons).

The cartoons done for Le Monde, over the last 15 years or so, show that Searle’s powers are undiminished. These are my two favourites but there were many more in the exhibition. Top: “Au suivant!“, bottom “Foubelle“.

Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle - owl in ink and scribbled colour pencil
Exhibition sketchbook: Ronald Searle – owl in ink and scribbled colour pencil, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Originally posted on miketoons.blogspot.com – Thursday, 9 September 2010

Roger Frames buys Budjit Games

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames - masthead

I’ve been scanning in old art commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s. At the time, Future Publishing was probably my best client and I was producing artwork for many of its magazines.

The regular project that I enjoyed the most was illustrating the pages where the low-cost (Budjit) computer games were reviewed by the fictitious young, accident-prone kid – Roger Frames.

Issue #1 of the magazine saw Roger in basic black and white line but very soon – by issue #4 – a couple of full colour illustrations of Roger’s antics appeared every month. This increased to as much as four illustrations in some issues.

I’ve chosen a few of my favourites: some are scans from the printed magazine because the artwork was either not returned or been lost.

Roger Frames - snotty nose

Roger Frames: Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside

Roger Frames: Commodore 64 sand sculpture

Roger Frames: Computer Sand Sculpture

Roger Frames: All at sea

Roger Frames: All at seaRoger Frames - Hospital VisitRoger Frames: Hospital Visit

Roger & Debit watch the Chancellor's Budget Speech

Roger Frames: Roger and Debit watch the Chancellor’s Budget Speech

Roger Frames: Arrested for Begging

Roger Frames: Arrested for begging

Roger Frames - Asleep in the sun

Roger Frames: Asleep in the sun

Roger Frames - Sunburn

Roger Frames: Bad Sunburn

Roger Frames: The Untouchables

Roger Frames: The Untouchables

Roger Frames - Batman and the vicar

Roger Frames: ‘Batman’ and the vicar

Roger Frames - Batman and the vicar

Roger Frames: ‘Batman’ and the vicar

Roger Frames - Hanging on

Roger Frames: Hanging on

Roger Frames - Beach Treasure Hunt

Roger Frames: Beach Treasure Hunt

Roger Frames - Bath Tub Sub

Roger Frames – Bath Tub Sub
Originally posted on miketoons.blogspot.com – Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Roger Frames and his dog Debit watch the Chancellor’s Speech

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames and his dog Debit watch the Chancellor's Speech

This is a blast from the past. An ink and wash illustration commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s.

I illustrated many “Roger Frames buys Budjit Games” for the magazine involving the penny-pinching antics of Roger, who acted out his computer game role-play with disastrous consequences.

Working with Ollie Alderton, the art editor of Commodore Format, on Roger Frames has to be one of the most fun things I ever did.

Originally published on miketoons.blogspot.com.

Bag o’ sh*t

Art, Cartoons, Soapbox

Hand on heart, I’ve never been a ‘doggy’ person.
Bag o' sh*t

I tolerate dogs. I tolerate then when they bark and growl at me. I tolerate them when they stinky slobber on my hand. I even tolerate them when they leap up and try and knock me over. Actually, I just remembered back to a little Yorkie I used to know called Chewy. Chewy was OK.

But poo is the problem. Poo on your shoe. Poo in areas where children play. Poo in areas like nature reserves where ecologists play – grovelling on hands and knees, looking for marsh fritillary larvae or early signs of squinancywort.

Good dog owners pick up the poo [scoop the poop] in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the appropriate manner. A hearty round of applause for all those good folk.

Bad dog owners shiftily avert their gaze to admire a passing cement truck and continue their sauntering walk as Effin’ Fido dumps a pile in the middle of the pavement/footpath/canal towpath.

But there’s an in-between breed [crossbreed?] of dog owners whose behaviour is, quite frankly, incomprehensible. After dutifully bagging up their pet’s excrement they throw the bag down into the grass, under some bushes, or even tie the bag onto a branch of a bush.

What do they think will happen to the bagged-up shite? Do they walk past the bag each day and admire it? The polythene is very effective at preserving its contents and preventing it from breaking down naturally. No chance of dung-loving insects processing it in there.

I am totally flummoxed by these people. I wait in hope of enlightenment from someone who has insight into their mindset.

1995 revisited

Cartoons, History
Doodly doodles

1995 revisited: this was the image on the homepage of miketoons in its first incarnation.
Doodly doodles* on a spiral bound secretarial notepad, montaged in Photoshop. I still like the lettering but I’m not sure now about the fake coffee cup stain.
*My best doodles are done while talking on the phone.