It’s a mystery…

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

It's a mystery. An editorial cartoon for something or other a long time ago.

… An editorial cartoon involving a whale and Buckingham Palace for something or other a long time ago.

Unless I trawl through all my invoices from 20-25 years back, I’m probably never going to remember why this cartoon was commissioned. I know, let’s have a caption competition

Parasols: Amiga 500 digital art, c1992

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

ParasolsThe late 80s and early 90s were exciting times in the development of home computing. I bought my son a Commodore 64 when he was about eight and three years later I bought myself (although my son disputes it was for me) a secondhand Amiga 500.

I was already producing traditional ink and wash cartoons for Future Publishing but the Amiga give me the possibility of creating digital art for them. The supreme art programme was Deluxe Paint by EA. This was years before Photoshop and Illustrator became as sophisticated as they are today.

This is part of a cover for Amiga Format created in Deluxe Paint on my Amiga 500, probably 1992-ish. Drawn using a mouse, pixel by pixel and before the days of antialiasing, hence the jaggies.

archy and mehitabel

Cartoons, Illustration

a good friend sent me a book
one christmas it was an old
library book he d bought for
a few cents but he asked me
to ignore that information
even though it was written
in felt pen inside

it was a book by don marquis
called archy and mehitabel
archy is a cockroach of
great talent and industry
each night when the don is
away from his office archy
hurls himself at
the keys of
the typewriter
but the shift key defeats him
the resulting prose
is in lower case and sans

it is a hoot to read
and joy of joys is full of
line drawings by george
of krazy kat fame

if you d like to read more
extracts i suggest archy
interviews a pharaoh
the lesson of the moth
on the don marquis
tribute website

and finally thanks
to john blair moore
for the gift of a
treasured book

Have a happy Christmas and New Year holiday

Cartoons, Illustration

Which is shorthand for I hope you have a happy Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.

I drew this originally for ArtsMonkey’s Christmas Advent Blog but, with just a few tweaks, it serves well as my digital Christmas card to you.

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming,
The Goose is Getting Fat.
Please put a Penny
In the Old Man’s Hat.
If you haven’t got a Penny,
A Ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a Ha’penny,
A Farthing will do.
If you haven’t got a Farthing,
God Bless You!

Cartoon stereotype

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Just Amazing: the Frenchman who ate everythingJust Amazing. TV Times 1984. More art from the miketoons dusty archives. An illustration to accompany programme details in TV Times. Apparently the man featured in the programme ate bottles, bicycles and even a light aircraft. Cartoon stereotype of a Frenchman? I admit I’ve never met a Frenchman dressed like this.

Thanks to Elliot Elam for pointing out the Frenchman was Michel Lotito – Monsieur Mangetoute!

Art in a Rainy City

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Manchester Illustrators Exhibition

Art in a Rainy City, 1980s: Illustration in Indian ink for an exhibition of work by illustrators based in the Manchester area. A one night stand with the art buyers and creatives of Manchester. I don’t remember getting any commissions from that evening but it was good to work with other illustrators in putting it all together.

Any other ‘oldies’ remember it?


Art, Illustration, Soapbox


At various times in my life I have been vegetarian, sometimes reluctantly through pressure from family members, other times willingly. More recently, I’ve been eating meat occasionally – bacon, pork sausages, chicken and, less often, beef – and always with the magic words organic or free range to lessen any guilt trip.

I’m a guilt-ridden semi-reluctant meat eater. I feel it’s wrong, but I like it.

This week I’m reading A C Grayling’s book Ideas that Matter. It’s his ‘personal dictionary’ of ideas worth knowing about in the 21st century. Each short essay is informative and illuminating.

Grayling is vegetarian and his piece on vegetarianism made me laugh out loud and then re-examine my own attitude to eating meat.

He says there are three arguments why you shouldn’t eat meat. Economic (the weakest argument), health and (strongest argument) morally.

Here’s what he says on health:

…more compelling, is the health argument, which turns on the consideration that meat contains saturated fats and lots of bacteria, and if it non-organically produced then it contains antibiotics, vaccines and growth hormones, which with the fats and (despite the antibiotics) the bacteria find their way into the human mouth as it fulfils its function as a graveyard for the corpses of slaughtered beasts.

…What butchers call ‘fresh meat’ is nothing of the sort, but is in fact carrion, because meat is only soft enough to cut, cook and eat when it has begun to decay. That we eat rotten meat is a fact amazingly disguised in the case of game, hung for extra lengths of time to get even more rotten than other meats. Rotting is effected by millions of bacteria swarming in the meat, their task is to pre-digest it for us by eating it first; the gamey smell of hung venison comes from the excrement of the microbes smeared all over it- everything that eats must excrete, and the meat is both dining room and toilet for the microbes.

…Perhaps you like filling your mouth with rotting flesh full of injected hormones and vaccines, pullulating with microbes and covered in microbe diarrhoea. All these things, plus a carcinogenic finish of heat-damage caused by the cooking process, add up to a tasty morsel, after all, and who can deny it?

Thank you. I think in future I’ll ignore the tempting organically, lovingly, free-range, happy animals descriptions and try again to be a contented vegetarian.

Roger Frames: rediscovered pencil rough

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - 1st rough
While rummaging through a pile of old pencil roughs (I call it my filing system) I discovered, or rediscovered, this first pencil rough for a Roger Frames cartoon.

It was for the third of three cartoons where the theme was Roger acting out a Batman fantasy triggered by his favourite ‘Budjit Game’ of that month.

As you can see below I changed the drawing completely for the final version, much simpler and more dramatic, prompted by Art Editor Ollie Alderton’s valuable contribution.

Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - 2nd rough

Here’s the final printed version.
Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - printed proof