I went to art college before they became polytechnics and then university wishing to go into advertising as it seemed to be populated by cool people. While in my humble job in advertising it became the habit of friends to ask me if I could “do a leaving card for so and so cos you can draw a little bit”. I did loads and when I was made redundant I seem to remember that I did my own.
I loved doing the cards, as it gave me the excuse to be rude to some of the humourless people ( very few ) and to celebrate the ones I liked.
I ended up drawing for a living as advertising would not have me back after redundancy. So they all did me a bit of a favour. I don’t do many cards these days, and only when I want to. In today’s case my erstwhile client Robin is celebrating a birthday. He was such a good client to work for we became good friends, and he has been loyally buying my stuff for years. He’s got more of my work on his walls at home than I have.
I don’t do a lot of political cartoons but the unseemly scramble for the leadeship of a party that is sinking, or at least heading for the rocks was too much for me, and I suspect for most of the population. Whoever gets to captian the battered vessel has some navigation to do.
I suppose I should have known at the time. It’s not the first time someone has said ” I’ve got this great idea for you, but you’ll have to do the drawings for free”. Perhaps I should have walked then but I took it all on with my usual enthusiasm. Hours of unpaid work. But then drawing cartoons is not really work is it? Aaaaaaargh!
I did the drawings and then waited to make my fortune from the entrepreneur who started me down this path to penury. Greetings cards were all that came out of it and I saw not one bean from the project.
It was actually a good idea. If you’ve not experienced the world of scooters then prepare to be surprised. Those little scooters that kids fly around on are brilliant bits of very strong engineering and kids of all ages are wont to do stunts and tricks on them. Locally there’s a “Scooter Park” where they can zip up and down ramps and come to as little harm as possible. As part of my research into the project I went along to take a look at the place and watch the little demons buzzing around like angry wasps, doing all sorts of tricks and flips. It was a bit like skateboarding with a wheeled plank. Some of these scooter riders are tiny, others look like they might just have left home. They even have World Championships for this sort of thing. Check it out from the link.
Anyhow, going through some recent history I came across my artwork for the cards. I have now decided to exploit the idea myself a little more and these drawings are available as prints. For me, these days they are unusual, first of all because they are in colour. Rare for me to do that these days, and secondly the subject manner is off my usual patch of crumpled adults. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed doing them. “Scooterists”, as I call them, buzzing around the page. If you go and buy a print for your scooterist you run the risk of making me think that the whole thing was a good idea in the first place. Scoot!
My almost 3 year old twin grandsons dislike having their hair cut. I was reminded of this when this drawing popped out of the archives. It’s from the book Some Missing Persons writen by my late friend Gordon Thorburn, with added contributions from myself as the drawer and the provider of inspiration. This particular chapter bewailed the passing of the traditional barber. It’s well worth a re-read from this link.
I know I’m not supposed to like my own drawings but this is a favourite, not least as it was done years before the twins popped out, and the small boy looks quite like both of them. I like too the barber himself. I drew him from memory. I was uncarcerated in a boarding school for some years and they employed what appeared to be ex servicemen with a cruel streak to drive clippers over our heads so that we looked like corn fields just harvested by a rusty combine harvester. I think we all hated it. As they were also probably on piece work there was no inane barber chat, just the smell of hair, DNA and barber’s bad tobacco breath. So none of that “What’s on for you today?” or “Something for the weekend?” ( Not that we had any idea at the time what the last phrase meant but heard it now and again when we had proper haircuts at home, down the local barber.) Local barber was, of course, quite different to the scissor brothers at school. My own described himself as an “Entreprenewer” and he drove an e-type jag, a car of sublime beauty. He planned to open a nightclub in Skemersdale just outside Liverpool ( an area at the time of such poverty and desolation that a night club seemed odd even to me ), and as far as I know he may well have done. He specialised in beatle haircuts popular at the time, something the Scissor brothers at school would have had a minor turn if they had been asked to perform one.
I was reminded by the drawing too of the inside of a barber shop, with the faux leather banquette seats where were seated in line with the other males wanting haircuts. No female ever entered this area and my drawing is a tad inaccurate as the seats would have been in almost constant use, and as polished as a brilliantine salesman’s suit. Haircuts were all that was on offer, although there were basins, I can recall no one having their hair washed.
I had my own sparse locks trimmed just the other day, by a local woman barber. I got the ‘haircut chat’, but no mention of the weekend thank goodness. There were still tins and bottles of pale green liquid trying to be like the old days, but it just was n’t the same, again thank goodness!
Little drawing with the poor chap’s foot cut off. I used to do work for a company that specialised in improving signals for mobile phones. Remember when one used to wave the phone in the air to try and get some reception? I do. I recall going on holiday to France with the family and some work to be done, buying a mobile phone on the way to the ferry at Portsmouth, so that I could keep in touch with my clients while on tour of France’s deepest South West. I recall having to do some phone aerobics then too. But not in my ‘Y fronts’.
I also recall sending the roughs of the drawings from the local French post offices via their fax machines. It was a service they offered. Sounds like the dark ages these days. Those were the days when artwork was drawn on board and would be sent to London on a train ( Red Star Parcels ). Crikey we thought we were so on the ball.