Schools are soon to be back and my memory of September is mainly of bright sunny days. Here’s a rough drawing done ages ago of a schoolboy in the rain. With links to other rain pictures. Stay dry!
These chaps above have all gone to new homes as well as the finished version of the one below. In many ways I prefer the one below to the final. I’m sure they’ve all gone to good homes. The bike drawing has been sold for charity, so I am particularly pleased about that. It was bought by a chap who’s friend is greatly into motorbikes. The charity that will benefit is Headway. This one’s for charity
Hoping for a fine day today so that I can find new homes for some of the others, but it’s been a good week anyway.
Interestingly, the drawing that has had the most reaction is the one on the poster below and still no one mentions the bear,like it’s normal to have a stuffed bear in the loft.
Thanks to all those people who have dropped by in the last few days and to those of you out there worldwide who have dropped in here.
You can see more of what’s on in the show right here:My site where you can buy prints of many of the images that I have in the show.
As a change from my drawings about the British here’s my chum Robin singing about John Barleycorn, in a cornfield near to the River Severn in Gloucestershire. It’s all part of the British Character, and we talk a lot about marmalade. It’s important.
I’m in the middle of getting together my exhibition stuff for August, and here’s one of the final pieces. If a cartoon can be called a “piece”. There I go again devaluing what I do. In the good old days when I was working for ad agencies and design companies these sorts of drawings were commissioned and the fee was based on the use it was put to. If it was a visual then you’d be lucky to get £60-00 for it, if it was used for editorial in a magazine then it could be less than that. On the other hand if it was used for a small ad campaign then the fee could be aropund £300-00 or more to include the rights to the drawing. For a big ad campaign it could go into four figures ( rare this! ) This was in the 80’s and in the heyday of illustration being commissioned, and I was lucky to have had my best years of illustration commissions then.
Now I’ve changed direction and I’m doing all my own ideas and will soon be publishing them as prints from my website and having an exhibition of the originals. This one is just a sample of one of the prints on drawings about people with apt names, these two being Valerie Uptchuous and Benjamin Dover: Ballroom Dancing Champions. The original of this will be on sale at the exhibition, and this version as a print. Here’s another : Desmond Pratt
As someone who’s been ‘in the business’ for years I’m used to people saying ” How much!!?? ” when I tell them what I want for a drawing. This phrase is usually followed by the muttered, spluttered “…but it will only take you a short time to do it” as if creative work should be charged by the hour like a taxi driver on a meter.
The point of this is “How much?” I want to sell them, and of course I have digital files of all of them and I’m not selling the rights to the images, just the orginal black and white artwork.
I guess I’ll find a way, or let the market decide as they say. We’ll see. I’ll be posting more on the exhibitoion as we get closer to it in August. Apart from the drawings about people with apt names, there will be a series about the British, see here for more about that: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character Indicentally I’m still trying to find living relatives of the esteemed “Pont” to invite them along to the exhibition, but no luck so far.
I’m looking forward to it myself. I’m looking for other venues around the country to show it too, so any suggestions on where I might be able to take it, then let me know. I’ve looked in London but my reaction when I saw what they wanted for the rental of a small exhibition space was “How much!!!!!!!??????”
A penchant for watercolour
One of a series about the British Character
I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, but then when one is drawing for an exhibition about the British it is to be expected. The fact we’ve had gallons of it dropping down on us in the last few days helps. I’ve done several versions of this idea and this might be the best so far, until tomorrow when I will no doubt ‘go off it’. It started out like the one below, and I’m not sure if I prefer the first drawing or this, or as agonising starts, neither.
I’ve had a week of framing the originals for the exhibition in August, so it’s been good to get back to some drawing again, apart from a very welcome day off in Cheddar.
There’s more about this right here:
I’m working on a load of drawings for my exhibition in August, this is one. many of them based on the work of Punch cartoonist “Pont”.
I’ve also put together a new website for the project which is very slowly coming together, where people will be able to buy prints of the work from the show as well as other selected pieces.
It’s taking a while, so as the saying goes ” Bear with me” In the meantime I’ll be blogging about pigeons, sheds and allotments as normal in addition to random stuff.
I’m a big fan of art galleries and love to watch the watchers. In my quest to get together my exhibition about the British inspired by cartoonist “Pont” I’m working at present on the one featured below. The people looking at the art are at times as entertaining as what they are looking at. There’s usually a bloke of a certain age dressed with the cravat and matching floppy kerchief in the top pocket, a large woman who can be guaranteed to block out most of what’s on view as well as one who dresses in the same colours as the paintings, so has a tendency to look like a piece of artwork. “Certain Age Gentleman” is able to lean forward from a fixed spot as if his shiny brogues are nailed to the floor inspecting the detail of what he’s not understanding at all. Small boy is more interested in what’s up his nose than the valuable piece in front of him, the painting only serving to remind him what’s up there. There’s likely to be the odd Japanese person if this is in London, it’s on the itinerary of the group trip.
This is the first rough, the final artwork will be at my exhibition in August here in Cheltenham, I’ll be putting details on here as well as featuring a lot of the drawings, which might be described as art, “but not as we know it Jim?”
This will tell you more about “Pont” Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character
Thanks goodness for the filter that weeds out those emails from companies trying to sell you stuff. One this morning from National Express, the UK coach people, who think I might want to go to Glastonbury. No doubt to have a weekend camping in mud whilst listening to very average music.
These emails are like being accosted and interupted in a bus station by someone trying to sell you a genuine gold chain. The seller seems a bit dodgy, if he says the chain is genuine gold it’s not, and it’s likely to be stolen. The guy reeks of alchohol and it’s only 9.30 in the morning. The normal thing to do is not to engage in conversation.
Well, that’s got that off my chest.
Time to go down and do some plotting…
A quick aside from my musings on Greece and our trip to Spetses.
I’m working towards an Exhibition in August here in Cheltenham of drawings that go under the title of “The British Character”. This project was inspired by the finding of a small book that I found in a charity shop by the same name which had an intro by the late Alan Coren – now there was a funny man.The drawings in this book are by Pont, who’s real name was Graham Laidler. Mr Laidler was one of the country’s leading cartoonists in the late 1930’s and had a perceptive eye for the way of the British, as well as wonderful draughtsmanship skills. I have used his ideas as the basis for my own interpretations and drawings for the exhibition.
I thought it right in the circumstances that I might invite relatives of Pont to the Exhibition to see a modern take on his thoughts, so I embarked on a search to find them. Everyone I asked has been quick to respond but until today I have had little positive feedback. An email to the Cartoon Museum has today resulted in a positive response and someone who knows of living relatives. As I write I am waiting to see if there will be more, and if I am able to invite them down here in August. A big thanks to Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum for her help.
I’ve never been to the Cartoon Museum, perhaps I should! Cartoon Museum in London
The British Character
A capacity for invention linked to great optimism
This is another of the pages from my collaboration with Gordon Thorburn and our book Some Missing Persons, now very nearly out of print. Gordon’s site If you are a new visitor to my site there are others scattered around here like this one Man who mends cars…
A vacancy has arisen in the post of Honorary Village Figurehead, Titlingham St Margaret. Would suit retired major, colonel or wing commander with wife extant. Applicants must be prepared to chair Parish Council, school governors, et cetera.
Naval officers tended to retire on the coast, so the villagers of Titlingham, deep in the heart of Suffolk, always expected a senior soldier or airforce chap to come and lead them in their battles against the swirling tides of progress, and they were not disappointed.
The wife (extant), who was called Susan or Verity, also did chairing, of the village fete committee and the WI, and organised the flower rota in the church. She bought all her provisions at the village shop apart from, obviously, a few things that had to be sent from Fortnums.
He, known universally as The Major or, at a pinch, The Squadron Leader, drank halves of best, with a handle, three times a week at the pub. He’d hob-nob indiscriminately with the vicar, the poacher, the gamekeeper, the butcher, the horse dealer, the doctor (qv), the goat woman (also qv), the gardener up at the house and the mechanic who looked after his old Wolseley. He’d never tell secrets to the village policeman, not that the village policeman would want to know anyway.
The Major, you see, was not the squire or the lord of the manor. The Major was of the village. He was primus inter pares and most definitely primus, but he clipped his own hedge, grew his own roses, and called all the men (except the vicar and the doctor) by their first names, likewise the daughters thereof.
He doffed his brown trilby to the ladies and never smoked his pipe at the nativity play. His shoes (brown Oxford brogues with leather soles, hand made) were always polished to a mirror sheen. He generally wore one of his collection of six three-piece Savile Row tweed suits but could also be sighted on sunny afternoons, walking his two spaniels, in crimson or mustard cord trousers and cashmere cardigan.
He’s gone now. Defeated. Half the village is weekenders and commuters. In any case, retired officers these days don’t keep their ranks as titles and move to the country. Many of them didn’t even go to public school. Unable to retire gracefully, they write books, join security firms or become pop stars.
The poacher’s gone too. Can’t afford the house prices. A merchant banker, retired at 45, bought the old rectory the major used to live in and planted Leylandii all around it. The shop has shut, the pub is a restaurant with bar, and the school is struggling for numbers. A doctor from town holds a weekly surgery in the village hall and nobody has seen a policeman for months.
It’s sad, really. Very sad.
My son, who did philosophy at University, came out with this question when he was about 3 or so. When he’d only just learnt to talk and walk really, so the signs were there very early that he was going to be doing a lot of thinking. He certainly did not do much sleeping and I recall with a shudder the long nights of questioning. Including the one where he admonished me for going ‘off piste’ when reading Postman Pat, telling me that Mrs Goggins could not possibly be a bank robber, “it just did n’t add up”.
I recall this as I’ve been busy trying to draw rain. I’m in the middle of a series of drawing about the British and it has to feature rain in quite a few of them. It’s one of those dilemmas where you do the drawing. Get it to a certain acceptable stage, and then look at it and ask yourself. “How do I put the rain on here?” Not just a light shower, a continuous downpour. Just like we had here yesterday. Should I just scribble over the entire drawing in a moist sort of way, or add it with white flecks of paint and hope for the best, knowing of course that any mistake or unsuccessful attempt will render the drawing almost useless and will have to be done again.I’m working on it by just thinking about it.
Joe answered his own question with his own answer at the time, but looked at me for confirmation as I was looking so bemused “Perhaps it’s Boris Becker Dad”
Perhaps it was.
This is one of the drawings in question and it’s part of the series of drawing based on the British, this one is titled:
“The Optimism of the Camper”
I’ll be enhancing or ruining this drawing in the next few weeks, if it goes well I’ll publish the final.
It’s based on fact, that’s me hammering in the tent pegs on a windy and rain beaten slope somewhere in Devon, wondering why on earth anyone thought this might be a good idea. I’ve refused to go camping ever since.
There’s more to this story but best not to tell that here.
This is nothing to do with French bridge building, but my recent plans to revisit the work of Graham Laidler : Pont
Here’s an example of what he did about the British and below is my own version, but mine is just a rough for the time being. I’m trying to go through as many of his versions as possible and in this instance the drawings have a similar construction, as the subject leaves little to be updated really. Other subjects may well have changed. My exhibition is in August next year so I have plenty of time. Sometimes this is not a good idea as I have a tendency to leave everything to the last minute, and at times produce my better work when under pressure.
Anyhow, today was a simply beautiful sunny day here, bright blue skies and lovely sunshine all day, but cold. It would have been easy to use this good weather to go out for a random walk, but I kept my discipline and got on with the drawing. With Bruce Springsteen at some considerable volume the day has gone well.
Punch was a very well known magazine in the UK which was a haven for cartoonists and it was always my ambition in the early days to get something published in there. I managed it once when the magazine had a brief revival after going out of publication, and that was my Punch career over as it folded properly. Hopefully nothing to do with my contribution. Pont was popular when it was in it’s heyday, which I missed. However, it does seem to still exist on-line as a repository for a load of cartoons from it’s archives, so it’s still making money from the cartoons. I wonder if the cartoonists or their estates make anything? It would be good to think that they do.
Here’s my own modest take on the one above.
I hope to get that lovely feeling of light and dark into the final drawing. It will have the same title as the Pont version and an acknowledgement to him too.
More news on my exhibition will be posted as we get closer to the deadline.