Coming up next year…

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I’m working on a little book written by my chum Gordon Thorburn, ( Men and Sheds ) who apart from writing about sheds and bomber pilots from the Second World War ( Books about all sorts ), has written a little tome about…well, I’ll leave exactly what it’s about until I have it all ready.

I’m doing the drawings for it and hope to publish it on-line in the New Year, or perhaps will be able to make a start before Christmas, as you’ll have plenty of time to read, learn, and digest. We’ll see.

It will be on this site every week, on the same day, until it’s demise. I found it entertaining and witty. I suppose it is aimed at children so it did suit me very well.

Here’s a rough of one of the drawings for it, followed by the next version, some of you illustrator people out there might be interested in the technicalities: there are none. It’s drawn straight onto layout paper with a Pentel sign pen, then drawn again, then drawn again for the final, then mounted onto board with Studio Gum ( today’s equivalent of Cow Gum ) and some pastel half tone and shadow might be added and perhaps a bit of whiting out of some areas with Dr PH. Martin’s Bleed Proof White ( I kid you not! ). If it needs any more surgery after that then I use a scalpel to cut out or amend, cutting through the top layer of layout paper. Then the final is scanned and if necessary some final tweaks are made, digitally.

This is drawing one, followed by drawing two, final will follow when the book is published here.

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Some of my friends have gone…

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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.

A quick tour of the exhibition.

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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.

Yes, but is it art?

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?”

Pontart

This will tell you more about “Pont”  Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

The Best Dressed Man in the Village


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…


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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.

Pancake tosser…

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It’s not often you get a pancake tosser on the front of a magazine, but this one made it. I quite like the art director’s note  in the top right not to lose the pancakes at the top when placing. I’m assuming I did this for pancake day.

I was always inspired by the wonderful invention and drawing of William Heath Robinson, where he imagined machines that could do all sorts of wonderful tasks. I think this drawing would benefit from some simple animation.Flying pancakes, lovely.

Heath Robinson


I’m having a week of postings to see what sort of response they get rather than the once a week, as per normal. If you have dropped into my site then thanks for visiting.

 

“Sorry about the mess” said the pilot.

It’s not the words you want to hear when climbing into the rear of a two seater aircraft. The pilot, a large bloke with a big ‘wooly pully’ as he might call it was heaving his not inconsiderable frame into the front behind the array of instruments and the all important joy stick. I was hoping he’s be able to see it among all the litter in the plane which consisted of many sweet wrappers and discarded fag packets. For those readers in the US we call cigarettes fags, amongst other things.

” I’ll drive” he joked and then said “strap yourself in then”, and then muttered something about “health and safety” as if strapping yourself into an aeroplane was ever not an option.

I’d gone along to this local gliding centre to take photos of gliders and people learning to fly them, and here I was with Wing Commander Sidney ” Sweetie” Pie ( Not his real name ) about to take to the air in a small but noisy German aeroplane in the hunt for the photos in question. “I thought I was going to just be on the ground” I chatted to him nervously as the plane bowled down the field that they took for a runway in these parts. ” No bloody good getting pictures of the things on the ground, let’s go and find some up here”, he answered cheerfully. As we took off with a glider attached I squeaked a barely audible “OK”

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What followed put considerable strain on my undercarriage as well as the plane’s. Once we’d got to what he called a decent height and I called near space, he pulled a large lever and let the glider we were towing off to find some thermals. By this time the camera I had taken with me was higher than my face in the cockpit as I sank down as close to the seat as I could crush myself.

For the next terrifying fifteen minuets that felt like an hour, he chased around the sky like a demented Spitfire pilot chasing after a Focke Wolfe, the first of these words was akin to something that I muttered each time he dipped his wing and zoomed into another target.

He landed perfectly after the excursion and helped my gingerly out of the back, offering me one of his collection of sweet assortments. I can’t say the photographs came out that well, though I did get a good close up of the closing mechanism of a plane’s cockpit hood. More by accident than design.

Chocs away!

 

If it’s green…

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Here’s a black and white green cartoon done quite a few years ago for the English Tourist Board. I think vegetarian food has come along a bit since I did this, but I do remember that any cooked food then that had ‘vegetarian’ in front of it , generally looked brown.

Speaking of green, take a look at this wonderful oak tree that I came across the other day on a walk just close to Paradise, which is a village in Gloucestershire. There’s something brilliant about September days when the light is clear and sharp.

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The Paradise Oak

 

Bodge it yourself…

I once did a book jacket for a book of this title, the day after putting a floorboard through a ceiling.

Well recently there’s been a lot of bodging going on and this time not by me. I love technology and I like being on line, which is obvious or I’d not be doing this sort of thing. I like it to work and recently it has not, so in a fit of “lets get this sorted out” I decided to change my internet service provider to Origin Broadband  #originbroadband . I did not want to go with the big boys as their feedback on line was less than encouraging. There, near the top of the small providers, with loads of great comments about customer service was Origin, company that looked like they could do it for me. I rang them and they talked sense, that is once I was past the voice activated phone messages. You know the sort of thing, press 1 for sales, press 2 if you are an existing customer, press 3 for technical support, press 57918775127659175917591751297###65 for complaints.

I’m joking about the last one.

However, they do use someone remarkably like Brian Blessed for their phone voice so be warned, it’s a bit loud. Anyone not familiar with the name should look him up, he’s a fine British actor who has a voice so loud it could probably clear an entire field full of feasting pigeons in a corn field with a simple “Hello!”

I asked Origin if the change over from one supplier to themselves would be painless and instant. The word they used was seamless. Well, in the event it was seamless, they really dropped their trousers there were so few seams in it. The sad thing is it wasn’t their fault.

If you change suppliers here in the UK, in this instance from a standard phone internet line to a fibre broadband, some geezer has to come out in a van and go to a green box on the side of the road near your house. This geezer then just has to find the right wire and make sure that it is connected to the right line. High tech it is not. The geezers that do this are BT Openreach. The company that own the infrastructure: all the lines. They won’t let anyone else touch them. in this instance the geezer did not join the wires and left us high and dry for 5 days.No landline, no internet. Another much more proficient bt geezer came today and fixed it, saying something like ” Unlike some engineers I can count”.

I thought it wise to take the matter up with the Origin, which I did, once I’d got past Brian. I commended them on their fine customer service, which it is so far, but lamented the fact that they have to entrust such a vital task as joining wires to BT Openreach.

It’s like trusting the circus clown to catch you on the high wire when he’s never been up there. I bet Brian Blessed wouldn’t do that.

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