Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mad Scientists & Crazed Showmen

Ok, this blog post isn't strictly cartoon based but I thought I'd do a few posts on things that inspire me.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory musical in Drury Lane with my lovely wife.
It was needless to say, truly brilliant. The acting, choreography and set design were simply ingenious and I had a great evening. It wasn't until returning home on the train that I realised why I loved this show in particular.
I remembered a teacher reading Charlie & the Chocolate Factory to us kids when I was at primary school. I was captivated by this crazy man with his wild inventions and would stop by the sweet shop on the way home, Roald Dahl's subliminal advertising working it's wonders on my 6 year old brain.
Around that same time Gene Wilder appeared on tv during the holidays and I was hooked. Yes, he was a wild and colourful character but I was attracted to the sinister element to this story with the mysterious Wonka and his factory with hidden secrets:
"Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out!"
Quite simply, the thought of a wonderful, kind and ever so slightly unhinged madman struck me as very exciting. The crazed showman with a passion for his creations.

Victor Frankenstein was another character I grew to love. I would catch double bills of Universal Horror movies at what I thought was late at night but was probably pre-watershed. This followed into my teenage years with the Hammer Horror movies. Despite Christopher Lee's booming voice and Ingrid Pitt's sexy scenes I always came back to Peter Cushing as Frankenstein, the misunderstood mad scientist with a passion for his work. Cushing's Frankenstein was unique in that his villainy was undecided. He began as a crazed and downright evil creature but in later films tried to use his work for good. By the final Hammer Frankenstein, "Frankenstein & the Monster from Hell" he was living in an asylum and good or evil didn't seem to matter any longer, only his work.
I still love a Frankenstein flick and it's good to see Victor living strong in movies & tv such as "Victor Frankenstein" and the wonderful "Penny Dreadful".

The mad scientist & the crazed showman. Elements of these characters pop up all the time and I love them all. Dr Emmet Brown and his time machine in Back to the Future, Wacky Businessman Dr Terminus in Pete's Dragon, The eccentric Crowman who created Worzel Gummidge, The evil child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with and even recently Christoph Waltz as the Bounty Hunter Dr King Schultz with his smooth speech and dramatic showmanship in Django Unchained.

I'd be willing to bet most artists love these characters or at least ones that share these characteristics.
Simply put, if you're creative, let a little madness into your life.

All the best people do.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Pulling out of the Rochester Christmas Market

Ah, the Government. You've gotta love them. Sorry, no you don't.
I'm not one to spout political opinions. Generally I live by the words of Billy Connolly,
"The fact that you want to become a politician should stop you being able to become one"
The worst thing about the Government (especially the one we have now) is that they like pulling funding for things, having a knock on effect for the rest of the country.
The Rochester Christmas Market, something I have attended now for much of my career as a caricaturist has had it's government funding cut. This in turn has meant that the organisers have had to raise prices for stalls... boo!
Now, the Christmas Market has lots of local people selling handmade crafts and goods and maybe, just maybe they will be able to make enough to make it worthwhile. But for a caricaturist drawing pictures paid per person there is only so much time in the day to make your money... and there's little room for profit this time.
It's ok, I'm getting booked solid for winter weddings and Christmas parties but it's nice to show my face at the Rochester events.
But I'm afraid dear people, I bow out of this one for now.. I just hope this wont be the case for the Dickens Festival in the Summer, the place where I first began as a caricaturist.
No Artful Doodler at the Rochester Christmas Market and possibly the Dickens Festival, in the town where Dickens wrote his novels?! Shame on you, Mr Cameron and your lackeys.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New Look Random Doodle Time

It's no secret that I'm a lover of classic horror films.
My favourites, those made by Universal and Hammer in the mid-20th Century really knew that careful blend of horror and humour, which is rarely seen today, except for maybe in The League of Gentlemen and Inside no.9.
Realising that my Youtube videos are really something I just create for myself I thought that I would have a little fun with my Random Doodle Time short films and so have changed the theme..
If you're one of those strange few who share my sense of humour, you can watch my latest,
'Random Doodle Time: Fangs & Lightsabers' here:

While you're about it, why not subscribe, too!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Steampunk Village 2015

The sun was shining over the bank holiday weekend at the Festival of Steam & Transport at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
There were engines and contraptions wheezing and pumping steam into the air as multitudes of visitors swarmed the popular attraction.
To the right of the entrance loomed a large building with a huge sign flapping in the breeze that read, "Steampunk Village".. and this was to be the residence of my caricature pitch for a fun filled couple of days.
Those souls brave enough to venture up the stairs would have been greeted with a fantasy world of steam inventions, goggle clad lunatics running this way and that, playing music, sword fighting, singing and having all sorts of fun. These costumed folk had a wide range of outfits, some victorian, some pirate or military, some even with large impressive wings sprouting from their shoulders.
For lovers of Doctor Who there were all sorts of Whovian creatures running wild, along with a Tom Baker impersonator who sounded more like Tom than Tom does.
I drew til I felt like my hand would fall off, then I'd draw some more. A fellow caricaturist, Karl Lind, was working on the other side of the arena and he appeared to be doing the same.
Those of you familiar with my Youtube channel will be aware of my Kermit-esqe zombie frog, Germit who makes regular appearances. Well, just because I was working didn't mean he could have the weekend off, so I had him filming scenes for a couple of films from the weekend.
You can watch them below. Enjoy... and maybe come along next year for more Steampunk madness.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie

It's been a sad few days that have seriously affected the world of cartoons & freedom of speech.
I'll admit I was only vaguely aware of the Charlie Hebdo publication and it's controversial subject matter. But when hearing about the shootings I had a look through the works of those artists that lost their lives to terrorists on Wednesday. I wanted to know what kind of cartoon could be so offensive it could justify the death of it's creator.
Like most cartoons, the illustrations in that magazine poke fun at something. Cartoons do that, it's what they're for. Some are a little more controversial than others but they're a lighter way of making a point.
I personally try to avoid politics in my doodles as I prefer to doodle the world of celebrity and entertainment, it's my choice. Charb, Cabu, Honore, Tignous & Wolinski chose to satire religion, politics and all manner of controversial material and that was their choice.
Those choices are freedom of speech and freedom of speech is the right of every human being.
Nobody has the right to commit murder, even if they do believe a higher entity has told them to do so.
As I type this the news in the background announces the deaths of those suspected in the killings along with many innocent victims.
..and what did all of this death result in?
Millions of people who had probably never even heard of Charlie Hebdo have now seen those illustrations and articles and tribute cartoons are everywhere.
It has been a sad few days that have made cartoons & freedom of speech stronger than ever.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Goodbye 2014

So that's another one over huh.
It's been a busy one, that's for sure.. in fact I think I've doodled at more events in 2014 than any year I can remember. Indeed in the summer it was getting to the point where my hand felt like it would pop, my back had already given up and pain had become the norm.
But when I look at it there are those out there working in far more strenuous jobs than this so what the hell am I complaining about?! As I have said on many occasions, I'm truly lucky to be working in this job.
Here's to a great 2015, it's gotta be good, if you watch Back to the Future II you'll see we are getting flying cars, hoverboards and pizzas that grow to ten times their original size. Can't wait!

I'll leave you with a film of one of my final creations of 2014, 'Derek's Last Supper', probably my last doodle of Ricky Gervais' wonderful creation..

Monday, 20 October 2014

Recovering from a Wedding Experience

Though the Bluewater Wedding Show was on the same day, The Wedding Experience at the Detling Showground yesterday was in full swing.
I had printed up an unholy amount of sheets for the fair and yet as it approached late afternoon I was starting to run low.
Met quite a few people who have already booked me and it was nice to receive several bookings on the day.
Always fun meeting new people and getting to doodle new faces. Even met one couple who were expert dog groomers and got a few great hints for when we get a Bassett pup later in the year.. began to feel like I owed them a fee! 
The only awkward thing at a fair is that I find myself having two conversations at once.. One with the people Im drawing and one with the people talking to Mai next to me... So apologies if I phased out while talking to any of you!
So another big thanks to Tina Green and the staff of the Wedding Experience.. You did us proud... again.
Once I'd finished yesterday I went straight off to work a wedding in Dartford.. and it was a busy one... Boy, do my limbs hate me now.