Sunday, 27 February 2011

Blissful Booking

Just back from a busy day and laying like roadkill on my bed, laptop at hand.. so a brief blog.
Attended a wedding fair at Hamletts Hotel in Larkfield during the day. It was a nice easy paced one. I was surprised at how many people approached my pitch claiming how much they loved caricatures, only to run terrified when I asked if they'd like a free one drawn. Maybe it's my face, I don't know.
Mai accompanied me there which is always a great help, she's quite a people person and so responds well to meeting new people, particularly other stall holders who have goodies to offer her for our own wedding in 2012. It's a strange thing when your brain is in business mode and your partner's brain is in the land of Bride-to-be.
Once the fair was over, I dropped Mai off and went on to my evening booking in Snodland, an eighteenth birthday party. This booking was a house party with a great group of people who were up for a laugh. It's always an honour when a family invite you into their home as it's a much more personal experience. You get to mingle more and feel a real part of the fun.
I even drew a hamster and a tortoise, that's gotta be a first at a party.
Now a few days at home working on commissions before next weekend's craziness, a wedding and a two day stint dressed in medieval costume.. where did I put that codpiece?

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Kings Speech

Last night I had my head in a giggling mood as I went to the cinema with Mai. We were intending to see the new Simon Pegg film 'Paul' until we stood in the queue and spotted the hordes of teenagers queueing, burping and using the word "bruv" in every sentence. God I'm getting old.
That was when we decided 'The King's Speech' was a safer choice.
You've probably heard all the hype. This film has wowed audiences across the world and received awards-a-plenty, and I can't say I'm surprised. It positively oozed acting creme de la creme to the point where you could expect nothing less.
Most of all it was a pleasure to watch Colin Firth stammering along in his role as George VI, accompanied by the charmingly suave Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue. Great duos work in many films and this ranks up with the best of them. The movie also featured among others, the talents of Helena Bonham Carter as a young Queen Mum, the great Michael Gambon as an imposing George V and Derek Jacobi as a suprisingly intrusive Archbishop.
It's easy as a mere commoner to dismiss royalty as cold, self-righteous people but films such as this show you the sensitive side of how they live their lives. This film had the same effect on me as Stephen Frears 'The Queen' from a few years back, in that it somewhat softened my attitude. It's easy to assume the stories you hear in newspapers about the royal family to be true, but so much more gratifying to discover that they suffer the same basic human fears as the rest of us.
I found the 'The Kings Speech' to be a thoroughly enjoyable film with a powerful score. It's not for everybody but if you think you may like it or are just intrigued then why not.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Adventures of Harvey the Head

Ok here's another little animation test.
I was originally going to make this a comic that had a jazzy cover and just repeated panels inside but I think it works better as a cartoon. Obviously I will tweak, play with and possibly make more
Harvey adventures over time.
Hope you have as much fun watching it as I did making it!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Experiments in animation

After a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday about the prospects of using my artwork in animation, I went home and had a little experiment to see if the programs on my computer would be capable of producing anything.
What I came up with was very simple and basic but it has given me food for thought with regards to future projects. So please bear with me with the above clip, it is just a test which I never intended for public viewing but I will hopefully be building on this to make clips which will give you all a giggle in the near future.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Celebrity of the Month: January 2011

As a fun feature this year I thought I would start to add a
celebrity of the month caricature.
I'm not hugely taken with the gossip columns and such that surround celebrity, but I think we all from time to time find something in the land of the famous that give us a good chuckle. If I do get stuck for a celebrity I may be trawling through Mai's National Enquirer in desperation..
hopefully for my sanity it won't come to that!!
I also doubt that any politicians will end up as one of my monthly celebs, they really shouldn't be regarded as celebrity anyway and to be honest, that whole world, though necessary, is incredibly dull.
So January's celeb is Ricky Gervais, he may have offended some at the Golden Globes but really what else did they expect? Ricky is known for his controversial and outspoken comedy and to give him a huge platform for it is only asking for trouble.
Possibly the one thing that amused me more than Ricky's comments was Robert de Niro laughing at them.
I salute you Mr. Gervais, may your comedy stay on the razor sharp edge of what is acceptable.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Doodling at Detling

Wedding fairs are such an enjoyable part of the job. I get to draw free caricatures and there's no pressure. Don't get me wrong, it's busy.. but it's still a kind of relaxed atmosphere.
Sadly I am booked in Lancashire during Detling's big wedding fair in May so I took the opportunity to have a pitch at the (slightly) smaller fair they were holding today.
What a great crowd! Lots of people were up for being drawn and I had a really good time. Also received a good few bookings which is I suppose the point. I do tend to just get wrapped up in the drawing so it's lucky Mai attends with me so she can chat to people.
This evening I went on to a 9th birthday party which made a nice change.. it's not often I get booked for kids parties as there's not enough kids attending to make the price worth paying, but this was one BIG party! the kids were incredibly friendly and I had a great time, finishing up with drawing a few of the parents.
So now after a short drive back I'm resting my aching bones. What a wimp!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Tired typing

Just back from a great booking in Dover, an eighteenth birthday party to be precise. Lovely crowd all thoroughly enjoying themselves in a club, alcohol and happy people make for a good caricaturing gig (the other extreme being an office full of people busily working and not at all interested in being drawn.. oh yes, I had that gig a few years back!).
Pretty much every gig goes well and people respond well to the pictures, but in my 15(ish) years working as a caricaturist I am yet to get used to one thing... and that would be the phrase,
"Can you come over to my table next?"
Keeping a mental note of the five tables you have to go to next can be a bit of a juggling trick while drawing and every now and again you upset people without trying to. One lady this evening got a little irritable and told me she'd asked me an hour ago. I don't think she realised she was one of about 50 people who had asked me to come to them next this evening. But I think I managed to draw most of the people that wanted one, including the irritable lady who soon became a jolly lady.
Lovely drive back with that little buzz a good caricature gig brings me, but boy do I ache!
Hope I stop aching for Sunday.. drawing caricatures at a wedding fair in Detling before driving off to another birthday party as soon as it's finished.
Every ache is worth it though, this is definately the life for me. Excuse the rambling nonsense of this blog, my brain is as worn out as my drawing arm.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Derren Brown: Behind the Mischief

At the risk of sounding like all I ever do is collapse like a beached whale in front of the telly, I thought I'd add another telly related blog. For the record I don't always sit in front of the telly, sometimes I get up for a cuppa.

I'd missed the Derren Brown documentary that aired a few weeks back and although I use the different iplayers on the net it's just not the same on a laptop. So I was very pleased when I saw that they were repeating it last night.
Let me start by saying that I didn't paint the above caricature, indeed I truly wish I had. That incredible piece of work was created by the man himself, a master caricaturist in his own right. You can see more of his work at It should be illegal to be that talented!
Behind the Mischief was a very revealing documentary, following Derren in his daily life in his work and with his family and friends. I've always found that magicians and illusionists carry with them a pretentious air (particularly so in the case of David Blaine) but Derren doesn't seem to have this, being quite frank and humorous in the approach to his illusions. But there were still things I found myself wondering about him.. what was his his house like? How do those that are close to him feel about what he does for a living? This documentary had some of the answers.
Derren's house was much as I expected, taxidermy adorning the walls and shelves, pickled creatures and props a-plenty. It still had a slightly modern look here and there which surprised me, I kind of expected dark gloomy corridors of the like you would see in a Tim Burton film.
We then were treated to excerpts from the shows, following Derren talking about his feelings and thoughts to the risks involved. I did wonder years back how his parents would have felt watching him during the live Russian Roulette routine and this too was revealed. Derren's mum explained how she was unable to eat before it aired, fearful for her son's life.
The show also revealed how one of his writing team was selected from the Seance show, an audience member who had some scares during a curtained trick. Maybe Derren selects his staff by scaring the hell out of them first? I would assume that working with him would be as frightening at times as it would be fun. I had the opportunity last year of seeing Derren Brown's Enigma show when it played in Chatham, and at times I thought I may be called up on stage. Part of me was glad I wasn't, I may have passed out from the fear of what he might do!
All in all Behind the Mischief was a fascinating look at an equally fascinating man's life.
Glad I finally caught it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Dexter series 5

Well I thought I should christen the new blog with something at least and so am starting with something non-caricature related.
Dexter. without a doubt my favourite tv series. It is simply an amazing feat how this series is created, not only do you find yourself loving the characters (none more so than the serial killer himself) but each series has new shocks to offer.
Series four simply had the most mind-blowing ending ever (I wont specify, for the sake of those who haven't seen it) and so when I sat down to watch series five I really didn't expect much, just a few satisfying chills and thrills would be enough to suffice.
But the 5th series has a new outlook, with Dexter's lifestyle taking a big overhaul the storyline had to go off at a new angle.. and that it did.
This series sees Dexter protecting a would be serial killer victim by the name of Lumen while dealing with the antics of those around him.. probably the most difficult of all being his step-daughter Astor, now becoming an awkward teenager.
The true beauty of the series shows in these set-ups; one side an action packed horror/thriller, the other a family based drama. You would never have seen Hannibal Lecter changing a nappy, for instance.
Series 5 has several moments that have you almost leaping from your seat.. the risks Dexter takes becoming ever more alarming, the moments he almost gets caught becoming ever more frequent.
This series may not end with quite as much shock as it's predecessor but it still stands alone with it's thrills.
If you haven't watched Dexter before, I would give it a go.. tv doesn't get much better than this.