Recent activities

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Notebook squirrels and chameleon

 I made a concerted effort to convert some of my cartoon ideas in my notebook to finished cartoons in the past week, and I am pleased that I managed to upload 30 to cartoonstock.com. Most of these I have been carrying around in my notebook for a while. Others came from seeing the world through a cartoonists eyes.


The chameleon cartoon is one of the latter. I made my partner Vicky a Calmer Chameleon tea the other night (it’s a herbal blend with camomile in it). Calmer Chameleon made me instantly think of a contrasting Angry Chameleon at the same time as Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. So that cartoon came to life. Having this humour filter on at all times is essential for me to gather inspiration for my cartoons.

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 I wandered over here and realised that I have been neglecting my website a bit. In the past four months I have had a few illustration projects including a couple of books and some business cartoons and logos. I mashed a selection together here as examples of the variety of exciting and enjoyable creative work I have been engaged in.


There are more to come. This year I am adamant that I will unlock the deeper mysteries of Adobe Illustrator, finally get on top of that huge Chinese medicine project and perhaps start converting the ideas I doodle in my little cartoon notebook I carry everywhere.


I am also still mentoring a wealth of talented illustration students through the London Art College. There is so much creativity and talent in this group that it inspires me to be a better illustrator myself, and is therefore worth all the time I commit to them to see their progress and enjoyment.

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 I am involved in eight projects simultaneously at the moment, and it is difficult to share the ones which are in progress. This is one which has now been delivered to the client, so I can talk about it. Captain is a cat, and i was commissioned to produce a series of cartoons of him for his owners. 


The final cartoons are shown here framed in a superb mount which allowed me to create each cartoon to sit behind one or more of the cut out letters of Captain’s name. A really enjoyable project and two delighted clients.

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 I have had the Rory's Story Cubes app for quite a while, but up until recently the only physical set I owned was the Batman themed Cubes (which are cool by the way!). I splashed out the other day and ordered the original set in the larger Max size. They are the coolest, most tactile and beautifully packaged acquisition this year!


As an illustrator you can use them to sharpen up your comic drawing skills as you draw the story rolled in the cubes. Similarly, writers looking for practice can use them in the same way. They have business uses too, and they can be used to get teams describing events or issues to solve problems or just as icebreakers. Highly recommended, and the rest of the Max sets are on my wish list :)

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 I was very pleased to get an email on Friday from the publishers of the Yellow Monkey's Classic of Chinese Medicine which Damo Mitchell and I produced for Singing Dragon telling us it had won an award. The Living Now awards celebrate life changing books, and ours won Bronze in the Healing Arts / Bodywork / Energy Technique category.


It does want me to chant "Award! Award! Award!" In the style of Father Jack Hackett from the TV series Father Ted :)

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There can be nothing better than spending a day combining my cartooning and management consultancy personas, and I got to experience that as a conference cartoonist earlier this month.


I was commissioned by Orbis (a Public Sector organisation which provides a range of services to three Councils in the South East of England) to attend their Leadership Community Event as a cartoonist. As the delegates communicated their progress and discussed how to improve the organisation, I picked up key phrases or events and captured them as cartoons on a room divider wrapped in brown paper (known as ‘the wall’ from this point on because it sounds more impressive).


As the screen filled during the day the delegates would wander over and interact with the cartoons, seeing their achievements, problems and phrases transformed into gag cartoons or funny illustrations. I also encouraged them to join in either directly. I drew a number of the cartoons with blank speech balloons which allowed them to fill in their own joke or statement, or took instant commissions and added the idea provided as an instant cartoon to the wall.  It often provided them with a new angle on their thoughts, and as they were funny they were memorable too. It was a really enjoyable day, and i have drawn up half a dozen of the thirty cartoons created on the day as finished cartoons for use in their internal communications.


I look forward to doing this again soon, although I may need to strengthen my legs a little before the next gig as all that squatting and rising and squatting at the cartoon wall left my legs aching for days!


Looking to learn more about shared public services? Contact Orbis.


Looking for a dynamic and creative boost to your next management event? Contact me :)

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 It is always nice to meet people who have bought and appreciated your work, and I was lucky to chat with some people at the weekend who were enjoying the Yellow Monkey Emperors Classic of Chinese medicine. I hope that more and more students and practitioners of Chinese medicine discover it and find it useful in their practice.


Speaking of that book (yes, I am often speaking of that book) there have been a couple of positive reviews recently. Check out the Graphic Librarian and the Association of Illustrators. Thanks to the two reviewers.


In other news, I am working with a large organisation who are about to order some cartoons as part of their transformation programme and another is discussing cartoons on procurement. My student numbers over at the London Art College continue to increase, and they are all doing really well as they learn digital illustration techniques and illustration. I have also taken on more private students too studying editorial, children's and comic illustration and most exciting of all, my first cartooning student has just started work too. Exciting and creative times :)


I was also excited that two more books for my cartooning collection arrived today; Awkward Yeti's Heart and Brain collection and the biography of the superb Reg Smythe (creator of Andy Capp). I can't wait to read them!

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