Things I’ve been doing
I am very engrossed with 100 illustrations for a book project due for publishing later this year, and I am thrilled that I can get my teeth into Adobe Illustrator to achieve it. I am also squeezing in smaller projects.
This sheet of cartoon Os have been named Orbies by the client, and are a deconstructed logo converted into cartoon characters. They have proved so popular that another order came in for more today. Orbis is the shared service which supports three Local Authorities in the South of England. You can read more about my work for them in earlier posts. If these little guys become part of the branding I could be kept quite busy :)
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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 :)
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 :)
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!
Congratulations to the six winners of the Goodreads giveaway for the Yellow Monkey book. A staggering 911 people bid for it, which makes me smile.
Speaking of the Yellow Monkey book, it has been featured over at Graphic Medicine. You can read the review here.
Publishers Singing Dragon have organised a giveaway over at Goodreads. If you want a chance to get a free copy of The Yellow Monkey Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine then click here to enter in the next seven days.
Has to be worth a go I reckon :) Not for me of course...I have a copy :)
Much of my freelance management consultancy experience was in procurement or purchasing, so naturally I draw some of my inspiration from that world. Of the hundreds of cartoons I have for sale over at cartoonstock.com, I am always pleased and yet surprised that it is this subject which sells best!
So I sat today and read through some latest news from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS if you're in the know) and drew a few more cartoons. If you are yawning or fell asleep before getting this far...this is not your subject. If you understand that cartoon on the left and it makes you chuckle...why not contact me and I could produce some procurement cartoons just for you? I could also review your procurement strategy and conduct a spend analysis...but that isn't as amusing :)
Where did that month go?! Yep, it's been a month since the official launch party for the Yellow Monkey Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine at Gosh Comics in London. Here is me trying to look like an author and not feel too self conscious as I had the only chair in the whole place.
I had a great evening meeting the team from the publishers who I have worked with for the past year including Jessica, Mike and Rosie, and I was warmly supported by family and friends too. Thanks to everyone who came to speak to me. It was great to meet people who are enjoying our work and to engage with cartooning and Chinese medicine enthusiasts.
More projects are on the desk, but I won't say too much about them yet as they are not ready to hatch for a while. Watch this space :)
Yes, I realise that the Amazon ratings are no indication of sales or effectiveness, but almost one month after the Yellow Monkey Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine was published it seems to be doing ok. It has now released in America too, and our publisher also carried it with her to the Bejing Book fair recently. I believe that attendees at the forthcoming British Acupuncture Council conference in Reading will also be able to get their hands on a copy too.
It feels substantial in print at almost 300 pages in graphic novel size, and feedback from fellow Chinese medicine students and internal arts practitioners so far has been very positive. We are pleased :)
The official launch will be in London soon, and Damo and I hope to meet people and answer questions about the book (assuming that the dates are favourable and we can both attend of course!). He can field the difficult Chinese medicine questions and I will talk about cartoon bananas and the difficulty of converting a list of symptoms into a comic.