Thursday, 28 April 2011

Toby Jones

There are some faces that just cry out to be caricatured and I've always thought that the actor Toby Jones was one. So I've spent some time on trying to caricature him and I found it quite difficult which was all a bit of a suprise. I should point out that I try to draw staright onto paper with black ink these days i.e. I try to capture the likeness in just a few minutes (no initial pencil work) so that I can capture some sort of spontaneity in the drawing. I know what I wanted to do with this caricature in my head but when I tried to draw it it just didn't work.....just didn't look like him. I'm often asked at events "Are some people easier to draw than others?" and I always answer that, as a caricaturist, some are a godsend while others are what we call 'potato faces' i.e. no outstanding features which can be exaggerated (potato faces are usually very good looking faces by the way!). Anyway, I thought Toby Jones was a godsend of a face which just goes to show how wrong I can be!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


This is the reaction I would have expected from my 19th century neighbours on seeing me move in next door!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Wills and Kate

Here's my take on the Royal Wedding which was published in the last issue of Foghorn:

Not much more I can say really....

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

College of Knowledge

A few years ago I did a couple of years on a part-time BA degree course in Children's Illustration at a local art school. If nothing else I think it helped my drawing and I'd have to say I really enjoyed it although it ceratinly wasn't everything it was cracked up to be!

Anyway, I came across some of the work I did for various projects and thought I'd show something of them here. One of the projects was to get hold of an old copy of a children's book and have a go at re-illustrating it. The book I chose was "My Dad's Got An Alligator" by Jeremy Strong. The first thing to do was a bit of character development for the alligator and here is what I came up with:

The alligator in question had just been helping himself to the soap hence the bubbles by the way...
These illustrations were to be in black and white only and here's what a page may have looked like:

Then the problem of the cover illustration reared it's ugly head and I did have great difficulty with this one and here is my first attempt:

This didn't work as such (not dynamic enough as I recall) and so I eventually came up with this:

I came up with an image for the dad in the story and coloured it up because I liked it so much:

Some of the lecturers unkindly claimed it reminded them of me (well, I suppose I did have a moustache and beard at the time!)

Monday, 18 April 2011

Roger Waters, Pink Floyd

I've just spent a great weekend at the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival where I met up with some brilliant compadres from all over the place!
So it was difficult today to get myself back into work mode (at least with a modecum of enhusiasm anyway) and so I thought I'd draw a quick caricature of the man behind Pink Floyd, Roger Waters. I thought he had a great face to 'warm up' on. I suppose I should get on with some real work now.....

Thursday, 14 April 2011


I was working at a wedding over the weekend - the bride's parents had seen me working at another wedding they'd attended and so kept my details - lovely!
Anyway, I did three hours for them and I drew about 50 caricatures, mainly couples and so I thought I'd put a few photos up here for you to look at:

The bride and groom plus another couple of guests....

and more guests......

and a few more.....

and some more....

Anyway, the photos aren't brilliant because I forgot to use the flash but I'm sure you'll get the idea!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Scientific journal

I have a regular slot in a monthly medical biochemistry newsletter where they ask me to illustrate some scientific article or other being published that month. This month it was an article about phlebotomy (the taking of blood samples to you and me) and the various interesting points that had been concluded from a recent study. The two main poinst that grabbed my attention were that some hopsital patients are bled so often that they become anaemic i.e. have a severe lack of blood and the second was that phlebotomists (those peolpe who take the blood samples) often take a spare sample 'just in case' and so here are the cartoons I drew for them:

and here is the second regarding the taking of spare samples:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Exhibition Digital Caricatures

I was working for three days last week at the NEC in Birmingham drawing digital caricatures and so I thought I'd show some of the caricatures here. The first image is a photo of the stand itself which shows the 52" plasma screen that I link my computer up to which attracts the visitors onto the stand!

Just to explain what I do when drawing digital caricatures - I have pre-drawn bodies onto which I put the newly drawn caricature (after the 'victim' has told me what body they want!) and I print it off for them. I also save the file as the client's email address and then hand these over the the company I'm working for at the end of the day for them to email the images to the visitors.......get it?....I hope the visitors do....!!! Anyway here are some of the visitors with their caricatures:

As you can see James Bond is VERY poular with the gents!

Monday, 11 April 2011

In the eye of the beholder

Now, here is a little conundrum I found myself in recently. I was commissioned to produce a very last minute caricature for a CEO who was due to retire in a few days time. The client sent me three photographs but pointed out that they were taken abour 5 years ago but that "he hasn't changed much - maybe a bit thinner in the face and his hair is lighter". I had time to get an intial image/rough over to them for approval and they thought I'd 'pushed' the caricature too far i.e. it didn't really look like him. So, I had another go and came up with the caricature below which I posted to them.

I received an email a few days later saying that "Unfortunately it really doesn’t look at all like Richard (the photos are 5 years old but he hasn’t changed much)" and asking if I could have another go... I asked for more recent photos and got the reply that the ones I had were the only ones available. In a situation like this what is the point spending more time drawing another caricature from the same photos if you can't see what's wrong with the one you've just produced? I asked for the artwork back and retreated backwards out of the situation!

Many thanks to all those colleagues whose advice I sought as to where they thought I might have gone wrong and was inundated with similar stories from clients who reported a 'lack of likeness' - so it's not just me! I DID wonder if it was a similar case to that reported by the great Tim Leatherbarrow who went through the same process only to be told a few days later the client had "unfortunately sent the wrong photographs" i.e. they ones they'd sent were of a different person!!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy

Since I've been working my way through War and Peace I thought I'd have a go at caricaturing the great man himself. He seems to have been a total thorn in the side of the Russian State over his lifetime and stirred up much unrest that probably laid the foundations for the Russian revolution. Tolstoy had 13 children, was a pacifist and was excommunicated by the Russian holy synod. What a guy eh.......?
Judging by his looks though you can tell that Leo wouldn't have been a natural as a stand up comedian.