Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hair we go...

Having recently uncovered the secret of creating time-lapse videos of work unfolding in Photoshop, many of which I've admired in the past, I thought I'd test it out for myself on my entry to last weekend's Caption Competition. The challenge was the "anything goes" category, on the theme of 'Hair', and once I'd come up with my idea, I turned on the recording software and lost myself in Photoshop, finally completing my cartoon forty minutes later.

The result was then dropped into Windows Live Movie Maker, and speeded up by x16, music and closing credits added, et voila, one animated short, charting the process of a drawn gag from start to finish. And although it subsequently caused a little controversy over the legitimacy of posting an entry to the competition this way, it still managed to poll enough votes to win, for which I was surprised and delighted in equal measure.

I hope you enjoy it. I'll certainly be recording and posting more if you do...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Your Last Chance...

As I write, there is literally only 24 hours left for you to claim any of these great perks by supporting the Hairy Steve Campaign. It's been wonderfully successful and inspiring so far, and I can't quite believe it's already nearing the end, and I'll soon have no more Hairy Steve enthusiasts to 'Zombify'.

The hard work really starts now, with a race to continue bringing you the remaining pages of the comic on schedule. I hope you'll be forgiving and understanding if our target ever falls a little behind - the last thing we want to do is rush things, sacrificing any quality in order to hit self-imposed deadlines. That said, it won't be for want of trying if we have the odd hiccup.

Meanwhile, as I've said, if you'd like to grab yourself any or all of the above, and give us a last-minute push, you have less than one day in which to do it. By the time you next have breakfast, it could be too late. You don't want to have your porridge sprinkled with regrets, do you?

Do you?

(please note - some things in the picture above are approximations. i.e. the comic hasn’t been printed yet, obviously, so this is just a mock version, but everything else is real, three-dimensional, and waiting for you. PLUS, every single contributor gets their name in the comic credits, on the 'Thanks Page'.)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Badges already...

These are so exclusive and hot-footed from Badgeland that not even I have any of them... yet! But we've had them specially made as a thank you for the fabulous support so far for our Hairy Steve campaign , and they will added to the goodies that all funders who have contributed over $20 receive. Jamie's got them all securely stored in his safe right now, and I'm waiting to find out if I have to actually make a donation to the campaign to get mine. He's thinking it over.

Meanwhile, more zombies have escaped from my drawing board, and made their brain-sucking way to the Hairy Steve Gallery. This one will be joining them soon, along with several others. The Army mobilises...

Monday, 8 August 2011

Hairy Steve - the continuing story... um... continues!

Page 3 is now up and running! Well, more falling than running, if you know what I mean. If you don't, then have a look at the latest page.

Meanwhile, the latest in our Zombie funders has now emerged from the shadows. We shall be publishing more of these very soon on the campaign website, and it's not too late to walk among them, whilst becoming part of this exciting project, and receiving lots of other stuff into the bargain, including original artwork by Jamie Smart and me. All details HERE.

Heeeeeeere's Jimmy!...... (with permission)........

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hairy Steve unleashed...

That's it - after a short delay caused by the unexpectedly rapid outburst of enthusiasm, good will and financial support, Hairy Steve has today been officially launched to the world, and you can see the first page at . Up above, you can see me trying to look mean and moody alongside the beast himself (no contest!).

After five years since the first page was drawn, it's a tremendously exciting moment for both Jamie Smart and me, and not a little nerve-wracking, since I still have two thirds of the comic to draw, along with a whole heap of artwork for the 'perks' people have generously contributed to in order to help fund this thing, and be a part in its creation.

So the pressure is on, but with the warmth and encouragement that has enveloped Jamie and me like a warm blanket, it's good pressure, and a challenge I'm really looking forward to, every line of which I intend to enjoy to the max.

And it's not too late to play your part if you want to get on board. We may have reached our initial target already, but so long as people are happy to contribute, we'll be more than happy to work on those perks, and are already thinking up new ways to keep this whole fun hairball rolling along, gathering as many others into it as we can. The enthusiasm we've garnered so far has been addictive and a really positive force for moving forward. I can't stress enough how vital that has become.

I'm particularly going to enjoy turning some of you into zombies as one of the perks of funding process. Below is an example of just how I'll be doing this. If you'd like that to be you, the Hairy Steve webcomic will tell direct you to how to go about it, or you can head straight to our Campaign HQ for the full details of all the different ways to join in.

Thanks again to everyone who has done so this far, and I hope the fun keeps rolling along!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Day Four in the Hairy Steve House...

Jamie Smart and I have been absolutely blown away and humbled by the early reaction to our Hairy Steve campaign. Not only have we had numerous messages of support and good will from loads of lovely people, but we've been staggered by the level of contributions, which saw us reach our publication target within four hours of going live on this three month campaign. Not only that, at the time of writing, we are just over three days in, and forty dollars short of our overall target for the project.

That is simply mind-blowing for us. In fact it has caught us on the hop so much that we are now having to apologise for not actually being ready to launch just yet. The artwork is ready to unleash, but poor beleaguered Jamie hasn't had time to build the website for it yet. This will be done as soon as possible, and we're really, really looking forward to unleashing Hairy Steve on the world the moment it is done, even more so after the enthusiasm we've been bombarded with over the past few days.

Naturally, we're not going to be too upset if we go over our target , but we are already looking at ways to use any surplus funding to keep the Hairy Steve campaign alive, fun and rewarding to our family of contributors. We're all in this together, and that, for me, is what excites me most. The support of people who are happy to play a part in this project is fabulous and very inspiring.

Above is a small taster panel from one of the early pages, and below is the original pencilled cover I drew five years ago...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Hairy Steve goes live...

Very excited about this!

If you click here, you should hopefully be transported to news of a scary new (well, we actually started it five years ago, but it scared us so much, we shelved it until now) venture for fellow comic artist/writer, Jamie Smart, and me.

It's all explained when you get there, so I won't go into it again here, other than to say we really hope you like what you see, and that you can help (yes, you can help) by spreading the word, or even becoming a part of it yourself.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Jim Broadbent caricature...

Marvellous British actor, Jim Broadbent, was the 'victim' of this month's Cartoonists' Forum Caricature Contest, producing an excellent array of entries once again, and a close-run contest, with fellow Scottish Ozzie** exile, Malcolm McGookin, eventually triumphing by a mere 3 points over Noel Ford, who in turn pipped Pradeep Rajguru to second place by a single point. As usual, I don't enter the contest since I moderate proceedings, but I can never resist the challenge (see above), and my interpretation shows Jim Broadbent in one of his best-known roles as Professor Horace E. F. Slughorn, potions master and head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, in the Harry Potter movies.

At the time of writing, we are still waiting to hear from Malky who he has chosen for next month's contest, but if you fancy having a go, sign up here (it's free!). Details of Contest Number 12 will be announced very soon.

(**Malky's Oz being Australia, whereas mine is Oswestry... but he's got funnel web spiders and other assorted beasties to contend with - we've just got cows)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

One is not amused...

As well as the monthly Caricature Contest over at the Cartoonists' Forum, we do a weekly Caption Competition, open to all members of the forum, in which we reverse the traditional format of a magazine caption contest, and instead of inviting all-comers to come up with a caption for a 'blank' cartoon, the caption is all we start with, and every cartoonist who enters has to come up with their own take on it.

The winner gets to choose the challenge for the following week (there are a couple of other variant forms they may also choose from - a completely wordless gag on a given theme, or a theme where anything goes - you get to decide if you want to add your own caption or not), and there is a 24-hour 'posting window' for all gags, from Noon on each Saturday, after which we all vote for our favourites. I'm probably making it sound a lot more complex than it actually is, but if you fancy joining in the fun, sign up to the forum (it's free, and easy), and get doodling!

Last week's challenge was "I think you left one off.", and after several abortive attempts to come up with a half decent gag, I was ready to give up on it late on Friday evening, when, after being inundated with imagery from the Royal Wedding throughout the day, I started to scribble the face of the Queen. It then all just seemed to gel, and out came the following, which I managed to get finished just before the deadline last Saturday. It just goes to show what desperation and adrenaline can do, because much to my astonishment and delight, it finished first in the race for the line, by a goodly furlong.

The caption I set for this week's competition is: This was to have been Hillary's greatest moment...

Come and have a go!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Drawing God...

When you're faced with the challenge of drawing a man who has taken on the roles of Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and God (twice!), you perhaps treat the task with a little more reverence than usual. When that man is one of the most loved, respected and recognised actors in the world, with a voice as famous as his face, the scale of the challenge reaches epic proportions.

And so it was this month, with the charge of capturing the physiognomy of Morgan Freeman given to the caricaturists on the UK Cartoonists Forum. The results were, as always, impressive, and especially the triumphant work of Pradeep Rajguru, who lifted the gold medal this month, followed very closely by John Fisher in second place, and Helen 'Scotty' King in third.

Pradeep has chosen British character actor, Jim Broadbent, for this month's challenge. If anyone fancies a go, you can sign up for it here...

Meanwhile, here's my own take on Mr Freeman...

Friday, 1 April 2011

The many faces of Steve Buscemi...

In fact, when I chose Steve Buscemi as the subject for this month's Caricature Contest, there were more than a few retorts of "Who?", until a quick search of Google images ended up with pennies dropping all over the place. The name may not be on the tip of everyone's tongue, but the face is one that has appeared in many, many films graced by this marvellous American actor.

And what a face it is! Some very fine interpretations from entrants to the contest were followed by one of the closest results in the history of the contest, undecided until virtually the last minute of the two-day vote, when Helen 'Scotty' King eventually triumphed over very strong challenges from John Fisher and Paul Newman in joint second place, just a single point behind, with Pradeep Rajguru in bronze medal position. Great stuff!

As her reward, Scotty has chosen Morgan Freeman for next month's challenge, and I can't wait to see what everyone makes of that. If you haven't tried your hand at the contest before, and you fancy giving it a go, entries are welcome from anyone who has signed up to the forum, no matter how experienced you might be in this particular field of cartooning. You need not be a professional or published cartoonist to join in. Full details here.

As the Moderator of the contest, I choose not to take part in the competition, but that doesn't stop me having a go at the 'target' each month. This was my effort for this month...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Who Put The Win In Winehouse... ?

...That'll be me then.

After last month's Pete Postlethwaite caricature managed to claim second place in the CCUK Caricature Contest, this month I managed to go one better with the help of the enigmatic Amy Winehouse, and all the very nice people who voted for my submission. I was, it is safe to say, highly chuffed!

As the traditional prize, I have chosen marvellous character actor, Steve Buscemi, to be the subject of next month's contest. I have also taken over the administration of the competition once again, after the current custodian, Shaun Raven (aka Hypervox ) had to step down due to changes at work. Therefore, I will no longer be entering the contest myself, so it's particularly nice to quit while I'm ahead. I'll still be posting my version of Steve Buscemi after proceedings have closed however - the challenge of such a great face is impossible to resist.

Meanwhile, here's Amy...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Best In The World...

"The best in the world!" was how one who is often argued to be likewise, Steven Spielberg, once described the recently departed British actor, Pete Postlethwaite. I've no reason to doubt he meant it at the time, and that is some accolade from the producer of many of the finest movies ever to grace the silver screen.

There's no doubt that the premature passing of Pete Postlethwaite is a very sad and significant loss to his profession, and I had long since joined his growing band of admirers for the qualities he brought to each role he took on.

He also had one heck of a face, and so there was no better choice for me this month than to pick Pete Postlethwaite as the subject for the latest Caricature Contest on the Cartoonists Forum website, having gained the privilege to do so after winning last month's competition. How could I resist?

My offering is below. The others can be seen here...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Lost virginity...

Considering I've been a professional cartoonist for nigh on 28 years, to only just have drawn my very first desert island gag is faintly ludicrous. However, that's what happened last week when the theme of 'Desert Island' was chosen by previous week's winner, Roger Kettle, to be the subject for the Caption Competition over on the Cartoonists' Forum.

For those who are not avid gag cartoon fans (how very dare you?!!), I should explain that the desert island gag has become one of the major cartoon clichés over the years, so it was quite a challenge to try to come up with anything remotely original. Thankfully, it was a challenge that the forum appeared to relish, with one of the biggest turnouts in recent months, and a wonderful diversity of gags ensued. Truly impressive for such a restricted setting.

I chose to go down the 'in-joke' route, making the cartoon cliché itself the object of the gag. The sense of release after 28 years is hard to describe...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Had Blair been Long John Silver...

...who would have been his parrot?

According to Northern Ireland's First Minister and DUP Leader, the Reverend and Right Honourable Ian Paisley, that dubious privilege fell to Her Majesty, The Queen, when she endorsed (as was her duty) the Belfast Agreement of 1998. Paisley was not a happy bunny, resulting in the uncharacteristic outburst against the Monarch he normally professed great loyalty to.

This in turn resulted in the following cartoon; not exactly biting political satirical commentary, but it was fun to draw none the less...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

My Royal Debut...

Forgive the pixelated look of this one - it's rather old, and I found the jpeg lurking at the bottom of my sock drawer, not having seen daylight for many a year. I reckon it was drawn around 1995, and it is almost certainly the first cartoon I ever made involving our beloved Royal Family.

I've heard that Prince Philip is a keen collector of Royal cartoons. He's never been in touch...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Right Royal capers - part 1...

Well, well - my Prince William drawing very narrowly won this month's Caricature Competition, and so in jubilation and celebration, here, as promised, is the first of a select few of my editorial cartoons from the past, featuring our beloved Royal Family.

This is one I really enjoyed drawing, having been given the editorial all-clear to draw it unusually early in the day, thereby giving me loads of time (perhaps too much) to pencil and ink it to completion before the 6pm deadline. As you can see, in the absence of Photoshop back then, I over-indulged in plenty of cross-hatching.

This was drawn in 1998, after Princess Margaret suffered a mild stroke. The caption appears mildly prophetic now, with both Princess Margaret and her mother passing away less than four years later, within seven weeks of each other, the former departing first, aged 71, followed by the Queen Mum, after a cracking innings of 101.

As a Scot, I have never felt any great affinity with Royalty. Indeed, quite the opposite through much of my young life. These days, with age, I have warmed a little more to them, and for all the material they provide for editorial cartoonists, I'm even grateful, even if none of it is intentional.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ring In The New...

Happy New Year to one and all!

Yes, I know it's already nearly a week old, and I've broken Resolution No. 27 by not posting a new bloggage every third day, minimum (at least that one lasted a couple of days longer than all the others), but sometimes things don't quite go to plan, "sometimes" being at least 50% these days. I hope you've all resolved to comment more on my blog - good luck with that one!

So, here I am, and there you are (hopefully) - let's kick off 2011 (how are you going to pronounce that by the way? Two thousand and eleven, or twenty eleven?) with my latest offering to the Cartoonists' Forum Caricature Competition, currently under way over here.

I blew any minute chance of ever getting a knighthood many years ago, whilst working for the Daily Record in Scotland as their editorial cartoonist. Scotland is not renowned for its Royalists, so I had a fair bit of fun at the Windsors' expense back then. That's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, I have to say, but it was all done with a degree of affection, and never the tiniest bit of envy. And certainly at the time, the tricky part was trying to make one's (how regal!) cartoons more outrageous than the real life exploits of the Royals themselves.

I'll dig out and post a few of my attempts from the late 90's over the next week or two, but meanwhile, here is the very latest nail in the coffin of my knighthood, as we were challenged this month to draw the heir to the heir to the throne (deliberate repetition there - or was it?), Prince Wills...