February 2017


Uncategorized07 Feb 2017 09:26 am

Last year I was approached by a Tokyo Illustration Agency for a commission to produce a “New Yorker” retro style illustration for an insurance firm. The low down was all the people who they normally may have sought out to do such work are either as the Hoodoo Gurus might say ‘dead or dying’. Somehow they found my cartoons. I was perplexed to say the least.

So now a little dream has come true and  Art Liaison have offered to represent me and as such  I have an international agent! Thank you very much Art Liaison!!

Best go and sign the contract and get some images ready for their website.

Looking forward to some serious pipe smoking martini quaffing inspired drawing. Well when the lens prescriptions increase, the arthritis kicks in and I  have a grey beard…

Whilst I would utterly reject the claim of being a plagiarist I will admit that I love several of the cartoonists’  work from The New Yorker from the past. One in particular is Frank Modell whose sense of humour and deftly zen like drawing style has inspired me greatly. He  sadly passed last year. Frank Modell was simply brilliant and his style epitomised the New Yorker ethos. In an article from the The NY Times Iain Topliss author of “The Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams and Saul Steinberg” (2005) quoted a party conversation Modell recounted with another guest:

“What do you do?”

“I’m a cartoonist.”

“I love cartoons. Where do you publish?”

“The New Yorker.”

“I love The New Yorker. What’s your name?”

“Frank Modell.”

“Yes? [Pause.] I’ve never heard of you.”

below is another article canvassing the opinions  of past and present New Yorker cartoonists.

Ah one day….

A gaggle of cartoonists.

 

 

Uncategorized03 Feb 2017 10:47 am

In November I was commissioned by The Australian to produce illustrations for their supplement The Deal, which was a special edition focusing on Women Leaders and workplace issues. When I received the articles I was a little panicked.  I joked that perhaps I should use a feminine alias! In fact I was initially stumped, I leapt straight into a headspace of  “I am male, I cannot illustrate from a feminine perspective, which is surely what this requires, this is headed straight to Disasterville.” However  I’m not one to baulk at a challenge and put aside any issues of ‘maleness’ and entered a healthy space of recognising that to do these articles justice they had to be approached as purely graphic solutions. Once I gained some traction by utilising some found onlinefunky 50s Peter Ganine chess pieces to depict role types and so forth it was plain sailing. This idea of chess pieces extended to a queen in a deck of cards also for one story adding feminist symbols and an assortment of famous slogan badges. The editor was very happy with the results and I think the images had a strength that endorsed the concepts within the stories. Phew.

Uncategorized02 Feb 2017 10:44 am

How do you start to visualise a concept for an illustration when you have a story or brief? Sometimes the ideas just hit you from the word go but even then you have to test the validity of the solution, better to be completely open to seeing the problem in other ways and feel your way through it, often your first idea can be your best (or worse the only one!), however it is also good practice to be prepared to enthusiastically dump that first idea, completely detach from it, and approach the problem from a different angle. That was described to me at college by a wise man “not to be precious about an idea”. Great advice. To me that entails being able to perceive your communication  directly from the viewers situation, what will draw them in? You need to somehow lure the viewer in with something that attracts them to follow on and digest the communication being presented. I take the view that an illustration’s purpose is to add meaning, using the standard bag of tricks that include metaphor, puns and stylistic devices, technique, I also seek simplication and distillation of visual information which can be used to deliver an idea directly and quickly.  This all includes the what are we communicating, who are we communicating to, and how is this best communicated.

So that starting point requires a genuine understanding of the intention of the communication. Research is assisted by the availability of that gigantic stream of material which is online. It’s all there before us. There’s no such thing as a new idea. Never. Before the internet kicked off one had to use whatever was available to kickstart an idea. This can include key words which can then be bounced around to develop meaningful associations. Meaningful. By looking at related information one can commence gathering images or words that can begin to build up a scrapbook of clues that can then be used to develop an idea. I’ll simply dump something related to the topic onto my image I’m working on and see if I can extract something from it, sometimes yes more often they can be simply a dead-end,which leads to searching deeper. Being able to tap into some  intuition doesn’t go astray and keeping an open mind to finding inspiration in associated imagery or concepts.

Basically I first digest the content of the communication. I find a good practice if I’m genuinely stuck for an idea and time is available is to just simply switch off and then pounce on it when you have cleared the fug of block. It can be useful to read a piece or think about it before  sleeping and ‘store it’ in the hope the subconscious might get involved, and quite often when you wake up you can just go straight into finding a solution in the morning.

The two images below were prepared for an article appearing in Readers Digest that discussed the notion that sedentary work practices created by sitting on chairs all day was causing damage to our postures and well being. The image then possibly needed to imply that sitting for prolonged periods is  potentially bad for us. The first one was a rough, by personifying the chairs (a standard visual trick) the notion is mobility beats a static state (happy leaping chair vs grumpy immobile chair). The second image however was chosen and this again uses personification but with far more sinister implications. You’re going to die on that seat folks…