Interview for the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain’s “Jester” members magazine.

Interview for the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain’s “Jester” members magazine.

Please answer at least ten of the following questions…

1 – How did you first get in to cartooning?

I think it was more a combination of preordained destiny and inability to work in a normal working environment.

2 – What was your first commission?

it was a cartoon for “International Tunnelling” Magazine about 20 years back.  Yes, there really is a magazine about tunnels; in fact there’s a surprising number of them.

3 – How long have you been a member of the Cartoonists’ Club?

I’ve definitely been a member for a few years, maybe 3?  Maybe 4? I’m not actually sure.  I guess the way to tell would be rifling through my pristinely collected and bound volumes of “The Jester” magazine and seeing which is the earliest issue?

4 – Do you belong to any other Clubs or Societies (Cartooning or otherwise)?

I’m a member of the AOI, and the Professional Cartoonist Organisation.  Apparently the latter is affiliated with the former and permits a reduction in membership fees which I shall be putting under close scrutiny when the next payment is due.

5 – What’s the stupidest question/request you have ever been asked?

I think everyone’s idea of what’s considered stupid can be put on a line and put in relationship with everyone elses.  I suspect that my idea is at the very far end of that line as I can’t think of anything particularly outrageous at the moment.

6 – Where do you get your ideas from?

They just burst out of my head.  My partner, Jess, is the sounding board for them – much to her dismay – and depending on her facial expression after delivery I can ascertain if they’re worth pursuing or not.  Generally if she fails to raise even the most limp of belittling smiles then I know I’m on to a good one.  I take a notebook with me whilst walking the dog and jot things down that creep into my mind.  Often I’ll have a theme which I think about whilst walking and lobbing a ball down the field which acts as a starting point and catalyst for further ideas.

7 – Did you ever go to College or University?

Yes I did.  I went to both, several times.  I’d keep going back too if I could afford it.  My aim is to get the entire alphabet after my name in qualification based acronyms.

8 – What is the most rewarding job you ever did?

It’s always a pleasure to have someone tell you that one of your books is the book they read to their kids at bed time.  Other than that, rewarding for me is quite literal and correlates with ‘well-paid’.  In that respect I’ve yet to achieve a rewarding job.

9 – Have you ever had a client from hell? Tell us more!

I’ve never had a client from hell, but I do generally tend to pass on smaller operations that involve signing NDA’s as the client is usually so precious about the project that you can rarely make headway through it, and no matter how deep into it you get, you’ll never achieve the same level of love for the product “X” as the commissioner.

10 – What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I’m a multi-faced creation machine and am endeavouring to come up with 10 new cartoons a day (unrealistic and unachievable, and generally 90% unfunny).  I’ve also created a new illustration style for magazine and editorial work which is a more stylised version of my former more complex style.  When I’ve a minute or two I head to the studio and work on oil paintings of landscapes from around my local area or from places I’ve been to visit – at the moment The Yucatan Peninsular is getting the once over.  I’ve been working on a pitch comic strip for placing in a children’s comic.  And I’m just about to start a book of Farming Jokes.  Looking back through that monologue I’m deeply saddened to note that the Farmers Joke book is the only one that’ll provide any form of financial security.  How dismaying.

11 – Do you work with Pen and Ink or are you purely Digital?

Yes!  I’ve spent many, many moons working out which are the greatest nib, holder, ink, and paper combinations and have pretty much settled now.  I love using a dip pen for the variation in line it provides, the skill required to use it, and the fact that you can’t make mistakes.  Samurai like discipline I like to think – but then I am prone to exuberant flights of fancy.  Often I use a Brush pen, but the refills are pretty pricey, so *cackle* I just use my regular drawing ink to refill the cartridges.  Life’s pretty hedonistic for me.

12 – Who is your favourite Cartoonist/Illustrator?

I’m deeply honoured to have the Private Eye cartoonist, Brian Bagnall as Jess’s grandpa.  Long before I met her I knew his work, so it’s a great pleasure to have a few of his cartoons on the wall at home.  My all time favourite though is Mike Williams – – pretty much everything he does cracks me up.  Sadly I don’t have any of his on my wall, so if he’s reading this and wants to do a swapsie then I’m more than happy to oblige.

13 – What is your favourite movie?

I don’t really ever watch movies.  I like movie soundtracks though if that’s any help?  Though saying that I can’t think what a favourite one of those would be.  Probably a 70’s Bollywood soundtrack I’d imagine.

14 – What book are you reading at the moment?

Currently I’m working my way through the complete Nemesis the Warlock from 2000ad. Does a comic count as a book? You’ve caught me off guard, usually I can say something egg-headed and boffiny, but right now it’s just about alien freedom flighters.

15 – What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

Hmmm, I don’t know.  I quite like the idea of being Hollywood’s next action hero.  Maybe that’s a new direction I should look into.  It can’t be that tricky can it?

16 – Is there anything you would like to get off your chest?

Yes there is!  Why on earth did councils around the country rotate the zebra crossing buttons 90 degrees so you can’t see from the other side of the road when it’s illuminated and safe to cross.  Madness.

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