My blogging friend, Chelsea, asked me if I cartooned. Now there’s a funny thing because whenever I got to thinking about alternative jobs I could have done – and it is a list of many albeit not many practical options – “cartoonist” has come up.
Now I remember at school a not very close mate of mine once told me he was considering a career as a cartoonist. It surprised me for two reasons; I never actually saw him draw anything ever, and I had no idea anyone could make a living from it.
In those days I was often drawing caricatures of our teachers in my Rough Book (these were basically general purpose notebooks given to each of us at the start of each year, the terminology was probably archaic as was most of the school style). Always a drawer, doodling was an easy habit to fall into, especially during long periods of otherwise dullness (eg school lessons).
But as we know, school maketh the man (or woman, I guess) and so in adulthood, in absent minded moments, I’d pick up a pen or pencil and automatically doodle. The rubbish ones got thrown away but the more pleasing ones I’d keep in a box. In the digital age, I began scanning them.
I have my favourites, admired over the years. The American MAD magazine was the best of them all. In the UK, there was Ronald Searle who illustrated the schoolboy Molesworth books; Matt, the “pocket cartoonist” of the Daily Telegraph; Reg Smythe, the creator of the working class layabout, Andy Capp; and Dennis Collins, the original drawer of The Perishers serial comic strip, these last two appearing in the Daily Mirror. And, of course, the brilliant Heath-Robinson. There are others too which I can’t recall at this time.
Okay, a bit of self-indulgence (tut-tut), here are some I dug out of the archives. Click on them to get a bigger view if you like. The top one is a straight, silly doodle probably done at work. The second is a reflection on bringing up kids – eat your greens! Obviously it looks like I worked that one up a little. Next was inspired by a piggy bank I own; you’re supposed to smash them with a hammer when full but it’s too violent, I thought. Okay, I recall the next was playing with an idea on what a famous artist’s house would be like. This one is Edvard Munch, famous for The Scream. Lastly, this is an early drawing of Mr. Fleas visiting his pal, Boxcar Joe. This came from listening to the Willie Dixon song, Wang Dang Doodle.
That’s all folks!