Friday, March 09, 2007


Okay, having got over the fact that even people who 'only draw for a living' can long to do something else, I have another tip for those of you who get bored cartooning; change pens.

I was almost single-handedly resposible for the influx of Faber Castell-Pitt brush pens into the UK (see the cartoon fiend blog) Before he died, my chum, the cartoonist Chris Paterson, used to send me the things from Florida because you just couldn't get them over here. Then cartoonist Tim Harries found a place in Walses that sold them and then I managed to find a couple of online sources, so I bought a hundred, and then a hundred more.

You don't need to be eagle-eyed to spot the difference between the cartoons I have drawn for Prospect Magazine over the years, and those I drew for Punch Magazine back in the 1980s. The lines on the newer cartoons are very, very, thick, and the Punch cartoon lines are spidery-thin. Most, if not all, of the Prospect drawings were drawn with a brush pen, but the early stuff was drawn using Indian ink and a dip pen with a Crowquill nib (those things stuck you in the thumb every time).

So, recently, I've been using a nib again and I'm quite liking the drawings I'm producing. Incidentally, like a lot of other people out there I can't see what I've drawn, properly, unless it's reflected back at me. I used a mirror to look at the things years ago, but seeing them on a programme like Photoshop, or on a web page works just as well now. Anyway, I've been drawing things like my comic strip, which has now been in development for about 15 years, with a dip pen using a variety of Manga nibs; Saji-pen, G-pen and Maru-pen, because I really wasn't happy with the way it looked using a brush pen.

I must say it has, metaphorically, put quite a spring in my step and I am already drawing cartoons that have to be over in the US this month, using my nibs. On the strip front, I'm really quite pleased with the way it's looking, and having finally managed to reach a compromise with myself about public/private art, I'm getting to the stage where I can say I'm happy with the whole thing. So much so that I'm even colouring it.

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