The Week in Cartoons! March 15 - 22

One of the hazards of making cartoons for submission is that when they finally get to my blog, they’re old news! So these cartoons are from a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve added context in the captions in case you missed the stories that inspired them. Today we have plenty of cartoon dogs, one questionable flower in the Kew Gardens, a couple of exhausted parents relaxing to the tune of other people’s failures… and a few other cartoons too. Enjoy!

Children went back to school in early March, and after a year of their complaints about missing their friends, I imagined one child’s rude awakening on his return…

Just as pandemic puppies have been a ‘thing’ over lockdown, so have (disturbingly) puppy thieves. I wish dogs were able to defend themselves against these crooks!

Inspired by my awareness of my own dwindling social aptitude. The few moments where I’ve been out again in ‘society’, I’ve fumbled in many a conversation…

They say you need to rest a certain amount after exercising… but that’s never been a problem for me.

Taskmaster is a UK gameshow where celebrities compete in humorous and impossible tasks. I like to think of it as ‘fail-tertainment’.

I think I could have dialled up the drama on this one, but basically it’s a cat and dog having a grand ol’ time while their owner is out, instead of being anxious in the slightest.

A REALLY silly one. There’s been so much talk in the UK about ministers making sure the Union Jack is clearly visible (and massive) in their TV interviews. One minister was mocked for having ‘too small’ a flag (sarcasm - it was ginormous) I imagined a surreal interview where the tables were turned.

The Kew Gardens was in the news over its decision to ‘de-colonise’ its collection. Many felt that the plants were being unnecessarily politicised, and I thought it might be funny to imagine a ‘racist’ plant protesting its innocence the same way many a closeted racist does.

Now, in hindsight I would have switched the placement of these lines - but as it stands, this cartoon is about the ruling that people visiting care homes could hold hands with only ONE person, and the idea that a beloved grandchild would have to choose grandma or grandpa.

That awkward moment when you meet someone in the park after lockdown and ask what breed their dogs are, only to find out that every single one was a pandemic purchase!

The Week in Cartoons! March 2 - March 8

A couple of weeks of news coming up - in cartoon form! I had a lot of fun with these, after all the news just gives and gives these days. Or perhaps it’s because I’m now actively looking for the ridiculousness in every story. Regardless, we had gorillas at the San Diego Zoo getting their Covid-19 jabs (good on you, guys!), Mr Potato Head making a huge transition announcement and then pretty much immediately going back on it (huh?), medical misinformation being openly sold as ‘non-fiction’ in big name bookstores like Waterstones… and so, so much more.

Click through the captions in the slideshow to read more context on each cartoon. Enjoy!

As the government umms and ahhs over when we might be able to book holidays, I imagine a travel agent that saves you the bother - book and cancel with the click of a button!

Loved the news story about gorillas at San Diego zoo getting to the front of the line for a coronavirus vaccine. And I’d never drawn gorillas before, so this was a good reason to start!

Mr Potato Head supposedly going gender neutral, and then actually just being a big misunderstanding, was a big story a week or so ago; meanwhile, all I could think was who cares, it’s an awful looking toy anyway!

There’s been a lot of talk about people getting dressed up for their jabs, and I for one am all for it. I’ve heard of nurses complaining that men never wear the right shirts though. Loose sleeves, guys!

Those Tom Cruise deepfakes were SURREAL. A lot of people are saying deepfakes are a Pandora’s Box, but I think as long as we only use it to pretend we’re Tom Cruise going golfing, society should be OK?

On March 8, the people of England were permitted finally to go outside and have a coffee on a bench with a friend. Here I imagine the last bench in the park and a queue around the bushes to sit on it.

The UK government wants to

Allegra Stratton, who is leading the UK’s communication strategy, comes from a background at ITV, so I thought I’d peep in at one of her creative brainstorms for how the UK Govt should present their briefings.

Kids are back to school, but perhaps not soon enough? There’s a lot of talk and fear around the idea of ‘lost years of learning’ due to lockdown, and I just think the phrase itself is overly dramatic, fit for a Harry Potter adventure.

Medical misinformation books that encourage people to fear the jab were spotted in Waterstones and other big name bookstores; I thought it would be funny to see the other ‘non-fiction’ titles according to those bookstores.

People decided to ‘slow clap’ for the government, after a measly 1% payrise was offered to the NHS. I think the Tories would be oblivious to the sarcasm, tbh.

An anti-vaxxer joke - Mom fights peer pressure from her kid while ‘everyone else’ gets a jab. I’m not sure this one actually works or is funny. But there you go! All part of the learning process.

Gyms reopen next month according to the lockdown roadmap, and it reminded me of how much I’m enjoying virtual yoga classes at home, as compared to having to compete and battle with other citydwellers in a mad rush for ‘calm’…

I’m really enjoying honing this side of my cartoon work. It’s only been a month but I feel that I’m learning a lot with every batch - jokes that work well, topics that I prefer over others, how to keep details minimal so the idea comes across as quickly and clearly as possible, that kind of thing. 

I still feel I’m in the mode of trying to come up with something that ‘seems like an editorial cartoon’, or something that ‘editors are looking for’ rather than being completely true to my own voice, so that is something I plan to work on a bit more in the next batch.

The Week in Cartoons! Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2021

I’m excited to share my second try at editorial cartoons, known here in the UK as “pocket cartoons”. There’s never a dull day in the news. If the media insists on finding new ways to stress me out every day, then I ought to at least get something out of it too! 

This week we had more talk of terrible conditions at quarantine hotels, leading me to draw up my favourite cartoon of this batch, “Sanitise ‘n’ Go”. Beyond lockdown roadmap announcements and ever more infectious strains of COVID-19, the news also brought such gems as an app called Cobble, which as I understand it helps couples figure out what the heck to do with each other all day long. A couple of random thoughts as well on the (fingers crossed!) arrival of Spring, Keir Starmer, and sectionals. 

A tiny snippet of the context in the captions, in case you missed these news stories. Enjoy!

Sanitise ‘n’ Go - “inspired” by complaints about conditions in the UK’s quarantine hotels

Business or Business - replacing the (custom)ary question of “Business or pleasure” while travel restrictions are in force

Delete Facebook - Australians are being told to delete Facebook in protest, here I imagine the classic guilt trip deletion screen but with Mark Zuckerberg, Cheryl Sandberg and others from Facebook laying the guilt trip

Together forever - On the Cobble app and how it could keep couples together against their will!

Lockdown roadmap - The way out remains unclear…

Stunt double - As new variants continue to emerge, I imagine a world where our stunt doubles run our errands

Spring comes to England - Inked up on a rare sunny day which then turned into a week of gloom

Keir Starmer’s New Chapter - it’s impossible to escape the baggage and challenges of the old, hence a book with its pages stuck together

£800 cover charge - house parties can take 14, anything over that incurs a fine of £800

Sectionals making a comeback - As friends and families try to meet up in socially distanced ways, I imagine the trusty sectional sofa making a comeback - the longer, the better!

The Week in Cartoons! Feb 8 - Feb 12, 2021

Welcome to the first edition of The Week in Cartoons! (According to me.) This year, one of my goals is to make a hundred editorial cartoons, eventually with a view to getting them published - but first and foremost to put in the work of practice. 

Here are the cartoons I made for the week that was Feb 8 to Feb 12, 2021. In case you missed the news story, I’ve placed the headlines in the caption for each cartoon. Enjoy!

Covid travel rule-breakers could face 10-year jail terms, says Hancock

Tesla has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and plans to start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment “in the near future”

(No particular news story, just UK lockdown feelings in general!)

Boohoo is buying Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton but will not keep their shops open

(This was something about ministers having been promised a “final lockdown” but Boris Johnson seemingly reneging on that promise)

Essex estate agent lists ‘£250,000 igloo’ for sale

Still too early to book your summer holidays, says Matt Hancock

‘I Am Not a Cat,’ Lawyer Using Zoom Cat Filter Tells Judge

(No particular news story - this one is about the unclear roadmap and our national desperation to go on holiday!)

A little cartoon to commemorate Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) celebrated in the UK

How an art hiatus changes the way you see your art.

In 2018 I stopped thinking. Stopped creating. Stopped loving comics.

Instead I was consumed by my troubled personal life, to the point where weeks passed, months passed, and before I knew it I was on an art hiatus.

Coming back to my comics after a year feels strange. My opinions are different, my priorities have changed, and to be honest (and this is the bit I’m proud of) I don’t care anymore. I don’t mean that I don’t care about my art, but I’m less fazed by what others think, or even by my own anxieties. Here’s how my art hiatus changed the way I see my art:

I’m happy to slow it way down #slowart

Being able to create art is wonderful, and succeeding as an artist is super fulfilling, but it’s not the Holy Grail. I’ve learned that family and (hokey as it might sound) inner peace is so much more important than fighting through the noise and clutter to ‘make it’. Art isn’t a race.

What I want to say matters more than what others want to hear

After the success of my first Welcome to Agency X (WAXbook, I had all the support to come up with another one. I was advised to make it about school this time. Make the characters younger. That’s where the market is. And at the time I thought, OK fine - it’s not really where my head’s at, but I’m sure I can figure it out. And if it helps get my work out to more people, why not. Coming back to WAX after a year, and looking at the world around me now, I’m not content to stuff a bunch of school-related jokes into a comic book and call it a day. I’m not interested in being the first to comment on a new movie or meme. I’m not interested in being #relatable. The market can stuff it. My voice has value.

Quiet brilliance is a worthy goal

Which brings me to quiet brilliance. I’ve always loved this phrase, but ironically I’ve been fighting, along with a billion other artists, to be heard. Not anymore. I don’t care about the numbers, the verified tick, or the fame. My new dream? Cult following of a few diehard fans sounds pretty darn good. Meanwhile I’ll be over here working quietly on that One Good Idea.

I’m so excited about how my new outlook will change my new output, and it’s great to have you along for the ride. And while I wouldn’t wish my personal troubles of the last few years on my worst enemy, I’d encourage you to take a break from your art one day - and see how it changes your work.