Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Last Christmas

Well Christmas has been and gone and I've had fun, but I've also not been well.

But by way of making some kind of amends for all the lack of posting (due, as I'm sure you will realise) to all the last minute rush jobs and seasonal aches and shivers, I am posting the front cover for the Dalesman, a magazine I draw a regular comic panel for and now produce the Christmas cover to.

Their brief was to have Santa doing something typically Christmassy on the cover and when I found out a Christmas tradition up north is to have Wensleydale cheese with your Christmas cake, I just couldn't resist; the rest was just pencil and pen strokes and a bit of Photoshoppery.

Happy belated Christmas to you all.

On another note, I have since discovered that they actually make Wensleydale flavoured Christmas cakes up there.

Oh and as another aside, below is the art before all the titling was put on. It's good to notice---for those amongst you who study my art as a view to turning professional---that I left what is termed as 'dead space' around the cartoon to allow their art department to place the headers, blurb and bar-codes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Comrade Sooty

Before reading this tale I feel a few points need to be made. First off, this actually happened a few years ago while I was night portering in a hotel near where I live. Second the mention of 'Sooty' was a glove puppet from the TV of my childhood. The rest is just me being me and just wanting to entertain the hell out of you all. So without any more preamble, Please enjoy.


At 5:16am and twenty two seconds precisely the phone rang as I was passing the reception of a hotel I was night portering for while I was resting between commissions.

I picked it up and announced my heartiest salutations for the day, and was answered by a crisp German lady.
“Goot Mornink” she began “dis is der Von Applestruddels in room 56 unt ve are haffing trouble mit der television”
“I’m sorry to hear that” I replied, “and what seems to be the problem?”
“It is not doink vot it says unt der tin lid---Perhaps you vill come unt sort it out, ya?”

I agreed and a few minutes later I was heading along the landing that serviced their suite. As I cornered the curve I saw her standing outside her room, looking immaculate
“You vill haf to excuse my appearance” she stated flately “I haf just voken up unt I haf a severe case of der bedroom head”
“It looks lovely” I said in an attempt at conviviality. She harumphed
“Dat is probably because of der BMW hair rollers I put in mine hair last night. Come on in”
She stepped back to allow me access to her room, but before I could place one footstep over the threshold she was speaking:
“Der person you vill find in mine bed---fiddling mit his mini i-pod --- is mine son: Heinrich Von Applestruddle lll, heir to der Applestruddle millions”
I nodded my hellos and he nodded his curtly back, and I swear he clicked his heels together under the bed sheets.

His mother moved with an accuracy and style that demanded admiration and was around the bed, stabbing at the TV remote control within a second.
“It von’t vork. Every time I press der dumkoph button it refuses to do anythink” I took the hand set and looked at the controls, seeing if I could spot anything obvious when she broke the silence:
“Ve vere watching Sooty last night, and it voz vorking zen!”
“Sooty? You like sooty do you?” I said in an attempt at small talk.
“Yes, it is young Heinrich’s favourite programme, unt for der last veek it has been a staple diet unt essential viewing at der Von Applestruddle family Schloss”
I stared at them for a while and young Heinrich stared back, daring me to do something technical in his mother’s presence, when she spoke more:
“In Germany ve are von hour ahead of you.”

At the time I had no idea why she said this; whether it was some thinly veiled slur at how much slower we are than them, or how incompetent this nation is compared to her uber efficient one, but thank god I was still picturing the whole Von Applestruddle family sitting straight backed in their lederhosen and laughing in strict chronological order to the Sooty Show, and not enquiring as to whether that meant they had lost the war a whole hour before we had won it?’

Instead I fiddled a bit more and continued with the small talk.
“I used to like Sooty when I was a child”
“Unt vere vas that?” she replied.
I assumed she meant where was I, and her translation was a bit out, so I answered her by stating ‘in Solihull’

I was met by a host of blank expressions from the Von Applestruddle bed.
“Vere is dis, ‘Sol-e-hull?”
“In the Midlands”
More looks of confusion
“In der English Midlands?” she probed as I moved onto checking to see if the wires were all connected.
“ That’s right” I chirped happily.
“But Sooty isn’t in England”
My head popped up from behind the TV and I cracked it on a wall lamp, knocking a light bulb out.
“Are you sure, I thought Sooty was British”
“Nien, Sooty is Russian”
“He is?!” I said with genuine concern, “Well that explains why he never spoke English” and I went about fiddling with more wires thinking that Sooty was probably the first ever eastern block immigrant.

“Nien, Sooty has always been in Russia, ever since der beginink of time”
That statement stopped me messing with the scart lead completely and I turned to face them, ready to argue history and epoch theories.
“I don’t think so, I’d say 1960’s---1950’s tops, but not since the dawn of time, and anyway, I’m pretty sure the dinosaurs came first, if they didn’t I’m almost positive David Attenborough would have said something by now”

There was a brief period where they studied me like I was an idiot (Ha! Like they’re the first ones to give me that particular look), so I carried on hitting random buttons on the remote control when suddenly the TV burst into life.

“That’s it, that’s it!!” they said, clapping their hands with glee, “It’s sooty”

I turned slowly to look at the TV and there I saw---not a subversive commie glove puppet spy from the old Soviet Union--- but someone skiing down-hill while been heavily commentated upon. The light bulb went on, I handed them the remote control and said
“Ah, Sothi---the winter Olympics”

They in turn looked at me “That’s what ve haf been sayink. Sooty”

I smiled and left the room and as I closed the door I’m pretty sure young Von Applestruddle lll muttered a Dumkoph or two before going back to fiddling with his mini i-pod, while mother Applestruddle blared out the German national anthem in a bass tenor that just sounded all wrong.

For more silly stories and true(ish) tales click on the short story archive above and sample a whole new world of silliness

Monday, September 14, 2015

Laugh Lines 4

Laugh Lines is available for syndication. If you are an editor, looking for an across the board comic feature, then please contact me via my 'contact me' page to discuss prices.

If you are a reader that would like to see Laugh Lines published in your local paper, then please send your newspaper's editor a letter saying so and send him or her a link to this blog.

If you just enjoy what I do, then keep on coming back for more of the same silliness.

Thank you

PS, come back on Wednesday for another of my true(ish) short stories from the archives of my odd, odd little life

Friday, September 11, 2015

Castle Comics Page 8

Hey guess what? It's Friday and here's the Friday post. On Friday. Which is kinda on the day it was supposed to be posted. Result! I shall endeavour to keep this up.
Anyway, here's Snobby Hood as he attempts to get past Little John on that log, again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rugby Prints for sale

(A section of my latest watercolour painting 'Injury Time')
Something I've been producing in the background, and extra to the Laugh Lines, Castle Comics, the comic strip packages for the US syndicates, the Sleepy Hamlet Novels; Big Ol' Bear children's books and all manner of other things, are these sporting prints.

Some of you will remember a tutorial I did a few weeks back where I described the process of a watercolour cartoon painting.

Well further to that picture and extra to the two others I produced on the same rugby theme, I have created another; this one is titled 'Injury Time' and will, like all of the others, be available as prints very soon from my store.

The reason for the paintings is that an art gallery kindly asked me to produce some cartoons for the Rugby world cup later on this month to bring attention to their shop and my art.

I gladly accepted the offer and got to work. When the gallery posted samples of my first painting, titled 'the Friendly' (the subject of the above mentioned tutorial) they had over 4'000 likes, which was a fantastic response.

I am now looking to be contacting various rugby clubs and possibly the national side to see if I can produce calenders for their fans. I will also be producing the initial set as greeting cards, more of which I will tell you as and when they get posted.

I will not be limiting my paintings to just rugby. I will be looking to producing Rallying, Fishing, Golf and humorous DIY, pubs and an exciting project I really can't wait to start which will be all about the British eccentricities; more of which I will let you know about at a later date.

But for now I will leave you with a photo of the full image of 'Injury Time'

Cheers for now

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Laugh Lines 3

Here's Mondays instalment of 'Laugh Lines' on Tuesday, just to show I'n not a conformist kinda guy!
Either that or I got my calendar wires crossed again...which let's face it is probably what happened.

Laugh Lines is available for syndication. If you are an editor, looking for an across the board comic feature, then please contact me via my 'contact me' page to discuss prices.

If you are a reader that would like to see Laugh Lines published in your local paper, then please send your newspaper's editor a letter saying so and send him or her a link to this blog.

If you just enjoy what I do, then keep on coming back for more of the same silliness.

Also, come back on Wednesday when I'll be posting about my latest set of Rugby Sporting prints that I'll soon be offering for sale via this site. So if this is your thing then make a note in your diary or subscribe to my site and have the posts emailed directly to you.

Thank you

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Castle Comics Page 7

Sorry for the delay. Not my fault this time. The internet was down all day and has just come back on at 2am and here I am posting it for you. How's that for dedication!?

Anyway, here it is, the latest two pages from my Castle comics. This time involving two travelling pilgrims, on their way to visit the shrines..all of them.

Just as an extra point. When I sold the Castle Comics books into Bath&Wells Cathedral gift shop, they loved these two characters so much they actually created a meal named after them and put it on their menu.

And finally, finally, don't forget to come back on Monday for more of my Laugh Lines. See you then.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Laugh Lines 2

Laugh Lines is available for syndication. If you are an editor, looking for an across the board comic feature, then please contact me via my 'contact me' page to discuss prices.

If you are a reader that would like to see Laugh Lines published in your local paper, then please send your newspaper's editor a letter saying so and send him or her a link to this blog.

If you just enjoy what I do, then keep on coming back for more of the same silliness.

Thank you

Friday, August 28, 2015

Castle Comics- Page 6

And here we have yet another character from the forest that surrounds D'Boncee Castle. This time it's Snobby Hood, the overly pompous Sire of the shire. There were three separate one pagers following Snobby Hood's attempt to best Little John and here is the first. More to follow next week.

Do you enjoy Castle Comics? Then don't forget to come back Monday for some more Laugh Lines---my spot cartoon selection of last weeks out put-- also keep an eye out for news about the new 'Artist's Edition' of Castle comics, which I will be announcing very soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Laugh Lines 1

Welcome to Monday Morning...ish... and the first of what I hope will be a very long run for this feature; and seeing as I produce spot cartoon gags every week, I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn't see my personal favourites from that week.

If you wish to see more, or just look at the coloured versions, please feel free to look on my CartoonStock pages

Don't forget to come back on Friday for the next page, or pages---I haven't decided yet--- of my Castle Comics.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Castle Comics Page 2-5

Here we go.

The thing about Castle comics is it has a variety of story lengths. Some are one pagers, like last week, and some were more. This one, starring the halfwit with anarchist William Wally and his 'total' with Ben Nevis come up against the lordly Sir Charge.
These tales drew their action and inspiration very much from the Warner Bros. and Tom and Jerry cartoon shorts for their slapstick madness.
So sit back, oh gentle reader, and enjoy all four pages of this weeks instalment of Castle Comics

Don't forget to come back on Monday for the first of our new Monday only Laugh Lines feature with a collection of gag cartoons, just to give your week a boost in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Monday only feature---Laugh Lines

Am I spoiling you or what!

Not only do you get a new comic, or comics pages, from my self published Castle Comics every Friday, but now I am going to be giving you a new feature for Mondays.

Laugh Lines is a homage to the newspaper gag cartoons of my youth. Newspapers like the Sun, the Daily & Sunday Mirror, the People and the News of the World all used to carry their spot gag cartoons in this format; I and many other readers used to love them as they show-cased some of the best cartoons from the greatest gag cartoonists of the day.

These guys would sit in their converted sheds, front rooms, spare bedrooms and at the kitchen table just writing and drawing these cartoons, then once a week they would take a trip up to London and show all the editors their weeks work. The editor would chose what he wanted and the cartoonist would take his chit down to accounts and get paid in cash, then it was on to the next newspaper.

Once the day was over, the cartoonists would meet at one of Fleet Streets famous watering holes and get blind drunk; take the last train home, collapse into bed, wake up the next morning and the process would start all over again.

Sadly the big papers no longer run that many cartoons in the UK, and gag cartoons---at the levels they once were---are sadly a thing of the past.

That was until now.

Starting next Monday 24 August I will be posting one of these Laugh Lines columns every week and continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I will also be bombarding local weekly newspapers with samples and re-directing them to this site. So if you would like to see my Laugh Lines in your local paper, please let your editor know; make he or she aware of what I'm doing and urge them to take a look. A readers wishes to see something new in their paper is still one of the best ways to get that paper to run a new idea or feature.

But until then, have fun with this sample. The next ones will be posted a lot bigger.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Castle Comics P1

Well here it is! The first page in the serialisation of Castle Comics!

For those of you who are new to this spot, let me explain. Every Friday I will be posting a page from my highly popular, self published, specialist comic titled Castle Comics.

This book has sold almost 10,000 copies through the gift shops and specialist retail outlets all over the UK's Castle visitor centres and shops, and I have just 200 left, and of these two hundred I have plans that I hope you will find very interesting. They will be for sale, but with a little added extra. So stay tuned and keep coming back as I will be announcing my plans---probably next week---about the offer of Artist editions of Castle Comics.

But until then, sit back and enjoy the first page with the first two boneheads from the dungeons of D'Boncee Castle, home to the notorious William the Konk. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lok and Key!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Castle Comics---Coming Soon

A couple of years ago I serialised a graphic novel called Brabbles & Boggitt, which was quite a big hit with you all at the time.

I did say that I would be putting it up onto Amazon one day, and I still intend on doing just that, but finding the time to sort out the formats and all the crap that goes with it is proving too time consuming at present. So for the time being you will have to wait for that particular little ray of sunshine to enlighten your days. But you can be rest assured that as soon as I have found the time to upload it, the sooner you will be able to purchase your copy.

But even before I posted the Brabbles & Boggitt story I produced a specialist comic for the Castle gift shop  market in the UK. The book was titled Castle Comics and was a collection of one, two, three, four and six page tales that revolved around the nut cases that lived in and around a fictitious medieval place called D'Boncee Castle. The book eventually sold into over 400 outlets and shifted thousands of units.

Although initially written for children, Castle Comics turned out to be as big a hit with adults as it had been for the kids; proving that I had inadvertently produced a comic book that transcended the age barriers. A true 'all ages' comic book.

All well and good, I hear you say, but why are you filling up my tea break with 'what happeneds' and 'maybe some days'? Well I'm glad you asked.

I've still got around 140 physical copies from the original 10,000 print run of Castle Comics sitting in boxes under my stairs, and I intend to start selling them through Amazon, and soon through the store section of this site, while also planning  to publish one page, every Friday---just like I did with Brabbles & Boggitt---until the whole book has been posted.

Now that said there is nothing stopping you going ahead and purchasing it at any time, and indeed I encourage such actions whole heartedly, and when Amazon have finally got their 'one-click' finger out of their asses and sanctioned the page, I will put a link on every post that I publish for Castle Comics so you can jump straight through, purchase my book and make my day.

So with all this in mind I thought it would be a good idea to post the two character pages as a taster of what and who you can expect to see over the coming few months before running headlong into the first page; which will go live this Friday 14th August.

All this and more regular updates on my other projects, tutorials, silly tales of my life and videos make this the one and only site to come to for all things Karl Dixon Diary of a Cartoonist & Writer related.