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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gag Cartoon tom-foolery

Just for you fun and delectation---and also because I'm too busy at present producing caricatures and cartoon sporting prints for an art gallery to do any tutorials--- I give you a hand full of the most recent cartoons I've just uploaded to Cartoonstock That said, I will be uploading the fruits of my labour when it is completed.

But if you like what you see and want to see more, then feel free to take a gander by clicking on the 'Cartoonstock' link above.

See you all on my next post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear Diary 1

Brecon, or more specifically the street where I live, is a place of Policing anomalies. 

On Sunday, a pupil from the local private school dials 999 with a hoax call to the Police saying he can hear gun shots in the boarding houses where he lives. He looked very surprised indeed when the Rapid Response Unit arrived 10 minutes later, kicked the doors down and stormed the house with very powerful hand guns and semi automatics and did a systematic sweep of every room.

Eventually they found the bored little rich brat sitting on his bed with his mouth gaping and flapping open and closed like a freshly landed guppy on the river bank; his phone still in his hand and was apparently peeing fear like a cart horse.

He pleaded mitigating circumstances and named them as: too much alcohol and the fact that he was bored. He was asked that if he should fail to mention anything now that may help in his case, then everything else would be used against him. Sadly in the state od deep shock he was in he plain forgot to mention that Daddykins and the Home Secretary share the same London club.

And that probably why the Police dragged the over privileged, over pampered and under educated little Lord Foltneroy off to the local nick to have his manicured finger tips recorded, his mug shots taken and his silver spoon removed from his mouth and impounded until further notice.

Next day the CID send a truck load of officers on a door to door search for a stolen pair of mens' underwear, because a resident had reported them missing and would quite like them back. He even furnished the officers with a recent photo and an artist impression of the underpants.

God I love this town.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Would you Adam & Eve it...a new proposed feature

Well haven't I been the busy little chap. I took a whole week off from everything and managed to write and produce thirty comic strips for submission into the American syndication market.

The strip is called Adam & Eve and runs under the byline of: the antidote to the family strip.

Most everyone of note will tell you that when thinking of something to create it is always best to write about what you know about. And seeing as I have two failed marriages and a string of disastrous relationships lying crashed and burning in my wake, I think it safe to say that I am somewhat of an expert on the subject.

So when writing a family strip ( my first ever), I decided to write less about the lovey-dovey side of it--- the homogenised view of the nuclear family that we have become accustomed to until now---and more of the darker, less salubrious view of the modern family.

That said, the strip is still meant to be fun and indeed funny, but just a bit more about how I remember it, through the jaundiced coloured spectacles I wore and still, on certain occasions, do wear (especially when writing this strip).

Anyway, down below are, as usual, the thirty sample strips and the character page required by all the major syndicates, but you---you lucky devils---get to see them first.

I really do hope you enjoy

Cheer Karl

By the way, for another sample of a previously submitted strip click here to read my Bib strip and on a final, final point: those regular, and more eagle eyed of my readers, will probably notice that this whole strip was based on two single panel gags first publish here


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Towy---A New Speacialist Strip

I've produced specialist strips before.

Normally, when doing this kind of work, it is best to have more than a passing understanding of the subject matter in hand; ie: if you wish to do a cartoon about classic cars, it would be a good idea if you have either had a classic car, re-built one or at least attended classic car rallies as a genuine enthusiast.

That said, if your mind is as fertile as mine, and you are willing to research with diligence the subject of your choice, then any specialist strip is not completely beyond your grasp; one such case in point is the Towy strip below---a new strip that I am about to start touting around all the specialist horse and countryside magazines world wide.

Now I have never owned a horse and only ridden one briefly, and even then not very successfully---due largely to the fact that the saddle wasn't properly strapped on---and after a few short minutes in the saddle, neither was I.

Anyway, that was a long time ago and since that day I have had nothing to do with our equine friends---other than to admire them in fields as I pass by on my way from point A to point B via almost every other letter in the alphabet and a few stray Greek ones---but all that was to change when I met Jayne.

Jayne and the real Tywy
Jayne, put simply, is the love of my life and a horse loving fanatic. She has two horses of which one in Towy (or to give her her correct spelling Tywy---the Welsh spelling---I just changed it to Towy so it would be easier to read and definitely less confusing for all you none 'Welshies' out there).

Anyway, after spending much time with these two beautiful horses and their crazy owner, I began to see the comic possibilities in them, and a the gags began to write themselves.

Initially Towy was going to be a full page cartoon with no words, but after completing them I decided to re-do the lot only in the more traditional comic strip format. I did this as space is always at a premium and a big issue for editors, and if they liked the cartoon and were teetering upon the precipice of buying my strip, I didn't want 'space issues' to be the door by which they escaped from. I also changed Towy's colour from black to brown, simply because the horses expressions would've been too confusing if produced in black.

Towy then became the independent, free thinking, mind bending, vet hating, farrier flirting, none-fool suffering, free spirit she is now. She has an owner, although that is a laughable tag, as any horse person will tell you that when you own a horse, the last thing you are is their boss. At best you are their cook, masseur, exerciser, unpaid slave and producer of Polo Mints and other tasty treats; and Towy personifies all these traits and many more in my strip.

Anyway, without anymore preamble, I give you the six sample strips I will be sending out to any and every market available to Towy.


Okay, so on an extra note, and purely for your whole behind-the-scenes-insight-into-a-cartoonists-working-patterns-and-mind-set thing, here's a few of the full page, pantomime (techie word for 'silent strips') pages.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Watercolour paintings

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I posted...AGAIN! And every time I sneak back on here, with an apologetic air about me and always say that 'things will change from now on and that I will make a concerted effort to post every week'.

Well I'm going to try another tack---because I really do love blogging, but work pressures just get in the way---this time I'm going to say: 'Dash it all, I will post when I damned well feel like it and the world and its cartoony expectations can go hang itself...'

Well lets face it, a genuine desire to produce regular posts have gotten me nowhere, so lets see if reverse psychology works.

Anyway, all that said, lets get onto today's post.
Like I said I've been busy with all kinds of projects, namely: my second Sleepy Hamlet novel, plus a new strip proposal for syndication; I've been doing special pieces for family and gift paintings for those close to me.

But more about them later...or if I can be bothered to post it here, which I can't even be arsed to think about yet...(see what I did there? Reverse psychology again. I have a good feeling about this---or bad---depending on which angle you take it from).

But the topic for today's post is a step-by-step breakdown of a painting I recently completed, which will hopefully form part of a larger body of work to be exhibited in a local art gallery, to coincide with the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The painting is titled, 'the Friendly' and acts as both a tutorial and a bit of a background insight into my working practices methods.

Stage 1:

The first thing I do on a picture of this scale is to draw it up, ink it, have it photo copied and reduced and light-box it through to the art paper.
I do this, as a picture that is this involved would be a nightmare to sketch onto the paper, and I would lose sight of what is what when it came to colouring.

Stage 2:

For the actual light-boxing of the cartoon. I placed a piece of 325gsm hot pressed watercolour paper, darkened the room and meticulously re-traced all the lines---stopping every now and then to lift the page carefully to make sure I hadn't missed any lines.

Stage 3:

Once again, due to the involved nature of the illustration, I've masked off the upper layers of the characters. I did this as when I came to painting the sky I won't have to worry about cutting in and around the rugby players.

Stage 4:

I ran a pale wash---wet-in-wet---of cobalt blue. Once that was completed, and still wet, I dipped my artist sponge onto some clear water and began to pull some clouds out from the blue sky. Once again this was done subtly as I didn't want a strong sky to detract from the main body of the painting.

Stage 5:

Now comes the initial gradient for the grass.

At this stage I just wanted to give the impression of fore and background; more detailed work on the pitch would come much later in the painting.

Stage 6:

Once the two layers are thoroughly dry I peel off the masking fluid, making sure that there are no bits left anywhere and that the illustration is clear, clean and ready to proceed.

Stage 7:

At this point I would normally methodically go through the characters, painting one section at a time, ie; all the flesh, then all the tops, then the shorts, socks, etc. But on this occasion I started doing the initial two to three tones on the flesh and then decided to put in the pale back-wash of red for one of the characters.

I have no idea why I did this but it actually helped, acting as it did as a stark contrast for me to work against for the rest of the flesh tones.

Stage 9:

With the flesh tones all done I then continued on with the red teams' tops.
At this stage I had no definite plan for which character would play for what team, so I had to do one, look at the picture, do another, then another and continue that process until the painting had an over-all pleasing colour balance.

Stage 10:

Next came the blue team, and their pale base washes.

Now, I am aware that club kits nowadays have all kinds of markings and sponsorship deals on them. But to have that amount of detail, in a picture with this level of involvement, would've been just too much clutter. So I kept it simple.

Stage 11:

Finally I worked in the dark shadows in between the players and their black boots.

At this point I still have no idea if my painting is going to work or go horribly wrong. So I stop and go off for a read and a cup of tea to clear my mind.

Stage 12:

With my tea consumed, and mind cleared I came back, and over the space of a few hours I built up the layers of deeper shadows on the players; then I moved onto the stadium and the crowds within.

I also worked on the grass; placing onto it pieces of scuffed up turf and dirt from the mayhem of the battle.

Stage 13:

Finally I could place a subtle outline around the characters. I did this with watered down Van Dyke Brown with a hint of Lamp Black.

And with the masking tape removed, the piece was ready to go, and I was ready to move onto the next picture in the series; that one to be titled: the Chase

Hope you enjoyed