Thursday, May 30, 2013

Annual Scribblings from the Past

Filler art for the Dandy Annual
Sometimes its just nice to share an indulgence, a labour of love.

Most of you who are regulars here, and have seen my portfolio page, will know that I used to work heavily for the children's comic market in the UK, and part of that gig was the regular annual work.

Over the years this would normally consist of longer comic stories, filler art or puzzle pages. But if you were really lucky you got asked to produce the frontispiece or end pages. These were large pieces of art that usually depicted a big scene or a silly situation.

I can say that over the years I was blessed with being asked to produce these 'honour' pictures quite a few times .

You always know when a commission turns into a labour of love. Its a magical moment, the clock stops, sounds of the outside world just melt away and all you have left is you, a piece of paper, pencil and pen and the hum from the computer. It's bliss.

The picture below was one such piece of art. I would have been paid the same amount for this picture whether I had produced a few characters running from one or two adults (which was the brief), or if I had gone over and above the call of artistic duty; which I eventually did. But once I started this picture I just didn't want to stop and I knew I was about to produce something above my game.

I loved the the way the size differential dynamic worked with the kid characters and the way the adults were clamouring over each other to get at the wayward children.

Without a doubt this has to be the singularly most pleasing piece of art I have ever produced for a comic and it has lead me into wanting to produce a lot more pieces for poster art and on larger and more varied themes.

But until that day comes---and you will be the first to see them here at Diary of a Cartoonist & Writer--- I thought I'd post this frontispiece and give you a taster of what is to come.

As usual if you want to study it in more detail---and I hope you do--- then click on the image once then click again.

Enjoy and cheers

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Thank you


  1. Hi Karl! It's great to see some of your earlier stuff! A couple of questions for you. What years were you active on the annuals? My brother has a small collection of Beano, Dandy, Beezer etc, annuals from the mid to late 1970's but I think that might be too early for your work. Do you own the copyright to the artwork even when it involves a comic companies characters? I'm just being nosey now! Kind regards, Brian.

    1. I'm glad you liked it Brian. I was active from the early 1990's right through to around 2009 and I've only produced work for the Dandy Annual.
      There's a huge debate going on at Thompson Towers, the home of the Beano and Dandy. They say they own every pencil stroke we draw, I say no you don't. They constantly try and get me to sign away my soul but every time I receive one of their contracts I shred it. I'm an independent and I'm sticking to it.
      I would never use the characters I drew for them commercially, but I will continue to show you what I did during my years there



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