Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Diary etc etc Tuesday (I think) but no wossname today...

Had one of those nights when you’re suddenly wide awake at daft o’clock. Got back to sleep. Woke up late. Hens going "werrp, werrp" waiting to be let out into gale force wind. Make coffee. Lots. Better half off to sort horse out. Horses don’t like wind. But go crazy for sprouts.

And so to Ye Olde Arte Shoppe. Yes, I know you can get stuff on line cheaper, but said emporium is part of the high street which already has way too many empty shops. Aren’t I a goody?

The only problem with my art shop is that you ALWAYS get stuck behind a keen dabbler. They spend loads more than me. Art shop proprietors love them.  Top quality paint and brushes to die for. Sometimes they bring their pics in to be framed. They are invariably dreadful.

Eventually made my purchases – two 3B pencils, a little tube of propelling pencil leads and two bottles of FW black acrylic ink. Got home; pencil leads too little. Fall out of end of pencil (a Rotring Newton. Excellent but obsolete now).


Private commission. Not keen on private commissions. Clients usually v vague about what they really want. They say “cartoon” when they mean “caricature”.

Of a relative. I ask what they’re like (meaning appearance). Client says they have a great sense of humour. Suggest client sends me photos. Wants caricature of Dad on his boat which is a Sprayseeker H23 and please could I draw the boat as well. Oh, and can you just pop in the rest of the family?

Photos arrive. Big family. Dad has a wholly unremarkable face. Suggest to client that scale here might be a problem. A3 might be better (for me) than A4. Client says bigger’s fine and could I just put the dog in too?

Then we talk about cost. I tell her. She asks whether I charge per figure and if so, I could leave out the couple at the back in matching sweaters. Aaaargh!
Eventually agree a price. Begin. Phone rings. Client. Does the price include a frame?
Go away. Bang head for a while.


Wind still giving it what for and chickens finding walking about tricky. Going “werrp” a lot. Dog gets walked – in the rain. She hates rain, so it’s a quick walk, then back for another niche interest mag. This one’s called “Stationary Engine”. Honest. Deals with skilled amateur engineers who rebuild engines to drive machinery with. Then they go to Steam Fairs and sit on camping chairs watching each other’s engines chug away. Old engines are being found all the time. Magazine has headlines like, “Fittock Cogswell 4 hp rotary flange engine found in outside loo. Says owner Ralph Punt, “I’ve thought for a long time that seat was lumpy.”

These are dedicated people and cartoons must be accurate, or readers write in; “ Your cartoonist needs to get a grip on the difference between the flared exhaust on the Thrimmington Cadet and the straight-through version on the altogether larger Thrimmington Major.” Same with car magazines I work for.

Experts look at the drawing first and the joke second.

Then its back to the private commission. Dad’s face is SO featureless. Might make his ears stick out a bit.


  1. Very, very funny. I HATE private commissions, always my undoing. I'm not sure that I've done one yet where the client hasn't stared at the finished item and said, 'I forgot - could you just add in the dog?' (RB).

  2. Don't be ridiculous. This is just another example of these Artist Johnnies looking down on the rest of us. Get a proper job !
    Alma Clench [Capt. retd. Military Police]


Go on... you want to say SOMETHING, don't you? Post under a made-up name if you're shy!