Born with a pencil in my hand (an uncomfortable experience for my mother), I started drawing from an early age. The Beano, Dandy and later, American Marvel comics were my main colleges of education. All lecture notes at school were 90% drawings and only 10% notes. Hence my spectacular failure at ‘A’ level!
My first paid commission for caricatures was from a school friend who paid me 5p to draw other people! In those days, 5p was not an insubstantial piece of loose change.
Art School (Harrow, Portsmouth) sucked me in and spat me out with an increased ability in painting, sculpure and getting drunk, but even more of a desire to draw cartoons and get published.
Work at various publishing houses including what should have been my dream job, at Marvel Comics UK, eventually led to me publishing my first cartoons. (Marvel Comics UK, in those days, had a sort of student squat/sweatshop atmosphere incompatible with my finer sensibilities!)
After being asked to leave my last place of permanent employment, The Australasian Express Newspaper (now TNT, available from those little newspaper bins all around London), it became clear that the only person who would employ me was me! And even then, I’m not sure if i’m sort of person I would like to employ!
Always keen on writing as well, I wrote hundreds of embarrassing, adolescent lyrics, songs and poems. Which wouldn’t be bad, but I was 36 at the time. No, seriously, I was 38.
I’ve had various humorous articles published in national magazines and a few poems in some of those anthologies that only three seriously-bearded and sandal-wearing-types read.
I am one of the UK’s foremost caricaturists, providing caricatures drawn from photographs as unique gifts
and entertaining at corporate events, private parties, exhibitions, conferences and weddings all over Europe. You can say that I make a living from insulting people and they love it!
My work has been published in magazines and newspapers across the globe (including the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, News of the World, The Week, Nursing Times etc) and a lot of work is commissioned for marketing, advertising and training purposes.
BBC News 24 showed a distinct lapse in taste when they hired me to be their political cartoonist for The General Election back in 2005. Not only did I insult all the party leaders but I also wrote and performed my own General Election Poem live on air. Fortunately, the presenter cut me off before the last verse which was a bit too rude for the BBC!
The combined effect of my incredible cartooning talents and my comic poetry gave birth to my Cartoon Poetry Act in which I perform some comic poetry simultaneously illustrated by a flipchart (or projection) of cartoons! Goes down a storm, I can tell you! Some of it is rude, though, and I had my best ‘gig’ (as we showbiz types like to call it) at the Concert Artiste’s Association in London. It was an evening during which I was being introduced a prospective member of this olde-worlde music hall performers club and I gave it my all! The 150-odd audience were rolling in the aisles with exception of a stony-faced group in the very front row. Suffice to say, they were the selection committee and I was not granted membership. But that’s not strictly true. they granted me membership on the condition that I would NOT PERFORM again!!! I was chuffed.
Cartoons on flipcharts or in a projected presentation are a great communications medium and I can draw on the spot through a laptop.