Blogging again in 2018

I always like to come up with a grandiose New Year’s plan that I can spectacularly fail to achieve. This year’s, I have decided, is: blogging.

OK, so in actual fact I’m going to be keeping my sights set low so as to put no pressure on myself at all, but hopefully you’ll be reading rather more from me here on the Cartoon Blog.

Planned topics: My latest cartoon work, cycling exploits, the current state of the tide, and other sundry subjects, yet to become apparent, which merit investigation.

Any other suggestions as to interesting topics welcomed.

So why blogging, in 2018?

  1. I love a visual medium. This rules out podcasting, for instance.
  2. I like to have my own ‘home’ online. One that isn’t Facebook or Twitter, where I can do what I want and gather my best (and worst) work.
  3. I started blogging in 2002 (approx), and I really enjoyed the years when I was blogging the most.
  4. Cartooning is a solitary business, and I’m hoping writing a blog might give me more interaction.
  5. I hope that I can produce content that people might quite enjoy.

That’ll do for now. If you’d like to follow, there’s an RSS feed for people who know what one of those is, or you can get the posts delivered by email. Alternatively I’ll be posting new posts on my Twitter feed.

Thank you, and Happy New (blogging) Year!

How to Avoid the Peace

Exciting book news! My next cartoon book, published by Canterbury Press, is now available. ‘How to avoid the Peace – Tips for advanced churchgoing’ is the sixth collection of my ‘Guide to the Church’ series of cartoons, originally published in the Church Times newspaper.

Along with the title cartoon, ‘The Peace* – How to avoid it if it isn’t really your sort of thing’, this volume includes…

  • A sacred office: The changing of the OHP bulb
  • Worship: How to spot when jollity is being enforced
  • Clearing out the church: Deciding what can go in the skip
  • Less demanding options for observing Lent
  • How to reorder your church without anyone noticing
  • Ways to misbehave when visiting clergy are taking the service
  • An A to Z of pastoral visiting
  • Bishops – promotion and relegation
  • What is really going on in the pews during a service?
  • A guide to the places you may or may not sit
  • Instructions for wedding guests
  • How to stop new people joining your home group
  • Church noticeboards: The seven deadly sins
  • The nativity play: Pedantic / scholarly version

…and many more.

One new development: there’s a new format for my books! For the first time in this series this book is in a horizontal landscape format. This will make for easier browsing, and since ‘The Cycling Cartoonist’ my books aren’t going to line up neatly on a shelf anyway.

Some cartoons from ‘How to avoid the Peace’ will appear on my CartoonChurch.com site very soon, but the book will be the only place to find them all. And in any case, cartoons are, I think, best in print.

You can buy in the following places…

*Explanation: ‘The Peace’ takes place during Anglican and other church services. We shake hands and say ‘Peace be with you’, echoing the words of Christ. Other people have written about sharing the Peace more eloquently than I could do: See Scott Gunn: ‘The Peace and how we fail to pass it’; Kester Brewin ‘Sharing the Peace (Then Being Right Haddocks)’

Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital

This is a cartoon drawn for my accountants, Morgan Cameron, about the Government’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ scheme. In summary: from 2019 businesses and people like me will have to submit our tax information four times a year, instead of once, as we do now. You can read more about Making Tax Digital here.

The plan, as I understand it, is for the whole process to be ‘digital’, whatever that means. A lot more time will need to be spent on record keeping, rather than doing it all in one go for an annual tax return. HMRC will get some of the information ‘directly from from employers, banks, building societies and other government departments’.

If you need an accountant to help make sense of it I can recommend Morgan Cameron, who have been helping me with my tax return for a number of years now.

Warning: never take financial or other advice from a cartoonist.

My WordCamp talk – slides and links

Today I’ve been giving a talk at WordCamp London about WordPress, the software that runs this website. The video of the talk should be online at some stage, but in the meantime here are the slides I used.

Links to websites I mentioned will follow here – sorry that, owing to mild incompetence, they aren’t in the slides.

Here is my ’20 Reasons to Love WordPress’ cartoon, first seen during my talk.

 

Colouring books and calendars

Dave Walker Colouring Book

I had two items published by Canterbury Press during 2016, my calendar and colouring book. You can find them at at Church House Bookshop, along with all my other books, tea towels, etc. You can buy them elsewhere, but Church House Bookshop is worth supporting if you are going to buy online. For those who prefer Amazon: my Amazon Author page listing all my books is here.

[Update: Christmas cards now sold out] I also have, on a very limited basis, some cycling cartoon Christmas cards for sale. They are the ‘Santa’s Bikes’ design shown below.

santas-bikes

santa-card-wp_20161130_003-706

Sotheby’s auction

selfie-heath-robinson

One of my cartoons is being auctioned at Sotheby’s on 13 December. It is a cartoon on the theme ‘If Heath Robinson was alive today’, and is entitled ‘Taking a selfie’. The auction, or at least the part of it my work is being sold in, is to raise funds for the Heath Robinson Museum (my blog post about the opening).

You can see the listing here, and a larger version of the cartoon via this link (will open in new tab).

The whole auction, including contributions from some other cartoonists, is visible here, my cartoon is lot no 282.

Update: The cartoon didn’t sell at auction (see below), but I’m hoping that a buyer may have been found.

The Cycling Cartoonist book

Friday was the final deadline day for submission of cartoons for The Cycling Cartoonist. I’m pleased to say that I’ve drawn 116 brand new cycling cartoons, which, added to 28 that I’d already done, means that there are 144 in total.

It’s taken 8 months and is by far the biggest such project I’ve attempted, so it is a huge relief to have got it done. There will of course be editing still to do, but the first and largest hurdle has been… hurdled. It is also the first project that I’ve undertaken entirely digitally, using [technical details] an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the Procreate App. This new way of doing things isn’t perfect and has taken a lot of learning, but it wouldn’t have been possible to get this much work done in the time using my old ‘draw it on paper then scan’ methods.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me with ideas and morale-boosting. This is a picture of me out on the bike, in the cold and rain, fixing a puncture with my friend Mark, while my other friend Sam is holding my bike and taking the picture. They had no idea how important such research in the lanes of rural Essex would be when it came to the cartoon-drawing a month or two later.

fixing puncture

Many thanks too to my publishers, Bloomsbury Sport, who’ve been brilliant, including when I needed just a little more drawing time.

Publication date for the book is 1 June 2017, and the cover might look a bit like the image above.

The Cycling Cartoonist on the Bloomsbury UK website
The Cycling Cartoonist on Amazon UK

All change

church times cartoon

There is some news.

Today (Thursday) is my last day working as the Web Editor of the Church Times. Yes… I suspect a large percentage of those reading didn’t know I did such a job at all. But for any that did: I’m stopping this week, by my own choice.

For the last five years I’ve made my way into the City of London every Wednesday and Thursday in order to make sure that the Church Times newspaper appears online in the early hours of Friday. The job has involved everything from making sure bolds and italics are in the right place, through to overseeing the introduction of a new site a couple of years ago. And quite a bit of walking to the kitchen, making some redbush tea, and walking back again.

In fact I’ve been travelling in to the Hymns Ancient and Modern offices in the Barbican area for seven or eight years now – I wrote a blog for the newspaper for two or so years before taking on the Web Editor role – so not going to London will make quite a change to the way a week looks.

My feelings about this: It feels incredibly sad, but I think it’s the right thing for me to do. There are aspects I’ll miss – the main one being my co-workers. I have enjoyed working with people at Hymns A&M and have made some very good friends there, who I will miss a lot. I am still continuing to draw my weekly cartoon for the paper though, so that link won’t be lost, and people have kindly said they will continue to feed me ideas for cartoons.

So what will I be doing instead? Well, I’m going back to full time cartooning and working on my own online projects. There are a few items on the ‘to do’ list which I’ve really wanted to get stuck into but never had the time to concentrate on, and I hope that now I will. I’ll say more in due course.

I am excited about this… along with feeling some mild trepidation, about making it work, surviving working on my own the whole time, etc. I may, dear blog reader(s), very occasionally ask for your help (if that’s OK).

This Sunday it will be 10 years since I started cartooning professionally, so it seems like a good time for a new start. Thanks once again to everyone for your support.

[Image: ‘Church Times’ cartoon, drawn for the CT 150th Anniversary issue]

Great technological advancement

you-v-tech

Anyone who has followed me (digitally) over the last few years will know that my church cartoons site, CartoonChurch.com, has been having difficulties. A reoccurring problem that no one could fix, along with an incompetently-run web hosting company, a *different* moving-the-site problem that no one could fix, and my own incompetence, all combined to produce an unsatisfactory situation.

I’m pleased to say that I have, at last, found ways around all of these complications and have moved the domain name and hosting, and, at the time of writing, everything works. This should mean that at last I’ll be able to post more regular church cartoons without being halted by the site going down, which I’m pleased about. To a lot of people moving domains and websites are, I’m sure, fairly simple tasks, but it has been a bit of a hurdle for me and so I’m happy that I’ve learnt how to do it.

More changes are still to come. An entirely new and improved CartoonChurch.com is on it’s way, but stage one is complete at least.

Thanks in particular to all licence holders, who are the ones who make the site possible, for their patience. There should be a plenty of new material for you on its way.

Advent Calendar

advent-calendar-900

I’m pleased to announce that my Advent Calendar is now published. Those who were reading my site last December will remember that I did an online Advent Calendar (I won’t link to it so as not to spoil the anticipation, but if you want to see the images they aren’t hard to find…). Well, the print version is made up of almost exactly the same cartoons (with one or two modifications), one-a-day from 1 to 24 December. It is in A5 format with a spine at the top, meaning you can flip to the next one each day (picture below). The pages are double sided, so during the middle of Advent you turn it around and carry on. The calendar isn’t year-dated, so you can use it year after year.

Unlike my other calendars and books the cartoons are not church-specific, so someone not familiar with the church world would, I hope, understand them.

You can purchase the Advent Calendar from the following places:

While we’re talking calendars, my 2015 calendar is on sale too. It has a cartoon for each month, and plenty of space to write appointments, etc. The cartoons are some of my favourites from the Church Times, and aren’t ones that you will have seen online. You can buy it from Church House Bookshop, Aslan, or Amazon UK.

photo

Above: Calendar as it would look if you kept it on a desk near a keyboard.