Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
Picture taken back when we were allowed to go outside and meet people

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

21,914 days later -or How I Began

All my life I've had a very accessible memory. That is, I remember things very easily and vividly and can place them in my time line and a general time line. It's not 100%, It's a mild version of "hyperthemesia" and usually it's pleasant enough to be able to recall what was in the charts and in the news the day you had a nice trip to the coast and what comics you bought and what you saw on TV. Mundane or significant, I seem to remember it.

I've mentioned on here and on Facebook and in podcasts and broadcasts and print interviews that I remember my grandfather who had been a draughtsman, a stonemason and a sign painter for the council, showing me for the first time how to hold a pencil and that the first things I drew were cars, vans and buses on a long straight road, which he looked at and said "that's very good" And as he died when I was just 2 and was ill for a few months that this moment must have been when I was no more than 18 months old. 

 I found the first drawing I ever did. I was 16 months old.


Well, now you can judge for yourself whether he was right to suggest I was very good at that age- on Sunday, I found that first drawing I ever did. And I was 16 months old.

Background to the discovery: My dad loved magazines, newspapers, books, etc. So much so he made his own! He'd cut out photos and jokes and interesting stuff and make a scrapbook with his own drawings. In one book dated 1936 (he would have been 19) there were a few blank pages left and it was on a couple of these I made my first drawing attempt with his and his father-in-laws encouragement. This was in October 1960, in other words, 60 years ago.
Me, centre in white sun hat,
in May 1960, dad right, mum left.


My mother was adamant no paper should be kept in the house unless it was a book. Out in the bins went practically every drawing I did in my younger years as it was all on loose paper. My dad unfortunately died while still a youngish man at 46, just before I was 5. My mum did keep three of his scrapbooks. Including this one; by sheer chance although she thew out 99.999% of everything I drew in the 60s and 70s (and I drew every day, all the time,) she had unknowingly accidentally preserved the very first time I ever drew anything.

I opened the book and looked through it a few times marvelling at how tuned-in to the times dad was in the 1930s and what an eye for design and content he had. And it was only on the fourth or fifth flick through that I saw these 'scribbles'. Looking closer it was quite a jolt to see these were not from the 1930s but 1960, and I had done them myself- they were those first drawings on that first day I held my first pencil- and they were exactly as I remembered them. 

On page 1, I start with a circle. A few attempts. I was trying to draw a wheel. Then I start to draw a car. It doesn't go well, I lost track of what I wanted to draw so over to page 2 (on the right hand side I went back later that day and added a more acceptable vehicle!)
On page 2, I draw a van, bonnet up, spark plugs exposed, starting handle ready. Excited by how easy it seemed, I drew another van, back door open, wheel nuts out on the side of the road, and now with a sign on the side- although I couldn't read or write! I remember doing that and being so pleased it looked like a real sign (with the benefit of hindsight I can accept that was youthful excitement at finding a new skill!) And a little angry driver. The first character I ever drew.
And then a bunch of other characters and bits and pieces.


It may not look like much- and it isn't- but there in front of you is the first time I ever drew anything. And I can honestly say there has never been more than a day or so since then that I haven't drawn. 60 years of it.

In 1960, the world was different: Two TV channels, BBC & ITV both black & white); No Marvel Universe- Stan & Jack were six months away from coming up with the Fantastic Four; The Beatles were five kids with slicked back hair learning how to play; A house cost £2,500, a pint of beer (lager not yet invented) about 1shilling and threepence (that's 7p to you).  

I had no idea in 1960 I would make a career of drawing but by 1963 I really really thought I would. By coincidence, next month, October 2020 is not only the 60th anniversary of my first drawing, but also the 40th anniversary of me having paid, published cartooning work in comics, in October 1980. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

One Month Only! Unique sketches by post!

I will draw for you! Choose an option:
1. A5 black and white (and red) sketches £17
2. A5 Colour sketches £25
3. A4 black and white (and red) sketches £36
4. A4 Colour sketches £44
Up to two characters, for three or more characters, add £3 per character in black and white, £5 per character in colour.













Other sizes, etc, available on request.

All prices include postage and packing.
To Pay: PayPal send total amount and your name and street address using "redblackcomics@comic.com"

For Special Delivery, etc, add £3.70

Overseas, Europe add £5 per order, Elsewhere, add £10 per order.

To order, send an email to: redblackcomics@comic.com (copy and paste into your email address bar)
For caricatures of yourself or family member in cartoon style, send at least 2 clear colour photos, full face and profile, no hats!
Offer available from today, 1 July, to 1 August.
Orders will be sent out starting 20 July, if you need something for a specific date, let me know.


Friday, 26 June 2020

Untold Secrets of the Comic Biz Part 4

Most editors like a writer to write a script which he or she can then pass on to an artist to draw it and send it back and everyone knows what they're doing. I never found it easy to write like that. Over the last ten years I've occasionally written scripts but they are usually written after I've drawn the page. In 2015 I was suddenly informed that we needed a two page Minnie the Minx urgently. Over lunch, myself and fellow cartoonist/writer Paul Palmer, who came over once or twice a week to help with backgrounds and frames and inking, and run scripts past me or ask for ideas, came up with this story and I started drawing it before we'd worked out the details. In the end, we just strung a load of old gags together but I think it suited Minnie!

Friday, 19 June 2020

Secrets of the Comics Biz Part 5

Although I've posted about her before as my colourist, Nika does much more than that! In fact, it would be impossible to do everything I do without her input, which is why we always noted her involvement with her initials "N.N." in a frame, which most people think is "H.H".




As a child in the Soviet Union and then as a teeenager in Greece, Nika dreamed of drawing, colouring, comic books and comic strips. And quite by chance, she came to live in England when she was 21, and the city she chose was Liverpool. Which is where I am.

 Nika has worked with me for over fifteen years, initially in my studio with marker pens, and since 2008 at her home (wherever that might be), via Photoshop. 

It was Nika who encouraged me to start attending comic cons and who either drove us to or accompanied me to dozens of them over the past five years where her super fast colouring skills have wowed all those watching her.

And back on the unseen weekly work of preparing comics, Nika is invaluable, taking the vaguest instructions from me and presenting the finished product I had in mind! See this 2016 Minnie the Minx which I wrote and drew and she coloured and fixed up for a good example.


Whoever sub-edited it added explanatory dialogue, which I hadn't thought necessary. For example, the last panel had no text at all in my script.
Sometimes I would be even more vague! This panel was on the 15th of 18 pages I drew one week and I was feeling a touch rushed!









Minnie the Minx, Dennis & Gnasher are (C) D C Thomson & Co Ltd.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

I Will Draw For You!

From July 1st to August 1st I will be accepting commissions for drawings, in lieu of attending comic cons, so now is your chance to get a bespoke illustration! Prices start at only £15 for a nice black and white (and a bit of red) A5 and go up to who knows what!
http://nigelparkinsoncartoons.blogspot.com/2020/07/one-month-only-unique-sketches-by-post.html


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

2020 on and off the road UPDATE JUNE 18th


While Nika and I started out back on the road again this year, and managed to do great events at Bolton, Liverpool, Walsall, London and Weymouth between February 22nd and March 14th, since then of course, all upcoming shows in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and most of November have fallen victim to cancellation, postponement and rescheduling as Covid-19 gives us all a hard time whether we catch it or not. Hopefully not. Let's hope we get to see you in 2021. 



Monday, 16 December 2019

2019 ... so far!

Anyone keeping track, here's my complete list of places I visited this year, 48 days at events. If it looks like a lot of travelling and time away from home, it is! If you saw me at a public event not on this list, let me know, I expect I forgot!
2/3 March   London
8/9/10 March Liverpool with Nika
6 April Northwich with Nika
27 April  Wythenshawe
11/12 May  Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
18/19 May  Sheffield
1/2 June  Shrewsbury
8 June  Nantwich with Nika 
14 June  Paris
22 June  Macclesfield with Nika
29/30 June  Blackpool
20/21 July  Mottisfont
27/28 July  London
3 August Wigan
10/11 August  Sheffield
17/18 August  Glasgow
24/25 August  Cambridge
31 August  Preston
7/8 Sept Cardiff
28/29 Sept  Norwich, Norfolk with Nika
3 Oct London
19 Oct Nottingham
 20 Oct  Buxton with Nika
1/2 Nov Malta
18 Nov Glasgow
23/24 Nov Reading
14 Dec  Stockport and Bury

This year I've hung out with old comics pals and finally managed to spend some time with some fellow cartoonists/artists/writers/illustrators who in previous years I only had time to nod at and shout "hello" to. 
2019 saw me finally get to more than wave at, for example David Leach (I supported his successful attempt to meet one of his heroes!) Mike Collins (he does more shows than I do, and he has a big friendly family!) Sonia Leong (the heart and soul of Manga in a sharp suit) and Paulina Vassileva (who could have predicted that late night chats in hotel bars in Heathrow and Cardiff would be real highlights of the year?!) 
Next year I've already been booked for some return visits, and some places I've never been before- Bath! Hull!! If you've ever wanted to say hello, please so, if I'm coming to a town near you. Most of the 2020 dates will also feature my colour artist Nika, and one or two surprises!

Starting in January, I'll be posting my itinerary for the year- keep checking back because I sometimes accept invites to events as little as two weeks before!

Monday, 22 July 2019

Big Big Big Day Out

In the middle of a frantic summer of events, here's a quick look at something I did in May but which was only 'published', as a one-off colossal wall fixture, on Saturday! It's part of the Beano Time Travellers Exhibition and Trail at Mottisfont Hall, Hampshire. Here's NT person Helen proving just how big it is!
And here's one of the pictures from it, and a close up of me next to Dennis's head, if more proof were needed just HOW BIG the whole thing is!!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Some months we do three weekends

By the end of 2019 if everything goes to plan, I will have done 67 Comic cons or other Comic-related events since Sunderland in February 2015, most with Nika.
Some places we've done more than once, so you can tell we must have left the place tidy. London, we did events in Baker Street, Kensington High Street, Waterloo and Olympia, and even all the way over in Docklands. Manchester saw us at Trafford Park, at Central, and I did a solo one at Manchester Library while Nika was in Greece letting the grandparents get to know her new son. In Liverpool we did the hotel where I had met my brother for the first time (true fact) and at the newly built Exhibition Centre, a 10 minute walk from home for me. This summer we'll be doing some places we've been before, like Blackpool, Macclesfield and London, and a lot of new ones like Shrewsbury, Norwich and Sheffield. You'll notice we haven't done any in North Wales, or way out West, so, if you're thinking of having an event, why not ask us! We're always very popular with the public!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Untold, But Not For Much Longer

I hope to finally bring Part 4 of my untold secrets blog posts very soon- I've been negotiating. Stay tuned.