Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Back to School

Looking at "Fast Forward" magazine the other week reminded me that I spent five years at Grange Hill school, drawing, colouring, lettering and eventually even writing a two-page weekly strip. The stories were not crackerjack affairs of espionage and drama (although I did try that a couple of times!) they were generally rather mundane (dull is the word I'm struggling, unavoidably, to avoid) tales of missing books, new pupils, grumpy teachers and stray dogs, but I would always try to enliven proceedings somehow. In this example from 17 years ago,  I particularly like the big picture showing proceedings from inside the washing machine, looking through the distortion of the big glass door.
Not that I know what the world looks like from inside a washing machine, but it's comics.

Despite doing it for over 5 years, and earning good money from it which can't be ignored, I eventually began to hate drawing this strip. Sometimes I had to sit in front of a VCR watching Grange Hill episodes (they even sometimes sent me an uncut full days shooting- retake after retake- except George A Cooper who was an absolute pro and brilliant!) to get the likenesses. If I ever hear that chirpy Grange Hill theme tune, my stomach flips and I break out in a sweat. To be honest, it wasn't really my kind of thing, but in those days, I used to draw anything and everything, I hadn't realized I should be concerntrating on funnies. For a long time I thought I'd be drawing it forever, but in summer 1994 Phil Redmond and the BBC had a disagreement about the show and this strip was cancelled in the midst of the discussions. A year later, the magazine was cancelled. A few years later, Grange Hill was cancelled. So, there you go.

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