Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

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

Monday, 25 June 2012

Ask Me a Question

I'm going to try something out. Today is Monday June 25th at 10pm, and on Monday July 2nd at 10pm I plan to be right here and if anyone has left a question in a message (as a comment- click below) I'll do my best to answer it. Not "how many Beano artists does it take to change a lightbulb" or "Who played the housekeeper in Macmillan and Wife", but questions you might specifically like to know the answer to from ME. I can't promise to answer EVERYTHING- come to think of it, I won't even promise to answer ANYTHING- but I'll give it a go.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sometimes it's Hard Work

Every now and then the right image doesn't turn up on your drawing board first time. Sometimes it can take two goes to get it just so- or even, as in this case, five times!! I'd drawn the cover top left and considered it finished- but then had second thoughts and attempted a redesign with a more dramatic angle (see earlier post). For some reason, I just couldn't get it to my satisfaction and here are several versions all just a little different- I eventually got one that seemed OK, finished it and sent it off with the original coloured one seen here. Why work so hard to provide an alternative?  I suppose you could call it professionalism or being conscientious or giving my best for my employer.
The Beano of course chose the more dramatic one. Incidentally, although I sent in two completed designs they only paid me for one so I suppose technically they should have sent back the unused one, but fortunately, I'm happy for them to retain it in their archive and of course trust that they won't illegitimately sell or publish it, I certainly wouldn't expect them to send it back to me at their expense after so many years of dedicated and productive and successful work. . After all, we're all professionals.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Stand By for Action!

Five random TV 21 covers from 1965 and 1966. Every Wednesday, BANG! would go our school desks at break time as 30 crazed kids would reach for their own fresh copy and indulge in the world of 'adventure in the 21st Century'.
The 'Bullion Train' issue, below, from 1965 made such an impression on me that I attempted my own version. I remember the man next door saying to my mum when he saw it, "You should keep that to show Nigel when he's older". Well, she was sure that paper bred mice- not that mice bred in paper, but that paper actually bred mice- and so, along with 99.9% of things I drew back then, it wasn't kept. Funny old time, the 1960s, wasn't it. I do have one 'home made TV21' but it's not as good as these.  (I soon progressed to making my own comics, One of the earliest was called 'FAB!' with genuine 1966 zeitgeist!  Watch out or I may show a page or two from it one day.)

Not Plain Sailing

As jobs go, drawing comics is a real pleasure.
Sometimes it becomes slightly less of a pleasure and it's usually when celebrities are involved. Or more likely their agents. One particular famous person once made me go through no fewer than EIGHT redraws; "her calves are slightly slimmer, her hair is a slightly different colour, she looks too amusing"- this is in The Beano, remember- only to then say they 'd thought about it and preferred the first one. Here is a different page that was dropped from a recent BeanoMAX because a certain athlete's agent couldn't make his mind up regarding his clients hairstyle, face furniture, placement of logos on his kit, skin colour and dialogue. It may be clear just who's agent gave us the grief by looking at the picture above. If it's not clear, then I guess that's another reason why he wasn't happy.
(Clearly this very minor carp at vain celebrities doesn't apply to Harry Hill with whom I've always enjoyed the most cordial and warm relations).

Something new for Dennis

When I'm not drawing weekly stuff, I'm doing other things. Clearer than that I cannot be. Here's a little sneaky peek at something I did a while ago which I'm told may burst forth into fruition soon. More details as and when!

Stamp it out with Dan

Recently I drew this special one-off for a Royal Mail event when the Comics stamps were issued. It's just one of the many thousands of pages I have drawn but unlike the ones in the weekly comics or annuals, it's proabably not been seen by many comics connoisseurs. Hand coloured by me.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Go Bananas!

 If you like bananas, then the Dandy is for you. Not only does it feature Bananaman himself as drawn by Wayne Thompson, but it also now has a healthy dollop of The Banana Bunch, written and drawn by me and coloured by Nika. While it's not true we're renaming the comic 'The Banana', it IS true you have to BE bananas to work for it.

Ssh! You Know What

It'll soon be time for The ********, you know, The *******  Games, the ones in London next month. It's just that we're not allowed to use the actual word ********, believe it or not! Back in 2008, The  ********* were held in China, so that year's Dennis The Menace annual had these endpapers of the Softy ********* (Prince Charles, patron) and the Menace *********, Princess Anne at the helm.
Drawing by me, hand colours by Ruth.

Sorry about the poor copies. I couldn't locate the originals. So, ebay, look out.

Dennis and Dan. . . and Korky

 Waverley Publishing house in Edinburgh (of course) have joined in the lenticular notebook craze with these two nice items coming out in september. I drew them back in March and was pleased with the end result... especially Nika's computer colouring that looks just like hand colouring.
Waverley have published several Beano and Dandy books over the years and they do a nice job.

I Had a Dream...

I had a really odd dream last night. I went to the shops to get the Dandy and right next to it was a new comic called 'The Bucket'. (I know, worst name yet!) It was only 99p for 32 pages and was printed on slightly off-white, creamy paper, mainly in red and yellow. Upon opening it's pages it turned out to be quite good (I'm keeping the titles and content of the strip to myself! It's easier than thinking up new ideas!) and was edited by someone I know at DC Thomson. It was all rather exciting till I realized 'it was all just a dream'...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

I Wonder

I've just realized that I've done 30 episodes of 'Fred's Bed' , piggybacking it if you like, with the unstoppable David Sutherland, for The Beano over the past year and never mentioned it here! Well, here's a sneak preview of either next week's or the following week's, featuring a nice historical castle.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Oh! Calamity!

No, it's not a Robertson Hare anecdote (there's one for the teenagers!) it's an UNPUBLISHED Calamity James page intended for a Beano book a few years ago. I thought it looked OK but I must have done something wrong as it's remained unseen since I drew it. Who knows!

Friday, 1 June 2012

My first Beano annual job

In 1997 I finally got to work for The Beano after many years of trying! The late Ken Cummings was the canny lad who offered me work, and after a handful of 'Comic Libraries', then-Beano editor, Euan Kerr, gave me this- my first annual job!

I thought maybe one or two readers may like to see this, one of the very few examples I have of script/rough/finished work I still retain.

1. Euan's letter including the script.
2. Euan's quick sketch of what he wanted. This wasn't a regular occurance- but Euan did do this when he had a specific layout in mind.
3. My initial rough- really a working out of characters and positions and so on.You'll see that I rejected some ideas while others are virtually finished.
4. The final black and white page.
If you want to see what it looked like once I'd coloured it- it's in the Beano Book for 2001!