Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con (Photo (C) Alan A Andrew)

Monday, 19 November 2012


Sometimes I get asked for advice on drawing comics. There are only two things to know:
1.Draw and 2.Draw.
Let me elaborate.
1. If you want to do anything well, to make a living out of it, to be noticed for doing it, anything like that, you have to actually do it. It seems obvious, but a lot of people seem to think they should 'save' themselves till they're 'spotted' by the great comic talent scout, and THEN they'll start drawing something great. Wrong. Get drawing right now. I mean it, go on, get some paper and get started. And when you've finished, start again. You should draw every day. Every single day, at all times, in all places. Draw, draw, draw. Cartooning looks fun and easy. It is fun, and it is easy, but only after you've put the hard work in by drawing, drawing, drawing. THEN it's fun and easy.
2. You'll need to find the tool that suits you. I struggled for 15 years with pen and brush and ink  and bristol board because that's what 'professionals' use. Wrong- it's what SOME professionals use. I found each day a bit of a struggle. In 1988 I was introduced to layout paper and marker pens. Dramatic improvement 1.  Sometime in 1995 I discovered  Pentel Sign pens, and I was immediately able to draw EXACTLY what I 'saw'. Dramatic Improvement 2. That particular pen was MY tool of the trade. Every cartoonist needs to find their own. It's my own fault I hadn't found it earlier, they've been making them since 1957.
But above all, DRAW!


Harry Rickard said...

You told me such an inspiring piece about Davey Law, Nigel, which went something like this:

There's a story that Davy Law, drawing Corporal Clott, told the writer the three things he hated drawing most were bicycles, elephants and staircases. The next week, he got a script with elephants on bicycles going down a staircase. And he drew it!

Honestly, it's inspired me so much - thank you so much for telling me of this story as thanks to this, I've never given up something if I thought it was too hard!

Kid said...

Can you give me some more info on those Pentel sign pens please, NP?

James Spiring said...

Heh, they're even used in space.

Anonymous said...

The opening two sentences of this post are the most helpful drawing advice I've ever seen. I used to read 'how to draw' books, but I eventually came to realise that the advice they gave was unhelpful (I can't just "draw a distorted egg shape", my hand won't do that), incomplete (congratulations, you now know how to draw a man standing still at a 3/4 angle, and make sure you never write any comics which require him to sit) and untrue (some of them admitted that the most important thing was practice, but a lot more pretended to be the be-all and end-all).

Your post a few months ago about being asked to draw a 'how to draw Dennis' sequence and having to make the intermediate steps up is just a nice quotable example of why they're a con!

spleenal said...

On the perfect pen...