Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

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

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Sunrise And Sunset

It's been sunny!
And warm.

And, working on the 2017 annuals as I am this week, I was up at sunrise the shortest day and took my brother Dave and his family for a quick tour of our home town. Looks good at either end of the day!

2016 Is Going To Be Interesting...

2016 is looking like it's going to be a bit of a milestone year; In March, we should have a really good idea of just how interesting it will be. But for now, all I can suggest is that, if you're interested, keep an eye on The Beano. I know I will.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

New! Newcastle this weekend!

On Saturday and again on Sunday, me and Nika will be doing our best to celebrate The Beano in the mighty city of Newcastle, so come and join us and see how we draw Dennis The Menace, Minnie The Minx, a Bash Street Kid or two...even Dangerous Dan!

It's our last convention appearance this year, having done Sunderland, Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham, Kendal, Liverpool, Belfast up to now. We have four or five dates for 2016 lined up already, and if we can arrange it, two especially interesting ones in places The Beano usually doesn't reach. Until now. We'll see.

Buy tickets here

Saturday, 7 November 2015


Last weekend we did a Film and Comic Con in Belfast. We had such big queues waiting for a sketch we had to charge a small fee- but it didn't make any difference, still had a big queue. Anyway, we had a busy two days and an amusing coach ride each morning with the actors from Dr Who and Star Trek and so on, one or two of whom I recognised. Oh, and Peter Purves turns out to be a really lovely fellow.
Next up, Cassandra is expecting us in Newcastle to do the same thing all over again, so see you there 21/22 November!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Saturday Night Halloween- and we're going to be in Belfast, giving away badges, comics, and doing sketches of everybody's favourite horror, Dennis the Menace!
Come and join us!

Arthur, Stronger Than Ever

A couple of years ago, a very exciting project featuring Count Arthur Strong nearly came to pass. I still don't know why it didn't. Nor does Steve Delaney, the Count's real-life alter ego. But anyway, here's a brief glimpse at what nearly was.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dennis in Liverpool

Toytopia in Liverpool this weekend was a real hoot, with dozens of Dennis's, millions of Minnies and a bunch of Bananamans amongst many others. And yesterday, the REAL Dennis the Menace and Gnasher were there, with Beano Colourist, Nika, and there they both are!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Anniversary Noted

I'm reminded that this week is 35 years since I got lucky and got my first real paying job as a cartoonist. But I'd been drawing for nearly twenty years by then; at school, known as 'Parko' I always had a pen or pencil in my hand. Even today, former school friends and teachers will recall me as 'the quiet lad with the pencil'. Well, some things never change, yet some do. I'm not quiet nowadays. So, as I take sixteen minutes off for a quick tincture in celebration, here's to the past, and all it's rustic mellow memories, and here's to the future, with it's unknown corners and hopeful pleasures, and most importantly to today, where it all actually happens, good, bad or mundane.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Dropped a Brick, man.

A very funny comic book of Brickman strips is available now, right up your street if you know your Marvel Comics of the 60s, or The Cloak, or Combat Colin, and especially of course, Batman! Created by comics stalwart Lew Stringer, Brickman Returns is the usual crazy, hilarious and satirically knowing superhero antics, but funnier, crazier and wilder than ever- and all in colour too!
There are several bonus features, all hard to find or unpublished in Britain before, so it's a cracking good read all round!
And, fear not, Belfast and Newcastle comics fans, Nika and I will have a little stash of copies available to buy at our stands at the Comic Cons in October/November! Save on postage!

But, if you just simply cannot wait, you can visit Lew Stringer's Online Store now

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Go Beano

Exciting times ahead for The Beano.
I wish I could say more but I just can't.
No, really.

One Saturday in Birmingham

On Saturday me and Nika made an appearance at the ICE Comic Con there- nice to see fellow pros aplenty there- Lew, Hunt, Dave and all those other 2000AD guys-
again, we were all finished early, everything given away! Here I am with Beano fans of a certain age who seemed pleased with these quick sketches we provided on the spot! (Eagle eyed readers may spot I'm wearing different shirt at 11am than I am at 2pm. There's a story behind that!)
Next event in October- The Lakes Festival.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Minx Transformed

We don't always draw the characters the way we normally do- sometimes there's a special feature that needs a different look, a new approach or a radical redesign. Here are all three in this Minnie The Minx from 2011, represented here in case anyone didn't see it but would hate to have missed it. Would make a nice T shirt!

Oh Dear- Look Who's Back

I'm afraid it's true, fresh from my drawing board and Nika's colouring tablet comes this worrying evidence that the story of those terrifyingly awful toddlers Cuddles and Dimples is not yet over. Another phase is due for publication sometime... somewhere... just don't say you weren't warned... they're still around!

Dublin our chances...

...of meeting Beano readers old and new and maybe converting a few who don't read it, me and Beano Colourist Nika are following up our hectic day at the MCM Dublin Con with a day at ICE in Birmingham.

In Dublin, thanks to Bryan, things went better than expected, and by the time we got to 3 O'Clock on the first day, we'd given away everything we had and drawn 60 unique pictures of Dennis, Minnie, Gnasher and assorted other Beano characters!
Quite an experience. Although we weren't publicized, and therefore nobody attending the convention knew we would be there, we drew a big crowd and met many friendly types of all ages- I estimate the youngest was 4 and the oldest 80- and several extremely excited, moved, thrilled, happy, amused people. I even had a phone conversation with one boy who was delighted to be speaking to a Beano cartoonist.
Modesty forbids me mentioning some of the words uttered by a few fans but let me assure you, we found out that Dublin has a lot of Beano readers who keep a very close eye on the comic and know who does what.

So, thanks everyone who came along, and hope to see you again another time.

Next weekend (September 5th) we'll be in Birmingham. Come and say hello!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Beanotown United ?

Although a few of the DC Thomson crowd managed to make an early escape on Friday, not all of them contrived to avoid the Visit of The Year from myself and my Colourist and The Beano Colourist, namely Nika. Here we are at Thomson's perennial temporary accommodation in Dundee, with Gary, Mark, John, Claire, Grant and Michael.
Nika and I were made very welcome, and there was the rain, and the pickles, and the dangerous pub, and the meal, and the nice pub, and my old pal Iain, so it was all very nice.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Irish Sea, we have ways of getting over!

Me and Nika will be in Dublin at the Comic Con Comic Village over the bank holiday weekend ( all day Saturday August 29 and the morning of Sunday 30), drawing you a quick Dennis the Menace if such is your greatest wish, giving away badges and other stuff, and generally saying 'hello, remember The Beano' to comics fans over in Ireland.
Here we are, listed under Red and Black Comics, but it's still just us!

But, fear not if you're over the border, for we've been invited to Belfast later in the year, too, so we may see you there! Newcastle's Film and Comic Con is also on our road trip list, in November. In fact, if you don't get to see us sometime over this year, you're just trying to avoid us!

Next year we hope to do go even further afield, just letting people know The Beano is still out there!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Where We'll Be Next

Me and Nika are doing some personal appearances where we'll show you how we do Dennis The Menace or Minnie The Minx and give you a free badge or drawing or comic or something!
Here are two confirmed shows:
ICE Birmingham September 5th
Lakes Comic Festival Kendal October 17th/18th
Come and see us. We don't bite. Necessarily.
And we'll be doing others too, hoping to do Dublin August 29th/30th and possibly Blackpool in September.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Afore Ye Go

Photo: Linked Image
Glasgow recedes in the rear view mirror (only in metaphor, we took the train) but here's a sneaky shot taken over the balcony of me and Nika at our table first thing on Saturday morning before the paying public came in. We're looking at some recent Beanos for the first time.
We've been invited back next year, so, looks like we'll be back next year!
Meanwhile me and Nika will also be doing something or other, more than likely Beano related, in Kendal in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, so please do come along if you're keen on Kendal.
Find out more about Kendal Comic Art festival here

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

So I got this award....

The lovely people at the Glasgow Comic Con decided to give the 'Outstanding Contribution to Comics 2015' Award to.... well, me. I accepted, thanks, with a very short speech about how nice it is to see so many people creating comics and how different things are today to when I started in The Dark Ages when my mum preferred to tell the neighbours I was unemployed rather than drawing for comics.
Nika filmed part of it so maybe if you ask her she'll post it.

Utter joy at receiving award tempered slightly by
temporarily-empty glass drama at the apres-bash bash.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Interesting Tymes

Dave McCluskey's excellent comic book, 'Interesting Tymes', is a knowing hybrid of EC's Tales from the Crypt, Doctor Terrible's House of Horrible and The Beano, with an overriding horrific jollity leaping from it's colourful pages (drawn by Andrew Morrice). It's appealing all-rhyming captions give it a fairy tale feel but with a sense of the unsettling inevitability of dreams. Timeless, like all great gothic horrors, it will appeal to humour fans who appreciate clever writing.
If you see one, grab it, it's a proper giggle!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Don't Believe All You Read

Visitors to the Loogabarooga Festival in Leicestershire in October may be tempted there by the loud, excited local press advertising that, on Friday, trumpeted "The illustrator of the iconic Beano comic book will be one of many artists and authors to appear at Loughborough’s first children’s book festival, coined as the first festival in the country aimed solely at children's illustration." If you are one of those hoping to see a 'How to draw Dennis the Menace' workshop, be advised there will be no such event. The festival will feature the writer Steven Butler, who wrote Diary of a Menace (but did not illustrate it) and no illustrator from the Beano will be there, certainly not me.

However, further north, on July 4th and 5th myself and Beano colourist Nika will be at the Glasgow Comic Con and we'll be showing how Dennis, Minnie, and almost all The Beano's characters are drawn! We'll be giving away free stuff (FREE!!) and chatting about something or other on a panel or something. See how well prepared I am?

Glagow, 2, Loughborough, 0.

Friday, 29 May 2015

True Story. No moral.

I used to use Indian Ink a lot.

But when I started drawing with the intention of getting a job doing so, I used standard cartridge paper and pencils, biros, felt tipped pens, anything to hand. The end results were a bit on the disgraceful side.

What to do? There had to be a reason why I was producing such substandard work? I couldn't really expect to make a living out of that. In 1978 there was no easy way to find out what I was doing wrong. No internet of course, no books in the library about cartooning (more likely to find a book about swimming in the Alps), no Cartooning Clubs (whatever they were). Nobody one knew or was likely to know had any idea either. [Go to Art School? In 1977? I didn't want to be in a Punk Band, I wanted to draw!] So it was down to two things which fortunately I had and still have apparently unlimited resources of: determination and stubbornness.

I drew lots of pages, and eventually ended up with a handful that were a notch above diabolical. These were what I took with me when I engineered an actual face to face meeting with Gordon Wesley, Art Director at IPC (Fleetway) in London.

Now, here's a curious thing that may surprise the reader; back in the 1970s I had been given advice by editors and art directors at DCT, IPC, Polystyle and other publishers (add persistence to that list of my 'virtues') to concentrate on 'realistic' or 'adventure' artwork. This was the era of 2000AD and there was a push to train up new artists for that and Star Lord and all the other new boy's papers. So all but one of my samples was of 'space', 'monsters', 'action' stuff. Very detailed and painstaking too, all dot stipple effect, moody lighting and dramatic panel borders. (Think Gene Colan meets Frank Bellamy, but only if both of them forgot how to draw for some reason).

So I'm ushered in to IPC which was at King's Reach tower (recently redeveloped I see) and admire the view from the 14th floor. But what I saw in there was more significant to me- pages of original artwork by published illustrators! The first thing I noticed was of course the SIZE! These were mainly TWICE UP- that is, Four times the size of a printed comic! (I've explained before about the sizing of paper, but I recently read someone else saying "twice up surely means twice the size". It doesn't, that's once up. Up being the word to focus on). Anyway, these pages looked sensational- and they were on CARD! Actually, I found it was called board- and instead of biros, these guys used pen and brush and ink. Well those revelations were all I needed. Gordon Wesley gave me a cheque for my return rail fare (I'll reveal how much that was for at the end!) and two steel nibs, and told me to buy something called Bristol board and use any black drawing ink, like Indian ink. Ah, there's something called drawing ink! OK, now we're cooking with gas!

Back home, I set to with pen, ink and brushes, Bristol Board (or a cheap version I got from a bookshop on Bold Street which cost, like, one tenth the price and was, like, one hundredth as good), and learned how to use the 'tools of the trade'.

I did eventually get work, and later still regular work, drawing comics, and mostly light action or funny stuff, the kind of thing you see on this blog, not the action/adventure style I'd earlier been advised to pursue. And so I used pen and ink right up until 1991. Two reasons led to me abandoning the practice for good. First, in 1988 I met and started working for and then with George Nicholas, the enterprising force of nature behind Scouse Mouse. He was really fast (he did fully painted murals in 4 hours) and he'd found a way of using Magic Markers and fibre tip pens and Pigment liners and Marker paper to produce great results without having to wait for that pesky ink to dry. And, to keep up with him, I started to draw faster and faster- with my dip pen and ink bottle.

Well, by 1991 I was drawing so much, so fast, that I thriftily invested in a large 1 litre bottle of black ink. Windsor and Newton. the one with the happy spider on it. Save money, save time. Good idea?
It only took a week or so for me to find out why it was the stupidest thing I'd ever done. Used to dipping a pen or brush in a little 14ml bottle, I'd forgotten how BIG the 1 litre one was. My unconscious hand movement knocked the big, big bottle of ink over.

It splattered all over my drawing board. Well, OK, that just adds character, and if there's too much character you can wipe it off. That's not a disaster.

It splattered all over the page I was working on. Well, OK, redraw what you need to, touch up with Process White what you can, that's not a disaster.

It splattered all over the wall. Well, OK, we can get the emulsion out, that's not a disaster.

It splattered all over the carpet. Well, OK, that is bad, but maybe we can have the carpet cleaned or if all else fails put a rug over it. Bad, but that's not a disaster.

It splattered all over a big stack of old, rare, impossible to find comics from the 1960s that I used for inspiration, reference (and occasional light cribbing).


So, I switched from nibs back to pens. And soon I found other pens which suited me even better.

I've never touched Indian ink since.

If you're looking for a moral, it's probably: Don't start reading a blog post subtitled 'no moral' looking for a moral.

The fare, Liverpool to London return, May 1978, was £24. I remember being glad IPC paid it, as it was impossibly out of my reach back then.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hooray for the Fourth of July

On the weekend of July 4th and 5th Glasgow will be hosting it's 5th Comic Con, and amongst it's many great guests will be me and Famous Beano Colourist Nika. We'll be giving away, yes GIVING AWAY great Beano stuff, and we'll be doing LIVE drawing, colouring and probably talking. Anyway, come along and see how we do in our second-ever Comic Con appearance and first ever in Scotland, in the mighty city of Glasgow.
More information at this link

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Pencil Case

This is my pencil from 1969 which I used until I couldn't use it any more. A more recent pencil of mine is in this new exhibition from Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney beginning next week in London. I can't imagine what a pencil exhibition might be like, but I guess I'll find out on Tuesday!
For more info click here

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Topical Beano

From time to time we at The Beano do a quick topical gag for Facebook or Twitter. And the sudden (though far from unexpected) departures from their respective jobs of Jeremy Clarkson and Zayn Malik on the same day surely required some comment.

The Beano heard Zayn was a bit of an artist and wanted him to 'guest edit' a Beano recently but we couldn't arrange it. Now we can guess why.

Guardian interview

I did an interview for The Guardian a few weeks ago, and here it is.
I read it but I didn't learn anything new. But you may still find something interesting. By the way, it's all about me.
Sorry about that!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The middle of a Busy Week

It's a busy week. No, I mean really busy. No, busier than that, really. There's six projects, and another six projects, and they're all needed about tomorrow. So I'm going to get drawing again. This is the sort of thing I'll be drawing:

Although I've already drawn that, so it won't be exactly like it.

But it is busy.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Nika in Sunderland

Sunderland Comic con, at the weekend; famous Beano colourist Nika does some famous Beano colouring for fans.
A great first con for this region put on by a friendly and hard working team from BHP. Look out for Nika's next appearance, in Glasgow in July, folks!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Competition Time!!

Tell all your friends! There's going to be a competition soon- free to enter- right here on this blog! And the prizes are unbelievably brilliant!! And not available anywhere else- and you will definitely want one! So, keep looking- about 3 weeks I'd say, and then you'll have all the information- see you back here!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Dennis goes to Sunderland- a rare opportunity

Two weeks from now, over the weekend of February 21 and 22, Sunderland hosts a Comic Convention that, amongst many no doubt delightful attractions, features the current main architects of The Beano's Dennis The Menace, namely writer, Nigel Auchterlounie, Colourist Nika and me, who draws it. It's the first time all three will have attended the same con together, so any Dennis fans should zoom straight up there and get your fill. Also there will be the Living legend that is Hunt Emerson, mine and everyone else's favourite, and amongst all his many accomplishments, a fellow Beano cartoonist.
Find out more HERE

In my nearly 35 years of comics cartooning his is only the 3rd Convention I've ever attended as a guest, and I think the 6th or 7th I've ever been to, so it's a pretty rare event, but come and say hello and meet the team, it could be the only opportunity! I'm going to be demonstrating drawing or something, and speaking about something or other, so let's find out what I draw and what I say together!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

DITKO- a new book

I sometimes get weird looks from people when they find out I admire Jack Kirby or Frank Bellamy or someone. "But... you do funnies and they didn't..." their puzzled eyes seem to plead. Not true. I've done action, they've done funnies. Cartooning is cartooning whether one is going for a laugh or for a creep-out slug fest sci fi romance.

I like Steve Ditko. His work. I've never met him, and, even though he is still very much alive and well and even drawing, probably at this exact moment, I doubt I ever will meet him. But I know him, from his work. And what work. Original, daring, dynamic, and what a masterful storyteller.

Another great Yoe book, Ditko's Shorts has (finally) been published.
What more can you say about Craig Yoe's dedicated thoroughness and fan's-eye view of what to include (great design as usual- the tactile cover is a lovely weird treat by itself)?

OK, moving on to the stories and Steve's artwork. What more can you say about Ditko's surreal and disturbing world of dark shadows, angular victims, gross perpetrators and above all, beaded-sweating men on the run?

OK, then buy it.