Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Mapping Our Progress

In the last 22 months, me and Nika have done 22 Comic Cons or other events where our company
Red&Black Comics Ltd has sent us to draw, talk, give away free stuff and meet Beano fans. We've done Sunderland, Newcastle, Glasgow (twice), Kendal, York, Bolton, Southport, Liverpool, Manchester (City Centre and Trafford Park),  Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff, Reading, Exeter, Brighton, Bournemouth, London (Baker Street and Docklands) and Thessaloniki. And come to think of it I did a solo in Edinburgh in June too. Dunno where Nika was. Down the shops I expect.

In 2017 we're doing Birmingham and Enniskillen for sure, others to be announced or when and if we get invited. So if you've ever wanted to see us draw The Beano characters, and we haven't been to anywhere local to you, why not ask your neighbourhood Comic Con to ask us if we'll do it.   We probably will!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dennis in Greece

 Phew! What an experience!
We knew we would like the people, the food, even the weather, after all, Nika lived there more than 15 years and I've visited there more than a dozen times, but we had no idea that one of our most exciting, friendly and enthusiastic Comic Cons of the past 22 months would be in the cool city of Thessaloniki, Greece!

Normally at Comic Cons we spend most of the day heads down, drawing, meeting Con-goers and sometimes doing presentations, interviews and masterclasses in drawing. Here, we did all that and more! The cartoon class was a spectacular success, everyone there did a great job and intently followed what I demonstrated, going on to create new drawings of their own! I must admit our two shows were both great, and I, modestly, was very entertaining in my way, as was Nika in her way. You can see our different ways above.

It was an excellent weekend of events and fascinating new comics and graphic novels, from Greece and France (the events were in the French Institute) most of which we don't see in Britain but are of world class standard and deserve to be seen more widely. Thanks Nick Roxx Ztar Dalampiras and all the guys, it was a very good event and we were pleased to be invited!  And thanks to my Thessaloniki pals for their help, great company and fantastic hair.


Monday, 5 December 2016

Spilling The Beans

I have decided to go ahead and spill some beans after years of being considerate and generous. I'm going to get a bit real on here. Soon!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

From Reading to Manchester

We went to Reading last weekend - very chilly spot!- and spent two days sitting next to and chatting with Living Legend Simon Donald, (him off the Viz magazine) There's one hard working fellow! This Saturday and Sunday we zoom over to Manchester, to the Sci Fi Con at Bowlers Trafford Park. where not only me and Nika but John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra will be saying hello to comic fans!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Salonica! December!

Another overseas Comic Con for me and Nika on December 17/18! Thessaloniki, in Greece! Come along, even if you're not Greek!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Further Events!

Me and Nika will be appearing at the big MCM London Comic Con at Excel in docklands Friday afternoon 28 October, Saturday 29 October all day, Sunday 30 October up till about 4, and I'll be doing a big Beano Talk on the Friday at 2.30.
Then we have Reading Comic Con November 26/27.
We're doing For the Love of Sci-Fi con on 3/4 December in Manchester, believe it or not!

And, for our last Con of the year, an overseas con  for the first time on 17 and 18 December!

We'll be announcing some 2017 shows before long, so keep checking in!
Come on and see us, don't say we never came round your way!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Menacing in 3D!

After many months of planning, discussing, drawing, brainstorming, tweaking and plotting, now it can be revealed!! The new Dennis and Gnasher TV series will be a bit different!
This isn't even definitely the way he'll look, there have been a lot of adjustments over the past 21 months and there will be more still over the next six months before the first of the new 11 minute shows will be ready!
So, stand by for action, and mark December 2017 in your diary!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

New Beano, So Beano

The revamped Beano hits the shops right about now. We feel we've got it just about right. It won't shock old readers. It won't annoy newer readers. It will attract brand new readers. All the favourites will be there at some time or another, and right from the start there's Dennis The Menace and Gnasher, Minnie The Minx, Roger The Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, Billy Whizz, Calamity James, Tricky Dicky, etc etc. There will be a long 4 page story every week featuring a different character or characters. First up, of course, is Dennis The Menace.

And here's a bit of a sneaky look at a rough attempt at a new logo I did back in March. Not bad. Might work!

And here (right) is my initial design for this year's annual cover.
These roughs are quite detailed, as now that The Beano is just the core of a much bigger organization that includes unique digital media and will eventually include new TV shows (and more!!!) a lot more people have to have a say in how The Beano will look than just the editor. It's a slower process, but it always ends up with me drawing fast to meet the deadline!

On Sunday 25th September trusty Colourist Nika and Top Beano scribe and Numskulls curator Nigel Auchterlounie made a public appearance delighting Beano fans of all ages at a Top Secret So Beano Experience in a deep, deep basement in central London.

Here is a short look at the mad Beano mayhem that ensued and even a glimpse of the two Nigels (and Nika, but only the top of her head is visible behind me!) as we all steamed through endless requests of sketches of Beano characters much to the excitement of all those present!
Watch a brief video here

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sheffield cancelled

Sorry to announce that Nika and I have been uninvited to Showmasters Film and Comic Con this weekend, and won't be appearing, due to space restrictions. I know this will disappoint some but it's not our decision. If you've bought tickets expressly to see us, contact the organisers for a refund.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Interview in Manchester

If you'd like to, you can see part of one of my interviews at MCM Comic Con Manchester on You Tube by clicking HERE

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Manchester Day 1

A busy day in Manchester today at the MCM Comic Con. Apart from meeting a lot of nice people, I did an interview and a bit of a masterclass at 1030 and then a completely unexpected talk with slides at 1300! Still, I managed to fill the allotted time with me talking so a good day! I wonder what I'll be doing tomorrow?!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

What I'd like to do

I've been asked many times "What character or strip would you like to revive from Comics' Past?" And I could never decide. There are so many great characters in Comics Limbo. But I've finally boiled my choice down... to three... don't know if I will ever be able to do these, but I'd love to!

1. THE NERVS Specifically the grotesque Ken Reid version that ran in SMASH! in 1968/9. Imagine that kind of thing in colour! All the blood vessels, bile ducts, sinews... it would be lovely to draw.

2. GRIMLY FEENDISH Leo Baxendale's Gothic Creep of a Crook... oh, there is SO much I could do with him.  If ONLY there was some way to get it going.

3. BRASSNECK I'm envisioning a kind of Steampunk, Heath Robinson Brassneck, lots of silly detail and cogs and levers and wires and steam... possibly set in 1964 the year of his debut... or better yet, 1890...
So there we are, my dream list.
Anyone up for it?!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Secrets! Part 2

Every comic book cartoonist has to start somewhere.
That seems obvious but let me explain.
The printed or online comic page you read didn't start out as a finished page of artwork, or as a script, or an idea, or even a blank page- it started many years previously when some kid first saw someone else's comic page and thought "this looks like the job for me!"

For me, it began in 1962.
Everyone has a mum and a dad, and in 1962 I was lucky enough to be living with them. My mum was (is still, in 2016!) the sort of person who likes to have a tidy house and thinks any printed matter older than about two months that isn't a book is by definition trash. This caused many a sticky moment in the 1962-1974 era where my comics hiding places were discovered and consigned to the garbage. One particular event that stands out was in 1973 when I managed to salvage ten issues of Smash! from summer 1966 that I'd until then hidden successful in the shed literally as they were being handed over to the dustman. But they were unique, really. Of all the comics I bought (or had bought for me) in the Sixties, apart from those few Smash! comics, I only managed to keep three. Three (3). Yes, you read that right, not 3,000, not 300, just 3. One was a TV21 from August 1966, one was a POW! from early 1968 and one was Smash! no.3 which I practically carried with me everywhere from the day I got it in early 1966. I still have it (tattered and torn and trimmed though it is) and two more pristine copies. It's the comic I'm always trying to surpass.

My dad though, was a born browser. He'd have loved the internet and cable TV. He loved magazines, newspapers, books... he read voraciously and indiscriminately. I'm just like him. He introduced me to periodical publishing. At Christmas time 1962 I was reading my Jack and Jill nursery comic and he pointed out something that would change my life. "See where it says "December 29th 1962" on the cover? Next week it will say 1963!" Wow! You mean, there will be another one next week? And... hold on... does that mean... CAN that mean... ANOTHER one the week after? And... wait... gasp... one EVERY WEEK???! That was the moment I wanted a comic every week. It would lead me, 18 months later, to discover a new comic- "WHAM!", which I immediately graduated to, and which eventually led to SMASH!. I would have collected it every week and saved it if it had been possible.
But, as I had my comics chucked away all the time, I took to drawing my own. It was more a matter of trying to recreate what I'd recently enjoyed rather than do my own thing. It took me until 1966 before I realized I could draw new stuff. I could create something no-one else had read. Something that was mine! Of course, being paper, these were all thrown away too. I have 5 drawings of mine from before 1971.

My Dennis The Menace in this week's Beano didn't start when you read it. It didn't start when I drew it, or when Nigel Auchterlounie wrote the script, or when I started drawing Dennis in 1997 or when I started in comics in 1980, it all really began for me in 1962. A few years ago, at the one Comic Con I was a guest at before 2015, I was greeted by a DC Thomson editor who told a fan "Here's the man who will draw you a sketch of Dennis!" I took the paper, and a pen, and, still standing up, drew a 10 second picture of Dennis. The editor said "If it only takes you 10 seconds to draw Dennis, we're paying you too much!" To which I replied "You're paying me for the 40 years of drawing that led up to me being able to do it in 10 seconds!" I don't see drawing comics as a week by week thing- I started drawing in 1962 and I'm still drawing now. It's all one big project.

Everyone who draws comics began somewhere. And they began by emulating or recreating or restyling the comics they were reading. So it began for me on Christmas Day 1962 (Best present: Hanna-Barbera Chocolate 3D model characters set; Worst present Hanna-Barbera Chocolate 3D model characters set, half eaten by my sister and rewrapped. Huck, Yogi, Pixie and Dixie and Mr Jinks all standing there, smiling, with no backs to them, just teeth marks.)

You can read Part 1 of 'Secrets of the Comic Biz' right here

Monday, 4 July 2016

Glasgow 2016! (Will Ye No Come Back Again? Aye, We Probably Will!)

This time last year me and Nika were returning from our second-ever Comic Con, organized by the guys from Black Hearted Press (they're not as evil as they sound from that name!) Today, we're travelling back after the last Glasgow Con to be organized by Sha Nazir (he's gone on to even more great Comics projects, don't worry!) So, as we look forward to at least a couple of hours kip, here are some pics of Glasgow, starting with thanks to Kid Robson, Laura from The Beano, Scott and Brian The Menace!


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Last Exit for Exeter

This Saturday and Sunday Me and Nika will be at the Showmasters Film and Comic Con. First time in Exeter for either of us. I don't know what to expect, so I'll just turn up and see.
We'll be giving away comics and badges, and offering to draw Dennis or Gnasher or anyone from The Beano, really!
And then the following weekend we'll be back in Glasgow at The Beano stand, doing all kinds of demonstrations of drawing and giving a chat too!
So, see you there?!

Monday, 9 May 2016

On The Road Again!

Now it can be revealed!
Me and Nika are attending the following Comic Cons all over Britain in the next six months!
Come and see us draw stuff, maybe a bespoke original sketch and get free badges, free comics! At some events we'll even be talking and doing panels, interviews, discussing, demonstrations and showing off quite unashamedly. We'll also have copies of Lew Stringer's most recent 'Brickman Returns' on sale too!
Don't complain we never came round your way, we're HERE:

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Support The Beano!

There are going to be some surprises and exciting things for The Beano this year. I can just feel it!
Who's with me?!

Rejected Again

This year, Dennis's 65th anniversary was going to be celebrated with a wraparound cover on that week's Beano. As it turned out, that idea (not one of mine, the whole scenario was handed to me from the office) couldn't be used. But this rough (more advanced than the last one, colour has even been crudely added) seemed so forlorn  I thought you'd like to see it anyway.

More Rejects

From time to time I'm asked to come up with a few different ideas, one of which will hopefully be selected to follow through to a finished item. Back in 2013 when The Beano was approaching it's 75 year, I did a few cover designs for the landmark birthday issue. This was one that wasn't used. As you can see it's VERY rough, just a doodle. Interesting idea, ALL the many Beano characters over the years were supposed to be bursting out of a Birthday present package with '75' wrapping paper. There's the Iron Fish even! Anyway, it wasn't selected, but here it is, another casualty from the reject pile.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Sixty five years ago this week Dennis The Menace arrived. To be more precise, Dennis The Menaces arrived. Because, in one of those odd little moments of coincidence, there were two of them. One in America and one in Britain.
The British one of course, is the one I have some knowledge of (I know what he gets up to in next week's Beano folks, you won't want to miss it!) And he appeared in this eye catching window display at the DC Thomson offices in Fleet Street London in a homage to the rebellious Jamie Reid and 1976.
Note to DCT: What's with the stairs?!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Latest Tour News!

We did Cardiff! Met some great people, Nika practiced her sharp-shooting (long story, see pic), met up with fellow Beano cartoonist Lew Stringer (see pic) and enjoyed another Showmasters weekend, thanks Cassandra!
Apologies to anyone expecting us to be at the MCM show in Liverpool last weekend (I know some were). We asked to be there, we offered our services free (no transport, no accommodation, we only live half a mile from the venue) but we never got an answer. Our experience at MCM and other shows in the past tell us that even when people attending don't know in advance we'll be there, we always end up with a long queue of excited happy Beano readers of all ages who are thrilled to see us.

Next on our tour is Exeter in June, (though we're negotiating for something in April and May, stay tuned) Glasgow in July, Southport in September, York in October and again we're negotiating for something in November- maybe two events, one in Britain, one in Greece! And we still hope to do a London show this year. We've been asked to do London a lot and I think I've convinced Nika by taking her to a splendid quiet pub there a few weeks ago. Of course, I'm not telling you which one (but it has Quiz Night Tuesdays if you want to filter results. No, not the King's Head, Crouch End. No, not The Plough in Bloomsbury. No, not The George, look, stop guessing, I'm not saying.)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Dennis The Menace at 65

It's 65 years this week since Dennis The Menace first appeared in The Beano!
To celebrate, I was asked to create (and recreate and create again after which they did some of their own creating- it was a long job!) seven images of the little stripey rebel through the past seven decades, as they may have been drawn by the Dennis Artist of the era- 1950s, Elvis in the style of Davy Law, 1960s, Moon Landing by Davy Law, 1970s, Punk by David Sutherland, 1980s, Berlin Wall by David Sutherland, 1990s, Harry Potter by David Parkins, 2000s Banksy by me and 2010s Olympics also by me.

There's an opportunity to win signed (by me, again) prints of the full set here:

And here's my original rough sketch of the 'Banksy' one. I don't often (ie never) do rough sketches, but this time, as there were a lot of people involved for this special occasion, there were so many things I had to get right it was essential.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bolton, First Stop! And Then...

2016 is already shaping up to be a vintage year.

In case you've forgotten, Dennis The Menace first appeared in The Beano 65 years ago next month! That may well be noted in the usual places, I suspect. (Gnasher didn't make his debut until August 1968!)

And myself and Nika will be doing you sketches of The Beano stars as well as giving away badges and comics and all kinds of stuff at various events this year:

Saturday Feb 13th Bolton (we'll be giving a little talk and demonstration here too!)

Saturday/Sunday March 5/6 Cardiff- our first time in Wales (and my first time in Cardiff, though not Nika's strangely enough, she made a school visit from Greece in 1995!)

Saturday/Sunday June 25/26 Exeter

July 2/3 Glasgow where I'll also be presenting this year's award for Outstanding Contribution to Comics!

We'll also be at one London show at least this year, one in Liverpool, another in Birmingham, most probably Bournemouth in August too, and excitingly, shows are being finalized in France, Spain and Greece!