Movember 28: Groucho Marx

Groucho was one of the Marx Brothers. They were a comedic trio that delighted audiences in the early days of cinema. What amazes me is how distinctive and enduring his persona was. I suspect he somehow tapped into an archetype that we all recognise. Or maybe it was just the eyes, or the hair, or the moustache. Yep, that moustache is unforgettable!


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Caricature of Shane Tennant.

Check out my promotional cartoon for ST Woodworks.

I have just completed this cool caricature of Shane Tennent for ST Woodworks. Caricatures are mostly wacky, cynical affairs, but it’s preferable to have attractive, fit, healthy people to show in a positive light! 😉

Cartoon depictions of peoples faces are tricky because we’re so invested in our personal identities. Particularly if you make yourself a brand. A promotional caricature must therefore be more positive in nature.

I had a lot of fun doing this because my client was responsive and enthusiastic about my work. That always brings the best out in an artist. I hope it’s evident! 😀

I have done lots of caricatures for business and personal use. This artwork and other caricatures are here in my gallery. Go check them out!

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Movember 20th: Crumby Old Cowboy

Digital inked line illustration of a crusty old cowboy ala Robert Crumb.

Returning to my roots, this cowboy cartoon is inspired by Robert Crumb.

My first serious artwork attempts were created with an old dipping pen. This is kinda returning to my roots, though this illustration was created digitally. I used Autodesk Sketchbook on an iPad Pro to create it – drawing with an Apple pencil.

I was re-introduced to one of my first loves the other day. The American underground comic artist Robert Crumb. I was handed a his book: “R.Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country” by a fellow musician and Crumb enthusiast. I didn’t know Robert Crumb was an outstanding musician too.

I had forgotten what a master Robert Crumb is. He’s still producing some of the finest comic art to be seen today. Robert may be getting on a bit but he’s still showing us young ‘uns how to be authentic and creative. As the saying goes: “Beware and old man in a young man’s game”.

A man after my own heart.

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Movember 13: Poirot

Hercule Poirot not only is Agatha Christie’s greatest creation, he sports an immaculate moustache. Perfect subject matter for Movember.

To be a detective you can’t afford to be wrong. If you miss the mark just once it could have terrible consequences. An innocent person might be put in jail. The weight of that responsibility must heighten the senses of someone like Hercule Poirot.

I’ve always admired the detective, fictional or otherwise. I wonder how they piece together all those seemingly innocuous bits of information and arrive at the correct answer? I’m insatiably curious. I love to ferret out information but I often find that I have misunderstood something.

My bias is my enemy in this regard, I frequently trip over my own assumptions. I am learning to ask the right questions and building on what I know to be true already is the secret of successfully navigating reality.

As a cartoonist or an artist, observation is everything. When you are searching for something you have lost you find things faster by understanding what you are looking at first. Slow, deliberate, conscious observation defines everything far more clearly.

You learn about things faster if you take time to grasp and digest your discoveries. Then add that new information to what you know and understand already. Build a pyramid of knowledge.

We often don’t see the wood for all the trees. Keen observation encourages us to live in the moment and see things much more clearly. Living a more productive and efficient life is all about thinking like a detective.

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Movember 10: Remembrance Day

Those that survived the great wars are old now, but we must never forget the price paid by millions of men. It is a privilege to live in a free world.

The Old Soldier.

My dad Robert Henry Hooper flew in WW2. He flew dive bombers. Kittyhawks, Typhoons, Hurricanes and Mustang P-51’s. He rarely spoke of those times, but when he did he spoke highly of his enemies and gave them credit for their skill as anti-aircraft gunners. He almost didn’t make it home on a couple of occasions. Once he got hit by shrapnel that went straight through his under seat armour and got embedded in his parachute. On the other occasion he nursed his plane home with ammo boxes exploding and huge holes in his wings and fuselage. A lesser pilot wouldn’t have made it home. He was apparently very, very good. What a guy. I am proud to be his son. What shoes to fill!

Movember 09: Rasputin

The evil Rasputin was the downfall of the Romanovs but I experienced a wild-eyed zealot who changed my future for the better.

Tallie van Rasputin

In my youth I knew a man called Tallie van Aswegen who most reminds me of the Russian Mystic Rasputin who was operating about the time of the fall of the Royal House of Romanov. They look similar and both had deep convictions.

He was charming with an infectious smile, bright eyes with an unruly beard and moustache. He wore shabby tracksuits & beanie and was constantly monologuing, including some very memorable sayings (You better flippin’ believe it!) and drove around in his ‘Tribulation Wagen’ – a clapped-out old VW Beetle which endeared him to me. This modern-day Rasputin differed in his hospitality. His home was an endless stream of young people, dialogue and cups of rooibos tea. He loved music too and always had great new music to share and exciting things to discuss.

I am certain he hasn’t changed. If not (and we are to assume an afterlife) he is definitely resting in Abraham’s bosom. Unlike Grigori Rasputin who is most likely in the other place. 😉

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Movember 07: Shakespeare.

Shakespeare has always captivated me and inspired my cartoonist’s imagination. He was a witty and incisive writer who pulled no punches.

I’m sitting working at The Royal Shakespeare Company today, and I thought I’d give the old geezer a nod. Those old guys sure knew how to rock a ’stash. So here is Will in all his glory, I think his enormous forehead suggests he had quite brain on him. It comes as no surprise then that William Shakespeare defined English and literature for the eons to follow.

There is a lesson to be learned here: Shakespeare was crafting popular narrative for his day. He seemed unconcerned about the effect he would have on literature for the rest of history. Perhaps we all need to understand there is no such thing as a sense of greatness or historical impact. Rather that we simply keep plodding away and doing our best.

Let future generations decide who and what we are – we have no agency there. That is the best we can hope for in life.

It’s intriguing how differently Shakespeare appears in all the renditions of his face. In some respects it seems Steve Lukather of Toto might be his reincarnation!

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