A selfie by © Jonesy
Another of our occasional dives into the pencil case of a UK cartoonist from Jane Mattimoe’s A Case for Pencils series. In this instalment it’s the turn of PCO’s very own committee compadre:
Jonesy (aka Steve Jones)
Bio: So far I’ve been published in Private Eye, New Statesman, Prospect, Harvard Business Review, The Oldie, Reader’s Digest (UK), The American Bystander, The Phoenix, CAM (Cambridge University Alumni Magazine), Resurgence and Ecologist, London Evening Standard and The Spectator.
Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy
Tools of choice:
Traditional: Pentels, pencils (seldom anything harder than a B), Uni-balls, Sharpies, brush pens and dip pens. Allsorts, really. For instance, you’ll find various other weird and wonderful oddities in my arsenal like Pilot Parallel nib pens and folded brass dip-pens. The Pilots are intended for use by calligraphers but I enjoy drawing with them. As for the dip-pen, a HIRO Leonardt 41 Copperplate is my nib of choice, nib fans.
I use Higgins Black Magic and Daler Rowney FW ink and White Knights (formerly St. Petersburg) watercolour paints plus various makes of brushes. I find a toothbrush comes in handy too. (Not for my teeth, obviously: I’m British.) Oh, and a diffuser.
My favourite paper for ink and watercolour work is Saunders Waterford High White HP 140lb, and Canson Bristol mostly for ink only.
I draft out rough ideas on Daler Rowney layout pads. I also use various sketch and note pads and have been known to scribble ideas on anything to hand including pets, plants and passers by. Anything alliterative, really.
Sometimes when I’m out and about I also recite cartoon ideas into my mobile so I can pick them up off my voicemail when I get home. Saying stuff out loud like “lighthouse with a bowling alley” and giggling can attract strange looks from passers by. Scribbling on them, however, invokes a much stronger reaction.
Digital: I use MacBook Pros (x2), a Wacom Intuos 4 pad and stylus. I started off with Photoshop and Painter Essentials but now use Clip Studio Art and Affinity software. Both are much cheaper and – for my purposes anyway – just as good.
Recently I was considering an iPad but I think my newer Macbook Pro is about to give up the ghost so bang goes that idea for the time being. My 2010 MBP has been hammered day and night without giving me a moment’s complaint: a wonderful workhorse. I wish I could say the same for my 2015 version. In their efforts to make the laptop thinner and lighter, Apple, sadly, seem to have sacrificed build quality and durability. How about u-turning on this skinny/lightweight malarkey and making the upcoming model a bit sturdier, eh, Apple? Go on, you know you want to…
Tools I wish I could use better: All of them.
Tools I wish existed: Scanvision – ie: Just looking at the drawing equals instant scan filed on your computer.
Command z on dip-pens. Failing that, an effective ink eraser.
Tricks: Not so much a trick of the trade as sound advice: join the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. Only if you’re a cartoonist, like. Or a caricaturist. If you’re a shepherd, say, you probably won’t get too much out of it. Anyway, it’s been an enormous help to me.
Don’t spill coffee on your freshly drawn artwork. All other beverages are fine.
Cartoon published in Prospect. © Jonesy
Never throw away ideas. Sometimes I return to cartoons I initially rejected and get a fresh angle on them. Absence can make the thought grow stronger. (Sorry, that last sentence reads like one of those crap motivational posters…)
I find I get the best results by holding the pointy end of my pen to the paper.
Try to avoid cleaning your brushes in your tea/coffee/whatever cup/mug/glass/beaker/whatever. Or, indeed, drinking from your brush water container. (I’ve done both.)
Try to avoid typing sentences with lots of/too many/an excess of options/alternatives/choices/whatever.
Rejection comes with the cartooning territory, I’m afraid. Easier said than done, I know, but try not to let it get you down: use it as motivation to do better. Or try blackmail.
Miscellaneous: Be as helpful as you can to people starting out. I appreciated the kindness of, and learned a great deal from senior pros who took the time to help me with my first steps. (See “Tricks” section above as proof.)
My social media empire, such as it is, comprises the following…
Here’s a PCO blog bonus Jonesy:
Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy
You can see previous UK ‘Case for Pencils’ by PCO members:
Plus see many more on the following link Case For Pencils