One of the things I love about being a freelance cartoonist is that, apart from my regular editorial slots, I never know what might be just around the corner. In more than 30 years of cartooning, I’ve had my fair share of weird, wonderful and bizarre commissions, but one that stands out in recent times is the one commissioned by the Welsh Opera singer Buddug Verona James. (Non-welsh readers should know that in Wales, a “u” is pronounced “i” and a double “d” is pronounced “th”).
The job comprised, partly, the artwork for the programmes and posters for Buddug’s one-woman show, A Knife at the Opera, a very funny tale – with singing – about a serial killer who is knocking off theatre critics. Buddug plays the detective and the six divas who are the suspects. The best part of the job was drawing the characters of the suspects which were to be blown up life-size on to door-sized panels. These panels, behind each of which Buddug would disappear to make her quick changes and reappear as the character on the panel, were to be arranged in a shallow semi-circle on the open stage so that when the audience came to take their seats they would be confronted with six of my life-size cartoons.
I have to confess that when I went to see the show, earlier this year, I felt a buzz when I sat looking at my characters, looking back at me from the stage, and hearing the packed house chuckling even before the show had started. For that reason in particular, this was one of my favourite recent jobs.
You can find out more about the show here: A Knife at the Opera