You are browsing the archive for Alex Matthews.

Tools for displaying drawing

March 21, 2012 in Comment, General

Bloghorn enjoyed this video from Procartoonists.org member Alex Matthews on his working processes. We asked him about it and he told us.

I always draw in Photoshop with a Wacom pad. I prefer to use paper, lightbox and a dip-pen and ink, but I find this is a massive time-saver and I can get results that are practically as good without having huge piles of paper around the house. The Dandy asked me to contribute to their series of how-to-draw videos. They paid me for it! You can also see videos on their YouTube channel by Wilbur Dawbarn, Jamie Smart, Wayne Thompson and others. I used a simple, free web-based program called Screencast-O-Matic which enables you to record the portion of the screen you want rather than the whole thing, as most programs do, like Quicktime. Then I edited it a bit in Adobe After Effects.

Procartoonists.org is the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation.

Free expression for winning cartoonist

March 31, 2010 in General

PCO member Alex Matthews has been declared the first winner of the Free Expression Cartoon Contest by the Council for Secular Humanism.

The theme for the competition was Religion, and Alex’s prize-winning entry (above) netted him $2500 (£1650). Pulitzer-prize winning judge Steve Benson said of the cartoon:

Wickedly humorous, brutally direct, effectively and simply rendered. A stinging indictment of the Catholic Church’s pedophilic priest scandal that allows absolutely no room for the predictable apologetic defense. Left me laughing and wincing at the same time!

Alex, who originally sold the cartoon to Private Eye, where it provoked a couple of angry letters, told the Bloghorn:

I thought it was a pretty strong and controversial cartoon but this was a massive surprise for me, particularly as I had forgotten I entered this competition!

Religion, seen from my atheist perspective, is a favourite of subject of mine, so it is great to get some kind of recognition for a cartoon I am genuinely proud of.

Our congratulations to Alex on his win.

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by Royston

Alexander bids for Superstar status

October 31, 2009 in General

Alexander Matthews has made it to the final of a worldwide comic strip competition. The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation member has made the final ten of Amazon’s Comic Strip Superstar, with a strip entitled Evil Twin

evil_twin_strip
According to the site, “Evil Twin is the story of twins Myron and Ludwig, two 10 year-old boys who, like most brothers, are engaged in a constant battle of one-upmanship. They trade insults, devise devious schemes, and have a vivid fantasy world”. You can see ten daily strips and two colour Sundays here: Evil Twin.

Amazon.com and US comic publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing launched the contest in August. There were expecting around 5,000 entries. Following two elimination rounds, a panel of comic strip luminaries including Doonesbury‘s Gary Trudeau selected ten finalists. The winner, who will be picked in a vote by Amazon customers, will receive a publishing contract, a $5,000 (approx £3,000) advance and a monthly stipend to develop 20 further strips.

alex_matthewsBloghorn, our chests heaving with pride, asked Alex, left, about the competition. What’s the story with Evil Twin, Alex?

“I came up with the idea by wondering how to get my monkey characters from my previous strip King Monkey into two human characters. I was really happy with that strip and I thought it was the funniest stuff I had done, but it didn’t feel somehow commercially viable. Then the idea of twins came to me, and I suddenly realised how I could get a bit more reality into a strip. I was able to base a lot of the ideas on antics that my brother and I would get up to when we were kids. It felt to me that it might really connect to an audience with that kind of grounding in actual things we did and said. I think it’s important not to over-think a strip and overload it with characters and a too-clever scenario.”

You’re also making a name for yourself as a magazine gag cartoonist. Without wanting to get into a Harry Hill style “Which is best?” fight, do you prefer creating gags or strips?

“Gags, definitely. They take so much less time to draw! I can come up with strip ideas more easily, but good gags are much tougher. The characters in a strip allow you to hang a joke on something more tangible, but that rewarding effort of coming up with ideas added to the ease of drawing, makes gags win every time. I love that feeling of thinking up what I hope is a winning gag idea (happens all too rarely!) I’ve always wanted a published strip, though, and I don’t want to let go of that dream.”

Bloghorn hopes the dream comes true for Alex. You can vote for your favourite Comic Strip Superstar entry at the website, all you need is an Amazon account. Voting ends November 6.

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by Royston

Prospect magazine profiles cartoonists and launches new strip

June 8, 2009 in General

stephencollins
Helping mammon soften his image, by Stephen Collins

The Prospect magazine blog continues its Cartoonist of the Month series by firing questions at PCOer Alex Matthews. You can also read interviews on the bog with Nick Downes and Clive Goddard.

Meanwhile, the magazine has also announced a new regular cartoon strip, excerpt above, drawn by Times cartoonist and Cartoon Art Trust award winner Stephen Collins.

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by Royston

Cartoon book has that Friday feeling

May 25, 2009 in General

alexander2PCOer Alex Matthews has published a book of cartoons with the rather unlikely title of Crystalline Structure Friday. It brings together dozens of single-panel “Alexander” cartoons from magazines such as Private Eye and Prospect, along with previously unseen work.

Bloghorn is amused by Alex’s twisted and surreal view of the world, so we cornered him and asked him some questions.

You’re relatively new to the world of magazine cartooning, why did you decide to do a compilation of cartoons at this stage?
I felt that the first stage of my cartooning career, where I was learning how to write gags, developing a style, and trying desperately to get my first cartoon published, was over. I also had a lot of good gags that had never seen print, so I stuck the best ones in there. It’s a really good thing to be able to give potential clients a book of your work. Better than scribbling down a website address. They’ll remember you.

What’s with the title?
I wanted a title that would make people go “What?” And then, when they’ve read the cartoon that the title is taken from, they get it. And are perhaps a little disappointed. It fits with the black cover and general feel of the book, I think.

alexandercover

As well as being a cartoonist, you teach art and design in Moscow. How do those two things complement each other?
Teaching keeps my mind lively and explaining ideas about illustration helps them to become clearer in my mind. And because my Russian is so bad, I am more isolated than in England. That actually helps in thinking up ideas. I’m less distracted by other people, TV and things. People say Russia must give you so many ideas, but it doesn’t really. My gags are more about having job interviews with pelicans and stuff like that.

Crystalline Structure Friday: A Collection of Cartoons by Alexander is available from lulu.com, priced £9.10

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by Royston

Cartoon Pick of the Week

May 8, 2009 in Links, News

Bloghorn spotted this great work during this week ending the 8th May 2009.

One: Matt in the Daily Telegraph: Atishoo!

Two: Ros Asquith in The Guardian on loyal service

Three: Alex Matthews in Prospect on projecting the right image

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
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