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by Royston

Cartoonists in the Dragons' Den

July 12, 2010 in Events

Tim Harries and Gerard Whyman
We’ve seen elephants in London recently, and this weekend sees dragons taking to the streets of Newport. Cartoonists from the PCO are involved once again.

Sixty SuperDragons, as they are known, will make their debut in the South Wales city on Sunday (July 18). Cartoonists Tim Harries, above left, and Gerard Whyman, right, have spent much of the past two months putting colourful designs on a canvas that is somewhat different to a piece of A4 paper: a 5ft by 6ft fibreglass dragon.

Tim created a dragon called “Scrum”, covered in cartoon rugby players, and Ger created not one but two works: “Shipley”, based on the city’s maritime history (with famous Newportians past and present gazing from portholes) and “Rodney”, which was sponsored by Newport Gwent Dragons rugby team, and named after their Rodney Parade ground.

Shipley by Ger Whyman
Detail from Shipley by Gerard Whyman

Ger told the Bloghorn that when work began at the end of April, he’d already had a useful experience: “The painting of a Big Board at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival proved a useful dry run, as many artists were working in a communal space in a disused shop – renamed the Dragons’ Den for the duration – which was open to the public. So, as well as painting, I was fielding questions from interested visitors.

“I knew I was taking on a lot of work in painting two dragons and it felt a daunting prospect. The little A4 pencil sketches had to be transferred to a 5ft structure that had curves, contours and odd crevices – no mean feat! The satisfaction of completing them was immense. Now that the project is complete I feel slightly at a loss. It’s nice to have my freedom back but I miss the camaraderie of the fellow artists in the Dragons’ Den.”

Rodney by Gerard Whyman
Rodney by Gerard Whyman

Tim said: “I put a design together loosely based on the idea of Where’s Wally? I covered the dragon statue with cartoon rugby players and only one rugby ball, which the public would be encouraged to search for. It was much more time-consuming than I’d envisioned and occasionally frustrating (where’s the “undo” button? Aaagh!) It was a strain on the knees and I had a slight addiction to Sharpie pens due to overuse.

Scrum by Tim Harries
Detail from Scrum by Tim Harries

“The good points were working alongside lots of great local artists and illustrators, having a lot of fun actually painting and designing the dragon and seeing it finished, and getting a really good reaction from the public. Would I paint another one? Ask me again in six months when my knees have mended.”

The Launch of the SuperDragons Trail takes place at Newport’s Tredegar House on Sunday.

Launch of the SuperDragons

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by Royston

Cartoons are big fun in Elephant Parade

May 17, 2010 in General

If you have visited London at all over the past few weeks, you can’t fail to have noticed all the painted elephants dotted around the city.

They are there thanks to Elephant Parade, a conservation campaign highlighting the plight of the endangered Asian elephant. More than 250 of the life-size models have been decorated by artists of all disciplines, one of them, above, by cartoonist Rosie Brooks.

Rosie, a member of the Professional Cartoonists Organisation which runs the Bloghorn, told us: “I really enjoyed this project as I was working in a studio with five other artists. It was the two weeks leading up to Christmas last year and we had our own stereo to block out the shopping centre’s jingly christmas music.”

Elefun, Rosie’s elephant, is just inside Green Park, between Green Park Tube and Hyde Park Corner Tube, roughly opposite the Atheneum Hotel. This Saturday (May 22) is Meet the Artists day. Rosie will be next to her elephant from around 10am – 2pm.

Running from May to July 2010, the parade, which is run by the charity Elephant Family, is London’s biggest outdoor art event on record. With an estimated audience of 25 million, they aim to raise £2 million for the Asian elephant and benefit 20 UK conservation charities.

All of the elephants will be sold at auction. You can bid for them online. Rosie’s is on this page: No. 213: Elefun. Mini elephants are available at branches of Selfridges or at the Elephant Parade online shop.

Rosie is no stranger to large-scale charity art projects. She worked on a similar project called Cow Parade, and she painted a model guitar for London Guitar Town. Her design was picked by Sir Paul McCartney. He liked it so much he asked her to paint a real one, which has since made an appearance in his live act.


Rosie Brooks and Sir Paul McCartney at London Guitar Town