Have you ever been to a Cartoon Festival?

That’s ‘cartoon’ as in the art of drawing comic and satirical images and ‘festival’ as in a whole load of activities and fun.

It’s not ‘Cartoon Fair’ as in a group of collectors and dealers buying and selling old cartoons and prints, although there would be a section allocated to this.

There have been many cartoon festivals around the world over the years and they all vary in terms of qualifying for the true title of ‘festival’. France seems to be the leader in the field for putting on good cartoon festivals with St Just-le-Martel, every September, being a great example. I go to Louviers in Normandy every April for their splendid two-day affair full of bonhomie, fun and amazing crowds of people flooding into this tiny medieval village near Rouen.

A cartoon festival presents the art of cartooning to the public. It does this with the help of a group of invited cartoonists (hopefully from around the world) who demonstrate their crafts, give talks and workshops. Prizes are awarded in various categories at the end of day two and long meals are enjoyed by cartoonists and their families and friends.

The presence of a celebrity or two from, or interested in, the world of cartooning is always a good crowd draw (ho, ho).

And with the support of other entertainers such as clowns, jugglers and other cartoony icons, a cartoon festival can really be great fun for all to enjoy.

Cartoon Festival Logo

This is what LICfest (The London International Cartoon Festival) aims to be. And, as it will be the first ever International Cartoon Festival in London, it will be quite an event. And if we can get it established by 2010, London will have an additional string to its bow by the time the 2012 Olympics come around.

All your thoughts and ideas on this exciting venture are welcomed. So please start here!

The London International Cartoon Festival Ecademy Club
The London Cartoon Festival Support and Social Group.

REASSURINGLY EXPENSIVE!
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How I work at parties, Christmas or otherwise

HOW I WORK

Parties
I draw people within five minutes each on A4 paper in black ink plus grey marker
for tone and some colour, such as red for lips.

I usually include bodies and hobbies for each person, making it extra personal and
keep-able. I can draw about 12 of these per hour.

If volume of caricatures is a priority, I can just do heads and shoulders. Then the
tally can go up to about 15 per hour.

Bear in mind though, that this is an ENTERTAINMENT and the less stress I am
under the better!

The optimum length of time for a session is 2.5 hours after which fatigue starts
affecting the quality of the drawings.

Exhibitions
At exhibitions or other events where there is a large throughput of visitors I can
work through a computer onto your plasma screen and provide colour printed
caricatures. (These take longer than the ink and paper ones)

Here’s a video of me in action at a party!

Print your message!
Each sheet of high quality 160gsm smooth paper can be pre-printed with your
logo and /or message FOR NO EXTRA CHARGE.

Drawing Complete Groups
Up to a maximum of 30 people can be drawn in one evening. Then I can take
these away and compose a group in Photoshop and send you back an A2
Printout of the group, plus as many additional A3 prints you would like for
each person to keep. I can also arrange framing.

Other Entertainment
With my extensive contacts withing the corporate entertainment business,
I can supply additional caricaturists to ensure you get a lot of people done.
I can also supply Magicians, Tarot Readers, Silhouettists and all sorts of
entertainers to give your function the sort of variety it deserves.

WORKING CONDITIONS
I can work seated in one spot having guests come to me, or else I can
wander around drawing people as I find them. The latter arrangement
is the most common, while the former is most often used at exhibitions.

At a standard dinner party it is always an ice-breaker to have me drawing
during the drinks reception before the guests go into dinner. Then I will
draw them while they are eating their first course and the dessert. It is
difficult to draw successfully during the main course, but it is not unheard of.
Quality of caricature is of paramount importance!

At all times I need enough light to see both the faces and what I am drawing.
If a disco or band comes on half way through I need a separate well-lit area
where I can draw people adequately.

The best news item of all time!

I’ve even written a poem about it!

Caricatures and Cartoons

Four fingers or three?

Should a cartoon character have Four fingers? Or should I go back to the cartoon standard of three?

Caricatures and Cartoons by Simon Ellinas

My Singing Career!

The new series of the X-Factor is a reminder that there is a dearth of original talent out there. By ‘original’, of course, I mean anything that Simon Cowell and Co would reject. For they are after unoriginal clones of existing superstars. I doubt that, if Tom Waits had never existed, they would put someone like him through.

Mind you, I stand guilty of squeezing sour grapes as it is an unfulfilled ambition of mine to be a singer/songwriter. Well, it’s been fulfilled privately, but publicly is another matter. A keen fan of the poet/songwriter types like Leonard Cohen, Al Stewart, Suzanne Vega, Neil Young, Nick Cave and, to a certain extent, Bob Dylan, I must have written up to 200 songs during my adolescence (which I am still going through). Fragments of these remain, on bits of paper and old cassette tapes.

More recently, though, I plucked up courage (and guitar strings) to perform for the first time in front of a live audience at a Poetry Evening.

During the interval I received the comments: ‘You were very brave’ and ‘The words were good.’

Thus my singing career began and ended within the same hour.

Has anyone else out there tried to fulfill an ambition that lies outside their natural talents?

• Award-Winning Cartoonist at Louviers Cartoon Festival 2006
• Sunday Times • Sunday Telegraph • News of the World • The Week • ITV
• Political Cartoonist for BBC News 24’s Election Coverage
• Caricaturist for BBC TV’s ‘Fully Booked’ – 100th show
• Caricaturist for Comic Relief • On-stage Cartoonist with BBC Poet, Ian McMillan • Caricatures and Cartoons by Simon Ellinas

What IS it about the colour PINK?

Here’s the founder of another networking company, 4 Networking:

Apparently he had been working for Domino’s Pizzas before founding 4 Networking.

As we all know, Ecademy was founded in a splurge of tomato sauce in Pizza Express

Note the PINK SHIRT.

Who was first? Brad or Thomas Power?

I don’t know Brad, so I can’t ask him. But I have drawn him (without the pink shirt for some strange reason!):

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My Ideal Job!

Over the years I have had several jobs, apart from cartooning.

My first ever job was during the school holidays working in the Bally shoe shop in Hampstead as a callow 16 year old. Quite what the well-heeled celebs of NW3 thought of being served by a lack-lustre, spotty, long haired schoolboy, I suppose I’ll never know. As I was into the prog-rock band, Yes, at the time I was quite excited when guitarist Steve Howe came in. Unfortunately he was too busy to give me guitar lessons. Even then I was cartooning, and the manageress and staff were quite excited by the full colour cartoon strip depicting them all in various hilarious predicaments that I drew on an A1 sheet of board. As far as I know that early example of my work still languishes in some back garage or cupboard in Heath Street.

Building on my extensive retail experience I decided to aim for the top and my next school holiday job was with Harrods. I remember the selection interview vividly – the girl was simply parroting all the questions, terms and conditions with absolutely no expression in her voice. I must have been the thirtieth person she had seen that morning alone. The group of students working at Harrods that year were an excitingly eclectic bunch. There was the upper crust master of one upmanship, immaculately dressed at all times and a dead ringer for Leslie Phillips from the Carry On films.

We had to have lessons in special classrooms on how to use the old credit card swipe machines. A very tall girl named Alison joined me in the ‘Leisure Man’ department where we set about having a real hoot serving customers and wrestling with the arcane credit card sanctioning system. The manager of the department was a sleek lounge lizard who flirted with everything in a skirt.

One of the most memorable things about Harrods were the underground passageways where all the stock was kept. This was like a world that could only be described by Terry Pratchett or Iain Banks, so other-worldly it was. Every long, dark cobwebby corridor was named after the nearest road above. I had to make numerous trips to get stock and got frighteningly lost sometimes. Even weirder, and the sort of thing you only find in fiction or films, there was a permanent resident caretaker of this labyrinthine dungeon and, like Quasimodo, he was deformed, having obviously suffered some sort of chemical accident as suggested by his grey melting face with only one eye. He would always scurry away when someone approached. A weird and yet wonderful time.

Apart from these periods, I held down a Saturday job in a televison rental shop, spent five weeks in a photographic studio and did a couple of weeks in a dog kennels.

But none of these, of course, was my ideal job.

My ideal job, apart from cartooning, would simply to be imparting brilliant ideas, from my lofty hammock in the sun, to hungry media types, for which I would be paid lifelong royalties. A passive income for a little inspiration.

So if anyone knows of an outlet for this most realistic of ambitions, just let me know!

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