Charlie's Cartoons   bespoke cartoons - modern gifts with a humorous twist  

July 1, 2011

Rugby Scrum

What does it feel like to make a caricature cartoon? Well it depends on the occasion, really. Last July I was commissioned to create a cartoon for the leaving party of Francis Baron, chairman of the Rugby Football Union, to be presented to him on the day of his departure at Twickenham Stadium. Obviously, it was an important commission for us, and it was of critical importance that I should get it right. I had set aside a week of afternoons (the mornings would be used for administrating the business) to complete it. I had only just received the final bits of information from his secretary, and the deadline was in a week.

It was crucial not to mess this one up.  Because of the size (80x60cm), I decided to go for canvas. The tricky thing being, canvas is not the same material as paper, and the medium you use to produce a caricature cartoon on paper is totally different to what you’d use to create a caricature cartoon on canvas… But I did not know this. Instead, I just went ahead with my usual watercolours, which proceeded to fall off the canvas like oil drops off a Teflon pan. I had to bite the bullet and buy some oil colours. Not only had I no experience at all at using oil, but the shop only had three primary colours – blue, yellow and red. I treated myself to some black, white and green, just to be safe. Then, I had to make up every colours (skin included!), from scratch.

Needless to say, it was the most stressful caricature cartoon commission of my life. Still, when a friend called me up 5 days before the deadline, I put the paintbrush between my teeth, wiped the sweat off my brow and answered – Hewwo? She had tickets to Glastonbury festival. Would I work hard and spend the weekend sad and alone, or would I drop everything for the time of my life and almost certain professional ruin? Of course I chose the latter, got back on the Monday hungover, way behind on my deadline, and about to turn thirty the following day. I finished the caricature cartoon in two days, and it was a huge success.

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