Thursday, 16 July 2009

Radio with Pictures?

Following on from last week’s newspaper blog, here’s another question often asked of cartoonists:

Which comes first, the caption or the drawing?

Answer: It doesn’t matter, as long as they both arrive at the reader at the same time.

The caption rarely stands up on its own. “I keep thinking it’s Tuesday,” isn’t even mildly amusing until you realise the speaker is a hippo wallowing in a pool. Paul Crum’s Punch cartoon may defy logical analysis but without the drawing, it’s nothing. So what is the point of doing cartoons on the radio?

Weirdness. A desire to be different. Refusal to do what everyone else says you must do. These are all good reasons for becoming a cartoonist. Once you accept that, being told cartoons on the radio won’t work are all the reasons you need.

The radio cartoons appear on CityTalk 105.9’s Sunday breakfast show Rob McLoughlin Live. It all came about because of the sheep connection.

I’ve drawn a number of sheep on postcards over the years. They raid picnics, dance on caravan roofs or drive tanks - all the usual things sheep get up to when there’s no one watching. So when ace radio journalist Caz Graham produced a BBC feature on the little woolly monsters, she asked me to draw one on-air. “Use your loudest pencil,” she suggested, helpfully.

The pencil was recorded and the cartoon went onto the BBC website. Another first ticked off, I thought.

Then along came Mr McLoughlin. Rob used to be a regular presenter on Granada Reports and now hosts ITV Granada’s political discussion show, Party People. His latest venture is a Sunday morning on-air broadsheet and, as we all know, all the best newspapers have a cartoon.

The show goes out between 7.00 and 10.00 a.m (BST). If you think you have an excuse to stay in bed because you aren’t in Liverpool, think again; it is streamed live over the interweb.

During the show Rob and I chat about the news and what ideas I’m producing (if any). Initial sketches go onto and Rob and his studio guests vote on their favourite. The winning cartoon is coloured and online by the end of the show. A deadline which is a tad more stimulating than a Sunday morning fry up.

The next show is 19th July. You can never have enough opportunities to make an idiot of yourself, so this time I’ll be Twittering about it during the course of the show.

The insights offered may not be deep or meaningful but they’re guaranteed to be less than 140 characters long. And I’ll even supply the pictures.

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