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Cartooning in ArtPen

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary Saturday, 16th August 2008


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I CAME ACROSS a copy of Thelwell’s This Desirable Plot in a secondhand bookshop. The quality of drawing in his cartoons inspired me to have a go.

I tried to think of something with the strong character that would lend itself to this kind of cartoon. The farmyard geese trekking along in single file towards a large puddle at Thorncliffe Farm Shop came to mind.

And the pigs who seem to enjoy life there.

But you need your characters to be doing something. My mum phoned me earlier this week when she saw a sparrowhawk on her back lawn plucking a pigeon. Hardly humorous, but I wanted something to practise on.

We’ve had one or two young rabbits hopping about the garden recently. Luckily just nibbling vegetation around the pond and not decimating our vegetables, the most vulnerable of which are covering in netting.


These are all drawn with a 1.1 calligraphy nib Rotring ArtPen.

Thelwell was best known for his cartoons of young riders and their gymkhana ponies, which is a shame because there’s a whole lot more to his work.

This was a small Shetland pony we saw while testing out a walk this week. I need creatures that I’m more familiar with to draw from imagination.

With these magpies, I had an idea of doing something with a bit more texture in it; something going a bit further towards children’s book illustration. I’ve inked in the black areas with a Pentel Brush Pen.