On a blazing hot Saturday just past I got to take part in the New Forest Arts Festival in Lyndhurst along with other artists, dancers and creative types. It was roasting, but protected beneath my bright yellow gazebo I knuckled down on a two metre wide New Forest themed cartoon.
While I was drawing away we had a table set up to encourage children and adults to have a stab at cartooning themselves, something that's always fun to share, especially when the results delight the person with a previously undiscovered skill.
I just about completed the cartoon before the 4pm finish, and with the heat still beating down it was the perfect excuse to seek liquid refreshment. Thanks to all those that stopped by and said hello, bought my children's books, and took part in the cartooning.
I got to do a series of cartoons for a cub pack recently who had been thinking of ideas using play-on-words. They supplied the suggestions and all I had to do was draw them. For example, the pack was called First Hawkwell, so they wanted a group of orcs queuing up at a hospital with the first of them coming out cured, or, first orc's well. There were lots of good ideas for me to draw, including the pack leaders' titles. You may not know that the leaders are named after characters in the Jungle Book, so with that in mind, can you work out which character the sheep cartoon refers to? Apparently these shall be adorning clothing right about now.
Popped in to see Trojan this morning for a very minor bit of repair work. After several weeks on the trail it ended up with a small scuff on the nose and a chocolate fingerprint, so that's not bad considering the horror stories that some of the artists had to deal with. The Marwell team have been run ragged dealing with it all, but they've done an outstanding job considering it's been full on pretty much all day seven days a week.
Trojan's now all set for his appearance at the Ageas Bowl with all the other zebras from Friday 14th until Monday 17th October, then the grand auction on the evening of the 18th. If you fancy bidding, or know someone that might be interested, get yourself registered pronto.
The New Forest Show was an absolute pleasure this year filled with high points, including the moment I got to meet Rufus, the New Forest Show mascot, face to face. I was asked to create a horse mascot by the show's organisers who then put a competition out on social media to give the mascot a name – hence Rufus, and a good name it is too. If you were at the show you may also have come across a photo opportunity board where you could pop your head through and have your picture taken alongside Rufus with yourself in the guise of a jockey. If that was the case I'd love to see any results!
It's done! Second coat of varnish applied. My Trojan Zebra took 35 days, and took (we estimate, including hours when I had some help) 300 hours. Huge thanks to Oxygen Freejumping for having the courage to sponsor my design; to the Marwell team for being so supportive and patient; to the brilliant Marlands security team for helping with access to the creative space; to the other artists that made it such a pleasurable experience, particularly Will Rosie (if you need to borrow it, he's got it) and Tory Allen for the many lifts (before she finished and cleared off); to the hundreds of members of the public that called in to find out more, share their experiences of the Go Rhinos! trail and their excitement for Zany Zebras; to the various people who have spared a few hours to help, including my family but in particular the fine brush control of Alice, plus Anne Chadwick, Ruth Leu and Emily Boyce-Pendleton; and finally a massive thank you to Josephine who I've barely seen but hasn't failed to support me all the way, and hold the fort with Ceratopia's clients when I was under the zebra.
The next step is the trail itself, starting in mid-July in Southampton. There'll be 47 life-sized zebras so it's going to be an enormous event. The plan is for me to create an activity sheet that will be downloadable from the Zany Zebras website so children (and adults) can go hunting around Trojan for specific characters and scenes. Then, in October, all the zebras will be auctioned for charity, so if you're after a humungous three-dimensional, zebra-shaped, cartoon-fest, then this is the zebra you're looking for!
Yesterday I had until 6pm to complete the inking, but with just 22 lions to go I ran out of time, so departed with it almost complete. That was rectified this morning with the final few inked, but now I had another problem. Although I'm using a permanent marker (actually, two boxes of markers) the varnish we all have to use contains anti-graffiti properties, and as some of my fellow artists have discovered that means a great smudgeroo as it streaks the pen's ink. I needed to seal the artwork first with some spray sealant, which was tricky, messy and extremely smelly. It went on well, so I bit the bullet and applied the varnish, terrified it was going to streak and run. By and large it went on like a dream, though, with a few very minor pulls of the ink in places, and just two more worrying ones which I hope to be able to touch up tomorrow before applying a second coat. So, all being well, I should finish tomorrow!