Wednesday, 17 December 2014

I Hate Colour Cartoons

Another doodle last night and this morning I quickly coloured it in using a new paint app I'd found for Android. Can't say I like the result. I rarely like putting colour onto my cartoons but I often feel compelled, simply because I think it's becoming the norm. Perhaps I don't like the result because I haven't any skill with colour. I think, however, it's that I simply prefer black and white cartoons.

Everywhere I look, cartoons are being done with colour. I love Scarfe's work but I always maintain that his best stuff is (and was) done in black and white. I own pretty much all of Scarfe's books but you'd find that they naturally fall open on the work from the 1960s and 1970s. The same is true for nearly every cartoonist who comes to mind. Even Kliban's 'Luminous Animals', postumously published and now worth a small fortune, contains colour cartoons which just don't have the same appeal. I'll even admit (very quietly because this isn't a criticism, merely a preference) that I'm not even a big fan of Steadman's recent book of birds. My favourite books of his are his Freud and Alice, books that are predominately black and white, or use colour as a way of enhancing the black and white lines. Too many cartoonists are being forced to become painters (obviously at the insistence of newspaper editors) and I think that demeans the art form. Cartoons should be about bold shapes and giving clarity to the inanity of the world. Colour pushes them closer to that reality. As soon as cartoons move towards realism, their message is lost. It's like reading an instruction chart drawn in colour. They're never quite as clear as those drawn simply with black lines on white paper.


  1. Oh, come on! I just knew somebody would say that. I know I'm in a minority of one. Because you said that, I'll have to colour in the rest of my cartoons this week. ;)