Tuesday, 17 March 2015

On Martin Honeysett

Christ, I feel like I'm down with a cold. My head feels heavy and my ears feel full. Last night's sleep was rotten too. I had a programmer's sleep which you might know about but you might be lucky enough to have never programmed a computer in your life. If you ever do much coding late at night (and that's always been my habit), it's often followed by a sleep in which your whole dream feels like it's trapped inside DO...WHILE loops. The entire thing might be about something else but it's set to the structure of computer logic. You wake up feeling more exhausted than when you went to sleep.

Last night, I couldn't stop dreaming about glue sniffing vicars, which, if you know your Punch cartoons, was one of the best ever drawn by Martin Honeysett. Cartooning was on my mind because it was late last night that I read that he'd died just a few weeks ago aged 71.

Honeysett was one of the Punch regulars who had become a staple of Private Eye but his style remained that of a better age of cartooning. His pictures remained beautifully crafted whilst others became more measly. As a cartoonist with a nice pile of rejected cartoons from Private Eye, I suppose it's only natural for me to sometimes pick it that fortnight's edition and think 'mine were better than that'. Yet I never ever thought that when looking at a Honeysett cartoon. He made me realise how far I still need to go.

In that way, a Honesett cartoon always stood apart on the page and was immediately recognisable by the mixture of oddly shaped men in huge bulbous suits and the lovingly drawn details. His lines were sublime, his figures like those of Searle but warped by a Steadman filter. They were the kind of cartoons I can stare at for hours on end. They draw you into the gag, rather than encourage you snort once and then move on. They also stood apart because of the density of ink on the page. It was a style that also reminded me a little of Ed Koren, who draws for The New Yorker. Yet Honeysett's humour was far darker, admirably twisted, and of a Britain that exists best (and perhaps only now exists at all) in cartoon form. Cartooning has genuinely lost another of the greats.

Speaking of great cartoonists, The Times have an excellent video talk (1 hour 22 minutes no less) in the company of Peter Brookes. The video is for subscribers only (and thankfully, I know a subscriber) so I watched it over the weekend. Highly recommended. Brookes makes everything look so damn easy, especially to bad cartoonists.

Speaking of bad cartoonists, I've been deep in programming. I've (hopefully) nearly finished the little project I've been working on for a friend. I've not done much drawing over the weekend, except for my hastily drawn Putin cartoon, late Sunday night. I've been adding quite a few features to my Gag Machine which I might put into an update if I'm satisfied they work without problems. I'm going to try to write more this week. It's too easy to find reasons not to blog and then, before you know it, there is no blog. So, I'll try to write more, even when I don't feel like writing, even when I feel like I need my ears syringing. Even when I'm coming down with a cold.

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