Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Guardian Really Really Really Hates Me (Well perhaps not)

[Update. So it turns out that they'd thought I'd nicked the picture! Which is ironic when you think about it. Most photoshops are produced by people nicking their source images. It's why I stopped Photoshopping and why I started to cartoon and spent the last four years learning the craft. Only, now my pictures aren't getting published because people think I've nicked them. I owe an apology to the people at the Guardian Witness. It's my fault for using an email account to catch SPAM.]

Okay. So, confession time. If you've read the blog for any length of time, you might have guessed why I was so utterly pissed off yesterday. And, yes, it had to do with The Guardian.

Let me go back 48 hours to the moment something caught my eye over at my favourite daily newspaper / the paper that occasionally just rubs me the wrong way. The Witness section were asking for alternative election posters. Well, you know me (I hope). You'd know I wouldn't be able to resist and indeed I couldn't. I immediately decided that I'd draw them a poster about my disgust at the way that David Cameron has treated Scotland, threatening the long term stability of the Union for a short term electoral gain.

I knew what I wanted to draw so I sat down early Tuesday evening and I started pencilling in some shapes. After an hour, I had the rough outlines of the cartoon fixed. Over the course of the evening, I then began to refine the lines as I normally do. It's a long process but I find it relaxing. I then started in on the cross hatching and by about midnight the pen work had been done.

Next morning I did the colour work. Then I captioned it and did a final clean up to remove any remaining marks. It was a cartoon that had taken me about four or five hours to finish because, as I keep explaining, I'm not a natural. I have to work hard to get anything looking half decent and that means dedicated all my free time in an evening to drawing a single cartoon.

Yesterday lunchtime, I posted the cartoon here. Then I tweeted it (it got one retweet, I think), put it on my Flicker account, and then on my yet-to-be-finished 'showcase' blog.

All that done, I submitted it to Guardian Witness.

Two hours later, it hadn't appeared so naturally I thought my submission had gone wrong. So I sent it again.

Nothing happened.

By 8pm last night, it still hadn't appeared.

Wasn't there by midnight.

Wasn't there by this morning.

Then around 11am, there was an update! Dozens of images started to appear. The entries had obviously been submitted over the past 24 hours.

The update lasted about half an hour, at the end of which: my cartoon was still not there.

So I sent an email to Guardian Witness. They didn't reply.

As I publish this around 12.30pm, it has still not appeared.

Now, I know you could say 'probably a technical fault'. You could say 'mere oversight'. None of that matters. All I know is the effect this has on me. It's why I was so utterly depressed yesterday. This situation is so symptomatic of my life. I just don't 'get it'. I think many of the things I do are of a reasonably high quality. My cartoons are not as good as I'd like but I'm still learning. I'm so much better than I was three years ago. Hopefully not as good as I'll be in another few years. Yet as I exist in the here and now, I don't think the cartoons are shamefully bad. What's more: I think they're a hell of a lot better than the puerile and (frankly) amateurish stuff you see over on the Guardian's Eyewitness boards. Yet please don't get me wrong. There's some good stuf over there. There's even some sublime work. I noticed that the great Beau B'Dor has even been posting there. Yet this morning there was nearly a full page of work by XXXXXXXX and, no offence intended to XXXXXXX but can you really tell me that this:

[Image removed. I shouldn't be picking on a guy just because my cartoon was (initially) rejected.]

Is more publishable than this?

It's a bad place to be. Frankly, if my work isn't good enough to give away to a page that publish nearly everything sent to them, I'd rather not shame myself producing third rate cartoons. This is why I'm not drawing today. My confidence is absolutely bloody shot to pieces. I think I might even need more doughnuts...

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