Wednesday 21 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 18

ALT TEXT: A cardboard box, on which is drawn a family of hippos gazing in delight at a shower of cupcakes falling towards them like manna. This reflects my patron's short-lived hippo phase. However, elephants are just about visible on two other flaps of the box, so yes it does count, thank you.  

Monday 19 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 17

 First, an apology. It has been brought to my attention that I have been irritatingly coy about the identity of my patron for this series of pieces, and the precise nature of my relationship with him. This is of course information you have every right to know, for reasons too obvious to explain; and which you could not possibly in a million years have guessed. No-one’s that clever-clever. 

So let me now be perfectly straightforward with you: my patron is His Serene Grace Archduke Gustavus Von und zu Schellenhuber, Prince-Elector of Westphalia. I recently had the honour to be appointed his Court Artist (Ursine and Elephantine works only). 

Here is the latest piece I have completed for His Grace. I believe he intends it as a fresco for his refectory.

ALT TEXT: A felt-tip drawing of an elephant, with a sign on his side reading ‘Cat Bus’, carrying several cats, represented by stickers. (His Serene Grace the Archduke loved this one. He laughed his gold epaulettes off, and then spent some time repeatedly counting the kittens held in the elephant’s trunk- although not, it must be said, with remarkable accuracy.)

Saturday 17 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 16

ALT TEXT: A quick scribbly biro bear head. I did a ‘proper’ version of this to put up here, with lots more pen-strokes and anatomy and shadows and what have you, but to my irritation the quick scribble looked more like a bear. 

No knees, either. I’m in big trouble.


Friday 16 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 15


ALT TEXT: The head of a bear, figured in every artist's medium of choice: yellow Playdoh. And looking considerably more apprehensive than the artist intended, although I suppose that makes a change from all the inane grinning. 

The 'head only' approach is by far my patron's least favourite. He loathes it, and any such submission is immediately met with outraged cries of 'Knees! Knees!' However, as I believe Caravaggio used to say to Cardinal Del Monte, "There's only so much Playdoh in the tub."

Thursday 15 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 14


ALT TEXT: A drawing of an elephant, seen from the front. This view of an elephant is less favoured by my patron, but he will allow it occasionally, so long as all four knees are clearly visible. 

Wednesday 14 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 13

ALT TEXT: A rough guide to telling which kind of bear your bear is, so long as it’s one of two particular kinds, and also that you have an example of the other kind handy to compare it to. Anyway, dish shaped faces come into it, as do throat ruffs.

Monday 12 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 12


ALT TEXT: A drawing of a cheerful white bear. They seem more trustworthy than Thursday's bear, but maybe that's just because they have their eyes closed. Long claws, though. Too long for comfort. 

Sunday 11 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 11

ALT TEXT: One of the many, many one to two minute thumbnail sketches I have found myself called upon to make this year of the comedy double act partner of the late Queen. 


Saturday 10 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 10


Secret actual alt text for bona fide members of visually impaired squadron, rather than the rest of you chancers who just want a joke: it's not an actual elephant. Its me wearing a mask I've made out of a large cardboard box and a sharpie.

ALT TEXT: It’s simply a picture of an actual elephant.

Friday 9 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 9

 ALT TEXT: An elephant - if it is an elephant (and it is an elephant) - marching dynamically from right to left. Images of elephants in motion are particularly prized by my patron, and successful examples of the genre are met with an approving 'hup two three two!': a quotation (with minor numerical modification) from The Jungle Book. 

Thursday 8 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 8

 Alt Text update from yesterday- it seems alt text is a nightmare, and can only be accessed by certain people, on certain makes of phone, and only then by answering three riddles set by a manticore. So I’ve come up with a cunning alternative.

ALT TEXT: a cartoonish sketch of the head of a brown bear. He or she is smiling at us pleasantly, but there’s something a little off about their eyes. I feel you should not entirely trust this bear.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 7

Two orange elephants, drawn in wax crayon. One is a baby, riding on the other's back. This motif will recur in this series of pieces, as it reflects my patron's strongly expressed taste.
M'learned commenter Tim has pointed out, more in sorrow than in anger (at least I hope so) that I am not providing Visually Impaired Squadron with as much information as they are hopefully used to getting from me on Twitter. This is because I didn't know that Blogger has an Alt Text function for pictures, but it turns out it does, which is great news for me, because I love doing the Alt Text, and discovering it is more or less the last reason I'm still (very sporadically) on Twitter. 

So, from yesterday on, these elephants or bears should have explanatory alt text. Simon, be warned these may contain spoilers for your game.

ALT TEXT: Study of two orange elephants, one baby one riding on the larger one's back, in deference to my patron's unwavering and strongly expressed taste. Executed in cheap wax crayon. There is a reason why the masters of the renaissance so rarely used cheap wax crayons for their works. However, art experts are divided as to whether this reason was 1) cowardice or 2) lack of talent. 

Tuesday 6 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 6

A bear, made out of sand, on a beach. Like a sand-castle, but not a castle, a bear. Or like a snowman, but not a man, a bear, and not snow, sand.

ALT TEXT: A sandbear. By which I mean, a bear, or at least the head of a bear, made of sand. Like a sand castle, only not a castle, a bear. Or a snowman, only not a man, a bear; and not snow, sand. A sandbear.

Monday 5 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 5


Sunday 4 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 4


Saturday 3 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 3


Friday 2 December 2022

24 Elephants or Bears - Elephant or Bear 2

Not my best work. But I’m still fairly new to the medium.

Thursday 1 December 2022

24 Elephants and Bears - Elephant or Bear 1

 This year- for reasons I forget- I have been mostly drawing elephants and bears. Here come some now. 

Sunday 31 July 2022

Herbert Beerbohm makes an adjustment

A double caricature of Herbert, looking large and heroic, and Max, looking small and dapper

This is Herbert Beerbohm Tree, the actor, and Max Beerbohm, the writer and caricaturist. They were half-brothers; Herbert the older by nineteen years. When Herbert became an actor in 1876, he added 'Tree' (translation of Bohm) to his name. According to Max, this was because he wanted a "shoutable monosyllable, for purposes of applause."

I really like Max's caricatures (this isn't one of his best, perhaps because he was fond of his brother.) He gave a very useful recipe for them, which also applies to a certain kind of comedy writing:

The most perfect caricature is that which, on a small surface, with the simplest means, most accurately exaggerates, to the highest point, the peculiarities of a human being, at his most characteristic moment, in the most beautiful manner.

A caricature of Aubrey Beardsley, which it seems to me does all the things the quote describes.
Aubrey Beardsley


Saturday 2 July 2022

J.B. Priestley bubbles with delight.

Here is J.B. Priestley: man of letters; author of 'An Inspector Calls', 'Dangerous Corner' and many other such examinations of the nature of morality and time. 

Would you be inclined to describe him, do you think, as a flibbertigibbet on a weathercock? Me neither. But I tell you who would - J.B. Priestley. Here he is having reached number 61 in a list of things that cause him delight:

Sunday 9 January 2022

You have to work your way up.

Time to resurrect a very ancient tradition of this very ancient blog - a tradition even more ancient than running out of steam with '24 Things' the moment I get into double figures. It's... My Favourite Guesses From Games of Articulate Played Over Christmas.

(You know Articulate? Describer given card with words on it, describes words to guesser. That's it.)


Describer: Thing you use to press clothes.

Guesser: Iron?

Describer: Yes! Now, thing you use to move a rowing boat.

Guesser: Oar?

Describer: Yes! Now put them together....

Guesser: ....Orion! 


Describer: If you want to ride a horse, you sit on a...?

Guesser: Donkey!