Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Responses to 'Dear Government'

Over the weekend I sent my 'Dear Government' cartoon to MPs across the country (thanks to the encouragement of Tanni Grey-Thompson).

Amongst the standard 'if you are not a constituent we cannot deal with your case' emails I've had a number of positive responses, from a simple "Thank you", through ''Spot on!" and "I like your artistry and your means of conveying a message – it was not automatically deleted!" to supportive, well considered emails that give hope for truly responsible actions, such as this one: (copied with the author's permission, in full, but with names removed)


[MP] has asked me to respond to your email on his behalf.  He asked me to thank you for sending it.  He was very impressed by the way your drawings displayed a simple but powerful message.  And I think by visually displaying it, you have left a lasting impression on his thoughts.

Personally (and these are my comments as an individual and a local Councillor rather than from [MP]) I hope that other MPs will look your drawings.  I also hope you will send them to the papers and to Councillors across the country as a reminder of all the decisions we take in Local Government, which while not the aim of your drawings are still relevant.

On top of that it brightened my day to see it, rather than deal with the sometimes long correspondence.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your undoubted drawing skills.



Yes, times are hard and uncertain, but there is hope. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

"Anything you can do I can do better"

While doing some disability awareness chatting I happened to mention that while some wheelchair users can go down stairs in their wheels:
picture from: "You know you've been pushing it when..." By Hannah Ensor 

I can't.
picture from: "You know you've been pushing it when..." By Hannah Ensor

A person with disabilities who was with me said "Yet! - we can do anything able bodied people can do, and better, can't we!"  Fighting talk. Said with fierce conviction but it made me shrink inside. A statement so desperate to prove worth that admission of limitation is unthinkable.

I don't know whether learning to wheel down a flight of stairs is possible with my conditions - and I don't care because I have no intention of putting the time or effort into trying. I don't want to. It isn't necessary for me and it doesn't appeal. Why should I feel obliged to learn/say I'm learning just to prove...something I don't understand...when I would much rather be drawing stickmen or learning to dance? 

When I was able bodied, I didn't feel the need to insist to every skateboarder doing tricks that 'I could do that if I wanted/practiced'. Other peoples abilities didn't make me feel inferior then, and I don't see why they should now. 

So here and now I say what I wanted to but didn't earlier:

I can't do the amazing wheelie stunt of going safely down a stairs on wheels. 
I have no need to learn it.
I have no intention of learning it.

And I'm still an valuable member of society.

So there.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

"How to steal like an Artist" (Austin Kleon)

"How to steal like an Artist" by Austin Kleon is being released in March 2012. I read his blog about it. I want it. I possibly even NEED it.


Cos it's true, and it makes me snigger.

But stealing!

Plagarism? copyright infringement?


Not if you steal like an artist!

I list the ways I've fallen off my wheels to a friend. "You should write a book about it!" she laughs.

Ah ha! I steal the idea....and a year later: "You know you've been pushing it when..." (Ok, I drew the book more than wrote it)

Which itself is entirely stolen from life. Things people say, situations I've been in, things I've nearly done. None are original because they all happened - or nearly happened long before my pen hit paper. I drew it through my eyes but still, the inspiration for page 73 is clearly the suited business man who farted in my face. (ok, ok, it wasn't deliberate - I just wheel with my nose at an unfortunate height)

Someone commissioned a blog header  - and somehow it triggered sparks in my brain. I stole the sparks and out popped a new website header.

Artistic inspiration doesn't come from some ethereal alternative imagination full of things never thought before - it comes from what is infront of me, and my friends and family all know: Anything they do or say may be end up as stickmen.


I draw stickmen. Yes - like those doodles bored teens have been doing for years in chemistry textbooks across the land. Clearly I stole the idea from society.


Am I an artist? Who cares. But I reckon I'm learning to steal like one. And once I have Austins book I'll steal even better.

And incase you are wondering, I don't pay royalties. There is no way face-farter is ever getting money for that page.