Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Friends of the Fiend 12: Dave Parker.

The Fiend would like to break with tradition here and add a personal note about Dave Parker. When I started out trying to become a cartoonist, I would pour over the cartoons in the many publications that ran gag cartoons, in Britain, in the 1970s. I would buy Reveille, Weekend Magazine, Titbits, She Magazine, the Weekly News, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, the Sun, and almost invariably, I'd come across a 'Parker' cartoon. Dave's cartoons caught my eye because the drawings had a sort of angular quality that I liked. Also, he used the space really well, and even his signature looked cool. I'm very happy to know Dave Parker, a cartoonist I've admired for as long as I've been a cartoonist myself. He's 72 years young now, but you'd never guess that looking at those lines he draws. They are as striking today, as they were back then.

CF. Hello, Dave.

DP. Hello Fiend.

CF. Okay, what are your current projects, anything exciting in the pipeline - that you can tell us about?

DP. I am doing nothing exciting these days. I am now 72, and more or less semi retired. I just do the occasional Wisenheimer cartoon and a couple for the Jester(Cartoonist Club of Great Britain mag). I pop a couple into the Weekly News just to keep my hand in.

CF. Did you always want to be a cartoonist, and set out to become one, or was it a gradual process?

DP. I've been drawing for ever-my first cartoons were in the Daily Sketch in the early fifties.

CF. The work you do at the moment, can you tell us something about the process?

DP. I'm enjoying resting - just drawing one or two gags a week nowadays. All good things come to an end and the cartoons markets in this country are almost ended - despite what others may say!

CF. I know you've been asked this a million times, butwhat tools do you use, and what format do you work to?

DP. I've tried all sorts of pens in the past. In the fifties it was always nibs and india ink. Nowadays I'm quite happy with Faber Castell Pitt artists pens (thanks to you!). I draw in pencil, then use my home made light box ( a converted scanner), to ink them, then I scan them into my computer, print them off, and send them off. For colour work I use Painter, mainly using colour and gradient tools. It's simple but effective.

Buy original Dave Parker art here.

CF. Is the cartoonist a proper artist? I mean, does cartooning have the same cultural impact as some other artforms, in your opinion?

DP. I suppose cartooning is art,the editorial cartoonist in particular probably has some sort of cultural impact, but I'm only a gag cartoonist, bottom of the heap!

'Bottom of the heap'? Not quite, at around about the age of 70, Dave broke into the highly competitive US market when he sold a cartoon to Readers Digest USA. A magazine that in 2004, reached an estimated 44 million readers every month.

CF. Is there any other area of cartooning you'd like to work in, if you can find the time?

DP. When I left school in 1949 my first job was in a cartoon film studio as a colourist and then a tracer.We made films for the Ministry of Information and a cinema commercial for Andrews Liver Salts! If the firm hadn't gone bust a year later, who knows I might have become an animator!

CDP. Who were your major artistic influences?

DP. The cartoonists I most admire are or were; Ed MaLachlan, Larry, Handelsman, Mike Williams, Saxon, Dedini, Trog, Gary Larsen, Albert, Chic Jacob, Gross, Sax, George Price, Sempe, Booth, Chas Addams, and there are loads more who I will probably remember later.

CF. Who was/is your favourite cartoonist/writer, of all time?

DP. I can't pick any one favourite, but I did like Dedini. For some reason a cartoon of his depicting a judge (towering over a little arty type) saying "A poet ? What kind of racket's that?" or words to that effect, still makes me laugh now! I don't know why!

CF. There's a lot of talk about a new 'paper-less future' and 'new digital reading habits', do you think this will affect cartooning, at some point.

DP. The computer has, so yes.

CF. If you had the time, and you were helicoptered in to work on anything you chose, any publication, strip, panel, character, book, show, what would you like to work on?

DP. I don't have the time now in my 73rd. year!

CF. Is there anything you'd rather be?

DP. A lottery winner, so I can spread a little more happiness!

CF. Thank you for visiting with us.

DP. You're welcome.


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