Drawing: David Gower

david-gower

This David Gower caricature was the final cross-hatching experimentation in my series of English cricketers who toured New Zealand in  the summer of 1991/92.  Considered as one of the most stylish and prolific batsman that has ever played the game, ‘Lord Gower’ recorded an impressive First Class record, accumulating over 26,000 runs at an average of 40.08, including 53 centuries, 18 of which were scored in Test matches, including his top total of 215 against Australia at Edgbaston during the 1985 Ashes series.

The former England captain was described by Wisden as “fluffy haired, ethereal looking, who payed beautifully until the moment he made a mistake, but somehow the mistake was put off long enough for him to play an innings of unforgettable brilliance.” He was often criticised  by the media for being too laid back and nonchalant Peter Roebuck to remark “Gower ne’er moves, he drifts,” and France Edmonds in the Daily Express wrote,” it’s difficult to be more laid back without being actually comatose.”

These days he leads the Sky Sports commentary team in his usual stylish and relaxed manner.

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Drawing: Graham Gooch

graham-gooch

Yesterday I posted a caricature of English cricketer and  prolific batsman Allan Lamb which he signed for me at the Basin Reserve in Wellington during the third test against New Zealand in February 1992. The captain of the England team on that very successful tour was the enigmatic Graham Gooch, the most prolific top-class run scorer of all time with 67,059 of them in a career that started  as a 19 year-old in 1973 for county side Essex until he retired in 1997.

Journalist Matthew Engel described him as the most “uninhibited belter of the cricket ball” in his ESPN Cricinfo bio. He book-ended his test-playing career with matches against the old Ashes foe, Australia-the first in Birmingham in the summer of 1975, the last in Perth twenty years later. In that time he played 118 tests, scoring 8,900 runs notching up twenty centuries with a top score of 333 against India at Lords in 1990.

For good measure he belted a second innings 123 for a total of 456 in the match. In 125 ODI’s he scored 4,290 runs including eight 100’s. For three years in the 1980’s he was banned from playing for England for leading the first rebel tour to South Africa, so imagine what his international run tally could have been.

I drew this caricature of ‘Goochie’ in my signature 80’s cross-hatching style and he obliged with his signature in between ball-belting at the Basin.

Drawing: Allan Lamb

allan-lamb

One of the most dominant batsman during the 1980’s was England cricketer Allan Lamb.  He was also one of my favourite players. Born in South Africa to British parents, Allan joined the county side Northamptonshire in order to play test cricket for England because his native country was banned from playing International cricket due to the apartheid regime.

He made his debut against India in 1982 becoming cap number 492 and ended his 79 test-playing career against Pakistan exactly 10 years later, almost to the day. In that decade he scored 14 centuries and 18 half-centuries, amassing 4,656 runs at an average of 36.09. He also played 122 ODI’s scoring over 4000 runs with four centuries and 26 half-centuries. His last test ton was his highest, scoring 142 against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington in February 1992, where he signed this caricature for me. During that time I used to draw caricatures with a black fine line pen and a technique that I have loosely labelled my ’80’s cross-hatch period’, combining minimal horizontal and vertical lines to define the white highlights and for the hair I rendered a much tighter, ‘frenzied’ hatch for textual contrast.

Unlike Allan, I had mixed results with the hatching, but this is an example one that I was not unhappy with.

Drawing: John Newcombe

John Newcombe

I’m not sure when I drew this caricature of Australian tennis legend John Newcombe. I think it was sometime in the 1990s when he was an Australian Open commentator at Melbourne Park. Somehow I managed to get it to him. I don’t do many caricatures for signing these days. It was my modus operandi back then and surprisingly got most of them signed. I didn’t resort to vicious renderings, preferring a softer approach with a comical likeness in order to get the work ‘graphed. I liked to use a fine line 0.05 black felt pen and board cross-hatch style with big heads, small bodies and extended necks… where appropriate.

For the record John won seven Grand Slam singles titles including three Wimbledons and secured an all-time record 17 doubles victories. He was World Number 1 in both singles and doubles. Rod Laver is the only other player to have won the US Open and Wimbledon as an amateur and a professional.

As a bit of trivia, given that the US Presidential elections are upon us, it was revealed during the 2000 campaign that John was George W Bush’s drinking companion in September 1976 when the future President was charged with driving under the influence.

Drawing: David Bryant

David Bryant

Whilst watching the Glasgow Commonwealth Games yesterday, I was reminded of some of its legends, as the BBC punctuated its coverage with mini profiles of its famous past participants. Among them was Englishman David Bryant, the bowls icon.

Lawn bowls as opposed to opposed to bowling of the ten pin variety in an ‘alley’. It involves rolling biased balls towards a smaller ball called a ‘jack’ or ‘kitty’. Distinctively British, dating back to the 13th Century. In fact, the game was banned by King and Parliament, fearing it would jeopardise the practice of archery which was important in battle. Given their resemblance to cannon balls, they may have been better to use them in battle instead of arrow… maybe they did. Regardless, in 1541, Henry VIII ordered that artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at anytime except Christmas, and then only in their master’s home and presence. A penalty of 6 shillings and 8 pence was the fine.

Anyway, enough of that and back to more recent history. David was perfect for a caricature, wearing his white cap, pipe-smoking and with his distinctive delivery style with his raised leg. The English teacher was the master of the rink. Some would say god.

Definitely one of the greatest, if not the greatest, exponents of the sport, along with Bowls Englands’s current CEO Tony Allcock. Together they won six world indoor pairs titles and individually too many to mention. David collected five Commonwealth Golds dating back to Perth in 1962. I haven’t checked if the King’s edict’s been revoked. If not, not a bad haul for an illegal activity.

At the World Championships in Auckland in 1988 (where David won the singles title and was runnerup in the pairs) he found time in between games to sign my caricature.

Drawing: Ronnie Corbett

Ronnie Corbett

Ronald Balfour Corbett is a beekeeper who keeps hives at his second home in East Lothian, Scotland. He’s also known as Ronnie Corbett, the comic legend and a half of The Two Ronnies with the late, great Ronnie Barker.

He’s best remembered for his unique monologues, sitting on a large chair (any normal chair with 4’11” Ronnie on it would look large) delivering rambling jokes that went off in divergent directions only to finally arrive at the original punchline that had long been forgotten. He’s been the biz for a long time. If fact, long enough to be awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2012. He recalls the Queen said “you’ve been doing this a long time, haven’t you?” and Ronnie replied, “over 50 years, but not as long as you.”

I like this quote I found, attributed to him: “We live in the same world, Bercow (speaker of the House of Commons since 2009) and me: not big enough to play James Bond; not small enough to be adopted by Madonna.”

I’ve met Ronnie on a few occasions in London at various premieres and press nights, but I can’t remember when he signed this sketch. I mailed it to him sometime in the 1980s when he performed in New Zealand, so it was either Auckland or Christchurch.

Cartoon: Seating a President, Michael D Higgins

Michael D Higgins drawing

Michael D Higgins Signature

Continuing on from yesterday’s post… while at the Donmar to collect cast graphs on my THE NIGHT ALIVE sketch, I noticed some unusual activity, well unusual is very subjective term in the middle of London on a balmy July evening, with the small hand on 10 and the big hand fast approaching it.

The narrow, cobblestoned Earlham Street on which the theatre stands, at number 41 to be precise, was filling fast with flash vehicles, some with diplomatic licence plates, carrying suited gentlemen, who quickly surrounded the Donmar door. Some even went in. Now this small little theatre in Covent Garden has a seating capacity of 250, with 251 seats according to its website.

Sounds Irish I know and many a true word said in jest. On that one extra seat was sitting a person of importance on this very night. It doesn’t take long for 250 people to file out, so the 251st person soon appeared, escorted by the suited gentlemen who went in previously. It was none other than the Irish President, popular politician, poet, sociologist, author and broadcaster, one Michael D Higgins, himself. A person I had cartooned for my weekly contribution to The Irish World on 11.11.11, when he took office… and which adorns this page. I remember thinking at the time that this man had the perfect, almost leprechaun qualities for caricaturing. Meeting him confirmed this.

But what self-respecting satirist doesn’t carry around with him a copy of a cartoon depicting the 9th President of the Republic of Ireland, to get it signed if, by chance the subject appears in front of him. How remiss of me! He did however sign my sketch pad in a vivid blue sharpie, while telling me how much he enjoyed the play in the 251st seat. He’s back in April, at the invitation of the Queen, to become the first Irish President to pay a State visit to the UK. I just might have to slip down to the Palace with a copy of the cartoon depicting the 9th President of the Republic of Ireland if, by chance we meet again!

Caricature: Billy Connolly

Billy Connelly

Billy Connolly has made numerous trips to New Zealand, with sell out stand up shows, recorded a TV series entitled A World Tour of New Zealand and roles in films such as The Last Samurai, and a dwarf in The Hobbit series. In spite of recent cancer surgery and being treated for the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, Billy plans to undertake an extensive theatrical tour of the country next year.

I drew this caricature in the early 90’s which he signed after one of his shows. See my previous Billy Connolly post here.

Drawing: ‘Dickie’ Bird

dickie bird001

Cricket’s most famous umpire Harold Dennis “Dickie” Bird has officiated in 54 test matches, the most in a single nation (England). Between 1973 – 1996, the Yorkshireman umpired 66 tests and 69 ODIs.

This year, on his 80th birthday, he ‘selected’  his greatest test XI: Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Sir Vivian Richards, Greg Chappell, Sir Garfield Sobers, Graeme Pollock, Allan Knott, Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee, Shane Warne, Lance Gibbs. An interesting  omission – no Sir Don Bradman!

Dickie signed my caricature at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand during the test against Pakistan in February 1994 which he umpired with Brian Aldridge.