Interactive cartoon: Reading the Past


I have done an interactive cartoon for the Lawrence Sterne Trust. You can see it in all its interactivity here: Reading the Past.

An explanation, from the ‘About’ page:

Reading the Past, Writing the Future is an educational project, devised by The Laurence Sterne Trust, which aims to encourage primary schools to visit their local church and to stimulate creative work inspired by the stories that can be found there.

The Reading the Past project is a good example of how educational visits can benefit pupils. The North Yorkshire village of Coxwold no longer has a primary school but St Michael’s church serves as an excellent example for children from surrounding villages. After a visit to the church with the staff of the Laurence Sterne Trust, the children then return to look at their own local church to explore its own individual history. Through these discovered facts and stories perceptive teachers can find a rich resource for many curriculum subjects.

Rather than restricting the interpretation to a single pair of eyes, the Trust commissioned experts in different crafts and disciplines to examine the church from their own particular standpoint and ‘read the past’ in their own particular way. The films of the visits to St Michael’s Coxwold can be used as a template for observing churches in any town or village in the country.

(Read more)

The links on the image take you to videos by four different craftspeople. If you have a bit of time they are well worth watching.

Methodist church – official tea colours


The Central Methodist Church in Preston posted this image of the official Methodist church tea colours. They have kindly allowed me to post this on my blog, so here it is.

You can download a printable PDF, which you can put up in your Methodist kitchen, here: Methodist Tea Colours (PDF, will open in new window)

Please note that the official Methodist tea colours do not necessarily represent the official tea colours of the Methodist Church.

Fishermen’s Chapel launch day and new website


Over a month since the last blog post – goodness. So, what have I been up to? Well, after the excitement of four Church Times covers and a week off making bad pottery, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks making a new website for The Fishermen’s Chapel in Leigh-on-Sea. This, if you remember, is where I have my cartoon studio, and I am also part of a steering group relaunching the Chapel as an arts/music/events/creative-goings-on-space as well as continuing to be a church. Anyway – the website is here: The Fishermen’s Chapel

On Saturday 29 March, a week today, we’re holding a launch event for The Fishermen’s Chapel at the Chapel itself. I’m doing a cartoon workshop, a cartoon trail, (no, I still don’t know exactly what that is yet either) and exhibiting some of my work. There will be all kinds of other performers – musicians, poets, a choir, and even some tyrannical yarn-bombers. See the post programme below for the line-up. There will also be a cafe serving cake. Lots of cake. And afterwards, at about 6 or a bit earlier/later, the plan is to go to the pub (there’s about 5 within 5 mins walk).

I would love it if anyone who could would like to come along. If you want to look up the location – the postcode is SS9 2EA. It is fairly easy to get there from London, but unfortunately there are engineering works on the railways that day, so you will get to see a bit of Basildon by bus – but it is still doable (approx £11.70). Why not make a day of it? Walk along the promenade, sample cockles from Osbornes, climb the hill to Leigh itself and look at the shops (book shop, the splendid stationary shop, the fabric shop, etc etc), eat an ice cream, take photographs of the state of the tide… It will be fun. I know this is a million miles away from lots of you, but if anyone can make it then that would be super. Do ask me if you have any questions.


Church Times cover 2


The theme is ‘Who’s leading us, and where’. This is the second in the Church Times ‘C of E health check’ series. Apologies to M. C. Escher. Apologies of a different kind to The Church Mouse and the Mothers’ Union. Thanks to Naomi for doing the colouring-in.

State schools


This was a quick education-themed cartoon that I posted yesterday evening. I say quick, because I only spent a bit over an hour from pencil-on-paper to putting it on Twitter. Those who know how I work will recognise that this is unusual. It is, at the time of writing, the third second most popular cartoon I’ve ever done (based on Facebook stats). I didn’t expect that. Thanks to a friend on Facebook who (unwittingly) gave me the idea.

There’s not much more about the cartoon itself that needs saying. It is a subject I feel strongly about. But I’m pleased it has gone down well, because I’d like to do more drawing like this – political and/or with a point.

Meanwhile my January / February work continues. I have just finished five extra cartoons for this week’s Church Times, which is Week 2 of the ‘C of E health check’ series that I mentioned the other day, along with my usual one. This evening and tomorrow I will be beginning to look through the texts of the features for Week 3.

Church Times cover

7872_31 January 2014_cover

Over the next four weeks or so the Church Times is running a series on the health of the Church of England. I’ve been doing quite a lot of work on this – today’s issue has one of my cartoons on the cover, as well as my usual weekly one, a few extras to illustrate the features (one is here - click blue cartoon to enlarge), and a few other bits and pieces (including a stethoscope, lettering on graphs and, for good measure, a new advert for the Bloxham Festival).

It is great to have an opportunity to do a cover. I really enjoy doing larger pieces of work, but don’t usually get the chance. I’m doing more cartoons for the next three papers in the series, which are for the next two weeks, then a brief break for Synod, then the final one. This will mean a lot of pacing to and fro and late nights, but I’m very pleased to have been given the opportunity.

If you’d like to read more of the ‘C of E health check’ features they are here. There are four that are free for anyone to view, but the rest are subscriber-only.

Thanks to everyone who subscribes to the Church Times – it is the first place you’ll see most of my church-themed work, and by doing so you are helping to support what I do.

Being a cartoonist

Being a cartoonist from Michal Dzierza on Vimeo.

I’m really pleased with this. I think Michal has done such a great job on the video.

The location is my studio at the Fishermen’s Chapel in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, along with the hallway (note the church umbrella) and the waterfront in Old Leigh, just across the railway tracks from the church.

The video (in case you’re somewhere you can’t watch it) is 3 minutes long and shows me drawing, talking about my work, including how I started and my drawing process. Also there is a shot of carrying tea. I am a bit nervous when talking, but I’m hoping you won’t notice that…

Included in the video is a cartoon that hasn’t appeared anywhere yet! Watch this space.

If you could share this video then that would make me very happy.

A huge thank you to Michal for doing this. You can see more of Michal’s work, including other interviews with people doing creative jobs, at Meehow Media.

Depression / elation


This isn’t a new cartoon, but it has been posted in various places, so thought it should appear on my site. I drew it in 2006 – goodness.

Hello everyone – hope you’re having a good January.



This isn’t a new cartoon, but the only other place to find it is buried on my old blog.

Nothing much to add to my original analysis:

I think that the online world tends to cope better with happiness than sadness. This is a generalisation of course, and generalisations are usually wrong. That said people will rally round on your Facebook page during times of trial, so perhaps it depends more on the nature of your happiness or sadness. The same is true of the church. Loneliness or depression, for instance, do not tend to attract as much sympathy as something involving an impressive bandage.

The causes of online absences are notoriously difficult to diagnose. It could be that your friend who has not been seen on Twitter for a week is desperately unhappy, or it could just be that they have forgotten their password or that the wire has come out of the back of their computer. Sadly the likelihood is that few people will notice, as there is always someone else posting something interesting.

They could, of course, have realised that nothing beats face to face contact with an actual human being who is in the same room. But that said, some of these people could have been ones they met through a shared interest in being on the internet.

What I’m trying to say, in essence, is that the world of online computing is both terribly good and terribly bad. I realise that this is not a clear and coherent statement of belief, which is why I have never been asked to play any significant role in devising creeds for any of the world religions.


Competition winners

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who took time to think up ideas and enter my competition. 100 replies or thereabouts – that really is fantastic. The plan will be to print off a document containing all of these comments and I will go through them in detail looking for tasty nuggets of cartoonable material. Not to say that the rest couldn’t be cartooned, it’s just that (for instance) some topics I have done before and others may defeat me as far as thinking of a good way to depict them goes. Hopefully this list should keep me going for a while.

Anyway, the winners are as follows:

1) Viv Mendham
2) Hannah Norris
3) fiona (not the other Fiona-with-a-surname who entered)

I said I might find some other prizes, which I’m afraid I haven’t done. But here’s a small replacement – I’ll send a book to the person who suggested the first cartoon idea on this list that I use for a Church Times cartoon. This week’s cartoon is similar to some here, but I can honestly say that the drawing was mostly done came before the comment(s) were made…

Thanks everyone once again.