The Doodler's Blog

Scribblings from the Artful Doodler

The trouble with copyright 

So I’ve recently started uploading images to Redbubble so that people can get my doodles on tshirts, hoodies, clocks, bags and all sorts of items.

I’ve been wanting to do this for years so really pleased when I got some of the products myself to find the quality is superb.

It’s also taught me a LOT about copyright and what you are allowed to create with regards to movie and television artwork.

One evening I uploaded two new images, one, a Walking Dead design and two, a Bazinga design featuring the Big Bang Theory characters. It felt great to finally use the latter design as the cast have never responded to the images, despite fans seeming to love it which I always felt a shame.

Both were removed due to copyright. I found myself wondering why these weren’t allowed and yet other images were..and I think I’ve figured it out.

Both had the words Walking Dead and Bazinga on them which none of my other accepted designs did. So therefore if it’s your interpretation of a character without actually labelling it so then that is fine but to actually title it is not.

I fell into the trap again a few days ago without thinking when uploading a Star Wars/Game of Thrones mashup called Tyrion Skywalker. I should have foreseen this would be taken down as Lucasfilm are hot off the mark with this stuff.

Many years back when I worked as a cinema projectionist we were showing The Phantom Menace. Lucasfilm were very strict on merchandise being returned (and apparently destroyed) so that people couldn’t profit from them.

So now my Tyrion design is up under the new title of Red Wine Standing By.. true fans will understand. So far it seems safe, fingers crossed it stays.

One image that could only be copyright if I sued myself is Freaky People, a design based on characters from my first book. Hope to do more like this soon.. 

Pleased to say I’ve sold items to a few different countries now so please join in and help fund a struggling artist! .. that is before George Lucas has me locked up.

(Since typing this the above Tyrion image has also been deleted.. everything I’ve said above is apparently incorrect)


The Doodler’s Thick Skin Overcoat

In the danger of sounding like I don’t enjoy my job (which would be truly ridiculous) let me start by saying how amazing the people I meet are.. to the most part.

Most people are fun to doodle and gracious and polite with the results, laughing at their pic and laughing with me. I stay friends with a lot of my customers and it’s nice to feel a community building around me.

But problems can arise from being a caricaturist. In a job where you draw funny pictures of people, you do get those poor souls (and these are vastly in the minority) that are uneducated in what a caricature really is. A caricature is an exaggeration of a person, sometimes cartoon sometimes more serious, but for the most part they are in good taste and humour. Occasionally, people will take offence at a caricature and these are the sort of people that should never approach a caricaturist in the first place. They aren’t for everybody, but I always feel like these are the people that miss the joke and it’s truly a shame. These are also the same people that say,

“Look, he’s doin’ characteristics!”


“That bloke’s a caricature!”

On quiet days like today I set up pitch at the Dockside Outlet and have fun drawing those willing to come by and get doodled. I had lots of fun drawing people and a lot of happy customers.. with one exception, a group of kids who I just knew wouldn’t be easy when the mum said,

“If it’s not good I’ll ask for the money back” before I’d started.

She didn’t ask for the money back so it must have been adequate. However, she complained the kids looked too old (I drew them very cute not adult) the kids kept getting up and saying,

“It’s not very good, why do we look weird?” Influenced no doubt by the mother’s negativity at he start.

I explained it was a cartoon picture of them and they said,

“Don’t you dare put us in a cartoon!” Sigh.

With this and the kids grabbing the paper and shouting at me I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this was the most difficult live pic I’ve drawn in 20 years as a caricaturist.

At the risk of sounding like the Basil Fawlty of caricaturists I type this, but I like my blog to be fair and honest. Therefore in my eyes it’s good to mention a side of being a caricaturist that isn’t so fun.

On the plus side I also drew a couple of brothers keen on drawing who laughed and joked all the way through, a lady who had a kinky naked ‘over the shoulder’ doodle for her partner, lots of people with quirky thick framed glasses (love those) and a whole bunch of fun and well behaved little kids. Thanks to all who got one drawn.

Having a public pitch is very different to party bookings. Parties are all about the laughs and doodles, everyone having fun.

Public pitches are a little more of a gamble. Catch me when you can on a public pitch, as they may soon become a thing of the past.

Dr Ripper’s Selfie Competition Results

Ah, the selfie. I think everyone is doing them now. You still get the odd person out there who declines from taking a selfie on the grounds that it’s below them. As if somehow taking a selfie makes them look bad. Maybe for those with bad faces maybe.

A selfie is a great depiction of the here and now, what better way to preserve a moment in time than a snapshot saying, “here I was when that happened”.

When Dr Ripper’s Fabricated Freaks was released some wonderful people sent me snapshots of the moment they got the book.. and as mentioned in a previous blog, this gave way to my first Dr Ripper competition.

The competition was this; send me a selfie with the book and you can end up featuring in one of the pages plus receive a free copy of the next in the series, Dr Ripper’s Malevolent Mansion.

Some awesome entries followed. One that would most certainly have been a winner was an entry from my friend Bod, sufficiently gory so much so that it made me feel slightly ill..

However, Bod will be a main character in the next book anyway, rendering the entry void.

So I waited for further entries.. and they were all awesome. But two last minute entries stood out above all others, weird, inventive and fun.. just what the Doctor ordered (see what I did there?!).

So I announced two winners. Andrew Beard with his glorious Sith entry and Michelle Louise really getting her teeth into the book.

Congrats guys, I look forward to adding you to my strange little world!!

Doodles at Detling

Just back from another awesome Wedding Show at the Detling Showground courtesy of The Wedding Experience.

Finally managed to update my banner, business cards and postcards so all that’s left to update is my display book.. it’s showing caricatures over 5 years old so about time I got a new one.

Had my wonderful wife along to help me and she was as usual a blessing, giving everyone the info needed to make a booking while I doodled like crazy. These shows are always a strain on the old feet so dread to think how tired she was, being 4 months pregnant. In fact, she’s off to work at her regular job tonight while I have the comfort of working from home. Shame on me.

Drew a whole selection of wonderful couples, bride and grooms to be.. and a record number of babies at a wedding show, what’s that about?!

Thanks to all those who came and said hello, all those lovely comments about my suit. Special thanks to all who booked me for their wedding and all those thinking of booking. An extra special thanks goes out to Tina Green and her team for another awesome show.

I once joked with a fellow wedding supplier that it takes us suppliers minutes after getting home to strip out of decent clothing and down to pants and socks. Often now we post each other a sock photo on social media..

Here’s mine..

Bursting my Redbubble

For years now I’ve been after a way to get my celebrity caricatures on tshirts and other items as I’ve always thought caricature really lends itself to it.

I’ve actually been approached by sites offering this service and then found after upload that they wouldn’t accept my artwork for some reason or other.

After watching my good friend Seren on Periscope doodling these amazing wildlife pieces, I noticed she was selling products with images on.. and they were good products too, tshirts, phone cases, you name it Redbubble do it.

So as always, when I’m supposed to be sleeping at night I found myself sitting in bed with my laptop adding caricatures to Redbubble

The problem is, it’s a bit like eBay in that when you list things you find yourself browsing and before you know it I’m buying other people’s products before I’ve sold any of my own.

Now I know I’ll be visiting Walker Stalker Con in March (the Walking Dead convention) and I’m going to need a good tshirt or hoodie..

Therefore, please go buy some of my items as I’m only going to pour it back into the website anyway 😉

The Artful Watcher: Sherlock

“Miss Me?”

A simple and yet apt catchphrase for the sinister and superb Moriarty in the BBC Sherlock.

Indeed we did miss Andrew Scott as the crazy and comical villain, since he departed the show a while back in that ambiguous rooftop scene.

(Spoilers) I actually cheered as he departed the helicopter in the scene from last nights finale. Two factors always seem to come up in Sherlock, madness and logic. Sherlock and Moriarty have both of these and it’s great when their forces oppose, even after one of them is long dead.

Last night we were treated to a proper finale, it really felt that this was what the show had been building to. 

More so than anything else, it was great to see a few characters really bear their soul. We see Molly forced to reveal her love for Sherlock in a truly edge of your seat and heart rending scene. Mycroft reveals two things; that he also is a master of disguise in a scene that fooled me (I was getting annoyed thinking, that’s obviously Sherlock) and that also he’s not such a bad guy after all. An attempt to sacrifice himself in exchange for Watson was a beautiful touch to an already stressful episode.

Sian Brooke was amazing as the downright terrifying Eurus, playing a character who was almost supernatural in presence and somewhat reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.

Of course, as always though it is a treat to see Cumberbatch and Freeman in their roles. We’ve followed them along as their turbulent relationship has developed and end up with an episode that has come full circle.

I expected a finale with them both being killed off, but it was great to see a montage of their further adventures to end the series.

I’m reading online people wondering if the series will continue?!  I was under the impression that was the final episode, and rightly so.

Everything wrapped up neatly with knowledge that the pair are out there saying,

“The Game is On”

Self publishing hurdles

If you’re reading this blog then it’s probably quite likely that you’re aware of my book Dr Ripper’s Fabricated Freaks, a collection of adult humour horror stories written in verse… available on Amazon bla bla bla etc

I used to publish comic books back in the early 2000s and by publish I would say these were just about printed. I’d find any way of getting my weird little comic books out there, printing using my brothers old printing press, printing from home or cheap local printers, anything that looked reasonable would be fine. 

Things just that short time ago were a lot more difficult for anyone with a desire to write without wanting the hassle and complications of a publisher.

Nowadays, there are a lot of options for the self publisher. When my friend Ken Boyter wrote The Legends of Grimous Ironblood (also on Amazon) which I illustrated, he approached a local printer and had a beautifully created A4 book published.

He now sells the book himself online through Amazon and at book fairs etc and from what I hear it’s selling quite well.

I considered approaching different publishing houses when I’d completed Fabricated Freaks. My concerns however were with the content. Freaks is a book that I like to think tests the boundaries of decency a little without being too distasteful. A recent children’s book I illustrated was reviewed before publishing by an ‘expert’. She tore into my illustrations and said that certain facial expressions conveyed an image that the child was distressed (even though it was that kind of scene and intentional) and she would worry why the child was so upset. It almost felt as though she was implying a darker intent on my part which annoyed me slightly. Along with other comments this made me realise how overly anal these people can be and so I decided I’d best go it alone.

If a facial expression upsets an expert then a lady with lizards living in her cleavage and a man with a sword sticking out of his head would put them in hospital!

I first uploaded my book to, a company that produces superb quality books and lists them on Amazon for you. After the whole upload process I discovered that they would list my 88 page paperback at around £12.50 without me taking any profit and postage would be around £10. No, just no. My readers, of which there would be few, would hate me before they’d even read it.

I then began downloading publishing apps and searching different publishing sites and was still finding the price high or the quality dubious. 

Finally, through YouTube I looked up self publishing and discovered a lot of people using Createspace. This is an Amazon run company that is just so simple to use as you upload a complete PDF of your book and they do the rest. It’s a print-on-demand service too meaning that when someone orders they print and send it out for you. Royalties then come in on a monthly basis.

With two options on inside paper stock and a glossy or matte colour cover, this method ticked all the boxes and so Fabricated Freaks was finally born.

Sales have been great, it’s really nice to see it selling in different parts of the world and the royalties come in nice and smoothly which helps fund future projects.

I think most of my friends and family have read it now, but the ones that really please me are the comments from strangers.

Herein lies the problem with self publishing. Unlike regular publishing, you have to do a lot of self-promotion to keep it in the public eye.

Last year I attended the London Horror Festival to draw caricatures promoting the book. I get the impression people loved the free caricatures but didn’t necessarily go check the book out. Of course I have no proof of this other than the fact I didn’t see a huge boost in sales at the time.

I did however meet the truly awesome Nicholas Vince of Hellraiser fame who turns out has published quite a few books. His suggestions were brilliant.

Now I have a Facebook page Dr Ripper & Co promoting the books, have made a little YouTube film about  Fabricated Freaks and you’ll find me running competitions (check out my previous blog post) to get yourself in future books.

Self publishing is like a full time job on top of a full time job.. but I still seriously recommend it.

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Welcome to my library

I’ve always liked to have a website that you could explore as a guest.

Even way back when I used a myspace page as a site (I know right, how old am I?!) I always planned to create a site that would feel like a little world you could visit.

The gallery page has always been exactly that, a room with pictures on the walls that you could look through.. this time round however, having books for sale on amazon I thought it would be good to add a library.

My library can be accessed through the gallery but if you want a quick detour you can follow this link.. The Doodle Library

There’s a few different books on the shelf that you can click on plus a link to my book Dr Ripper’s Fabricated Freaks that’s on amazon.. I don’t know why I’ve mentioned that, because you obviously have a copy.. silly me.

The first book is the cartoon diary that I wrote on the set of Hugo, the Martin Scorsese movie about an orphan who lives in the walls of a Parisian train station. Back in 2010 I had the pleasure of 3 months as an extra on the set and I got to see some amazing sights and meet some wonderful people. The diary I wrote took the interest of the other extras and so I printed copies off of the work in progress, sold them and gave the money to the Movember charity box that was circling on set. A big shock came to me when an Assistant Director asked for 5 copies for Mr Scorsese and his team. I obliged in terror as I never know how my humour would be taken by a Hollywood legend. A fellow extra told me he saw Scorsese flicking through the pages in his trailer and I had a week before returning to Shepperton Studios. That was one long week I can tell you. On returning I asked the AD how the book went down with Martin and was told he loved it.. I’ll take that as gospel.


The second book on the shelf is a collection of my Ruminations of a Dudeist Cartoonist. Dudeism is a chilled out and tongue in cheek religion based on The Dude from The Coen Bros movie The Big Lebowski. Being a huge fan of Jeff Bridges, I thought this idea was genius.. a religion where you don’t need to take life so seriously, just what the world needs right now. So what’s in there is a collection of quite adult semi-autobiographical cartoon strips about me appraching life from a Dudeist perspective.

The third book Frameable Faces is a collection of little quick shot cartoons that I draw for my good friends in Michigan, Doug & Ally Cohen. Doug & Ally have a photography studio out there and run a morning show on the live streaming app Periscope. Mornings in the UK are something I generally go to bed in (I’m a night owl) so I’m on what I call US time. Therefore, I often visit (through my phone, not actually visit, that would be stupidly expensive) and draw cartoons based on the subject of the day. They’re random and strange, but what else would you expect from my diseased mind?! Check out Frameable Faces on their morning show on Periscope here

Here’s the awesome couple’s entry to my Fabricated Freaks competition, which I’m sure you all know about huh.


Anyway folks, enjoy the library.. and the beauty of this library is that you can be as noisy as you like so feel free to swear, cough your guts up and fart to your hearts content!

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