Monday 27 May 2013

My Mam, 1925 - 2013

Mam and me, Blackpool 1967.

My apologies for not updating this blog for a couple of weeks. As some of you know, the last few years I've been dividing my time between work and caring for my mum who was housebound with arthritis and spondylosis. She was able to look after herself to an extent, and tried to be as independent as possible, but I'd help with meals, shopping, sorting out bills etc and generally keeping her company.

Sadly, on May 9th, when taking some shopping to her bungalow, I found her lying in the kitchen in a large pool of blood, having suffered a very nasty fall and head injury, possibly after a stroke. The prognosis at the hospital was bad. The neurosurgeon said the damage to her brain was too severe and only gave her 24 hours to live. Mum did show some sign of improvement though, and there was hope for a couple of days, but, as was originally feared, it became clear she would not recover.

The hospital staff at Universitry Hospital, Walsgrave, were excellent. They made mum as comfortable as possible and were very sympathetic. Knowing each day could be her last, I stayed by her bedside as long as I could. The accident had put mum into a state of semi-consciousness, like she was half awake, and she could no longer form words properly, so I don't know if her mind was in the present or wherever, but she did recognise me and tried to smile a couple of times when she saw me. I just sat beside her, talking to her of better, happier, days, of the pets we had, and the many holidays in Blackpool. And telling her how much she'd meant to me over the years. The good thing was she wasn't in any pain, and just looked comfortable and sleepy. 

Recent photo, 2013.
Mum fought bravely and survived for 11 days. I was with her 24/7 towards the end, as the staff had moved her to a side room and gave me a mattress and sheets so I could stay overnight. She passed away at 00.45am on Tuesday 21st May, very quietly and peacefully, with me holding her hand.

My mum's life had often been one of hardship and sorrow, but she dealt with it well, and never gave in. She was genuinely a good, kind person, supporting and devoted to her family throughout her life. She liked to be independent and kept herself to herself.  She was a very fair-minded person and tolerant of all people. As she always said, “There are good and bad in all races. Take each person as you find them.”

Mum had always been encouraging and supportive of me throughout my career, and earlier, when I used to draw my own comics as a child. I used to show her every comic strip I had published (except for the rude stuff like Viz) and she read every one, always looking for my signature afterwards. We often used to talk about times gone by, and she told me a lot about her life before I was born. She had decent moral values, and she was young at heart too, with a good sense of humour. Basically she was not only the best mum I could have wished for, she was my best friend too.

I have no family left now, so I have to adjust to a new normal life. Grief comes in waves, but hopefully, once the funeral is over, and I've cleared her council bungalow, I'll be back at the drawing board. 

Olive Stringer, 5th June 1925 - 21st May 2013. Rest in Peace now Mam. No more worries or stress. 

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Original art for sale

Scanned from the original art. 
I have a few more pieces of my original art on eBay at present. Bidding ends on Sunday. This time there's an early Tom Thug page (from Oink! No.24, 1987), a Christmas Viz illustration featuring Postman Plod, and a fairly recent Felix and his Amazing Underpants page (also from Viz). 

All bids welcome. Good luck!

Photographed from the original art.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Stop legalized copyright theft!

I'll keep this brief. Basically there's new legislation coming which will affect everyone involved in creative illustration whether it be comics, photography, or any illustrated work.

As the petition states:

"Unless your works are registered or plastered with a watermark, anyone can use your copyrighted work for their own commercial and personal gains provided they have made a small effort to search for the original owner. If no owner can be found, they are free to do with it whatever they want.
There is nothing to stop people simply removing data embedded in digital files and pleading ignorance to the original author of the work."
Life can often be tough enough for freelance artists and this kick in the teeth isn't helping matters at all. Artists may find their imagery copied from their websites for the financial gain of others and there's nothing they can do to prevent it. Publishers will have to invest in more measures to protect their imagery so may make even more cutbacks in origination. 
The legislation makes no sense, and has not been thought through properly. If you oppose this legislation please click on the link above and sign the petition. Thank you. 

Wednesday 1 May 2013

The pranks continue

I've another You've Been Pranked page in The Beano this week. This time it involves fooling Dennis the Menace's Mum into putting cheese under her armpits. The scripts for these are supplied by D.C. Thomson so I never know what to expect before they arrive and they're fun to draw. Not only that, but they give me the opportunity to draw Dennis and Gnasher and sometimes other classic Beano characters too. All good for the CV. 

I also have another Rasher mini-strip in this week's issue, which reminds me I must get crackling, er, cracking on with drawing more of those! Back to the drawing board...

See a preview of the new Beano at the official website: