Secret Talent

Sometimes I like to draw. Not a lot of people know that. It is a secret talent.

Recently, however, my illustrations have received some unusual attention. Firstly from the facilities manager from my office and secondly from some illustration professors at a trade school in Ontario.

My stupid drawings started off as a way of combating dayjob fatigue. (Not my fatigue. I am perfectly satisfied by the predictable sterility of open-plan life. I do these to entertain jaded colleagues).

I would quickly sketch a little cartoon and pass it over the divide to one of my pod pals. I love the way they always accept them graciously and pin them up next to the photos of their children.

I think they think I am proud of this rubbish. Soon all of my colleagues will have my “work” displayed in their line of vision. This I am proud of. There’s an unlimited supply of these too: I have a mind like a roulette wheel and coming up with something pretty random is easy and impulsive. These drawings (as you may be able to tell!) are the work of moments. I think that’s what I like most about them: they are almost like automatic writing.

Later, when staying in a Toronto hotel with my illustrator girlfriend, we had a draw-off. Who could draw the most things and how fast?

It was me, obviously. My girlfriend is an actual illustrator and will put time into making a beautiful piece of art. I, on the other hand, am a stupid boob with a machine-gun tendency to externalise my most immediate ideas with no sense of shame and no patience for refinement.

Also, I cheated. I recreated some of the office-worker favourites. Among their number were such classics as “John and Margaret Lungs” and “Billy Seamine Head”.

Billy is probably my personal favourite. He just wants a friend! But thanks to the honking great sea mine he has for a head, no one in their right mind will go near him. He lives in a tragic world of people leaping out of his path in horror.

I often draw Billy Seaminehead in the margins of notepads and sudoku pages too. He usually has something hanging dangerously (often a bra or an English flag) from one of his detonator rods. His catchphrase is always the same: “Friend?”

Poor Billy. He has an acid battery for a brain.

It was Billy Seammine Head that the facilities manager of my office recently spotted, thankfully while I was out of the office. Apparently she was amused. I bet I will still receive a memo ordering me to take them down though. I am already getting away with a pair of false teeth on my desk, an inflatable Father Christmas and a piss-takingly large plant called Philip Nostrum.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, my girlfriend has my drawings tacked to the walls of her illustration cubicle (I do not know the correct term for these work stations. Inky Boxes?). She is studying a one-year comic book illustration course at a trade school and two of her professors are fans. Well, one of them is a fan. The other thinks my stupid rubbish is her work and sympathetically gives her advice on how she can improve her game. Haha!

Apparently John and Margaret Lungs have attracted the most attention. I admit they are bizarre. One of the profs apparently asked which was John and which was Margaret. I have decided that Margaret is the smiling one: John thinks he has won their latest argument but Margaret is not letting on that she has done a wee in John’s alveoli.

Other favourites include a very good drawing of a pencil with the caption, “I drew this with this pencil”; and a friendly snail with the caption, “Ian Henderson. 442, Chartwell Close”.

I am exactly like Tony Hart. (I think this entry is a fitting tribute).

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