Monthly Archives: January 2016

100 THINGS TO DO WITH AN EMPTY BABY FOOD JAR

Robert Duncan celebrates his silliest most fun job for ages…

Duncancartoons.com had an email from Danone, the yogurt lot. Would I be interested in doing a project for an exhibition in Dubai? Course I would…

The idea they had was the title of this exciting article – I was to think of loads of things you could do with an empty baby food jar, and this was to be the challenge for all the adventurous punters who visited the show.

Things-to-do-with-a-jar

Well, as client ideas go, this had to be right up there near the top, probably right at the top. Within minutes I had drawn the pot (which I did only once) and simply added silly drawings to it. The cool client said he was in Holland most of the time so we could either meet there or at a hotel in Oxford. With regret I decided that the Oxford alternative was probably more sensible, and I started to do a drawing or two to prove I could do all that was expected of me. The drawing or two soon turned into about fifteen – I got carried away dear. It was so easy, and so much fun. The ideas just rolled out as fast as I could draw them, and they were all looking wonderful. Well I thought so. A small vase of flowers. A place to keep paint brushes. Smartie storage. Save Lego bits. Collect small family photos. Then it began to get a bit more silly. Grow mustard and cress. Keep fish. Make a ship in a jar. Then broad stupidity broke through. Conceal elephants. Play roll the jar. Catch spiders.

I was having a ball – and to cut a long story short (if it’s not too late) I’d practically finished the job when I met up with my humorous lively likeable client. He loved it all, went along with everything, and we ended up arranging to give the exhibition visitors a baby food jar each, containing a tiny booklet of the best ideas, and an entry form they could fill in with their own thoughts, and leave in the entry box provided. There would be posters promoting the whole thing, and a speed draw film running constantly on the stand. Perfection!

This whole thing has underlined what I love about my job. I sit there, being as silly as possible, and the clients either buy into it or look at me in a weird sideways fashion. Adrian from Danone had an idea, found the right bloke to bring it to life (he said modestly) and had the courage to leave said bloke to it. And under those circumstances I deliver. One hundred percent. I have loved doing the project and it shows in every casually drawn nicely executed line.

If only more people could read me as a chap who knows vaguely what he’s doing, and could leave me to it. Great ideas, great surprises come from a relaxed approach, where the artist (in this case me) feels he can get daft, funny and excited about what he’s doing, safe in the knowledge that he is hitting that little humour spot that the brief demands.

Unlike a conference I was at a week before when a lady scribbled out the caption of one of my cartoons and replaced it with her own idea, demanding I should redraw it. I felt like telling her to go forth and multiply. Or words to that effect.

Love you Danone. You’ve made an old cartoonist very happy…