BIG WHEEL KEEP ON TURNING…

Robert Duncan draws a big paddle boat (and a big crowd)…

Paddle_BoatPart of my illustrious living is going to conferences and drawing whatever gags I can come up with concerning the subjects of the day. I normally manage to produce about thirty conference cartoons, full of wit and wisdom, for the delighted audience. Or something like that…

So last Tuesday was a bit different. For a start I only had to do one drawing. One. Wonderful. Only snag was that it was to be on a wall, about 10ft x 4ft and my every move would be observed by dozens of people.

In a previous meeting with the truly wonderful client, Hedges Law, we established that a form of transport would be a good metaphor for the company moving forward, avoiding potholes, and taking their clients towards the wonderful sunset of success. Coo…waxing lyrical there.

I suggested a boat because I thought I could get more scenarios on a deck than in, for example, a bus. Then I suddenly thought about Gordon MacRae (I’m like that) and came up with Showboat. Bingo! (Or whatever the expression is.) we were on course, heading for calm waters, and the wind was behind us. Enough of that…

My client Nikki, who is a lively young lady who happens to run this well established historically famous law firm, started off the proceedings by telling the assembly about the boat analogy, and asking for suggestions for what the craft should contain. In the meantime I started drawing the river boat as they came up with ideas as diverse as ‘It must have a sat nav’ and ‘How about a casino?’ to spare boats, jetties, worried clients with piles of cases (legal cases), crocodiles, loudspeakers, music, rapids, maps, spotlights and anchors.

As they talked in their positive and very lively way, I kept adding little vignettes to my enormous cartoon. A drawing I had started at 8.30am was only half finished by lunchtime, so I missed that and let all the jolly delegates get on with it. They came flocking back after reviving themselves, and gathered round to look at my efforts. I enjoyed being told how clever I was, and how they wished they could draw like that, and all that was better than any lunch to revive me, and spur me on to the triumphal conclusion. By 3.30 I had completed my task, which included little group shots of their typical client types – and was ready to take my leave, and head home where I was due to pick up my darling Cathy to take her to a charity performance of Matilda. And that was the most disappointing part of what was a very satisfying day.

The previously mentioned wonderful Nikki sent me an email after the event: “Thank you so much for another awesome contribution to our team offsite. Your talent for capturing the essence of who we are, and the ideas and proposals coming from the team, is just incredible. You really add a special something to us all, and your artwork will take pride of place in our office as a great aide memoire of how we are ‘making the difference’.”

I like that. Can’t think why…