The great thing about being a cartoonist, is that you don’t have to do it full time in order to create a decent body of work.
In other words, you can have a day job as well. You can have a life.
I did this for years. I had a day job in advertising, but I’d do my wee doodles either early in the morning or after work, often sitting in a bar or a cafe.
The same can be said for writing books. “Catch-22”, one of the greater books of the last hundred years, was written in Joseph Heller’s spare time. The book’s massive sales allowed him to retire and start writing full time, but he never would write anything nearly as good as “Catch” ever again. Perhaps the day job did him good.
Other art forms are more demanding, say, oil painting or film making. They tend to be all-consuming, at least they mostly are if your stuff is any good.
I wouldn’t touch either with a barge pole, unless you literally *have no choice*. But that’s not my call.
Postcard sent to Martin Gram in Copenhagen, my old Danish buddy from my 1990’s New York days.
[BELATED ENTRY] Postcard sent to Colin Morrison, an Edinburgh-based lawyer that I was introduced to by my very old friend, Colin Gilchrist.
She lives in Goldenacre, the neighborhood where I used to buy my sweeties after school.
I’ve known Al since he was fourteen. One of the loveliest, sweetest guys you’ll ever meet. Such fun, such good energy, a real gentleman, to boot.
About twenty years ago he shot to fame as Archie MacDonald, the leading character in the global hit TV show, “Monarch of The Glen”. One of the tabloids named him as “Britain’s Sexiest Man” soon after.
I’m pleased to report that Al didn’t let any of this stuff go to his head. He’s still lovely Al, through and through. Hurrah!
Postcard sent to my sister, Sarah who, obviously, is also a Scot.
She and I both had years where we faced more than our fare share of adversity… but here we are, none too worse for wear. Plenty to be grateful for.
Postcard sent to Maajid Nawaz, the London-based activist and media personality.
Maajid and I met in Edinburgh in 2011 at Ted Global, we’ve been friends ever since. He commisioned a large drawing from me a few years ago, and we also hung out in New York the last time we were both there at the same time.
Maajid hosts a well-know LBC talk radio show where he manages to tick off all the right people. He is no friend of extremists- Islamic and non-Islamic alike. A champion of decency, common sense and moderation, he takes a lot of shit from the crazies on social media, including death threats. Frankly, I think he’s a national hero and should be given a Knigthhood, or at least, an MBE. It’ll probably happen eventually,
Postcard sent to Ian Peter “Peeps” MacDonald, an old family friend.
His dad and my dad were great friends. Peeps has worn many hats over the years, currently he’s running a Scots Highland microbrewery in Lochaber. My favorite story of his is, he was the chap who started printing famous paintings onto fridge magnets, then selling them in museum shops.
Art museum fridge magnets are pretty ubiquitous now, they weren’t back then.
As for the actual drawing: For most of my career, I had no idea where it was all taking me. Would I stay in advertising? Would I be a cartoonist? A writer? An entrepreneur? A marketing consultant? Who the hell knew? Not me.
So thirty years into it, here I am, doing my thing. Drawing pictures for clients, or drawing pictures for myself and my friends. Writing the occasional piece of copy, simply because no one else on the team can do it as quickly or easily as I can. And that’s about it.
After much zig-zagging, it seems that I have arrived, after all. I know Peeps can relate.
Scottish Project #036 just landed in Copengen, none too worse for wear. Thanks, Martin for the photo!
Postcard sent to Sondre Lerche, the Norwegian musician and songwriter. I’ve been a fan of his music for many years. I don’t know him personally, but we natter a lot on Twitter.
Postcard sent to my second cousin in Edinburgh, Martha Courier.
Martha is Catriona Courtier’s daughter. Her gandmother and my grandmother were sisters. She and my first cousin, Catriona MacLeod are great pals. We both have strong connection to Stonyburn. She’s a lovely lass, a real sweetheart, and like her mum, a bit of a bolshie and a feminist.
“Meaning is a constellation”. As in, we get our sense of meaning from more than one source. From religion, from our families, from art, from political causes, from our work and careers, it’s never ending, it’s always mutating. And if we foolishly try to get it from just one source, religion, say, or career, or science, or worshipping some pop star, it starts drying up really fast.
This explains why The Bible has so many books: one book simply is not enough.
Postcard sent to my cousin, Marsalli MacLeod.
Marsalli MacLeod (or NicLeoid, to use the Gaelic Feminine), is the quintessential Highland lass. She grew up in Stathnaver with her sister, Catriona, after getting her PhD in Aberdeen, she now lives and works on the Isle of Skye. Her Facebook page is awash with photos of her climbing mountains and long distace road biking around the Scottish Highlands.
Like her sister, she taught herself to speak Gaelic (Our grandfather spoke Gaelic as a first language, but he didn’t pass it on to his sons), as an act of will.
When my father, William MacLeod, passed away in 2010, she flew over to West Texas for the memorial service. For the congregation she sang a Gaelic Lament, an old one that was actually called “The Lament of William MacLeod”, which pretty much blew everyone away, including me.
I sent her the “Taco” one as a wee reference to our short time in Texas together, as it were.