A Cartoonist Students Story

Mark Nolan has very kindly written todays blog post for us, about his story in how he joined the London Art college Cartooning Diploma Course and his journey in working up to creating his first set for John Byrne to assess. I hope you find it an interesting and inspiring story.

I guess I am a bit of an oddity coming into the Cartoon course, as I’ve literally not done any “proper” drawing of any sort since way back in the days of school. I’ve doodled, and jotted but not really done anything with a purpose or an aim. I’ll give the whole back story (as tragic as it probably seemed from the point of view of a school boy!)

Back in the day of silly ties and thinking I was way cooler than I obviously was I actually really enjoyed drawing. I used to doodle, copy change things all over, and on the whole really enjoyed the freedom of expression in drawing. I think I was fairly confident that I might not be the next classic artist but I wasn’t bad. I then had the classic school child run in with a poor teacher. I didn’t realise at that time why I was getting bad grades, I’d always got good grades previously in art. Then one day I got a piece back marked as C- (something silly like that) but it was marked in pencil, so I rubbed it out and got my friend to hand in my work. It came back shortly with an A+. So suffice to say the teacher was markign me down, but no reason to this day as to why. Anyway, from that point onwards I sort of lost my enthusiasm for drawing.

Move on 22ish years a computer science degree a wedding and four children. I got to wondering in the last year as to whether I could draw, whether I could do something of proffesional quality and to the point funny. I realised I was doing a lot of doodling as and when I had the opportunity. In fact a couple of friends at work bought me a bored at work doodle book to doodle in, so it must have been noticed. I finally decided that if I didn’t do something about it then this was something that I would always look back on and wonder if I could have done it. Could I work at that level and do I have the ability to earn some sort of living off this.

So to cut what is probably a very boring story a little shorter I decided to bite the bullet and see whether I have the ability. I did some research on line and looked at all the courses that were available. In the end I decided on the London Art College course. It seemed to have good reviews and th support from the course tutor was something I thought was going to be worth it’s weight in gold.

I’m currently working through the first modules, trying not to rush and to practise the basics that will hopefully stand me in good stead. I have browsed ahead through the modules and pre-bought a small notepad which I keep in my coat pocket at all times for ideas and thoughts. Some of which deffinately aren’t as funny as I thought when I wrote them, others which have some potential in them … I hope.

Well there’s my life story according to the world of art in a brief summary. I’m hoping to have my first submissions ready soon, although I’ve not done anything with colour yet as I’m a little broke in the run up to Santa season. I have pages and pages of practice, most of which are dated, some even have objects on that might even be recognisable, however they are very much covered in lines and curves : )

Mark Nolan (Cartooning Diploma)

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