Ollie & Quentin Book

Ollie & Quentin Book
125 pages in full colour!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where's Quentin?

I'm a big fan of the 'Where's Wally' books by British artist Martin Handford. (In the U.S. they're called "Where's Waldo" for some reason). For several years in the early and mid 1990's "Where's Waldo" was turned into a Sunday newspaper comic/puzzle and distributed by King Features Syndicate.

As a kid my brother and I used to draw epic battle scenes a bit like these. First we'd use a pink pen to draw hundreds of heads, then another color for the bodies and another for the legs etc. We'd spend hours sat in the back yard drawing these gory panoramas.

So, can you spot Quentin? He's the only lugworm dressed like he is in the first frame.

Answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passport Photos

My dear old dad went to one of those high tech photo booths to get some new passport photos done. He paid his £4, pressed 'yes' to all the questions on screen and waited to receive his photos. This is what popped out 4 minutes later:
Happy Easter Everyone.


I don't make this stuff up, you know. Seagulls do have toenails.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Where do you get your ideas?" #895

Anyone out there ever slipped a disk? My sympathies because I did that 16 years ago and have suffered ever since. For 6 years I couldn't do any sport but about 10 years ago I started running again (my other passion besides drawing). I'd suffer with back aches etc but managed to keep running all the same. The pain seems to have settled now which I should be grateful about but the payoff has been pressure on a nerve that feeds my calf and foot resulting in a weakness that makes running difficult and a foot without a reflex. The above cartoon has been the only good to have have come out of this long, miserable predicament.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Times and Sunday Times Websites to charge from June

The Times and Sunday Times Newspapers will start charging to access their websites from June, owner News International (NI) has announced. Users will pay £1 for a day's access and £2 for a week's subscription.

This is a bold and interesting move by Rupert Murdoch. I'll be interested to see if it works and who might follow. I hope it does as I've always felt premium content could and should be paid for. Let's see.

To read the full story on the BBC website click here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wonky Widget

Comics Kingdom still works, it's just the widget that's gone wonky. I've replaced it with a static graphic that takes you to the same place where you can see my daily comic. Just click the graphic top right.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Comic Strips

Every now and again I check out my web stats to see how people have navigated to www.ollieandquentin.com. Today, I got a laugh when I noticed someone had typed into Google "What are Comic Strips?" I'm guessing they're either visitors from another planet or the newspaper industry is in a worse state than I thought.

Comics Kingdom Widget

I'm not a techie but I think the Comics Kingdom Widget (top right) might be the reason you're getting a Google Malware Warning appearing when you enter this site. Seems everything's fine when the widget doesn't work but when it does you get that alert. I'm sure the engine room at King Features are working tirelessly on fixing this so please be patient. In the meantime here's today's comic which I do like but it does look a bit like Quentin's found himself a particularly unattractive girlfriend in the first panel.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Centurion Trailer

We've known our good friends Clare and David since all our kids were babies. I don't know how it happened but suddenly all our four children are adults. Their son, Ashton, spent a few weeks last year running around the woods not far from here pretending to be a Roman soldier. Next thing I know I'm sent the above movie trailer saying he's one of the soldiers chopping each other up. In fact he says he's more than one soldier as he's been duplicated a number of times. I'm so jealous. It beats my extras moment in 'Chariots of Fire'.

(Be warned the trailer is a bit gory).

Friday, March 19, 2010


Today's comic reflects my opinion on so many movies these days. They tend to look fabulous and the acting is fine but they are so often let down by a poor story, a plot full of loopholes and lame dialogue. They come across as "Movies By Committee" too. I can almost hear some idiot executive around the table saying:

"Hey, let's put an alien in somewhere."
"But it's a romantic comedy, Brian."
"I know, but everyone loves aliens, ET made lots of money. Let's make the star a divorced, washed up cop with a drink problem and a daughter that hates him."
"The star's a college kid, Brian."
"She'll love him by the end of the movie."
"Ok, let's add Brian's ideas. Anyone else?"

My biggest gripe, however, is WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE SO LONG? It's not that I have a short attention span but what happened to good editing? I'd happily pay to see a great hour and a half movie rather than sit through a poor three hour one. Quite often that boring three hour movie might make a great hour and a half one. Less is more, leave it on the cutting room floor. Hey, that rhymed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 NCS Reuben Divisional Award Nominees Announced

Tom Richmond's excellent blog has the full list of this year's Reuben Divisional Nominees. I'm delighted to see John Hambrock's "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" has been nominated in the Newspaper Comic Category as this is one of my favorite strips. Congratulations too to "Zits" and "Non Sequitur", both deserved nominees too.
Also congratulations to another one of my favorites, Hilary Price's "Rhymes With Orange" has been nominated in the Newspaper Panel division.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Darth Vader

Today's comic gives me the excuse to post this fantastic lego animation set to Eddie Izzard's brilliant stand up comedy routine. If you haven't seen it prepare for a good laugh but, be warned, the language is a bit blue.

Lost in Translation...

I have a pretty good comic rough on the chopping block (see above with the text removed). It hinges on readers knowing the 'Counting Crows' rhyme. Here in the UK we have a very well known version counting Magpies. It goes:

One for sorrow
Two for Joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told.

I googled this rhyme and learned that in the US there is a Counting Crows version that goes:

One crow means sorrow
Two crows mean joy
Three crows a wedding
Four crows a boy
Five crows mean silver
Six crows mean gold
Seven crows a secret that's never been told.

My question is, how popular is this rhyme? If I made reference to it would you know what I meant? My Editor didn't know it and seeing as he's one of the brightest people I know I have a feeling my comic is doomed, but just in case...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hever Castle, Home of Anne Boleyn

It's Mother's Day here in the UK, so took a day away from the drawing board to visit Hever Castle in Kent which was the home to King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn. A lovely place with some great artwork. I particularly love the drawings of Anne by Hans Holbein the Younger, copies of which hang in the castle.

Left to Right

You'll see the difference between my rough and the final comic. I made the basic error of having the action moving in the wrong direction (right to left instead of left to right). Fortunately my editor at Kings pointed me in the right direction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sharks and the 'real' Quentin

Regular visitors to this blog will know that Quentin is named after my younger brother Quentin who is today in South Africa diving with sharks! Here are a couple of his photos which I'm posting because, by coincidence, I recently drew the above comic not knowing his plans for this week. Apparently 7 of them dive in that cage at once to see the Great White circling their boat. Gulp.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Less is more

In a discussion on The Daily Cartoonist Website there's talk about simply drawn comics, namely Stephan Pastis' Pearls Before Swine comic. I quote "... the infantile scrawl of his drawings in the strip. Stick figures, slightly modified." The writer goes on to say "...when he draws his characters in a way that they resemble hors d’oeuvres on toothpicks, we know he’s doing minimal work, artistically speaking. In effect, he’s ridiculing his hard-working fellow cartoonists, many of whom spend almost every waking hour making the elaborate drawings in their strips. I can almost hear him scoffing: “You fools! You spend your lives pushing ink around on paper, but I have achieved fame and fortune with the barest resemblance of drawing in my strip. Don’t you wish you’d thought of this?” Scorn drips from every syllable."

This same writer once wrote about my comic. He was quite complimentary but on the subject of my artwork he wrote:
"...Piers Baker draws his Pastis-ische strip, Ollie and Quentin, with a line that is as unvarying and monotonous as Scott Adams’ in Dilbert..." he continues "The simplicity of the drawing bores me. Shouldn’t a visual artform present pictures that are interesting? A worm as a character is probably the apogee of uninteresting art. And a seagull with a beak that never opens isn’t much better. Only Stephen Pastis tops this performance by giving Rat and Pig stick-figure arms and legs in Pearls before Swine."

Ok ok, that's enough copying and pasting. What I want to say in reply is that it is a mistake to think an unvarying line or a simple character is an easy or lazy option. I, for one "spend almost every waking hour" drawing the simple pictures in my strip. I spend as much time on my feature as any comic strip cartoonist out there. And it's not because I'm slow. I take great care to get everything just right. Every aspect of every frame is thought through carefully. I draw most items individually so they can be dropped in in exactly the right place. It takes a lot of hard work to reproduce characters of a similar look frame after frame with only the simplest of lines. In fact, in my experience, I'd say that the scratchier, more complex and 'interesting' the line the easier it is to achieve the same look to your characters. I am certainly not taking the easy option by choosing one simple line. It's damn hard.

The unvarying lines in Dilbert and Pearls Before Swine are genius. Making it look easy is what clever people do. They make you think "I can do that", but guess what... you can't.

Monday, March 08, 2010


I prefer not to change real names in comics so was quite keen to use YouTube in this week's series. However the series ends with me needing to use the YouTube logo which I was told I couldn't do. I therefore had to go back and find a new similar name which was really hard as so many of them already exist. CritterTube was one that doesn't yet have a website that I could find.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday strip in full

I hope 'Ollie and Quentin' is a comic that appeals to readers of all ages. Every now and then strips go through that probably appeal to one end of the age scale more than the other. Today's is so stupidly goofy I'm hoping older readers will forgive me and younger ones get as close to a giggle as they can. Actually, a groan will do.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

3 minutes 53 seconds of absolute genius...

Hang in there a few seconds, it's not just another one of those slightly boring falling domino things and the guy at the start is only covered in red paint (it looks a bit grim). At the end you'll see why. I especially like the cutlery tapping the glasses to make part of the song. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pickles by Brian Crane

As an iphone user this really made me laugh this morning.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Comic Error

Note to self: If you decide to have your characters say two different things in one panel make sure their expression matches the second statement and not the first. In frame two of today's comic Nobby should be looking disappointed/surprised rather than cheerful.