News and Views from Oliver Preston
SHOOTING TALES and VERY NAUGHTY LIMERICKS
Next week we are taking delivery of two new books, "The Imperfect Shot" and "Lively Limericks". Usual story, you take a year off, then two come along at the same time! Unbelievably, since 2000 I have now contributed to 15 books, and several compilations of my cartoons. One of the best sellers was "How to be Asked Again", a How to book about shooting, written by the wonderful Rosie Nickerson, and containing a lot of my shooting cartoons from The Field Magazine. Shooting is undergoing something of a renaissance in the UK, with many taking up the sport, and How to be Asked Again was immensely popular for those wishing to learn, take as a gift or just (hopefully) have a giggle at the cartoons. Working with Andrew Johnston publisher at Quiller Books , Jeremy Hobson (an ex-gamekeeper) and I have put together another book on shooting, this time on shooting gaffes, faux-pas and blunders (not the mortal kind!). There are lots of very funny stories and anecdotes, as you'd expect from someone of Jeremy's calibre, and a lot of cartoons. We think it's going to do really well, and books are arriving just in time for the Game Fair at Harewood House in Yorkshire, Burghley and the christmas market.
Back in 2001-2004 I illustrated two books with a great friend , Alastair Sampson; Liquid and Larder Limericks, were great fun with his witty verses about wines of the world and food. Patrick Holden, a co-trustee of The Cartoon Museum in London, is an inveterate collector of limericks and writer of verses and he approached me to see if we could do another tome - this time Lively Limericks a collection of naughty limericks, the sort that you would want to find on a visit to the cloakroom or loo - to make you smile at the risque humour. It's a very British tradition, and there are some absolute classics in the book as well as lots of new ones. I illustrated it alongside Punch cartoonist Bill Stott, and it will be a great stocking filler for christmas at a price of £12.50. From doting duchesses and Oxford dons to bricklayers and the Women's Institute there are a multitude of clever limericks with stylish pictures.
CHRISTMAS CARD FUN
It is always very bizarre drawing christmas cards in the summer, with temperatures this year in the high 20's, the usual nail-biting over Murray's antics at Wimbledon, and Agnew and Blofeld smoothly commentating on what is unfolding as a classic Ashes summer. Drawing plump Santa Clauses, with minions of elves on sleighs, in snow filled scenery just doesn't seem quite right in the middle of July. But hey ho (or Ho Ho), publishing needs must, and people do start asking for them from the and of July (I know). We have two new ones: Glacier 3000 for the skiers amongst you (modelled on Les Diablerets -the Little devils- , a glacier I know well), and Game for a Sleigh Ride for the shooting fraternity. The cards are 7 x 5 inches and come in packs of 10, and we even throw in the envelopes. I always think it is a lovely tradition sending out hand written christmas cards - a way of staying in touch with good friends, or letting 'lost touch' friends know that you are still out there. Some people like attaching photographs of their children, some even an A4 essay on their family's trials and successes throughout the year. I prefer to keep it christmassy, with Father Christmas doing his thing !
BRIDGE FUN AND LOVERS OF POLITICS
We always have a lot of fun with elections, and 2015 was no exception. I drew an updated set of Political Playing cards (and did the same in 2010), with all the political players on the royalty cards and aces. Aces, Kings, Queens and Knaves featured David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Miliband, Yvette Cooper, and Boris Johnson , George Osborne and Theresa May amongst others as well as the media. Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage as Jokers. They are very popular with Bridge players - not only as proper playing cards (two packs red and blue) and are beautifully made in England, but they are something very different, and make the perfect present for those people that are awkward to find presents for ! I always send a card to the individuals caricatured asking them to sign them and send them back. In 2010, we had a clean sweep of replies, and if they refused to sign them (Blair, Brown) at least they replied. In 2015, we sent them out before the election and had a clean sweep pf Tory replies and signatures, but not a jiffy from any of the others. Then again, I suppose Miliband would probably not of signed THAT bacon sandwich caricature! Maybe it's a sign of the political times, maybe it was a pre-cursor of the surprise election result !