Monday, 2 July 2012

Happy 350th Birthday Mr Punch

A blast from my past with Punch and cohorts coming to news attention again as he celebrates a big birthday.

Its a few years since I worked on a Mr Punch image, but seeing the article on the BBC website (by Tim Masters) made me want to revisit the character again. Will see what time allows for a little playful reworking perhaps. Fascinating to read up about Punch on the BBC site and amazing to think that the character has been around for 350 years.

I remember visiting the British Toy and Model Museum at the time of this job and having a good look at some of the vintage props they had from various puppet shows. They were really helpful when I outlined why I was researching Punch and by appointment I was able to see and handle the puppets. I remember them being a little fragile, tired and a little passed their best due to heavy use and wear - exactly how they should be. When I designed the image for the stamps I leant away from the sinister side of Punch, making him softer in character and thought what would he look like when fresh out of the box.

Once all of the sketches were approved I remember painting this image on a tiny A4 watercolour artboard on my Grandad's kitchen table as that was temporary studio at the time - I was staying with him before I moved to London. Not only was this commission one of my all time favourites, it also remains one of my fondest memories too, as my Grandfather and I discussed the creative process when I was going through the ups and downs of the job. He witnessed the progress from initial rough sketches, revised detailed drawings and of course through the finished artwork stages. That memory means everything to me now.

BBC Entertainment & Arts

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