SIMON ELLINAS, Caricaturist, cartoonist and painter

Photo of Simon Ellinas, caricaturistI WAS BORN with a pencil in my hand and a fascination with people’s faces. All lessons at school were opportunities to draw teachers and fellow pupils. The generous supply of pencils and exercise books was put to good use. I would start magazines on the schools old spirit duplicating machine or contribute to existing publications with caricature portraits of school personalities or cartoon strips of various escapades.

Scraping through sufficient exams to warrant an entry to art school, I found myself advised to “give up the cartooning” and concentrate on painting. This was impossible and I soon found myself earning a living in various design departments of magazine publishers. My cartoon illustrations were first published in magazines for which I was responsible for the layout. A nice combination of roles.

Once full-time employment gave me up, I went completely freelance as both a magazine designer and a cartoonist/illustrator. I gained new clients by travelling around London with my portfolio and seeing Art Editors. Thus, I began to see my work published in newspapers and magazines such as The Sunday Times, Hi-Fi News, Life, Nursing Times and many others.

Always interested in humour, I launched my own magazine, Ha! (Humorous Arts) which ran for five issues, distributed around independent newsagents in London. The comedy connection also led to my trying my hand at stand up comedy poetry as BlazerMan! (complete with striped blazer). Around 2010 I started Chattoon! The chat show with Cartoons, which aimed to bring celebrities together with live caricaturing.

Meanwhile, the local art society encouraged me to join and reignited my old love of painting. I got involved in exhibitions and sold a few pieces and even got commissioned to paint a large painting for the wall of a restaurant.

This latest collection of caricature portraits started when I was given a diary as Christmas present in 2018. I have never got beyond the end of January in any diary, so I wondered what I could do with it. I decided to draw a celebrity born on each of the dates, directly onto the diary pages. Uploading each one on the correct day to social media proved quite popular. As 2019 drew to a close, I wondered what I could do for 2020. So, I was struck by the idea of drawing a caricature of a famous person associated with every single London Underground station. And here we are at the London Underground Caricatures site.

I provide a number of services for publications, companies and individuals producing Caricatures, cartoons and artwork for websites, blogs, books, magazines and newspapers, as well as original gifts and on the spot entertainment at parties with live Caricatures.