My first Animal drawn with a continuous line was the Horse, which was based upon a painting by George Stubbs, where a horse is savaged by a lion. I used the general image of the horse, but with a calm and flowing style (rather than it appearing to be scared witless).The Cat was drawn quickly, in about 15 minutes, without reference to any picture. My main memories of cats in my childhood were at my Dad’s work, a market garden in Ripon where he was the foreman. There were always several cats around, which were kept to control the mice and rats in the gardens. Dad called every one “Tib”. The downside was the periodic drowning of kittens to keep the numbers in check. I particularly liked one cat which always appeared to have been in a fight, and so I drew a dislocated tail on my cat. This sort of tail became a trademark in some later animals.
Following our April Fools Day party on 1 April 1966 (the day after the General Election) when I did my Harold Wilson continuous line, our next venture was a Pink Elephant party. So I was asked to do another picture. This elephant was based upon a drawing in a book of animals. I added a dislocated tail and appropriate colour.People said that the flowing lines on the Horse and the Elephant gave an appearance of elegance, whereas some animals were a bit more aggressive. So I decided that I would draw a Lion in a seated position, with the lower part of its body at ease and relaxed, but with the head suddenly giving out a great roar. The roar was based upon the opening sequence of Metro Goldwyn Mayer films, where the lion roars through a gap in the logo.
I have a strong memory of sitting with a blank piece of paper in front of me and thinking that I had done the Horse, Cat and Elephant and they had all turned out well. I had not yet failed to create a picture better than I had anticipated. Would the Lion work out ? You just have to start and see what happens.
On the Internet, a couple of years ago, I saw a feature which allowed you to put your own face in the Metro Goldwyn Mayer logo. Of course I chose to put my Lion’s head in there. Their Lion was called Leo, but I prefer Mayer.