“Ashley Egan and I have something in common,” observed Rolf Harris, “We have both drawn for as long as we can remember.” Before his debut on the Cartoon Club, Ashley had a cartoon strip titled The Little Horrors published regularly in his local paper The Trader. This came about because he won a competition by a newspaper who were looking for an original character design. His prize consisted of an eight-week course at Art College. There he met a practising cartoonist who knew the editor of his local paper and before long he was invited to produce his first regular strip. He also designed an Australian based strip he called The Ozzies; as back-up.
He prefers to design characters and has just been rewarded for his efforts by HTV West, Bristol who bought an option on some of his designs with a view to starring them in a cartoon film series. Ecological and environmental issues are tackled with boundless zeal by sixty year old gardener Reg Buckett, alias Captain Ozone aided by a team called R.A.P. (Revolution Against Pollution). Ashley’s lettering is quite enviable, being as neat and stylish as many a professionals.
Nominated Young Cartoonist of the Year (1989), Howard McWilliam narrowly missed winning his title the year before when he came second with a cartoon dog called Smut. Like Ashley, he invents new characters with deceptive ease, each with its own well developed personality. His local paper The Western Daily Press devoted a double spread to this talented thirteen year old and are about to publish one of his strips featuring Peregrine the urban tramp fox. As a direct result of the write-up the British Institute for Brain Injured Children invited him to illustrate one of their booklets.
The strange thing is that HTV West have not, as yet, been able to discover three feminine counterparts with equal talent. Where are you girls?
Update 2010: Howard McWilliam is now a professional illustrator. Website McBill.
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Printed in Animator Issue 27 (Summer 1990)