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The creative mind behind the Barry Loser series on how to draw his big-nosed characters, smelly dog poo (yes, really!) and other brilliantly gross cartoon images. Juliet Vandensteen took a front row seat.

Clutching their pencils and clipboards full of paper, the children stared up in anticipation as Jim Smith took to the stage at Kitson Hall.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner began by telling us where he got the ideas for his weird and wonderful characters. Barry Loser was based on his 10-year-old self, he admitted, while his childhood best friend Ben inspired the long-legged, energetic Bunky. “I thought back to the way that Ben and I were as kids and how our friendship worked. We really wanted to be American when we were kids, and we thought the way American kids on TV shows said the word ‘cool’ sounded a bit like ‘keel’, so if we liked something we’d say that it was ‘keel’ and if we didn’t it’d be ‘unkeel’.”

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The defining characteristics of Barry Loser and his storybook companions are their olive-shaped eyes, square bodies and their ginormous, balloon-like noses. “What I liked about big noses was that all my favourite cartoonists gave their characters big noses,” he said. “And I always thought noses were quite funny; we all have one sticking out of our faces!”

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Next, Jim gave tutorials on how to draw Barry, Bunky, Darren Darenofski and his newest character, Future Ratboy. As well as a quick demo of drawing cartoon dog poo, that had everyone laughing.

By Ellie, age 10
By Ellie, age 10


Want to have go? Here’s your step-by-step guide to bringing Barry to life…

  1. Always start with the eyes. Draw two black circles that look a little bit like olives.


  1. Next draw a big, big nose that droops down – the bigger the better.


  1. To create Barry’s hair draw a few comma shapes sprouting from the top of his head in different directions.


  1. Barry’s ear is made up of two ‘C’ shapes, one inside of the other, and the bottom of his head ends just below the nose.

IMG_01095. Next draw a square body and an arm with three fingers.


  1. To complete the picture draw Barry’s ‘L’ shaped legs and a hood on the back of his jumper.


And there you have it, your very own Barry Loser!

For more from the super keel Jim Smith visit,


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