THE humble traffic cone may not seem the most inspiring object ever invented - but for one Whitstable cartoonist the orange and white plastic creation has given him 101 great ideas.
Charlie Halson has just published his first comic book, 101 Uses for a Traffic Cone, and already it is attracting attention from experts in the comic book world.
His success has been made all the more remarkable by the fact that Charlie is just 15 years old and only launched his career last year.
Charlie said: “I have been drawing professionally since about the middle of last year. I was watching other people’s work on the internet and thought I could get a little bit of the action so I loaded my work up.”
Since then a growing number of fans now follow his cartoons.
The Clifton Road teenager, who has been diagnosed as on the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum, posts new comic strips three times a week on a website under the alias of Chazdude.
The comics mostly feature the adventures of mischievous duo Dave and Carl.
Charlie said: “Dave and Carl came about because I just thought I needed to come up with original characters, they are not based on anyone.
“All of the cartoons are done by pen and pencil.”
His artistic ability means he can draw out a new cartoon within 30 minutes, which is then scanned and loaded onto the computer, ready to be revealed to his online fans when needed.
“I usually upload them just after I wake up in the morning.”
Charlie’s cartoons encountered success on their very first outing in the offline world, where he came fourth at the Hoffman Foundation for Autism Annual Art competition and exhibition at the Crompton Gallery in London.
His drawings proved so popular, fans requested to buy the original artwork.
His comic book sprang into life last May with the creation of his first cone drawing, number 13 on the list, using a traffic cone as a hat.
Charlie said: “Almost a year ago I drew number 13 and then I drew a mock cover and it evolved into this idea.”
Thanks to support from Whitstable printer RG Digitalprint, the idea soon became a reality and is now available to buy.
There are plans to produce T-shirts and greeting cards too.
Impressed by the high quality of Charlie’s drawings, well-established London-based comic store Gosh! jumped at the chance to stock the limited print publication.
The home-educated teenager’s comic book can be found in Harbour Street Books and the Whitstable Improvement Trust’s shop.
For more of Charlie’s work, visit chazdude.newgrounds.com or follow @thechazdude on Twitter.