Mel Barren's
Head Spaghetti & Gallery

This is head spaghetti - a jumble of ideas that spill from the mind and onto paper.

These are cartoons created as commissions for wonderful clients and sometimes as gifts for friends and family. They are usually grateful enough to keep them ... in an old shoebox at the back of a wardrobe. Nice.

You might see ideas that could be adapted as a gift for your nearest and dearest. I'll 'put them in the picture'. Contact me and we can talk through ideas for a commissioned cartoon and I'll give you a quote. 


Otherwise, please browse in the hope you may at least crack a smile.

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The Anatomy Of A Cartoon

How do I go about creating a unique and individual cartoon? Take a look at this example titled [Person's Name]: A Life In Film.

The man in the cartoon is a documentary producer with an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. He loves his morning coffee, decent wine, eats out a lot and cycles miles every week. He had also moved from his beloved West London to the depths of South London. 

So ... I've drawn him making coffee, eating and drinking, cycling and walking the streets of South London, all tied together with a quote from a film to match the activity. Neat, even if I say so myself.

If you're stuck for ideas, talk to me. With a little digging I take a simple concept and turn it into a one-of-a-kind cartoon.

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This is one for a perfect model citizen and all round good egg. 

Perfectly Wonderful

Simon Pantshead is my brother. That is not his real name. Every year, I draw him a Pantshead cartoon. He claims to be traumatised by the whole 'pants on head' thing from when he was 4 years old. It has given me years of cartoon material, so he just needs to get over it.

Simon Pantshead, 'Winner'

Dog owners. They're a funny bunch, and I love drawing them with their best friends. There is always a comic gag in the owner-dog relationship.

Driver Dogs

An anniversary gift depicting the morning this husband sawed his favourite loaf when he couldn't find a bread knife.

I elaborated on the tools theme, added their dogs, a robin who lives in their garden, and of course, his lovely wife.

Daily Bread

A romantic commission from a girl whose boyfriend lives, quite literally, 'round the corner.

'round the corner

This was printed as a birthday card for the people in the picture to give to their friends and family. It was the first time I had drawn a British Bulldog. So many creases!

Birthday Card

She's  adorable, she's two and loves her pink wellies. 

Happy 2nd Birthday

Here, I took this man's hobbies, pets and interests and wrote them into the book titles. His favourite artwork is in the background, and every cat he has ever owned, past and present are all in the illustration.

The Details

15th March 2019.

For New Zealand

When your dear mother does a spot of pole dancing on an acrow prop in someone's kitchen.

Oh, Mother

This is my favourite experiment, and, to be honest, a cartoonist's dream come true. 

Schrodinger's Gift

Simon Pantshead loves cheese. 

Say no more...

I Am The Whey

This was for a couple of dedicated Mods. Here's the happy couple on their Lambretta in their favourite outfits. 

Mod Wedding

"How the hell do I draw that?" I thought when a client showed me a slo-mo video of their friend running on the beach and asked me to draw it. The woman in the video was wearing a red costume, and there was something about it that reminded me of the old Baywatch TV show. I threw in a finishing line and a pina colada (she loves a cocktail), and here we are!

Baywatch Babe

One dad. One daughter. One dog. They're a busy bunch, and full of personality. It was a joy to create this for them.

Family Time

Two grandchildren commissioned me to come up with something special for their grandparents. They sent me some photos and it was pretty easy to work out their grandparents lovely personalities. With a nod to their interests on the book titles and a few props, I created this unique and personal cartoon.


I illustrated Rupi Kaur's poem for IWD: 

upon my birth
my mother said to me

there is a god in you
can you feel her dancing?

International Women's Day 

For a friend who went to find herself and found she was sillier than she expected. 

Finding Yourself

Millie and the shark by Mel Barren.jpeg

A birthday cartoon / the great ketchup holiday disaster.


My perfect friend by Mel Barren.jpeg

Apparently perfect in real life, but not in the cartoon world.

Perfect Friend

Valentines cartoon - Cheese on toast guy

Commissioned as funny valentine, here's the love of this girl's life, doing his thing on the weekend. And yes, he is Scottish. 

Cheese on Toast Valentines

Birthday cartoon of man with moles and molehills, funny, by Mel Barren

Gary poured piles of molehill-type hills onto his neighbour's pristine lawn on 1st April. The April Fool pranks have since gone back and forth. As a unique gift for Gary's birthday (who has everything), his neighbour gave me a photo of him and the story of the molehills.  Gary was thrilled with this illustration because it turns out the one thing he doesn't have is an framed cartoon of himself with a bunch of moles.

Gary & The Moles

Elixir of youth, 2 women and Llidl Prosecco, cartoon comic strip, funny by Mel Barren

This is a personal cartoon for my friend, and as usual, it's me and her in the cartoon. I don't know why I've drawn myself as a scientist, but then in the cartoon world, anything is possible.

Elixir Of Youth

Curvy woman upside down on a trapeze, cartoon joke by Mel Barren

This was a card for a curvy girl who had been given trapeze lessons for her birthday. This gag was just too good not to draw.

She's fine...

Walking The Dogs Cartoon by Mel Barren, springer spaniel, cocker spaniel, daschund, funny

This drawing is for a outdoorsy couple with 5 dogs. I had the idea to get some movement and shape into the illustration by having the dogs run in circles around the couple, and it works well.

Walking The Dogs

Motorsports wedding original illustratio

Commissioned as a wedding gift, I included a couple of chequered flags as a nod to their motorsport engineering careers. The frame was a contemporary square wood which set it off perfectly. 

Motorsports Wedding

Yoga Headstand cartoon by Mel Barren.jpe

This is for all the people bending, stretching, going upside down and still not looking like a Californian  supermodel performing an impossible yoga pose on top of a mountain. 

'Real' Yoga

Singing Bowl cartoon, ag-a-doo-doo-doo push pineapple shake the tree, by Mel Barren

This is for a sweet and gentle soul whose birthday treat was a weekend away forging her own Singing Bowl. When played, the bowls vibrate to produce a rich, calming sound, often used in meditations. Making a bowl is a deeply spiritual process ... but hey, it is a also a cartoonist's opportunity.

The Singing Bowl

Superstrong Pilot.jpeg

Commissioned by a family for their son/brother who is qualifying to become a pilot. In between training, he spends time working out. Here's the pilot-body-building-doesn't-know-his-own-strength birthday card combo.

Super Strong Pilot

Busy woman cycling, working, yoga, sailing and relaxing with birthday cake, cartoon by Mel Barren

A cartoon for a very busy action girl. She sails, she cycles, she works, she does yoga ... so here she is, asleep (not passed out!) with her birthday cake and wine.

Birthday Action Girl

Forest Family birthday by Mel Barren.jpe

Here is an idyllic scene created from a collection of photos, ideas and family interests. It was commissioned as a gift for the person in the foreground. They live in Norway. Her family are behind her eating, drinking and toasting marshmallows in a typical Norwegian silver birch forest. She drives a green mini, and I illustrated a little nod to her car in the form of toy being pulled by her grandson. 

Forest Family

Oddbod Wedding by Mel Barren.jpeg

A wedding gift for an offbeat and remarklable pair who can take a joke.

Oddbod Wedding

Cartoon of young couple holding hands, girl with purple dreadlocks by Mel Barren

This was a commissioned as a romantic gift by the man in the picture for his girlfriend.

Happy Days 

Woman swinging on lampost waving knickers, cartoon by Mel Barren

Commissioned as a best friend's 60th birthday gift. I had a peek at the recipient's Facebook and guessed she had probably, at some point in her life, climbed a lampost at 3am. Turns out I was spot on.


Wedding illustration soldier carrying bride, original cartoon by Mel Barren.jpeg

A unique wedding gift for a beautiful couple. Finished off in a 12" x 12" contemporary wood frame, it made for an original gift. 

Happy Ever After

This girl likes Heinz Tomato Ketchup. On everything. She has sachets of it in her bag at all times, so it wasn't too difficult to come up with this idea for her birthday.


We can work together remotely or via email and messages, or if you prefer face to face, let's meet?
I work in Oxted, Surrey and surrounding areas: Westerham, Woldingham, Sevenoaks, Warlingham, Reigate, Redhill, Caterham, Croydon & London.

In the serious world of design, cutting edge business-enhancing websites and commissioned art, I hope this site demonstrates a gentle humour and a sense of the irony and ridiculousness of Life. 

So, my friend - commission original art, visit my e-shop or use my digital services as a demonstration of your irreverent like-mindedness.


Monstera cartoon by Mel Barren.jpeg

© Mel Barren