Nathan’s Tiger Family comic keeps rugby fans amused

Market Harborough, Leicester Tigers cartoonist: Nathan Shelton, working in his office at his home.
Market Harborough, Leicester Tigers cartoonist: Nathan Shelton, working in his office at his home.

A freelance illustrator from Harborough has been keeping rugby fans amused this season with a series of cartoons in the Leicester Tigers matchday programmes.

Nathan Shelton, of The Furlongs, designed and draws the Tiger Family cartoons for the Welford Road club.

Made up of a mum, dad, son and daughter, they feature in cartoon strips published in the club’s programmes.

The process begins with the Tigers presenting an idea or theme from which Nathan thinks of a joke or punchline for the cartoon.

The Welsh-born artist, who set up his Ant Creations business in Harborough in 2000, then sketches a drawing using pencil and paper for approval by the club.

Once given the go-ahead, the cartoon is then brought to life using vector-based artwork, a computer programme which uses mathematical equations to draw the shapes and curves of lines in the drawing.

Nathan told the Mail: “The shift from sketch to vector is quite considerable, and the artwork begins to have some real life and vibrancy.”

The idea for a Tiger Family came to Nathan while he was brainstorming one day. He draws their character traits from celebrities, friends and people he sees in the street.

To work as an effective marketing tool the cartoon has to be compelling, carry an educational message and look visually attractive, said Nathan.

The father-of-two, who used to draw the Mal and Lard cartoon strip for the Mail, said his business is going from strength to strength. He added: “I hope to work for the Tigers programme next season and that the family is appealing to fans so they can begin to associate it with the Tigers franchise.”