Cartoonist creates celebrity tube stops

Karl Marx represents Highgate in Stars on the Tube

Karl Marx represents Highgate in Stars on the Tube - Credit: Simon Ellinas

Simon Ellinas first started doing caricatures of his teachers as a Hampstead Schoolboy.

And after training at Harrow Art School of art, the former St Anthony's and UCS pupil enjoyed a career as a cartoonist and illustrator for magazines and newspapers - including drawing caricatures for the nationals.

Now he has published his "lockdown project" - a book which puts a famous face to every underground stop.

Sigmund Freud Finchley Road

Sigmund Freud Finchley Road - Credit: Simon Ellinas

Stars on the Tube boasts 272 pen and ink caricatures of celebrities detailing their connections to each area.

"Ever since I could hold a pencil I have always drawn," he says. "I would copy comics inspired by films from childhood, and at school I would draw the teachers and pupils."

Comedian Ricky Gervais is the face of Hampstead where he lives, while actor Martin Freeman is assigned to Belsize Park

Comedian Ricky Gervais is the face of Hampstead where he lives, while actor Martin Freeman is assigned to Belsize Park - Credit: Courtesy of Simon Ellinas

Stars on the Tube followed a previous project to complete a diary throughout 2019 with caricatures of celebrities born on each day.

"That kept me busy for 365 days, then in 2020 I thought of the London tube map just as lockdown started. It was good to have a project like that to focus on."

The Barnet resident researched each destination, but says while areas like Hampstead (Ricky Gervais) and Highgate (Karl Marx) had "lots of possibilities" other celebrity connections were "more tenuous".

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"Once you get out onto the fringes you're scrabbling around to find someone. For the new station at Nine Elms I chose Joanna Lumley because she was said to shop there. But most of them have strong connections, they were born, live, work or in the case of Dylan Thomas in Camden, they drank there  - he drank in a lot of places, but I chose Camden Town."

BBC correspondent Katya Adler was assigned Swiss Cottage because she attended South Hampstead High School. Martin Freeman is Belsize Park because "I heard he lived there." Actor Damian Lewis lives in Tufnell Park, and Ray Davies is Archway, because Muswell Hill doesn't have a tube stop and The Kinks played the Archway Tavern. Meanwhile Rolling Stone Keith Richards graces St John's Wood because "he wrote I Can't Get No Satisfaction there in the 60s", and Helena Bonham Carter grew up around Golders Green.

Actor Helena Bonham Carter grew up around Golders Green

Actor Helena Bonham Carter grew up around Golders Green - Credit: Simon Ellinas

Singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty is the face of Baker Street, Emma Thompson famously grew up in West Hampstead, and comic David Baddiel, now a Hampstead resident, grew up in Dollis Hill.

"I'm not an extreme caricaturist," says Ellinas, who mostly draws from photographs. "You have to get the likeness of the person but you exaggerate a particular feature, perhaps an extra big or small nose. There there's how you show them. You've got to draw David Suchet as Poirot and Ricky Gervais laughing."

He hopes readers will be intrigued to discover the connections between well known faces and London areas, and believes most people are flattered by a caricature.

Cartoonist Simon Ellinas with his Stars on the Tube book

Cartoonist Simon Ellinas with his Stars on the Tube book - Credit: Courtesy of the author

"Trevor Phillips (Wood Green) was extremely happy and has it on his wall. Percussionist Evelyn Glennie (Shepherd's Bush) was pleased with hers so I sent her a framed copy. Gyles Brandreth liked his picture, but his wife said it should be kept in the attic."

Stars on the Tube is available from Amazon. http://www.londoncaricatures.com/