You are browsing the archive for 2010 February.

Spotted: Perishers back in The Mirror

February 26, 2010 in General

Long running cartoon strip returns to The Mirror. Perhaps the paper would like to think about encouraging some modern talent too?

Artist of the Month – Robert Duncan

February 26, 2010 in Events

Bloghorn Cartoon on rubbish and housing © Robert Duncan at http://thebloghorn.org

Bloghorn asked Robert Duncan, our Artist of the Month for February, how he sees the future for cartoonists in the digital age.

The future is fantastic. More and more, clients will want the hand drawn non-computery art for it’s simplicity and pure cleverness.

Walls will be decorated with the clarity of a few lines, and television ads will continue to use simple and highly effective animation – especially helped along by the development of software such as Toon Boom.

Add websites, all the normal printed things, live drawing events when we can show off our ability in public and the future is rosy!

Bloghorn agrees and would like to thank Robert for having been our artist of the month for February 2010.

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by Royston

Two exhibitions mark Searle's 90th

February 25, 2010 in Events


Next Wednesday, March 3, sees the 90th birthday of the hugely influential British cartoonist Ronald Searle. To celebrate, two exhibitions of his work will open on that day.

The creator of St Trinian’s (above, from Lilliput magazine) and illustrator of the Molesworth books, who has lived and worked in France since the 1960s, will be celebrated in shows at the Cartoon Museum and the Chris Beetles Gallery in London.

Ronald Searle – Graphic Master, an exhibition of cartoons, illustrations and reportage from across the world is at the Cartoon Museum until July 4. This exhibition shows 140 works from across his 75-year career, from his early cartoons for the Cambridge Daily News in the 1930s to political cartoons for Le Monde in the 2000s.


Some of his drawings recording life and death in Japanese prisoner of war camps, works which he famously hid from his captors, are included in the exhibition. Searle later produced reportage cartoons for American magazines such as Life. In 1961 he drew the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, above.

For more details on the show, visit the Cartoon Museum website.


The retrospective exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery, called Happy Birthday Ronald Searle, runs until April 3. It features more than 200 cartoons and illustrations, all for sale, again covering all aspects of Searle’s career, including work from Punch and the News Chronicle, reportage, and adverts.

There are also by loans from private collections, which include work for Life drawn during the Nixon/Kennedy presidential campaign of 1960. The exhibition can be viewed at the Chris Beetles website.

To whet your appetite, The Times ran a very long and informative interview with Searle at the weekend: read it here. The Searle tribute site Perpetua is also well worth a look.

101 uses for a cartoon

February 24, 2010 in General


Whilst some other Sunday newspapers are cutting back on their cartoons, the Sunday Times has expanded its cartoon content with the inclusion of 101 Uses for a Celebrity.

The regular  feature will appear in the Style section and is drawn by The Surreal McCoy, a former Bloghorn Artist of the Month and a member of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (the group which makes this web site).

Surreal tells us;

I had originally drawn a cartoon with a couple of old ladies sitting in a car parked in front of Thora Hird who was balanced sideways on 2 traffic cones. One old lady was saying to the other ‘‘Oooh, isn’t that Thora Hird?’’ and the caption read ‘Celebrity Roadblocks’. I soon started wondering to what other uses could celebrities be put? Then to find out who was flavour of the month it was a matter of reading as many celeb magazines I could lay my hands on, whilst using that great excuse ‘‘its for research purposes, no really’’, and drawing them in all manner of undignified poses. This was a few years ago and of course they did the rounds of editors’ desks, dutifully returning each time with the usual ‘‘we really liked your idea but don’t have the money/space/imagination/etc’’ rejection note. Until the art editor at the Sunday TimesStyle magazine had a look at the PCO‘s website, chanced upon my portfolio, visited my site and offered me the gig. Joining the PCO has got to be one of my better decisions.

Bloghorn thinks a lot of publications, print and digital, could benefit from the skills, fun and entertainment that people like this can bring to developing and keeping readerships.

Lionel Lambourne

February 23, 2010 in General

Bloghorn is sad to hear Lionel Lambourne has died. Lionel, by day, Keeper of Paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum was one of the founder members of the Cartoon Arts Trust and is consequently responsible for the setting up of the UK’s first National Cartoon Museum. Cartoonist Chris Burke adds that Lionel had an encyclopedic knowledge and love of cartoons and cartoonists. He will be sadly missed.

Shortsighted Observer found wanting

February 22, 2010 in Comment

Bloghorn_cartoonists ©http://thebloghorn.org for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation http://www.procartoonists.org
The UK’s Observer newspaper relaunched with a “new look” yesterday, and to ensure publicity it grabbed the headlines with a story about the alleged workplace bullying of the Prime Minister. But the revamp also brought with it another controversy: it ditched cartoons.

Gone are the funny and colourful spot cartoons by Robert Thompson, which were once scattered throughout the paper. Gone too is Andy Riley‘s funny strip Roasted, which had been poking fun at the foibles of modern life in the Observer Magazine since 2002.

In addition to editorial survivor Chris Riddell, the paper will each week feature a cartoon drawn for another newspaper from somewhere else in the world. Bloghorn suspects this art will be sourced from an agency which means lower costs for the impoverished newspaper. We think it’s both cheaper and cheerless.

Bloghorn believes this is not good news for British cartoonists, or the readership of The Observer.

People like a laugh, it’s a given, particularly for a Sunday title published on a day that’s supposed to be about putting your feet up and forgetting the woes of the week for a few moments.

Dropping cartoons is undoubtedly a quick cost-cutting measure for a newspaper that was recently staring closure in the face. But Bloghorn believes it is confused thinking.

Other newspapers understand the power of cartoons: The Telegraph knows it needs Matt and The Daily Mail made sure they got a replacement sharpish when Ken Mahood retired recently.

Why has the Observer been so short-sighted? Please dive in and tell us in the comments below.

Artist of the Month – Robert Duncan

February 19, 2010 in General

Bloghorn_cartoon ©Robert Duncan
Bloghorn asked this month’s featured artist Robert Duncan, what would be his best tips for aspiring cartoonists?

My main tip for wannabe cartoonists is to be original, and don’t be scared to do something ridiculous – even if no one else quite gets it. That’s better than copying someone else’s idea and bending it around a bit.

I just love drawing – always have done from a very early age – and consider I am still improving. So the tip there is keep at it. Be inspired by others to start with, and you’ll soon develop your own unique style.

Oh… And keep looking out for new places to sell your stuff, and constantly think how everything you read and see could benefit from your work…

The last part of our interview with Robert will be here next Friday. You can, of course, check out our archives of previous featured artists here and here.

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by Royston

John Jensen on wit and wisdom: Part 3

February 18, 2010 in Comment


In the final part of his series on wit and wisdom (read part one here and part two here) PCOer John Jensen argues that sometimes cartoonists get better results on a smaller canvas

International cartoon exhibitions should be encouraged and they will continue throughout the years. The symbolic stone walls, barbed wire and the dying doves will still be there, awaiting to be transmuted into the pure gold of a beautifully drawn idea.

Continental cartoonists are happy seeking and finding wit. British cartoonists treat wit with suspicion. Fortunately, not all cartoonists are limited to generalising, tut-tutting and philosophising about Life.

Political cartoonists, even though their symbolism is also limited, have an ever-changing world on which to draw. Topicality generates excitement, which is great.

Then there are the niche cartoonists: nerd speaking unto nerd, where words can be used, thus freeing up the ideas, and ideas are more specific. On the downside, many of the ideas, like some wines, would not travel well.

The problem is that broad themes can become boring. Topicality and the occasional use of words can sometimes produce more interesting ideas. Niche stuff, limited though it is, and usually not wanted by Fleet Street, is where the some of the best cartoons are found.

Small may not be beautiful but it is often very, very funny. What’s the problem?

What do you think about John Jensen’s article? Have your say in the comments below.

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by Royston

John Jensen on wit and wisdom: Part 2

February 15, 2010 in Comment

In the second part of his series on wit and wisdom (read part one here) PCOer John Jensen pinpoints a crucial difference between the British and European senses of humour

Cartoon competitions are a great tourist draw. In lands where overt or even covert censorship persists, an appearance is given that freedom of speech is encouraged. It isn’t.

The exhibitions are usually broad generalisations filled with visual euphemisms: there are countless brick walls, endless rolls of barbed wire, and doves of peace in need of a vet.

Words are not wanted here, so that the cartoons can speak to everyone. But not everyone appreciates the same visual language. UK cartoonists contribute to many of the exhibitions but their work is in a minority and is markedly refreshingly different to that from most European cartoonists.

Brits like humour, Europeans appreciate wit. Wit is serious stuff, humour is fun. They are two different worlds. Both worlds, the witty and the humorous, are limited by the subjects that are set: global warming, freedom of speech, pollution, sexual liberation, female emancipation, domesticity in today’s world … and on and on.

The cartoons are not only wordless, they are timeless – immediate topicality is not an option – and there must be nothing directly political. The ingenuity of the cartoonists is stretched to the limit and the limits are much the same as those felt by the surrealists: there is only so much symbolism to go around.

Eventually the terrain looks all too familiar. Beautiful draughtsmanship can’t hide threadbare ideas.

What do you think about what John is saying? Have your say in the comments below. The final part of John Jensen’s article will appear on Bloghorn soon.

Artist of the month – Robert Duncan

February 12, 2010 in Events

Bloghorn_cartoon on Respect ©Robert_Duncan_No2-400x400

This month’ featured cartoonist on Bloghorn is Robert Duncan. He told us how he likes to produce his work:

I always pencil out the cartoon, ink it in with a cheapo Pilot pen, then photocopy it. That turns the 90% black to 100% – and removes all the cut-out corrections/Tippex/patches etc. I then colour them in my quite limited palette of Copic Markers and scan them quickly before they start fading…

He also told us about a few cartoonists he personally admires. 

My biggest cartoonist hero was Wally Fawkes (Trog). Loved his stuff right from the early Flook strips in the fifties. Whatever happened to Moses Maggot and Sir Cloggy Bile? I met the man at the Daily Mail once. A big moment, especially when he smeared his ink because he’d tried to rub out the pencil lines too quickly – and I can do that. Second favourite is our very own Noel Ford. I love his easy line and great humour. I still haven’t met him…

There will be more from our talk to Robert here next Friday. You can check out our archives of previous featured artists here and here.