You are browsing the archive for 2010 September.

Big Draw sketched out

September 29, 2010 in Events


The Campaign for Drawing has announced details of the launch event for this year’s Big Draw festival, which is called Make Your Mark on the Future.

The London launch takes place over the weekend of October 22 and 23 on the South Bank, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Highlights will include free cartoon workshops run by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and the returning Battle of the Cartoonists, featuring a Bloghorn team who will be defending their title following their glorious (and surprising) victory in last year’s cheer-off.

Bloghorn at the Big Draw from the Campaign for Drawing

Other events include talks and workshops by artists in this year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize, Walk and Draw – a sketching tour of nearby memorials and people, an exhibition of Stephen Wiltshire‘s amazing drawings of the City, and a mural by the cartoonist Quentin Blake, the long-time Roald Dahl collaborator.

For more details, go to the Campaign for Drawing’s website or download a PDF with full programme and map.

You say tomato, we say cartoonist …

September 27, 2010 in News

Bloghorn Opinion logo Bloghorn must take issue with the US political cartoonist Daryl Cagle over a blog post in which he talks about the “cultural” difference between cartoons created in America and those from the rest of the world.

Cagle, who also syndicates cartoons through the Political Cartoonists Index argues that there is a ‘‘BIG cultural gap’’ between American cartoons, where the emphasis is on humour and/or making a clear point, and those created by ‘‘world cartoonists’’, which are more oblique.

He takes the view that in America cartooning is a proper job, but for ‘‘world cartoonists’’ it is merely a hobby, as all these cartoonists do is enter competitions.

‘‘The American cartoonists’ idea of actually making a living from our work, and judging our success by the size of our audiences, or our wallets, seems strange to the obscure foreign cartoonists, who are busy building their CVs and planning their travel schedules.’’

He goes on to say;

‘‘Most world cartoons look strange to an American eye and we have a hard time finding world cartoonists to syndicate, whose work can be understood by our audience.’’

Bloghorn is not saying we don’t recognise his view of some foreign cartoons, particularly those seen in international competitions, but we think he has got American and ‘‘world’’ mixed up with English speaking and non-English speaking.

We would ask Mr Cagle to take a broader view, perhaps by looking at UK cartooning for a start. There are plenty of cartoonists here who draw cartoons which are funny and make clear points.

And many UK cartoonists are as baffled by wordless and often worthy competition cartoons as Cagle is. Indeed, not too long ago John Jensen wrote a three-part article for this blog in which he outlined the difference between British cartoons, which focus on being funny, and those created by our European neighbours, which are about a more serious form of wit.

Indeed, just as Cagle characterises them as ‘‘daisies in the gun barrels’’ cartoons, so Jensen talks of ‘‘countless brick walls, endless rolls of barbed wire, and doves of peace in need of a vet’’.

You can read John Jensen’s series here: Wit and Wisdom: part 1, part2, part 3.

And in response to Cagle’s view of ‘‘world’’ cartoonists as hobbyists, we would like to point out that there are many cartoonists in the UK making a living. They may be striving to do so against the odds – and the PCO which runs the Bloghorn does all it can to help them – but they are professional cartoonists and funny to boot.

Instant art – good or bad?

September 23, 2010 in News

Bloghorn sees more evidence of the speed of digital processing and how it is changing the way images are made.

Doodle Cam is a recently launched application for smartphones which provide instant, or real-time animation effects for video shot on that device.

The app is made by a firm of developers called MacPhun, you can see some of the other services they make here. They include Real-Time Distorter, iRetroscope and PopArt VidCam.

All provide instant access to art effects. Bloghorn thinks this clearly proves that everyone is an artist nowadays.

Please feel free to agree or disagree in our comments section below.

On the trail of cartoonist Gren Jones

September 22, 2010 in News

A walking trail has opened in memory of popular Welsh cartoonist Grenfell Jones, who died in 2007, aged 72. Gren, as he signed his cartoons for the South Wales Echo for 35 years, created the fictional Welsh valley village of Aberflyarff. The proposed trail will wind its way around Gren’s home village of Hengoed and will include artworks featuring his characters and a green plaque at his birthplace.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoons in surprising places

September 20, 2010 in Events

Boat shelter comic strips
Cartoons and comics strips can often be seen in some surprising places, but probably none more so than this boating shelter in Battersea Park, London.

The comic artists Sean Azzopardi, Joe Decie, John Cei Douglas, Ellen Lindner, Douglas Noble and Paul O’Connell drew eight different short comic strips about a fictional 1974 rock concert in the park. These have been enlarged and pasted on to the shelter and can be read in any order.

Cartoons outside the printed page do have to compete with some “real world” factors though. And in this case it’s not graffiti, as you might expect, but a staggeringly large colony of spiders!

The boating shelter strips accompany the Hypercomics exhibition which is at the nearby Pump House Gallery.

Dave McKean at Hypercomics
The show features four rooms by four artists, Adam Dant, Warren Pleece, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and Dave McKean, above.

It’s very much an experimental exhibition, with comic strip narratives spiralling off in all kinds of directions and intersecting with the building itself.

Like any experiment it’s not wholly successful, some of the strips are far to wordy to be exhibited on walls. But McKean’s room worked brilliantly and was the stand-out for me, telling a compelling story with beautifully drawn comic frames alongside sculptures, photography and masks.

Hurry if you want to see this show though: it finishes on Sunday, September 26: Hypercomics: The Shapes of Comics to Come.

Professional satirists officially recognised by Apple

September 17, 2010 in News

Foghorn Bloghorn for The UK Professional Cartoonists’ OrganisationFacing criticism for rejecting (and later approving) a number of caricature-based iPhone apps, Apple has changed it’s terms and conditions to specifically exempt professional satirists. As reported by The Daily Cartoonist the two new clauses in their guidelines for new apps read:

14.1 Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected

14.2 Professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean-spirited commentary

As pointed out by the Daily Cartoonist and MAD Magazine caricaturist Tom Richmond (who previously had an app rejected and later approved) this still leaves open the question: how does Apple define a professional satirist?

Cuts campaign has its Arts about face

September 13, 2010 in News

Bloghorn Opinion logo
Bloghorn was greatly amused by the recent launch of a campaign to save the arts from the forthcoming cuts in UK public spending.

But we find it deeply ironic that Arts Council England – which has organised the Save the Arts campaign via its Turning Point Network – is choosing to launch it with a piece of cartoon animation.

If the Arts Council hadn’t spent years refusing to help the activities of organisations representing the business of cartooning, we might even take the campaign seriously.

But it has consistently refused to help fund the national Cartoon Museum and many other events and activities run by professional organisations representing our trade and its artform.

If the Arts Council finds that it is now looking at doing its work with minimal funds we can only say this: Welcome to our world.

Bloghorn’s sponsor, The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and our sister group, The British Cartoonists’ Association, represent the best living practitioners of the vulgar commerce of drawing.

We both, more than most, appreciate the irony of the elite national arts organisation stooping to the healthy filth of the cartoon when it needs a spot of urgent, eye-catching communication.

We just wish its present interest in cartoons wasn’t so blatantly short-term and desperate.

We might even have been able to help with the campaign – if only the Arts Council had deigned to help us.

It wouldn’t be before time.

Bloghorn says if you have views on this issue please add them in our comments section below. We do moderate comments.

The Beano Club goes online

September 8, 2010 in News

The long running fan club for the Beano comic, the Beano Club, is to close prior to being relaunched as a new website www.beano.com in the next few months. The Dennis the Menace Fan Club, which included membership to Gnasher’s Fang Club was started by DC Thomson in 1976  and featured badges, birthday cards, newsletters and top-secret passwords (which Bloghorn wouldn’t dream of revealing here). The Club, which at it’s peak boasted 1.25 million members became the Beano Club in 1998. It’s not clear at the moment whether the new website will be a subscription site or free to members.

Thanks to PCO Member Rob Murray for spotting this story.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Talking about Fougasse

September 6, 2010 in Events

Careless Talk Costs Lives poster by Fougasse
Be careful what you say and where you say it! – one of several wartime “Careless Talk Costs Lives” posters by Kenneth Bird a.k.a Fougasse

The exhibition Fougasse – Careless Talk Costs Lives opens at the Cartoon Musuem in London on Thursday (September 9) and runs until November 24.

Kenneth Bird (1887-1965), who drew under the pen name Fougasse, was the first cartoonist to edit Punch magazine. He popularised the simple joke cartoon, with minimal lines and short captions, moving the magazine’s cartoons away from their Victorian roots. The exhibition features more than 80 works by Fougasse and shows how his style became progressively more direct and economical.

Fougasse is best known today as the creator of the “Careless Talks Costs Lives” propaganda posters which he produced during the Second World War. The “anti-gossip” campaign, which was launched in 1940 by the Ministry of Information, showed Hitler and Goering eavesdropping in the most unlikely places.

They remain some of the most memorable images of the Second World War. Fougasse’s wartime work earned him a CBE in 1946.

The exhibition coincides with the publication of Careless Talk Costs Lives: Fougasse and the Art of Public Information by James Taylor and published by Conway.

The Cartoon Musuem, in Little Russel Street, London, is open Tues-Sat: 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £5, Conc £4, Students £3, Free to Under-18s. Nearest Tube stations: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road.

Top spot for cartoons

September 3, 2010 in News

Blair cartoon from The Times by PCOer Morten Morland

The advent of statistics recording visits to web sites has allowed web publishers to see exactly which pages readers head for. Unsurprisingly, many have embraced this technology to show you – the reader – which pages are most popular.

So, I ask you to go to The Times website. Scroll down. No, you don’t have to get past the Great Pay Wall of Murdoch to do this – no small denomination payments are required. Look at the “Most Read” list of sections which are – as you might guess – the paper’s most popular click-through reads.

Of course, I don’t know when you’re reading this but I bet you that coming in the top three with a bullet will be “Cartoons”. I have checked assiduously for the past several weeks. “Cartoons” has been at or near the top spot for almost all of my visits (many times at Number One).

As I write, I am not chastened by the fact that nestling at number 2 is “Top Ten Chinos”.Well, a chap’s got to look the part while perusing the best of cartoon art online. Standards, you know. (Of course, if you want to actually look at the cartoons, you WILL have to pay at this point).

It’s a subject close to the hearts of us cartoonists. The popularity of The Times’ cartoons is, of course, not unrelated to the fact that they boast two fine cartoonists in Peter Brookes and Morten Morland, together with legend-inna-lifetime Gerald Scarfe at the Sunday title.

But it’s not just that. Readers love cartoons. We know that. It’s such a pity that this simple fact doesn’t prevent culls of cartoonists to cut costs at newspapers facing hard times. It seems counter-intuitive to us. For example the loss of almost all cartoon content from The Observer recently was mourned widely. So Bloghorn says hats off to the wildly good taste of Times readers.