You are browsing the archive for 2010 October.

Doonesbury hits 40

October 27, 2010 in News

The first ever Doonesbury, published 26th October 1970

American cartoonist Garry Trudeau has notched up 40 years of drawing his comic strip Doonesbury. The strip first appeared as ‘Bull Tales’ in his student newspaper at Yale University from where it was picked for syndication in the national press.

As its popularity grew, rights for its publication were sold overseas and it has been a popular and long-running feature in the Guardian newspaper in the UK as a result. We know this because of the howls of protest when it was dropped as a part of an ill-advised redesign during 2009. The paper backed down and the strip was hastily reinstated.

The 40th anniversary of the strip is being marked by the publication of Doonesbury 40: A Retrospective, and by celebration of all things Doonesbury-esque in the online magazine Slate, including an interview with Trudeau.

A Big Draw first-timer writes

October 26, 2010 in Comment, Events, News

Cartoonist Ben Jennings made his debut in the Big Draw over the weekend and he told Bloghorn about what happened to him there:

Since I was lucky enough to have my cartoons appear in The Guardian, I have been overwhelmed with the company I’ve been keeping. I’ve met cartoonists who I had admired the work of previously but who were nothing more than a signature to me.

Martin Rowson and Steve Bell mentored I and the other cartoonists who took part in the newspaper’s cartoon showcase over the summer. Being some sort of protégé was one thing, but the thought of working alongside these pencil-wielding heroes on The Guardian’s team at the Big Draw was another.

Despite the nerves, I was quite relieved in the end to be on a team with the big boys, as Martin had finished half of the canvas within the first 20 minutes (beautifully I may add), which meant less pressure. Steve’s sporadic mutterings and singing whilst he drew were therapeutic and helped put me at ease.

I wondered if any of the anonymous “Comment is Free” trolls had turned up (read the story hereEd), possibly they were viewing our work from the safety of a bench thirty metres away. Spying our efforts through circular cut holes in a newspaper before retreating for some more spiteful blogging.

Ben Jennings and Anna Trench Cartoonists at The Big Draw 2010 - Photograph ©Ger Whyman

Ben Jennings and Anna Trench - Cartoonists at The Big Draw 2010 - Photograph ©Ger Whyman

But all in all it was great fun with some hilarious banners produced and I was honoured to be a part of it. The judging was too much for the compere to handle alone, so he found a scapegoat in a young girl who chose the winner: Private Eye. But hey, it’s not the winning it’s the … bah, who am I kidding!

Bloghorn thanks Ben for his words. You can read the full report on the day here.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Scenes from a mall: Big Draw 2010

October 25, 2010 in Events

A burst of British Weather meant that Saturday’s Big Draw events on the South Bank in London had to be swiftly moved, from the open-air space of The Scoop, next to City Hall, to the nearby Hay’s Galleria.

The cartoonists’ spirits were not dampened by this turn of events, however, even though the move meant that many of us precious artists, unused to heavy lifting as we are, had to carry our own trestle tables.

Procartoonists cartoon workshops at the Big Draw @ procartoonists.org

Procartoonists workshops in full swing

PCO members were on hand to provide workshops throughout the event, for budding artists young and old. These were run by Wilbur Dawbarn, Tim Harries, Chichi Parish, above, and The Surreal McCoy.

Announcer Maxwell Hutchinson with Foghorn magazine @procartoonists.org

The Hay’s Galleria proved to be a great venue with lots of members of the public passing through and stopping to take part in the workshops and watch the Battle of the Cartoonists banners being created.

The Battle was hosted – impressively without the usual microphone or megaphone – by Maxwell Hutchinson, the architect and Sony award-winning radio broadcaster, seen here brandishing a copy of Foghorn, who did a sterling job of talking up the noble profession of cartooning in a suitably erudite manner.

Team Foghorn Big Draw banner 2010

The team from Procartoonists.org

For the Battle, the PCO’s victorious Team Bloghorn from 2009 was this year rebranded as Team Foghorn, in order to give a push to our sister print magazine.

The PCO team was, left to right, Cathy Simpson, Ian Ellery, Royston Robertson, Robert Duncan and Nathan Ariss. Cathy was standing in as captain for Pete Dredge, who co-ordinated planning of the banner beforehand but was unable to attend on the day. All banners were on the festival theme of “Make your mark on the future”.

We competed against three other teams: Private Eye (Andrew Birch, Henry Davies, Simon Pearsall and Steve Way), The Guardian (Steve Bell and Martin Rowson alongside Ben Jennings and Anna Trench who made their debut in the newspaper over the summer) and, due to the fact that the Financial Times team was unable to make it, a hastily assembled “Coalition” team (formed the day before by Matt Buck, Alex Hughes and David Trumble).

Steve Bell at the Big Draw

Steve Bell starts from the beginning...

The Coalition team at the Big Draw

David Trumble and Matt Buck get the right reaction

Each of the groups that Team Foghorn faced included at least one PCO member, such is the reach of the organisation: Bell, Birch, Buck, Hughes and Rowson are all in the PCO.

This made losing – as the Private Eye team romped to victory in the traditional “cheer-o-meter” from the public – slightly easier to take! As did the usual camaraderie from cartoonists from all teams in the pub afterwards.

Private Eye Procartoonists.org at the Big Draw

Team Private Eye hard at work

Our compere looks on as Andrew Birch, Steve Way and Simon Pearsall put their backs into the Private Eye banner, while Henry Davies puts his knees in

Another marvellous Big Draw then, and Bloghorn would like to say many thanks, as ever, to Sue Grayson Ford and all at The Campaign for Drawing.

Photos by Gerard Whyman and Denis Dowland.

The Big Draw 2010

October 22, 2010 in Events, News

The 2010 London launch event of the Big Draw starts today and runs into this weekend – the 22nd and 23rd of October. Many members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation will be working there and we’d be delighted to see you.

You will find us running free workshops on the craft and skill of cartooning and also participating in the annual Battle of the Cartoonists with many of our members playing for Private Eye, The Guardian and our own Foghorn magazine.


View Bloghorn at the The Big Draw 2010 in a larger map

Of course, we think the events at number six on Saturday  steal the show, but as you can see below, the organisers at the Campaign for Drawing have done a terrific job in making a great long line up of events along a large stretch of the River Thames. Bloghorn says don’t miss it.

The London events of the Big Draw 2010 at the Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

The London events of the Big Draw 2010 at the Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

The power of the cartoon – Patrick Chapatte

October 21, 2010 in Comment, Events, News

Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist Patrick Chapatte teaching in Oxford, England during July 2010.

The Dandy relaunches (again)

October 20, 2010 in News

The Dandy, Britain’s longest running comic, published by DC Thomson, is due to relaunch next week with a new look.

Not much has been made public about the makeover, but the current unpopular fortnightly magazine-style incarnation,  Dandy Xtreme, is expected to be ditched in favour of a return to a weekly comic almost entirely composed of cartoons and strips.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that there’ll be new strips by Beano and Viz cartoonist Lew Stringer (but not, apparently, called ‘Blurp’), newcomer Andy Fenton and the PCO’s very own Alexander Matthews, alongside current favourites Cuddles and Dimples by Nigel Parkinson and Desperate Dan by Jamie Smart, who also drew the new logo, above.

The Dandy‘s website, www.dandy.com, is also expected to be revamped, and you can follow developments on its Twitter stream as well. The new-look Dandy goes on sale on 27th October at the new price of £1.50.

Les Gibbard, cartoonist – 1945 to 2010

October 14, 2010 in Events, News

Les Gibbard Cartoons at The Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

Les Gibbard cartoonist and animator 1945 - 2010

Some sad news that Leslie Gibbard, long-time cartoonist for The Guardian, the BBC and many more has died.

You can read about Les, his life and work at The University of Kent’s cartoon archive, at wikipedia or, in this anthology of his work.

Updated: Bear Alley blog has added a tribute here following The Guardian’s obituary.

Grandma returns and Oor Wullie goes

October 13, 2010 in News

Grandma has returned to Ipswich. The statue of the legendary Giles character was removed earlier this year to make way for a redevelopment of the area, but is now positioned looking up at the window where cartoonist Carl Giles worked as the centrepiece of the newly renamed Giles Circus (as previously reported in Bloghorn).

Meanwhile, north of the border a sketchbook belonging to Dudley D Watkins went under the hammer in Dundee last week. The sketchbook, which featured three sketches by Watkins of his comic characters Oor Wullie and The Broons went for £1600, easily beating the expected price of £1000. Also sold was a plaster cast of Oor Wullie sitting on an upturned bucket, which sold for £240.

Banksy the cartoonist

October 11, 2010 in Comment, News

Bloghorn was pleased to see the artist still known as Banksy has finally admitted he is also a cartoonist, by storyboarding the opening titles for a new episode of the Simpsons.

Well done to Matt Groening and The Simpsons production team for bringing him into the light.

Daryl Cagle – a response

October 8, 2010 in Comment, News

Bloghorn Opinion logoBloghorn asked cartoonist Rod McKie for a opinion piece following our recent post about US cartoonist Daryl Cagle’s controversial view of non-new world cartoonists. Our thanks to Rod for agreeing. The following is an edited extract of his full submission and Bloghorn has added the links.

I do a lot of my cartooning work in the US, and have, in the past, described many editorial cartoons as pointless, irrelevant, and even of taking up space where (my, not your) comic strips or gag cartoons should be.

That view is of course a bit of a caricature of what I actually think, and it is caricatures that we are dealing with in terms of this debate; Daryl’s caricature of the “rest of the world’s cartoons”, and a lot of angry editorial cartoonists from the rest of the world’s caricature of Daryl Cagle, and his arrogant assertions about US political humour. As always though, when we are dealing with caricatures, there is a germ of truth in the over-simplified distinctions; some “wit” just does not translate beyond its own borders, and some editorial cartoons in US newspapers are very good, excellent even.

But I’m not going to go along with caricatures of Daryl Cagle himself. The reason I know about the plight of Egyptian cartoonist Essam Hanafy, who was imprisoned for drawing a cartoon that was critical of the Egyptian Agriculture minister, and Iranian cartoonist Nik Ahang-Kowsar, who was imprisoned for making fun of a popular conservative cleric, is because I read about them on Daryl’s site, which fully supports the work of Robert Russell and The Cartoonists Rights Movement.

What does slightly bewilder me, though, is Daryl’s defence of editorial “…cartoons about Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears with no underwear…” as a sign of a superior form of editorial cartooning, and his belief that such drawings, presumably because they are some small part of pop culture, are part of the political debate. It troubles me that Daryl seems to be celebrating a form of dumbed-down, celebrity-obsessed, anodyne, editorial filler cartoon, presumably for the purposes of syndication, as some kind of high-cultural achievement. Perhaps I am mistaken, but it strikes me that the sort of isolationist editorial cartoon Daryl advocates are those Art Spiegelman foresaw coming to a paper near you, with his description, after he resigned from The New Yorker to protest about the “widespread conformism” of the United States media, of the US media as “conservative and timid”.

As for why some cartoonists from overseas communicate their message in wordless cartoons, employing symbolism and metaphor, well that’s simple enough, LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES. But there is also a deeper, darker secondary reason for this, and it is one that Daryl Cagle should never forget; in his country it is simply the cartoons that get “killed” when the message is too overtly political, not the cartoonist.

Bloghorn cartoon on differences in humour

I will leave it to my colleagues to point out that Daryl’s belief that editorial cartoonists in the UK, and further afield, are amateur hobbyists who get paid in turnips or some similar object in lieu of actual currency, is simply ridiculous. I will leave it to my colleagues because I get annoyed just thinking about how much some editorial cartoonists get paid, in the UK and in the US. I will leave it to my colleagues because you have no idea how much it pains me to have to support editorial cartoonists, many of whom I think are overpaid and overindulged brats at the best of times.

Bloghorn thanks Rod for time taken and invites comments below. All comments are subject to moderation and editing if we think it is needed.