You are browsing the archive for 2013 January.

Opinion: Beware digital challenges to the paper of record

January 30, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Scarfe cartoon of Netanyahu @ procartoonists

Gerald Scarfe cartoon of Benjamin Netanyahu @ procartoonists.org

The Sunday Times has removed the Gerald Scarfe cartoon from all of its digital editions following the controversy about its print publication.

The retrospective removal of the cartoon reported by Press Gazette this morning challenges a traditional role fulfilled by printed journalism as a paper of record. The removal of the image changes the paper of record, post publication.

We believe that such “digital cleansing” is harmful to the expression of opinion in publishing, in either print or pixel form. If the cartoon was good enough to see the light of day in ink on Sunday 27 January, 2013, then it should exist in the enduring pixelated editions too.

To be clear, we do not think this act of removal is “censorship” – that would have prevented Scarfe’s opinion cartoon being published at all. And the owners and editors of the newspaper also have a right to do as they will with the content they purchase from contracted contributors.

But when retrospective editing of “controversial” published items becomes acceptable practice inside digital newsrooms then we start to worry about access to provocative drawn opinions, and probably also written ones.

Are we right? If you have things to say about this, please do so in the comments below.

  • The Scarfe cartoon was certainly a provocative image, but that is to be expected from a political cartoonist. One of our members, Martin Rowson, helpfully explains why such cartoonists do what they do here.

Publishers, the patrons of the art

January 29, 2013 in Comment, General, News

A public kerfuffle over a Gerald Scarfe cartoon published after the recent Israeli elections has resulted in a public apology from Rupert Murdoch the publisher of The Sunday Times, the paper in which the image appeared.

A publisher apology is a rare thing in journalism of any sort but it should be noted that neither the paper, its acting editor or the cartoonist himself have apologised for the publication of the image itself. Any regret expressed has been directed towards the timing of publication, as the cartoon appeared on Holocaust Memorial Day.

If nothing else, this story reveals that even within strictly hierarchical print-publication businesses, dissent and, perhaps, mistakes are still possible.

Updated 10am: You can listen to a lively debate on Radio 4 Today between cartoonist Steve Bell (one of our members) and Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle.

Updated 6.15pm: The cartoonist has issued a short statement. The acting editor of the newspaper, Martin Ivens, has now also offered an apology stating that the cartoonist “had crossed a line”. You can read the full statement from the newspaper here.

Updated 9am, 30 January: Press Gazette (UK journalism trade magazine) reports that Scarfe’s cartoon is now also removed from all e-editions of The Sunday Times.

You may also watch the BBC Newsnight segment on the story on iPlayer.

The Round-up

January 28, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Graeme Bandeira @Procartoonists.org

Procartoonists.org member Graeme Bandeira is one of a group of artists who will feature in the Fantasista 2013 Exhibition of football illustration this spring. Alongside Graeme’s caricature of Ryan Giggs (above), you can also find his depiction of José Mourinho at the Telegraph site.

Libby Purves, Procartoonists.org patron and cartoon fanatic, will be interviewing Private Eye editor Ian Hislop at a special event for the Royal Geographical Society on 27 February. Read more and book tickets here.

Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at The New Yorker, shows us how his own health fears have found their way into his gag cartoons.

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has issued a statement condemning plagiarism and supporting originality. Meanwhile, US cartoonist Bill Day has been accused of self-plagiarism.

And finally, two editorial cartoonists – Matt Wuerker and Scott Stantis – speak to NPR about their depictions of Barack Obama as he starts his second presidential term. Listen to the interview here.

“It doesn’t show signs of stopping” – UK snow cartoons

January 24, 2013 in General, News

Sloppy the snowman by The Surreal McCoy

© The Surreal McCoy @ Procartoonists.org

The snow may have been melting in some places but with some more forecast at the time of posting, we offer a selection of wintery cartoons from Procartoonists.org members. See if you can spot the Snowman riff.

Big-Issue-HMV2-snow-cartoon © Andrew Birch @ procartoonists.org

© Andrew Birch @ procartoonists.org

So much for a trip out to an art show.

Lichtenstein exhibition cartoon by Neil Dishington

© Neil Dishington @ Procartoonists.org

Antony Gormley snowmen cartoon by Royston

© Royston Robertson @ Procartoonists.org

Water on Mars © Rob Murray @ procartoonists.org

© Rob Murray @ procartoonists.org

525-careful-thats-hot © Huw Aaron @ procartoonists.org

© Huw Aaron @ procartoonists.org

Another hardy annual is the theme about transport.

12-01-20-heathrow-snow-72 © Steve bright @ procartoonists.org

© Steve Bright @ procartoonists.org

Snow in the UK cartoon © Matthew Buck hack Cartoons @ procartoonists.org

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons @ procartoonists.org

If you have seen a good wintery cartoon please let us, er, snow about it in the comments.

Opinion: Illustration is easier than cartooning

January 24, 2013 in Comment, General

Cartoonist_or_Illustrator_@_procartoonists.org © Bill Stott

© Bill Stott @ procartoonists.org

When it was suggested by the editor that I should write a piece to the statement, “Illustration is easier than cartooning”. I thought he also ought to reverse the notion and ask an illustrator too.

Trouble is, I’m not an illustrator so know little of their strange and arcane ways. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I have illustrated a couple of books in what might loosely be called a non-cartoon style. And many years ago whilst doing a fine art degree, a snotty lecturer suggested I should switch to Illustration because my work was “rather slick and commercial”. The fool! Did he not see that I was going to be the next Jack Vettriano?

Cartoonist and illustrator are very wide terms. If by illustrator we mean those driven souls who churn out graphic novels – how do they do it? – then give me cartooning any day. On the other hand if, as a cartoonist, you get lucky with a multi-panel strip of Doonesbury or Calvin and Hobbes or The Fosdyke Saga proportions and you don’t have time to draw anything but the same re-occurring characters day after day, world without end, how do you stave off madness?

Do illustrators feel the same? What little illustration work I’ve done rapidly became tedious. Same characters, different situations. Rather more interesting to write than to illustrate. Unless, of course, you’re Victor Ambrus who is brilliant enough to stop even Tony Robinson becoming tedious.

However – I love that word, it means you’re about to kick the foregoing into the long grass – a good cartoon drawing has to be a good joke as well. Thinking of a good joke can be a killer. “Good joke” means one which in the first instance makes you the cartoonist laugh. Whether it makes a commissioning editor laugh is another matter entirely (Ian Hislop is such a tease). Some days good jokes pop up like weeds. On others – like today – there’s a great desire to draw funny stuff but nothing happens and an unhealthy amount of daytime TV is watched.

There. My head’s nearly empty now. The only thing I’d add is the word “good”. Good illustration is easier than good cartooning. Must dash, DCI Banks is on.

PS. If anybody wants a definition of “good”, ask the editor in the comments.

Editor adds: Thanks to Bill for putting his head above the parapet.

Giles and the snow cartoon

January 22, 2013 in Comment, News

Carl Giles Winter of Discontent cartoon

"I've told the hospital we've got an ambulance driver fallen head over tip – want to hear what they said?" © Carl Giles

Snow has fallen across the UK over recent days and, as usual, we all act as though this has never happened before. Here’s proof that is has: a cartoon by Carl Giles, the acknowledged master of the snow cartoon, from 1979.

This is about the public sector strikes in the January of that year, popularly known as the Winter of Discontent. It’s a great example of Giles’ “less is more” approach to drawing snow. See more Giles cartoons at the British Cartoon Archive.

Spotted any other good snow cartoons? Let us know in the comments below.

The Round-up

January 18, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Bill Stott @Procartoonists.org

Following on from our last post about what is and isn’t funny, we link to a recent BBC article about the history and humour of the pun – a weapon in the cartoonist’s arsenal that is loved by some and disparaged by others. (We at Procartoonists.org are happy to sit on the fence and say that while some puns deserve nothing but a weary groan, others – such as in the cartoon above, by Bill Stott – are inspired.) Read the article here.

There were equestrian puns aplenty bouncing around on Twitter this week, following the horsemeat burger scandal (log in and search for #horsemeat and you’ll find some good examples). Even Tesco itself decided to crack a joke on the subject.

The horsemeat story provided fodder for cartoonists, too, and The Telegraph’s Matt Pritchett was particularly inspired – producing no less than five gags on the subject in just two days. Click here to scroll through them.

BBC Radio 4 broadcast two programmes of interest to cartoonists and illustrators this week. First, there was a half-hour show celebrating the art and characters of The Beano (click here to listen). Then Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen chose to celebrate the Great Life of Aubrey Beardsley (here).

And finally, the Chris Beetles Gallery in London is holding a sale, beginning this weekend. Click here to see the artworks available.

 

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Isn’t it funny what’s not funny?

January 17, 2013 in Comment, General, Links

Ian Baker cartoon

Cartoon © Ian Baker @ Procartoonists.org

Here’s a very funny cartoon. But why is it funny? Well, E.B. White famously said that “analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog; no one laughs and the frog dies”. So let’s not go there.

Instead, our eye was drawn to a blog post by the cartoonist Christian Adams, in which he simply provides a definitive list of what is funny and what is not funny.

Of course, you can still argue with it, and roll your eyes like Woody Allen in Crimes and Misdemeanours when Alan Alda opines: “If it bends, it’s funny. If it breaks, it isn’t”, but the important fact is that no amphibians were harmed during the making of this blog post.

And, even more importantly, you’ll find lots of cartoons that can definitely be classed as funny in the Procartoonists.org portfolios.

Ahoy! Caricaturists fire broadsides!

January 14, 2013 in Events, General, News

The_Coffin_Expeditions_from_The_National_Maritime_Museum@_procartoonists

The National Maritime Museum @ procartoonists.org

The Royal Maritime Museum at Greenwich is showing Broadsides: Caricature & the Navy throughout January.

The show covers the history of the Napoleonic wars against France when the country was preoccupied in a “battle to control the dunghill”.

By 1815 Britannia actually ruled the waves as the cheerful image above indicates. You can see “Boney’s Invincible Armada” and gather more information about the show at the ship-shape site right here.

The Round-up

January 11, 2013 in General, Links, News

Lord Snooty by Alexander Matthews for The Beano @Procartoonists.org

Procartoonists.org member Alexander Matthews has resurrected Lord Snooty for The Beano (above), and writes about his approach to the character on his blog. Snooty has been absent from the comic for a while (and was even replaced by his grandson for a time). Alex has also recently brought his distinctive style to another classic Beano character, Baby-Face Finlayson.

In more DC Thomson news, former Dandy editor Morris Heggie will be giving a talk about the comic’s 75 years at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on 15 January. The talk, which follows a cartoon workshop for adults held on Wednesday, complements the library’s ongoing Dandy exhibition. Read more here.

Reassuring news (at least, reasonably reassuring)  for gag cartoonists came from Reader’s Digest (UK) this week, after mass redundancies painted a bleak picture. While the company – which was bought out of administration in 2010 – is downsizing and will no longer sell retail goods, it apparently intends to continue publishing the monthly magazine as normal. Read the story here.

Axe Cop, the bizarre webcomic created by a five-year-old boy and illustrated by his cartoonist older brother, has been made into an animated TV show. Watch a clip here.

And finally, click here to be taken on a brief tour of The Certified Hunt Emerson, an iPad app featuring more than 200 pages of work by the renowned underground cartoonist (and Procartoonists.org member).