You are browsing the archive for 2013 October.

Opinion: Tearing a strip off automated online cartoons

October 30, 2013 in Comment, General

Bitstrips @ Procartoonists.org

Bitstrips @ Procartoonists.org

The Procartoonists.org blog notes with interest the rise of Bitstrips, an app that allows anyone to make clip-art style cartoons featuring themselves.

Billed as “instant comics and cards starring you and your friends”, they are popular for Facebook e-cards and status updates.

We have seen this kind of automation of cartooning skills before. And now, as then, we believe it is a poor substitute for bespoke cartoons created by a professional cartoonist. The software may be clever but it does not produce hand-drawn, unique cartoons.

On the plus side, perhaps it is of little threat to professional cartooning, because as with previous fads the novelty appears to be wearing off quickly.

If you are interested in commissioning real cartoons by real cartoonists, take a look at the Procartoonists.org portfolios.

The Round-up

October 28, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

 

© Peter Steiner / Cartoonbank @Procartoonists.org

The cartoon above, by Peter Steiner, is understood to be the most popular ever to appear in The New Yorker. Journalist Glenn Fleishman talks to its creator and looks at what has happened in the 20 years since it first appeared.

Last Friday’s edition of The One Show dropped in on a host of the UK’s most high-profile political cartoonists – among them PCO members Martin Rowson and Steve Bright. Ben Jennings and Bob Moran were then invited to draw against the clock, live on air. Watch the episode on BBC iPlayer here (available until 6.29pm on Friday 1 November).

The BBC show neglected to mention that the cartoonists were appearing in connection with the launch of a new book, edited by Tim Benson. The Best of Britain’s Political Cartoons 2013 will be published on 7 November.

Two British institutions are looking back over their own histories with the use of cartoons. The National Theatre on London’s South Bank is showing a selection of cartoons in its Olivier exhibition space, as part of a celebration to mark its 50th anniversary. Across the river, the Bank of England is exhibiting classics from its own cartoon collection. National Theatre Lampoon and the Bank’s Cartoons & Caricatures are both completely free to visit. The NT show runs until 4 January, and the BoE display is open until 31 December.

For No Good Reason, Charlie Paul‘s documentary about PCO member and Gonzo icon Ralph Steadman, is to get an airing on Sky Atlantic next year.

Congratulations to Emily Haworth-Booth, who has won this year’s Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. And on the subject of prizes, Mike Barfield of Private Eye responds to his recent win at the Cartoon Art Trust Awards.

 

Strangeways here we come:
Manchester cartoon show

October 24, 2013 in Events, General, News

Tony_Husband_and_admirer_at Hey_Wayne-cartoon_show@procartoonists.org

Cartoonist Tony Husband and curious bystander. Photograph © Elspeth Moore for @Procartoonists.org

The Surreal McCoy reports from the Hey Wayne! cartoon show.

Off to Manchester for the weekend and a treat in store at the Richard Goodall Gallery in the city centre, where four cartoonists were exhibiting their unique takes on the theme of cartoons and art.

Not only was there artwork aplenty on the walls but the assembled crowd were also treated to some stand-up cartooning, as Tony Husband, Bill Stott and Bill Tidy took to their easels and let rip.

Close_up_Hey_Wayne_Cartoon_Show@procartoonists.org

Taking a close up. Photograph © Mike Schick for @Procartoonists.org

Cartoonist Bill Tidy gathers a crowd. Photograph © Mika Schick for @Procartoonists.org

A surprise was in store for Bill Tidy. In honour of his 80th birthday and the Cloggies of yesteryear a rather fine clog cake was produced, bells included. Old at 80? Tripe!

Hey Wayne_Cartoon_show_extension_by_Bill_Tidy@procartoonists.org

Extendable ideas at Hey Wayne! Photograph © Elspeth Moore @Procartoonists.org

Hey Wayne! is on until 9 November and we would urge a visit if it’s possible. You can also read more about it here, here and here.

Award to Steve Way: Services to cartooning

October 22, 2013 in Events, General, News

Steve Way cartoon editor of Readers Digest @procartoonists.org

Photograph © The Surreal McCoy for @Procartoonists.org

We are delighted to announce that Steve Way, cartoon editor of Reader’s Digest, and previously of Punch, was presented with the 2013 PCO Award for Services to Cartooning in a packed Bloomsbury pub, London, last night.

A short speech extolling Mr Way’s dedication in mentoring and giving honest feedback to both upcoming and established cartoonists everywhere was made by the fictional cartoon editor, Hugh Jarse, as is traditional on these occasions.

Steve Way, in his thank-you to us all this morning, said:

“Over the moon; it’s always been a game of two halves, but at the end of the day the sun goes down, so in the end it was probably a fair result”.

Result.

Ed adds: Procartoonists.org makes this award on an infrequent basis in recognition of work undertaken by enduring and new friends of the trade in UK professional cartooning.

The Round-up

October 21, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© George Grosz @Procartoonists.org

George Grosz, the German satirical artist who has inspired so many of today’s cartoonists, is the subject of a new exhibition at the Richard Nagy gallery in London – the first retrospective of Grosz’s work to be held in the UK for almost 20 years. Read more about the show here.

Matt Pritchett of The Telegraph has been named Pocket Cartoonist of the Year for an impressive seventh time. Other winners at the Cartoon Art Trust‘s gala dinner on 17 October included Procartoonists.org member Kipper Williams (The Guardian), Peter Brookes (The Times), Peter Schrank (The Independent), and Mike Barfield (Private Eye). The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Nicholas Garland. Cartoonist Oliver Preston, who MC’d the ceremony and set up the Cartoon Art Trust Awards in 1995, has plenty more about the awards evening here. Congrats and kudos to all the winners.

Michael Maslin, a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker, asks his peers to reveal some of their most autobiographical gags and the inspiration behind them. Read the responses here.

We are sorry to note that James Sillavan (JAS) has died at the age of 63. His cartoons appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, notably The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Tablet and The Economist. The Guardian has a detailed obituary here.

An auction of original Giles cartoons has far exceeded estimates. Visit the BBC for more details and a short video.

And finally – looking for something special for the history buff in your life? PCOer Adrian Teal, himself something of an expert on the 18th Century, is one of the brains behind this ‘replica cundum’, which is being auctioned on behalf of Cancer Research UK. Go on – you know you want to.

A look back at St Just

October 17, 2013 in Events, General, News

Terry Anderson reports from the 32nd  St Just-le-Martel cartoon festival, near Limoges in France.

St Just le Martel show © Terry Anderson @ procartoonists.org

© Terry Anderson @ Procartoonists.org

I was making my eighth trip to the event.

De Gaulle by Mougey © Terry Anderson @ procartoonists.org

Charles De Gaulle by Mougey © Terry Anderson @ Procartoonists.org

(Ed adds: That’s probably more than Charles De Gaulle managed)

Cartoonist Loup @ procartoonists.org

© Loup @ Procartoonists.org

I was delighted to learn the main exhibition space has been named the Espace Loup after an artist who has given an enormous amount of time and support to the Salon over the years.

Alongside the collections of cartoons and caricatures from around the world my eye was caught by the sculptures and drawings to be viewed with 3-D glasses by Mougey.

Also, a huge collection of American press cartoons from the Daryl Cagle website, whimsical animal illustrations by Turcios and a large selection of great cartoons by Doaa Eladl.

Midweek, I took some time out in Limoges and fell upon yet more cartoon exhibitions. The Museé de la Resistance had a showing of cartoon strips by artists from the Malmö centre, all meditations on or responses to Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus. Meanwhile at the Bibliothèque Francophone there was a hugely impressive retrospective on the Valérian and Laureline bandes dessineé.

During the second weekend the focus was firmly on cartooning in the USA and Middle East.  Daryl Cagle won the prix de humour vaiche, with colleagues Pat Bagley, Bob Englehart and recent Pulitzer winner Steve Sack also honoured.  After a debate about cartooning in Eqypt, Tunisia and the wider Arab world, the stage was packed for a photo in support of missing Syrian artist Akram Raslan. (Ed adds: There’s an update on Akram Raslan available from The Cartoonists’ Rights Network.)

Daryl Cagle & Company at St Just © Terry Anderson @ procartoonists.org

The Americans receive the traditional Limousin cow © Terry Anderson @ Procartoonists.org

St.Just-le-Martel is mon maison spirituelle. I know I’ll be back and I look forward to contributing something to its next decade of success.

Ed adds: Many thanks to Terry for the report.

Opinion: People love cartoons,
so why let them go?

October 13, 2013 in Comment, General

Cartoon by Tony Reeve

Private Eye cartoon © by the late Tony Reeve

Nick Newman, cartoonist, PCO member and editor of Private Eye: A Cartoon History, writes for the Procartoonists.org blog:

The sound of 1,000 people laughing out loud at cartoons from Private Eye: A Cartoon History left me feeling elated as I departed from the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

The town hall, the largest venue in town, was packed to the rafters by a sell-out crowd of unlikely Eye fans on a Monday afternoon.

The demographic was definitely more staid than I’d expected, and I wondered how some of the Eye’s more risqué gags would fare on the big screen. I needn’t have worried. Alexander Matthews’ bishop saying of his choristers “God, it’s like everyone I’ve ever slept with is here!” raised the roof, as did Tony Reeve’s little girl saying to woman washing up “Mummy, why are your hands so soft?”, ” I’m twelve”.

Afterwards, the audience was fulsome in their praise and voted with their wallets by buying stacks of books. The story was the same at the Henley Literary Festival, the Soho Literary Festival and the National Theatre. People love cartoons – and not in a wry, chucklesome sort of way; in a roaring boom of belly laughter.

My euphoria was short-lived – returning to London to hear that four of my cartoonist newspaper colleagues had been axed for budgetary reasons. Two of these were the same cartoonists whose work was met with such a rapturous reception on the literary circuit.

Times are, of course, very hard for print journalism – hacks too are being laid off in their droves – but at the same time that newspapers are shedding freelancers, the online departments are desperately looking for ways to enliven the dull, digital, monotonous “swipe-me” editions.

There, the backlit cartoons look bright, cheerful and vibrant. But cartoonists have to be employed in order to do the job and getting rid of exclusive visual content surely can’t be the answer to attracting digital readers.

A week of contrasts left me feeling that the game is up for print journalism, if the demands of the digital age have left papers so strapped for cash that they can’t afford humour and creativity – assets desperately in short supply on Fleet Street.

And if newspapers let them go, it will not be because readers don’t appreciate them.

They do. I’ve heard them. In their thousands.

Editor adds: Many thanks to Nick. He and Ian Hislop, the Private Eye editor, will be doing another talk at the V&A on 19 November. He suggests that anyone wanting to hear how much people like cartoons should go along.

The Round-up

October 13, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Cartoon © Tony Husband / Photo © Rob Doyle @Procartoonists.org

Above: It’s difficult to whinge when your work is given pride of place in a fancy art gallery, but Procartoonists.org member Tony Husband still managed to include this observation of the cartooning community in the Hey Wayne! cartoon show currently taking place in Manchester. Tony’s art-related cartoons share the walls of the Richard Goodall Gallery with the work of fellow PCOers Bill Stott and Chris Madden, as well as that of Bill Tidy. Thanks to Rob Doyle for the photo, taken at Saturday’s private view. (There are many more pictures available here on Facebook.)

Another of our members, the fresh-faced and talented Will McPhail, was featured on ITV News last week after being named Young Cartoonist of the Year.

Steve Bell will be at the University of Aberdeen next month to give a free talk about early visual satirists including Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank. Find more details here. Another of those early satirists, Thomas Rowlandson, will be the subject of an exhibition in Edinburgh later this year.

Denise Dorrance talks about Mimi, her new cartoon series for The Mail on Sunday’s You supplement, in this interview.

And finally, the Illustration Cupboard gallery in London will be holding a selling exhibition of Daily Express cartoons by Paul Thomas, opening on 24 October. See the invite here.

Hey Wayne! arrives

October 10, 2013 in Events, General, News

Still_Smuggling_the-odd_harpsichord-Mrs_Andrews_©_Bill_Stott @procartoonists

© Bill Stott @Procartoonists.org

The Hey Wayne! cartoon art show opens this weekend at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester.

Enjoy a sneak preview of three of the contributing artists at their Procartoonists portfolios which you can find, here, here and here. Chris Madden, Bill Stott and Tony Husband will be joined by Bill Tidy, about whom you may learn here.

The show is billed as a “gentle poke at the pomposity of the art world”. We don’t know about that but we do think it will be funny.

The Round-up

October 7, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Some Funny Faces © Phillip Warner @Procartoonists.org

Phillip Warner, the cartoonist, animator and PCO member, has an exhibition of caricatures on show at the Gallery Maison Bertaux in London’s Soho. Some Funny Faces consists of a series of etchings of comedy icons, from Woody Allen and Groucho Marx to Spike Milligan and Peter Cook. This writer attended the packed private view on Thursday – so packed, in fact, that it was a challenge to make it round the entire room. Phillip is selling prints of the caricatures, and the show runs until 13 October. Find more details here.

Peter Brookes, cartoonist for The Times, appeared on The Daily Politics this week and talked about the ‘agony’ of his idea-generating process. Head over to the BBC site to watch the interview. Meanwhile, the Chris Beetles Gallery in London is holding a sale of more than 100 of Brookes’ recent Times cartoons, and there is a new book collection out, titled Sign of the Times.

For those who missed it, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman‘s recent talk at the National Theatre can now be watched in full online.

PCOer Tim Harries talks to The South Wales Argus – for which he produces the Never Say Dai comic strip – about his life and career.

“Cartoons can have a profound impact on awareness,” says psychologist Lawrence Shapiro, adding: “they are a great way to get a message across that might otherwise be overlooked.” We agree, and note that Shapiro’s US company, Talk to an Expert, Inc., has introduced a weekly cartoon series to open up topics for discussion. Read more here.

Note: Our members would be only to happy to discuss producing cartoons for your business. Take a look at our portfolios.