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FIZZERS: 10 years of caricature

May 27, 2016 in General

Terry Anderson

PCO member Terry Anderson with some of his superb caricatures

The Scottish Cartoon Art Studio’s collection of caricatures, Fizzers®, is a decade old this year and the subject of a retrospective show at the People’s Palace & Winter Gardens, Glasgow. Studio Co-ordinator and PCO Member Terry Anderson explains how it all came about.

After years receiving cordial invitations to attend a small group from the Studio decided to go to St.Just-le-Martel for their annual cartoon Salon in 2001. We returned in force the following year with our full team as well as the top Scottish newspaper cartoonist Steven Camley and world class comic book artist Frank Quitely.

Preview night

Preview night in Glasgow

It’s safe to say that everyone’s heads were turned by the quality and diversity of work we were exposed to, in particular the caricatures by artists as different as Jean Mulatier whose coloured pencil work lends realistic lustre to flesh and hair, or Gibo, able to boil a likeness down to just a few fat pen strokes.

RICHARD AYOADE (Chris Sommerville)

Richard Ayoade © Chris Somerville

The widespread popularity of this non-editorial, apolitical mode of caricature was news to us and very exciting. Immediately we began to speculate on what we could do in the same vein. After a few false starts we started calling these caricatures “Fizzers”, a Glaswegian variation of fizzog, itself is a corruption of the French visage and so a nod to both our subject and inspiration.

Fizzers was originally conceived as a book of caricatures of notable Scots. As well as wishing to make a mark in our own backyard this was a tactical move. Practically every caricaturist under the sun has a Mr Bean or Beatles piece to show you. Few if any have tackled the cast of Still Game or local heroes such as Benny Lynch.

Studio team

The Studio Team line up

The project became a two headed beast after being brought to the attention of the director at one of the country’s most prestigious art venues, who had publicly bemoaned a lack of work portraying contemporary faces. Hence when Fizzers debuted in 2006 it did so with both a book published by Mercat Press and an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

Since then further shows of various sizes have followed and the scope of Fizzers has broadened. For example my colleague Chris Sommerville has concentrated on top international footballers in recent years. When Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary rolled around we took the opportunity to draw each actor who played the title role. And when David Bowie passed away a few months ago it was once of those rare instances when a single figure could present a different face to each caricaturist in our group.

MARC BOLAN (Brian Flynn)

Marc Bolan © Brian Flynn

So as we prepared to mount a tenth anniversary exhibition and raided our collection of well over 400 caricatures – created by Chris and myself as well as Brian Flynn, Derek Gray and Tommy Sommerville – we were able to include truly world famous personalities as well as our usual tributes to figures dear to Glasgow, appropriate since our venue is the People’s Palace, the museum of the city’s social history.

Elaine C Smith

Elaine C. Smith and caricature © Derek Gray

Fizzers: 10 Years of Caricature opens this weekend and will run until the end of March. It’s a major undertaking and we’re very pleased to have been paid such a compliment by the staff at the museum. Entry is free and it’s open every day except Mondays. For more details, including workshops and talks that will be occurring throughout the coming year, please visit the Scottish Cartoons website and the Glasgow Museums site.




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The ins and outs of Europe through the eyes of Kipper Williams

May 20, 2016 in General


© Kipper Williams

The Prime Minister calls it the most important decision of our time. Many are worried, some couldn’t care less. But this summer the debate on Europe is the centre of national conversation, so it’s with perfect comedy timing that Amberley are publishing Kipper Williams’ take on the Euro debate ahead of the 23 June referendum.

From Brussels’ red tape to tax dodging corporations, batty nationalists to Machiavellian Europhiles, from triumph to farce – and back – Kipper Williams finds all the ingredients for comedy in his new book, ‘IN or OUT? Europe in Cartoons’.


Award winning cartoonist Kipper Williams

PCO member Kipper is one of this country’s foremost political cartoonists and has been published in The Spectator, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Private Eye and Country Life, among others. He has also provided illustrations for a number of books, including Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’.

‘IN or OUT’ looks like it ticks all the discerning cartoonophile’s boxes, regardless of which one they’ll be ticking come 23 June.


© Kipper Williams

Kipper’s book is available now in paperback at £8.99.

For more information call Amberley’s Hazel Kayes on 01453 847 813 or email h.kayes@amberley-books.com








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Martin Rowson retrospective at the Ladywell Gallery

May 19, 2016 in General


Writer, iconoclast, atheist, zoo enthusiast, cook, PCO member and long-time resident of Lewisham are just a few of the things Martin Rowson can lay claim to being. However Martin is best known for the brilliance of his political cartooning skills and the Ladywell Gallery is holding an exhibition ‘To Hell. In a Handcart: A retrospective of Cartoons by Martin Rowson, 1986 – 2016′ as part of Brockley Max 2016.


The retrospective features the multi-award winning cartoonist’s work from The Guardian, Daily Mirror, The Morning Star, Sunday Today, Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Scotsman, Tribune, The Londoner, Time Out and many other publications, all of which is for sale.

Preview Night: Wednesday 25th May 2016 from 6.30pm
Exhibition: 26th May – 30th June 2016
12pm to 6pm daily (free entry)

More details and examples of the work to be shown in the Martin Rowson retrospective can be found here on the Ladywell Gallery website.


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Chris Beetles Gallery hosts exhibition in support of House of Illustration

May 11, 2016 in General


The Director and Trustees of House of Illustration together with Chris Beetles are exhibiting and selling of works from the 2008 exhibition What Are You Like? to raise funds for House of Illustration.
Chis Beetles is very generously waiving all fees and opening the exhibition with a champagne private view on Thursday 19 May. What Are You Like? will run until Sunday 22 May 2016.
This is a unique opportunity to purchase original works that were produced in 2008 by an extraordinary roll call of artist-illustrators, painters, designers and public figures for whom drawing is important. Each work is autobiographical, based on the Victorian parlour game in which players were asked to describe themselves through a series of drawings of their favourite things.
The original exhibition toured to ten different museums and galleries around the UK, finally coming to an end in 2014, by which time it had been seen by almost half a million people. The exhibition anticipated the opening of House of Illustration in Granary Square in July 2014, and the contributors have very generously agreed for their work to be sold to enable the organisation to continue to pursue its enterprising exhibition programme, to extend its illustration-led learning work and to promote new illustration talent.
House of Illustration receives no public funding and so is entirely reliant each year on fundraising.The original works in the exhibition include pieces by artists Quentin Blake, Posy Simmonds, Steven Appleby and Peter Brookes as well as musicians Eric Clapton and Brian Eno.
All works will be exhibited and can be purchased online now. Anyone wishing to buy can contact the Chris Beetles Gallery, or Tracy French at House of Illustration: tracy.french@houseofillustration.org.uk
Chris Beetles Gallery address is 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6QB
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Mario Miranda, India’s cartooning genius

May 9, 2016 in General


A must see article on the BBC website by Pamela D’Mello highlights the Indian state of Goa’s celebrations to mark the 90th birth anniversary of one of the country’s best-known cartoonists and illustrators, Mario Miranda.


Pamela D’Mello writes:

Mario’s warm-hearted, often comic drawings of local characters and culture helped to popularise his native state, Goa, both across India and overseas. He died in 2011.

The Mario Gallery and Museum has published Miranda’s 1949 diaries, which depict his student life as a 22-year-old in the city of Mumbai.

A free musical concert, and an exhibition of 74 of his original and print works are on display at an art gallery in Goa’s capital Panjim, as part of the celebrations.


To read Pamela D’Mello’s article in full and see more of Mario Miranda’s wonderful work, visit the BBC website.

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Bigging up cartoons in Southport

May 9, 2016 in General

tim board southport

Tim Harries and his Big Board

Noel Ford writes:

Saturday 7th May, Southport shopping precinct: Big Boards assembled, caricature station manned, we set about entertaining the passing shoppers as part of the Southport Festival. Despite a weather forecast that hedged its bets between ‘hot and sunny’ and ‘storm-force wind and rain’, the day remained fine and warm and everyone, cartoonists and public, had a great time.


Big Boarders Pete Dredge, Tim Harries, Chris Williams, Rich Skipworth and myself drew cartoons based on the various up-and-coming Southport events, whilst caricaturists Brighty and John Roberts drew the crowds (pun intended) and one punter was so delighted that she ran off brandishing her caricature and proclaiming, “It looks like me! It looks like me!”


Steve Bright (aka ‘Brighty’) keeps the punters happy

The event was organised by Paul Hardman and, with the energetic help of Brendan Riley of the Comedy Festival and other volunteers, everything went off to plan (yes, there WAS a plan!) and it is hoped that the Southport Festival will become the home of another much-needed annual UK cartooning event.

rich board southport

Rich Skipworth and Big Board

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Cartoonists freed!

May 4, 2016 in General


Atena Farghadani (right) and her mother celebrate

Iranian artists Atena Farghadani and Hadi Heidari have been released

Atena Farghadani was freed from Evin prison on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Speaking to CRNI, Ms. Farghadani expressed her utmost appreciation of Cartoonists Rights Network International and all organizations, cartoonists and activists who have supported her throughout her incarceration and given a voice to her and her cause. She also pointed out that although she’s happy to be free, she is also concerned about all of the unknown prisoners who have no supporters.

Find out more about Atena’s release on the CRNI website.


Cartoon posted by Hadi after his release © Hadi Heidari

Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari has also been been released. Mr. Heidari had been arrested by government agents on November 16, 2015, at the offices at the reformist newspaper, Shahrvand. The cartoonist was taken into custody after a judge ordered Hadeiri to serve the balance of a 2013 suspended sentence stemming from a cartoon deemed anti-state.  Heidari’s November arrest came shortly after he posted a cartoon in response to the Paris terrorist attacks which was shared around the world.


A joyous reunion: Hadi Heidari with his daughter

Read more about Hadi Heiradi’s case on the CRNI website.

Footnote: Meanwhile Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called for more freedom of expression and said government critics should not be jailed – just as three other journalists were taken into custody on charges of “spreading propaganda against the ruling system, conspiring against officials and insulting authorities.”

Sadly, it appears the release of the two artists has not yet signalled the arrival of true freedom of expression in Iran. The struggle continues…



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Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside…

May 3, 2016 in General


Noel Ford writes:

In 2014 a small expeditionary force of cartoonists established a beachhead in Southport’s main shopping precinct from where they proceeded to engage the public with Big Board cartooning and caricaturing. This mini ‘Shrewsbury’ took place as part of the Southport Comedy Festival and turned out to be a big success.


This coming Saturday, May 7th, seven of us, Paul Hardman (organiser), Brighty, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Tim Harries, Rich Skipworth and Chris Williams will be doing a similar thing in the same place between 10.30am and 4.00pm as part of the Southport Festival. Big Boards will be drawn, caricatures will be crafted and, manpower and time allowing, a little cartoon busking will be added to the mix. Do come along if you can!

The Southport Comedy Festival site can be found here.

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Dr. Who materialises at The Cartoon Museum

May 2, 2016 in General


This exhibition of original cover artwork is timed to coincide with the reissue of the iconic Target books. Featuring over 30 pieces, including the covers from six of the new reissues, this is the first time that the artwork has been publicly exhibited.

The Time Lord themed exhibition is a veritable who’s who of illustrating talent, including ten covers by Chris Achilleos from The Daleks through to Revenge of the Cybermen, five covers by Andrew Skilleter from Destiny of the Daleks through to The Mark of the Rani and other classic and well-loved original cover artwork by Roy Knipe, Jeff Cummins, and David McAlister.


‘Doctor Who: The Target Book Artwork’ runs until Sunday 15th May 2016.

More information about this and other exhibitions and events can be found here on the museum’s website.

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Shrewsbury 2016: On the coldest of days, a cartoon festival that warmed the hearts of many

April 21, 2016 in General


The author braves the cold for the greater good PICTURE © MIKA SCHICK

Steve Bright writes:

I arrived in Shrewsbury on Saturday morning with mild trepidation. It was my first Big Board duty in several years, and as a fully digital cartoonist these days, a little rusty when it comes to pen on paper, far less 8′ x 4′ canvas, slung over huge boards hinged in couples, and dotted throughout the splendour of The Square in the heart of Shrewsbury. As it turned out, rust was not the problem – an Arctic day in April put all other problems in the shade, as we all valiantly battled probably the coldest festival in its 13-year history. The digital artisans among us are well used to working in layers these days, but that doesn’t usually extend to a body-warmer, two t-shirts and a pair of long johns. It was bitter, but we all got there in the end, thanks to the sunny disposition of our hosts, helpers, and visitors in abundance, undeterred by the meagre degrees Celsius. And we were actually lucky (in keeping with the theme for this year’s event) apparently – the forecast had been snow, and indeed there were reports of some falling in the earlier hours of that morning.


Clive Goddard’s magnificent Big Board contribution PICTURE © MIKA SCHICK

But rewind. The festival was all kicked off the night before, with a private viewing of this year’s selling exhibition at the Bear Steps gallery, which incorporated the official opening speeches from the Deputy Mayor, followed by retiring (though not in a shy way) festival Chairman, Rich Skipworth, who managed to convey a mixture of caution about the festival’s future as public funding diminishes, with real optimism that it may yet flourish beyond all previous incarnations, through grants and private initiatives. Fingers crossed!

This was followed by a real treat for all who made the short walk down to The Lion Hotel to enjoy Shrewsbury débutante Tony Husband’s deeply poignant illustrated talk, guiding us through his highly-acclaimed book, ‘Take Care, Son’, chronicling his father’s dementia with great warmth, wit, and obvious love.

From there, a splendid late evening gathering at the Shiraz, for those who had managed to stave off their hunger until darkness, followed no doubt by the odd nightcap or two back at the hotel before bedtime (or in my case, a quick drive home for a couple of hours’ kip before heading back in the following morning).


Pens across the ocean: American cartoonist Hilary Price PICTURE © MIKA SCHICK

The Saturday 9a.m. briefing was the traditional signal for the ‘serious’ work to begin. Friends old and new assembled to brace ourselves for the cold and the rigours of our allotted tasks, before dispersing around the town to dispense our customary assorted forms of cartoon magic upon the hordes. It all went typically splendidly from there, by all accounts. Caricatures were drawn in abundance, the snow-blinding whiteness of the Big Boards gradually metamorphosed into wonderful expanses of colour and wit. Talks were delivered and workshops eagerly attended by young aspiring cartoonists being helped and encouraged onto the first rungs of the ladder leading to (hopefully) future official festival invitations. There was cartoon ‘busking’, cartoon exhibitions, digital and traditional opportunities for the general public to try their own hands at cartooning, and of course, it was all weaved together by the S-mile trail wending its way through the picturesque Shrewsbury streets, with cartoon treats at every turn. As always, the hard-working organisers and their team of helpers had laid on a veritable cornucopia of cartooning for all, to enjoy, and we were rewarded with the wide smiles and laughter of the visiting public in return. Our thanks, as always, go to those unsung heroes who made it all possible whilst we got most of the plaudits. And the musicians – mustn’t forget them. The temperature in The Square appeared to rise a couple of degrees as soon as they struck up the first of many songs that kept us going throughout the day.


Noel Ford’s masterpiece in pastels PICTURE © MIKA SCHICK

The evening meal at The Peach Tree had us donning our glad rags (in my own case, getting my kilt out of its mothballs), and relaxing with friends, old and new. Internationally, Hillary Price made her début from the USA, whilst Dean Alston once again swam all the way from Perth, Australia as he has done for most of the 13 festivals so far. And then there was Terry Anderson, all the way from Paisley…

Many old friends and colleagues were missed, toasted, and talked about, and will hopefully return to future festivals. The intention is that if all goes well with future funding, the festival can be restored to a full two-day event, and the number of invited participating cartoonists can once again be increased. Again, fingers crossed!


First time Big Boarder Chris Williams (aka ‘Dink’) PICTURE © MIKA SCHICK

And perhaps the signs are good, if you believe in omens; our traditional ukulele-led sing song at The Lion, that melodiously took us from Saturday night into the wee small hours of Sunday morning, ended with those of us who went the distance being treated to the most lovely surprise from a group of around 30 young people, still up and enjoying the Lion’s hospitality in the adjoining lounge area. Having heard us through the adjoining doors, they asked us to play them a couple of Beatles numbers before we called it a night. It turned out they were the European Union Chamber Orchestra, unwinding from a concert in Shrewsbury that day before heading for Llandudno in the morning for their next gig. They made their appreciation known for our musical efforts, before enriching the very air around us with their truly magnificent harmonies, as our jaws hit the floor. A wonderfully surreal ending to another cracking festival, from voices like Angels…