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by Jonesy

Martin Rowson’s ‘Life Drawing’ series on Radio 4

August 23, 2017 in General

Martin Rowson and Julia Langdon

In what is described as a series of “inky interviews”, Martin draws and interviews people who have shaped his work and wider life.

During the five part series, which started on Monday and continues all week (check out BBC i>Player here), the Guardian and Daily Mirror political cartoonist (and PCO member) also puts pen to paper with ex-Chancellor George Osborne, illustrator Ralph Steadman, zoologist Sarah Christie and punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

Interviewed for the BBC’s Radio Times, the hard hitting cartoonist makes a surprising confession:

“There’s almost a wilful self-delusion about the whole mutually abusive, if mutually dependent, relationship that I describe as mind over matter – the politicians pretend they don’t mind; the cartoonists pretend we matter.

One of our occupational hazards is a weird variation on Stockholm Syndrome, whereby kidnap victims fall in love with their captors. We, instead, fall in love with our victims, whom, however much we deplore them or their policies, we come to love drawing.”

Reassuringly (or not, depending on your point of view) Martin proves he’s not going totally soft on “the enemy” by concluding that what he does is “what we have instead of bloody revolutions – for a while anyway.”

You can see the great man at work on his Julia Langdon portrait here

Cartoonist and politician (sorry, editor) gaze into each other’s eyes over a caricature

Martin Rowson’s series Life Drawing started on Monday and runs until Friday at 1.45pm on Radio 4 (Monday and Friday on FM only)

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by Jonesy

Jane Mattimoe’s UK Case for Pencils (2): Bill Stott

August 22, 2017 in General

© Bill Stott

Our friend from across the pond, Jane Mattimoe of A Case for Pencils fame, turns her attention from one venerable PCO nibmeister, Ralph Steadman, to another:

Bill Stott

Bio: Where have I been published? Well, lots of places, but increasingly in recent years, fewer. I’ve had stuff in The Times [education section] and the Telegraph and I was a regular in dear, dead Punch – a great magazine murdered by stupid publishers. Alan Coren was THE greatest editor. I do a lot of work for what are called “niche” magazines – for hobbyists really – fanatically dedicated folk who restore tractors or who build amazingly detailed railway layouts, or who restore quaint old Stationary Engines. The editors of these magazines have a sense of humour and see the editorial value of cartoons – unlike, in recent years, the editors and publishers of so-called “lifestyle” magazines. They and the often faceless wielders of power in the UK press are ditching cartoonists at an alarming rate.

PCO is very concerned about this. Its obvious that UK publishers don’t listen to each other. Ian Hislop, editor of the very successful Private Eye [I very occasionally get a gag in that] is on record saying that increasing cartoon content increases circulation. Tell that to the faceless ones at Saga Magazine which recently dropped ALL cartoons. We’re often told it’s all to do with costs. Which is accountant-speak nonsense. I think it’s to do with a humour dis-connect with journo-centric editors who’d rather fill their pages with dense fields of print and photos and who don’t know how to “read” a cartoon. I mean, there are unfortunates who don’t have a sense of humour, aren’t there ? Whoa ! This is getting way too serious so I’ll move on to……………

Tools of Choice:

[1] Heavy brass Rotring propelling pencil [2b leads]. I’ve got a few heavy brass Rotring fountain pens too. I don’t like light pens.

[2] Dip – in pen nibs and holders. Leonardt nibs are best because they are flexible enough to go from fine line to thick without wearing out too quickly. These nibs are the same as the ones I used as a child in school

60-odd years ago! WAY more expensive now though. And you’ve got to use a little brass slip-on reservoir on them.

[3] FW Black acrylic ink. Super stuff. Much better than the old Indian ink.

[4]  Winsor and Newton watercolour.

[5] A range of watercolour brushes.

[5] A good eraser.

Bill used a scanner to create images of his art supplies.

Tools I wish I could use better:

All of the above.

Tools I wish existed:

I can’t think of any. I love the physical business of actually drawing; the sound and feel of nib on paper. I have good friends who have made the transition from that to working wholly digitally. And their product is really good, if sometimes a bit too perfect. But whilst I’ve been fascinated watching a colleague use a Cintiq, for example, it doesn’t attract me. I mean, you never get your hands dirty, do you ? Incidentally, I also paint using acrylics on canvas. I went to Art College in my youth, before spending many years teaching Art.

© Bill Stott

© Bill Stott


Don’t have any. All a bit conventionally boring, really.


Once I’ve had an idea, I listen to music, mostly classical, New Orleans Jazz and certain others, e.g., Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen. My studio [studio ?- hah ha ha – it’s the back bedroom really] overlooks the garden where my chickens live. There’s a pond too and a high Leylandii hedge in which scores of house sparrows fight and argue. So when I’m trying to think up an idea, I’ll stare out there. My studio’s a mess. Well, not to me – I know where everything MIGHT be. The rest of the relatively small house is contemporary/minimally furnished and my studio drives my partner Sheila mad. But I like it. Its organic. Besides, when I totter downstairs to make coffee, everything looks pleasingly tidy and neat.

© Bill Stott

From time to time I’ll get a studio visitor called Maggie. She’s my elderly dog who pops in from time to time to see what the Human is doing. I also smoke too much. AND I have an old, environmentally-unfriendly Jaguar XK8- the most beautiful car they ever made – which still goes like stink, and a beat-up Mazda station wagon which is the dog-car.

Goes without saying that I’m very involved with the PCO. I work with what must be the best Committee in the world. The Surreal McCoy, Rupert Besley, Jeremy Banx, Steve Jones, Glenn Marshall, and Andrew Birch are the backbone of the PCO.

I could go on about family and kids [son – a lawyer, and daughter a dental hygienist -both in their 40s now] but I won’t because you must be bored silly by now.

This is me – on the left – presenting an award to the organiser of the festival, Bill McCabe. PCO sponsors cartoon festivals in the UK because [a] the public love cartoons and like to see cartoonists working live, and [b] the festivals give colleagues the chance to meet up. Do publishers come to festivals, despite being invited ? No they do not, and as I’ve already said, the present attitude of UK publishers is woeful.

© Bill Stott


I get occasional sales through my website and my PCO portfolio and also sell a lot of prints through Albert Rusling’s Cartoon Gallery in Chester. In fact, Albert, Mike Williams and Bill Tidy taught me a lot about cartooning. I also have a lot of originals at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London. Chris’s client base is such that he can sell cartoons for a lot more money than cartoonists can currently expect from magazines. He and his son Alex are really good supporters of cartooning.

© Bill Stott


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by Jonesy

“Daily Funnies” exhibition at The Cartoon Museum

August 20, 2017 in General

© Steven Appleby

Most (if not all!) of the best loved newspaper and magazine cartoon strips from the last 100 years feature in the museum’s latest must see spectacle.

As their presence on the printed page diminishes (with notable exceptions) this exhibition is a timely reminder of the pleasure cartoon strips can offer.

© Maurice Dood & Dennis Collins

Including the likes of Alex, Andy Capp, Biff, Bristow, Dick Tracy, Doris, Flook, Fred Basset, If… ,Jeff Hawke, Modesty Blaise, Nipper, Oor Wullie, Peanuts, The Perishers, Pop, Rupert, Supermodels and many others, the exhibition runs until 5th November 2017.

The Cartoon Museum
35 Little Russell Street

T: 0207 580 8155

“Daily Funnies” Exhibition at The Cartoon Museum




Eaten Fish exhibition and workshop at Herne Bay

August 19, 2017 in General

photo © @aroom4myfriend

The Surreal McCoy writes:

At the Herne Bay cartoon festival this summer, PCO committee member Glenn Marshall organised an exhibition of some of the cartoons drawn for PCO’s internet campaign #AddAFish for #EatenFish, the refugee cartoonist from Iran currently detained by Australian authorities on an island off Papua New Guinea. Contributing cartoonists from all over the world gave permission for their work to be shown and we hope to send it overseas as a pop-up exhibition in order to bring attention to the plight of Eaten Fish and his fellow refugees.

Exhibition contributions by © Martin Rowson and © Ralph Steadman

Fellow committee members The Surreal McCoy and Jeremy Banks ran a #DrawAFish workshop which was extremely well-attended and thanks to the Herne Bay contributors our shoal of cartoon fish grew even bigger.

photo © @aroom4myfriend

photo © @aroom4myfriend

photo © @aroom4myfriend

photo © @aroom4myfriend

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by Royston

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2017:
The End of the Pier Show

August 10, 2017 in Events, General, News

The Herne Bay Cartoon Festival main event was held on the Pier for the first time on Sunday, after four years at the Bandstand. It proved a perfect fit for a live cartooning event. The sun shone and a good time was had by all.

Photos © Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated

The cartoonists' parade

The cartoonists’ parade their way on to the Pier with HBCF pencils, led by
Rob Murray, Chris Burke, Martin Rowson and Dave Brown

Cartoonists' group pic

The town crier announces the event as many of the cartoonists assemble

The cartoonists who took part were: Nathan Ariss, Jeremy Banx, Rupert Besley, Andrew Birch, Dave Brown, Des Buckley, Chris Burke, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Clive Goddard, Alex Hughes, Glenn Marshall, Rob Murray, Roger Penwill, Helen Pointer, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Tim Ruscoe, Tim Sanders, Rich Skipworth, The Surreal McCoy, Steve Way and Chris Williams.

Chris Burke draws a seaside peep board

Where to begin? Chris Burke makes a start on creating a seaside peep board

Chris Burke's finished board

Chris Burke’s finished board is peerless. Photo © Richard Baxter

Martin Rowson and Andrew Birch

A day of contrasts: Martin Rowson with Andrew Birch

Martin Rowson draws

Martin Rowson’s Jeremy Corbyn cartoon drew a few disapproving glances but the kids loved it. Photos © Jason Hollingsworth

Click here for our blog post on Martin Rowson’s talk at the festival.

Caricaturists in action

The caricaturists — Helen Pointer, Alex Hughes and Pete Dredge — were kept constantly busy. Photo © Jason Hollingsworth

Family caricatured

Happy customers with caricatures by the three artists. Photo © Kerry Riley

Glenn Marshall's Punch and Judy v The Zombies

Glenn Marshall created a cartoon Punch and Judy show with a modern twist. That, as they say, is the way to do it

Public drawing board

As ever, the public were given a chance to draw, overseen by cartoonist the Surreal McCoy. Photo © Kerry Riley

Royston Robertson's Brexit board

Royston Robertson did board entirely filled with Brexit cartoons

Andrew Birch draws

Andrew Birch draws a seaside-themed board

Fake cartoons

Many of the cartoonists contributed to the Fake Cartoons shared board, mostly gags about Donald Trump. SAD! Photo © Richard Baxter

Rob Murray's The Scream big board

In the frame: Rob Murray poses with his board based on The Scream, with an info panel from “Tat Modern”. Photo © Richard Baxter

Dave Brown with big board

No Herne Bay Cartoon Festival would be complete without big board cartoon from The Independent’s Dave Brown

Cartoonists on the merry go round

To end the day, the cartoonists went on the merry-go-round. Pictured are
Noel Ford, who made his Herne Bay debut, Chris Williams and Alex Hughes. Photo © Karol Steele

Caricaturist Helen Pointer

The caricaturist Helen Pointer also appeared at Herne Bay for the first time. Photo © Jason Hollingsworth

That’s all, folks. You can see more by visiting @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or HBCartoonFest.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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by Royston

Martin Rowson (and mini Farage) visit the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

August 9, 2017 in Events, General, News

Martin Rowson took part in the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival for the first time this year, where he gave a talk and was interviewed by Rosie Duffield, the first ever Labour MP for nearby Canterbury.

All photos © Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated

Martin Rowson and Rosie Duffield at the Kings Hall, Herne Bay

Martin Rowson and Rosie Duffield at the Kings Hall, Herne Bay

But the Guardian cartoonist brought an extra guest to the event at the Kings Hall last Saturday, a rather disturbing Nigel Farage piñata — already beaten up from a party — that sat on the stage throughout the event.

Duffield, Rowson ... and Farage

Duffield, Rowson … and Farage

Ronald Searle was described by Martin Rowson as the greatest cartoonist of the 21st century.

Ronald Searle was described by Martin Rowson as the greatest
cartoonist of the 21st century. Photo © Andy Miller

Martin’s wide-ranging talk and slideshow covered the reasons we laugh at our so-called betters and ridicule them through drawings, taking in his own influences and his motivations behind drawing cartoons.

After the talk he was interviewed Rosie Duffield, who has put her own career as a satire writer on hold since becoming an MP.  The floor was then opened to questions.

At one point, cartoonists in the audience were heard chuckling at the often-asked “where do you get your ideas from?”

Martin Rowson is skewered by one of the HBCF pencils

Martin Rowson is skewered by one of the many HBCF pencils that
have appeared around the town over recent weeks.

An exhibition of Martin Rowson cartoons continues at the Bay Art Gallery in Herne Bay until Sunday 13 August.

 The piñata on the Pier

The piñata on the Pier. Pics © Jason Hollingsworth

The Farage piñata was shown a good time during the live cartooning day on the Pier the following day … before being stuffed with chips and thrown into the sea for the gulls to peck at.

We have more on the live event on the Pier on this blog. In the meantime you can see plenty of pictures by visiting @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or HBCartoonFest.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Re:Mona exhibition

July 31, 2017 in General

Glenn Marshall writes:

I’ve long been a Mona Lisa obsessive, now I’ve come up with a cunning way to get others to join in.

Along with Helen Wilde and Terry Sole of One New Street Gallery I’ve just hung the ‘Mona Lisa – Not Funny’ exhibition as a side-show to the excellent Herne Bay Cartoon Festival.

Some coded Monas ©Ralph Steadman

It’s an exhibition of reworked, reimagined & regurgitated Mona Lisas by artists, illustrators, designers and of course a plethora of cartoonists (mostly of this parish)

The highly acclaimed pizza restaurant ‘A Casa Mia’ next door to the gallery has even joined in with a ‘Mona Pizza’ which is available on their menu while the exhibition is running. ‘Delizioso’ as Leonardo would’ve said.

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by Royston

Fifth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival begins

July 27, 2017 in Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2017 poster
[Poster by Chris Burke]

The fifth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is under way, and this year the event features a change of venue for its main live event and a guest appearance by one of the UK’s top political cartoonists.

After four years at the town’s Bandstand, the live event will be held on the bustling Herne Bay Pier.

More than 20 of the UK’s top cartoonists will be there on Sunday 6 August from midday to draw big-board cartoons, seaside peep boards, caricatures and more. There will also be a few surprises and chances for the public to get involved with drawing.

The change of location has inspired the title of the main festival exhibition, The End of the Pier Show, which opened this week at the Beach Creative gallery and runs until Sunday 13 August.

An exhibition by the political cartoonist Martin Rowson also opened this week at the Bay Art Gallery. It also runs until Sunday 13 August.

Martin Rowson exhibition poster

Fresh from being described by the Daily Mail as “sick and disgusting”, Rowson will appear at the Kings Hall on Saturday 5 August, from 3pm-5pm, where he will be interviewed by Rosie Duffield, the first ever Labour MP for nearby Canterbury, wearing her other hat as a comedy writer and satirist.

Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved at Eventbrite.

Also open now at the Seaside Museum is the exhibition Cartoonists All At Sea, a selection of cartoons from the British Cartoon Archive in Canterbury, which runs until Sunday 10 September.

Cartoonists All at Sea poster

As has happened since the third festival, there will be a “fringe” event organised by Glenn Marshall. This year it is Mona Lisa – Not Happy, which sees the da Vinci painting “reworked, reimagined and regurgitated” by Marshall and other cartoonists and artists. The show opens at the One New Street gallery on Friday 4 August and runs until Saturday 2 September.

Mona Lisa Not Happy poster

Alongside the main show at Beach Creative, the festival also hosts Eaten Fish, an exhibition of work by cartoonists from all over the world supporting the plight of the Iranian cartoonist and political refugee known as Eaten Fish. He has been held at the Australian Detention Centre on Manus Island since 2013. The exhibition is in the gallery’s Rossetti Room until Sunday 13th August.

Eaten Fish poster

A key element of the End of the Pier Show exhibition — which features Steve Bell (Guardian), Dave Brown (Independent) and Jeremy Banx (Financial Times) alongside dozens of cartoonists seen in magazines such as Private Eye and The Spectator — are the “Fake Cartoons”, the festival cartoonists’ take on the fake news phenomenon that has emerged over recent years. Expect more than a few appearances by Donald Trump.

Trump Tweet cartoon by Nathan Ariss

To celebrate its fifth year, the festival is awarding a £250 cash prize, which it has dubbed the Paul Dacre Prize — after the Daily Mail editor who recently railed against a Rowson cartoon about the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, below — to the most provocative, unusual or offensive topical cartoon submitted for the exhibition.

Martin Rowson Firsbury Park Mosque attack cartoon

Workshops for budding cartoonists will also be held as part of the festival. Royston Robertson and Des Buckley host one at Beach Creative this Saturday (29 July) from 2.30pm-4pm.

And on Saturday 5 August, from 12-1.30pm, The Surreal McCoy will host the Eaten Fish Family Cartoon Workshop. Inspired by the Rossetti Room show it will be “a fishy exploration into all things fish”.

For updates on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or go to

The cartoonists assemble at last year's Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

The cartoonists assemble at last year’s Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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by Jonesy

A Case for Pencils’ Jane Mattimoe meets Ralph Steadman

July 13, 2017 in General

Ralph, Jane and a bird’s skull talk cartoons via Skype

In the first of what we hope will be a regular feature, Jane Mattimoe packs her Case for Pencils and crosses The Big Pond to interview British cartoonists, starting with Ralph Steadman:

I have been interviewing New Yorker cartoonists about their art supplies and drawing process on my blog, A Case for Pencils, since 2014. I had started going into The New Yorker close to two years prior, almost every week, and had gotten to meet a lot of my cartooning heroes. Not having had much of an art background (I studied anthropology at university), I began asking for advice about cartooning. To my delight, legends such as Sam Gross, Sid Harris, Mort Gerberg, and George Booth were kind and gracious enough to put up with my pestering… I realized that there were probably many aspiring cartoonists who would be interested in hearing and learning from their artist heroes as well, and began giving cartoonists surveys to fill out, to be collected on a website. And that’s how A Case for Pencils was born.

The great man’s studio

By now you may have guessed that I am an American, a transgression which I hope you can forgive me for if I tell you that I met Pro Cartoonists’ Organisation committee member, The Surreal McCoy, years ago at the offices of The New Yorker, and have been delighted to get to know more PCO members, such as Jonesy and Glenn Marshall online. Surreal McCoy reached out to me to invite me to interview PCO members about their art supplies and drawing process similarly to the way that I do on Case, and here is the tremendously buried lede— I said yes! So starting with Ralph Steadman, there will be monthly (?) interviews where we will talk pencils and pens!

© Ralph Steadman

I am not a professional journalist. Most interviews on Case are conducted via email correspondence, and in fact, I have only done one telephone interview. So when Ralph suggested we speak via skype, I was a bit nervous. He also mentioned that it would be his third interview in so many days, and from the sounds of the other publications he was speaking with, I had some tough acts to follow! Fortunately, immediately upon starting the interview, I learned that Ralph is one of the warmest and kindest people you could ever meet! We ended up talking for close to two hours, and he made me laugh so often, that the muscles in my face were sore the day after!

A Case for Pencils’ Jane Mattimoe

Talking to Ralph was a dream come true (though my webcam insisted on presenting me to him as a technicolor nightmare of flashing rainbow hues!) and I am grateful to PCO for the opportunity. They say to never meet your heroes, but that maxim doesn’t hold true at all with Ralph. It was fun to hear his associative mind in action– he’d talk about something “swimming in ink,” and then he’d connect swimming to his morning exercise regimen (he recommends the breastroke as the best form of swimming) that he does to keep his lungs in full working order, which led to him remembering a television program he watched the previous morning, where many people who had experienced being brought back to life’s last thought before having been resuscitated was “I can’t breathe.” Initially, some of his answers might seem like they don’t directly answer my questions, but what he actually is doing is leaping forward via associations, a thinking talent which contributes to his being one of the most creative and successful visual artists. Such as he avoids rough drafts in his art, he often goes straight to his final point (or association).

© Ralph Steadman

Besides just my bonkers webcam, we experienced many technical difficulties throughout the interview (though, Ralph, I know that one of the times that Skype “froze,” you were just sitting very still!). Fortunately, knowing in advance that my various electronic gadgets are what is known in the professional cartooning community as “very bad,” I prepared for the worst, and set up three separate methods to record the interview. That may seem excessive, but considering that two out of the three devices utterly quit, and erased their audio recording midway through the interview, it turned out to be the perfect amount!

Upon hearing that I had so many devices working to record us, Ralph exclaimed, “Oh it will be a collage!” an idea that prompted me to include snippets of our emails, a clip of audio, and screenshots of our skype session in the final interview. Ralph was more than game to build up the piece, and and very kindly sent me loads of his work to pepper throughout the paragraphs. Our resulting interview, which you can read on A Case for Pencils, is a kaleidoscope view of the time we talked.

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Make sure you catch this Chris Beetles Gallery cricket themed exhibition

July 13, 2017 in General

© Bill Stott

In celebration of another glorious summer of English cricket, that well known champion of cartooning, Chris Beetles Gallery, is presenting “Leather on Willow”, an exhibition of over 175 cricketing watercolours, oils, cartoons and illustrations.

A veritable who’s who of cartooning and illustration, the exhibition will include Glen Baxter, Peter Brookes, Rowland Emett, Barry Fantoni, Tony Husband, Kathryn Lamb, Larry (Terence Parks), Matt (Matthew Pritchett), Ed McLachlan, Nick Newman, Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson, Ronald Searle and PCO Chair, Bill Stott, to boot!

Play commences with a Champagne Private View on Tuesday 25th July, 6-8pm.

© Ed McLachlan

All works are available to purchase immediately and can be viewed here on Chris Beetles Gallery website

© Larry (Terence Parks) Estate

“Leather on Willow” will be on display 25 July – 19 August at:

Chris Beetles Gallery
8 & 10 Ryder Street
St James’s

Tel: 020 7839 7551