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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



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American cartoonist declines Iranian cartoon contest award

July 11, 2017 in General

© Clay Jones The award winning cartoon spoofs Time magazine’s 2016 selection of Trump as “person of the year” by drawing a comparison to Hitler, whom Time named its “man of the year” in 1938

Political cartoonist Clay Jones’ initial delight upon receiving a citation in Iran’s House of Cartoon “Trumpism Cartoon and Caricature Contest” rapidly diminished as he learned more about the organisers’ track record.

“[House of Cartoon] may have good intentions, but I don’t want to be associated with them,” Jones told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs.

“I have an issue with a contest sponsored by the government of Iran that’s critical of free speech in the United States when they don’t allow freedom of speech, or freedom for the press in their nation,” Jones writes on his blog. “I have an issue with a contest that was a wolf whistle for anti-Semitism.

“Though the Trumpism contest wasn’t about any of that, it’s not a party I would accept an invitation to. If the Ku Klux Klan held a cartoon contest on economics, I wouldn’t want to enter, and I don’t want to be involved with a group that engages in anti-Semitism, no matter how their denial may be worded.”

The anti-Semitism Jones refers to is Iran’s House of Cartoon Holocaust cartoon contest. Despite the completely unacceptable nature of this competition FECO (Federation of Cartoonists Organisation) continued to collaborate with Iran’s House of Cartoon, causing the PCO, along with France-Cartoons, to terminate our membership.

Read Michael Cavna’s article here on The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs website page.

With thanks to Nathan Ariss for drawing this to the Blog’s attention.



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The Inking Woman at The Cartoon Museum, London

July 4, 2017 in General

© The Surreal McCoy
To celebrate the launch of “The Inking Woman – British Women Cartoon and Comic Artists”, the current exhibition at The Cartoon Museum, London, three of the participants talk about their work and love of the medium. Alex Fitch talks to Sandi Toksvig, a patron of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, and to artist The Surreal McCoy who was the artist in residence during The Sound of Sandi on LBC Radio and a cartoonist for The Sunday Times and The Independent.
Also, in an extract from a talk given at Central St. Martin’s School of Art, Rachael House discusses her involvement with the queer ‘zine movement over the last twenty years and beyond.
5.30pm Wednesday 5th July, repeated 6am Sunday 9th July 2017, Resonance 104.4 FM and DAB (London) / streamed at / podcast after broadcast at
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Cartoons to the rescue?

June 27, 2017 in General

© Martin Rowson

In last week’s Guardian the PCO’s Martin Rowson demonstrated, with a perfectly executed example of his art, how the political cartoon can pierce the thickest of skins – see Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s reaction – and cut straight to the heart of the matter.

Frustratingly, as newspapers continue the painful transition from print to digital, many of those that still employ political cartoonists lessen the impact of their work by relegating them to the less travelled backwaters of their websites. New Yorker cartoonist Chris Weyant, much like our own Andy Davey in a previous Blog article, questioned the way political cartoons were being used online and, happily, seems to have found a solution that should have publishers sitting up and taking note.

Weyant, who also spent fifteen years as a political cartoonist, was bewildered by newspapers’ failure to properly utilise their assets. “It just didn’t seem to make sense,” Weyant told Editor & Publisher’s Rob Tornoe. The lack of interest in digital political cartoons at newspapers with a history of cartooning was a puzzle. “The internet is a visual medium, so it seems obvious cartoons could be an important asset to journalism’s evolving digital business model.”

So the cartoonist took it upon himself to do some research and, according to traffic numbers Weyant has been studying, readers that enter a publication’s website through a topical cartoon tend to spend 25 percent more time browsing the site than they do entering through any other type of content.

“They stay so much longer and go so much deeper when they click a cartoon versus any other type of content,” Weyant said. “That’s an amazing metric of real reader engagement.”

A pretty convincing case for featuring cartoons more prominently. Even Mr. Dacre wouldn’t argue with that…

A direct link to Rob Tornoe’s encouraging article isn’t possible but you can find it on their website.


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Hannah Berry

June 27, 2017 in General

© Hannah Berry

“Her first graphic novel BRITTEN & BRULIGHTLY, begun while studying illustration at the University of Brighton, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2008. It has subsequently been published in the USA, Italy, Holland, France and Serbia, with the French edition chosen for the official selection of the 2010 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Her second graphic novel ADAMTINE was published in 2012, also by Cape, and she has just finished a third, LIVESTOCK, due out in May 2017. She currently does a weekly cartoon strip for the New Statesman – ‘Vox Pop’ – about humans and how funny they are.”

Reading the excerpt above from her website profile would lead you to believe that Hannah Berry has the world at her feet. In truth, she feels the gnarled fingers of economic reality clutching at her throat.

© Hannah Berry

Hannah Berry is a writer, illustrator, podcaster and, to quote again from her profile, “an editorial gun-for-hire”. However, creating graphic novels is her true love. In this article (please see link below) she outlines the reasons why the aforementioned ‘LIVESTOCK’ is more than likely her last. This is, however, by no means the saddest part of this painfully personal account…

Read Hannah Berry in Ink issue #10

Hannah Berry’s ‘LIVESTOCK’, published by Jonathan Cape is available in paperback and kindle

With thanks to Terry Anderson


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by Jonesy

Hurry – Pete Dredge exhibition finishes this Friday

June 13, 2017 in General

© Pete Dredge

The Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir, Angus has been hosting the work of one of the PCO’s most esteemed gag cartoonists.

Some gallery regulars will be familiar with Pete’s wonderful cartoons through his contribution to the Gallery’s celebration of Private Eye’s 50th birthday in 2011. Most people, however, will recognise the great man’s work by virtue of his being published in pretty much any British newspaper or magazine you’d care to mention.

© Pete Dredge

Pete’s beautifully judged captions perfectly complement his seemingly effortless, brilliant penmanship: a combination guaranteed to tickle the viewer’s funny bone with hilarious regularity. Indeed, you would be wise to follow the gallery’s advice:

“Make sure you give yourself a little time to wander around the Gallery.  Every cartoon will bring a smile if not an outright guffaw.”

© Pete Dredge

The exhibition ends Friday 16th June 2017.

Bank Street Gallery, 26 Bank Street, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4BG

Tel: 01575 570070

Visit the Bank Street Gallery website for more information

See more of Pete Dredge’s work in his PCO Portfolio


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Andy Davey – as seen on TV

June 12, 2017 in General

Credit: ITV Anglia

Andy Davey, who has drawn for The Guardian, Private Eye, The Sun and many more, voices his concerns for the future of political cartooning in an interview with ITV News Anglia’s Olivia Paterson.

Whilst a continuation of the art form online beckons, Andy sounds a cautionary note about how differing presentation and reading patterns mean the political cartoon may not always be displayed to best advantage:

“You have to go and search for a cartoon on a newspaper website, whereas you would be confronted with it in a traditional print newspaper”

Andy Davey, Cartoonist

The medium may offer new challenges but cartoons have always found a way to adapt and survive as Dr. Nick Hiley, curator at the British Cartoons Archive, points out:

“It [political cartooning] has survived changes in the past”

Dr. Nick Hiley, British Cartoons Archive

Finally, support for political cartooning can come from surprising quarters…

Given his term as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has, unsurprisingly, been the ‘victim’ of many a vituperative cartoon. Despite this he still views the art through an appreciative eye:

“It’s actually a great gift, really, because it’s a combination of real skills”

Andrew Lansley MP

© Andy Davey

The politician goes on to say “You’ve got to be somebody who’s capable of doing the art, doing the humour, but also the politics.”

As Olivia Paterson says, “Cartoonists hope the internet will find a way to adopt them as their own.”

Doubtless the reading public will echo that sentiment.


Click this link to watch the report by ITV News Anglia’s Olivia Paterson

Bonus footage!

(Or, more accurately, the report your correspondent should have linked in the first place!)

Click this link if you want to see a more up to date report…

You can also see more of Andy Davey’s work here on his PCO Portfolio page



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Alex Noel Watson RIP

June 3, 2017 in General

Alex Noel Watson, renaissance man and raconteur

Terry Anderson writes:

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is saddened to learn of the death of veteran cartoonist Alex Noel Watson.

Born in Airdrie in 1929 Watson was a true renaissance man. As well as a cartoonist he worked as a film critic, travel writer, storyboard artist and book jacket designer. His cartoons appeared in publications too numerous to mention but most notably the Daily Express, Daily Star, Evening Standard, New York Times, Private Eye, Punch, Spectator, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Toronto Star and – a particular point of pride – The New Yorker.

Like many I only got to know the man in the last coupe of decades as he began making regular trips to the Salon International de la Caricature, du Dessin de Presse at d’Humour in Saint-Just-le-Martel.  Watson was one of the festival’s most effusive supporters, writing enthusiastically about it for the PCO’s blog as well as The Jester, the magazine of The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain.

With his bushman hat and walking stick he cut a distinctive figure, always to be found holding court with tall tales of his former exploits. A polyglot, he was very comfortable mixing with colleagues from around the world although he never made any concessions to accent – as far as I could tell his French was grammatically perfect but always spoken like a man from Lanarkshire rather than Limoges.

Alex takes centre stage at Saint-Just-le-Martel

One could hardly mention one of the world’s great cities without Watson being able to tell you about something that happened to him there in his youth. It became a little bit of a game for me to see if there was any conversational topic that he couldn’t stake a claim to. So while standing by the medieval church in Saint-Just I regaled a small group with the story of the Alien gargoyle to be found on my hometown of Paisley’s historic abbey, a curiosity which had become an internet sensation after it was spotted by an American tourist. Having quietly taken it all in he replied “Yes, very interesting. Of course, I used to draw storyboards for Ridley Scott…” I conceded defeat.

That was 2013, which I believe was the last time he made it to France having actually postponed a surgical operation in order to attend. No longer able to travel in his last few years some of my fellow cartoonists would make a point of visiting his home in Surrey to keep him up to date on all that was happening.

His passing will no doubt come as a blow to long-time members of the CCGB and PCO as well as the good people of Saint-Just-le-Martel who have lost far too many of their friends in recent years.

The PCO send our condolences to his wife Milenka who we understand is not in the best of health and so has asked that those who knew Alex refrain from making contact until circumstances have improved.

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France-Cartoons cast an eye over #EatenFish campaign

May 28, 2017 in General

© Alf

Numéro 2, the second edition of the impressive France-Cartoons webmag is online and available for viewing. (Please see link below.)

France-Cartoons is the organisation set up in place of the one connected with FECO, and it’s good to see our new friends giving pride of place and the lead story to the Eaten Fish campaign.

It’s a good write-up and, quite correctly, all about Eaten Fish and the plight of those stuck on Manus Island.

© Glenn Marshall

© The Surreal McCoy

The only addition to an otherwise excellent piece (and we admit to being biased here!) might have been a credit to PCO committee members Glenn Marshall and The Surreal McCoy. Both put vast amounts of work into the campaign: having the idea, creating the shoal – with constant updates to the artwork – and forever spreading awareness on Twitter and Facebook. They even demonstrated outside the Australian embassy!


That small caveat aside (!), you can view the excellent France-Cartoons webmag by copying and pasting this link into your browser’s address bar:

With thanks to Rupert Besley