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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



The ‘Sweet EU’ Cartoon Exhibition

May 22, 2017 in General

The Surreal McCoy’s report from Athens:

The British man seated next to us on the plane was a former investment banker, newly-qualified as a paramedic. He was on his way to one of the Greek islands to volunteer with an international search and rescue team. The weather was warming up and the seas were becoming calmer. Apparently May is the beginning of refugee season.

Some of the participating cartoonists.

Myself and Glenn Marshall were also on our way to Greece. We had been invited by the Greek Cartoonists’ Association to attend the opening of the Sweet Europe exhibition on behalf of the PCO. 28 PCO members had contributed their work along with 29 Greek cartoonists. Over the next three days we would be received with much warmth and kindness, making this an unforgettable trip.

The exhibition was being held in a hall at one Athen’s main metro stations – a large and airy place with specially built walls and lights to showcase the cartoons. They were printed onto thin A3 aluminium sheets that are long-lasting and fade-proof. Thanks to its central position last year’s exhibition on refugees attracted around 150,000 people over the week. And this year’s exhibition, on our differing views of Brexit and the EU, had already brought in many visitors: a mixture of locals and tourists, the organisers providing translations of the cartoons into both Greek and English.

Cartoon by ©Michael Kountouris.

During the day we sat around a table in the middle of the hall talking and drawing with the Greek cartoonists. Many common stories about their situation emerged: the non-payment of wages, the closure of newspapers and magazines, the household bills that couldn’t be paid (the price of electricity had recently trebled overnight), but still they carried on drawing. We heard the same from the Greek public who were not shy in expressing their opinions. One woman who used to work in real estate said she couldn’t even find a job as a cleaner. Passions were running high – one visitor angrily shouting at our Greek colleagues that they should be careful what they drew, that they should remember what happened to those French cartoonists.

The sweet and sour views from the comments book.

The formal opening was attended by Greek members of parliament including the parliament’s President. (The Greek parliament had part-sponsored the exhibition along with the Attika municipality, the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and the Urban Rail Transport Company).The mood in parliament may have been sombre beforehand (they had been discussing terms for a fourth EU bailout) but it lightened somewhat as they looked around the cartoons.

The exhibition catalogue.

Many thanks to all those PCO members who contributed work and made this exhibition such a talking point. If the idea was to promote debate and exchange of ideas then it was a great success and there are hopes that it will be brought to the UK in the future.

Xenia is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality and we were reminded of the Greek quote: A stranger is a god in disguise – treat the stranger as your friend. We were overwhelmed by the grace and generosity of our Greek hosts and would especially like to thank the president of the Greek Cartoonists’ Association Panos Maragos and his team of volunteers for all their hard work and hospitality. ευχαριστώ! Thank you!

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Tally ho! Bill Stott cuts to the chase…

May 19, 2017 in General

© Bill Stott

PCO Chair Bill Stott has the hunting set in his sights:

Some time ago, an American dentist travelled all the way from the U.S.A. to Africa. In his luggage was a large, very powerful rifle and a crossbow. He’d brought these things to kill stuff with – something Americans are quite good at doing at home, let alone abroad. Anyway, this dental jerk managed to lure, shoot and kill a much-loved local lion, for which he received general ignominy, death threats and for a time his life was very difficult. Which is as it should be.

Some Americans are big on hunting. They like killing wild animals. Why? Well they’d tell you that man is a natural hunter. They’d tell you that its entirely natural for them to pit themselves[armed with a Winchester 30/30] against brown bears, lions, deer and anything furry which isn’t human. Which is, in the words of the anti-hunting supremo Dr Agricola Monkfish [not his real name], bollocks. They do it because they like killing things.

So – that’s the Americans sorted. But what about closer to home ? What about in yer own backyard/garden/paddock/nearby field ? I live in what might be called a semi-rural area. “Semi” because if I look that way all I can see are fields, copses , cows, sheep and farms. If I look the other way I can see the by-pass and a big smelly factory which makes God knows what and, at night, looks like Mordor. But if you can ignore that, the rural side is pretty damned good. We get all manner of birds, from noisy gangs of starlings and sparrows, to crows, woodpeckers, loads of finches, and big circling buzzards. And we have rabbits and badgers too.

Oh, and foxes. We have quite a few foxes.

I’ve got two hens. One’s a huge fat Orpington. The other’s a smaller, more intelligent Barnvelder [go on –look them up]. Sure, they lay eggs – hens tend to do that – but they’re more like pets really, and they live in a large hen-run, protected by 7 foot pheasant wire. Sometimes, I let them out for a mooch round the garden where they fight over worms, look down Wellingtons, and eat flowers they shouldn’t eat. But, despite protective measures, my hens are at risk. From foxes. Foxes are agile, nimble and very intelligent. They’ve killed quite a few hens in the village. How would I feel if a fox killed Polly and Phoebe ? Sad. I’d feel sad. But would I want to kill the fox ? No, I wouldn’t.

And that sets me apart from a certain local group of would – be killers – our equivalent of psychopathic American dentists. I speak of course of the Local Hunt.

Officially, fox-hunting’s banned at the moment, but cunning Local Hunts get round the ban by simply ignoring it. Presently Local Hunts are allowed to career around the place with dogs chasing a smelly lure, but many still chase real live foxes.

Local Hunts are composed of men and women who are equestrian. They like riding horses. Not very well, many of them, but most of all they like galloping willy-nilly around the countryside behind a pack of dogs which will, given a chance, tear an exhausted, terrified fox to pieces, starting usually at the lower abdomen.

One hell of a death.

There’s collateral damage too. A passing hunt frightens paddocked horses, grazing cows and sheep, and anything else which might be fazed by half a ton of galloping horse and fat-arsed rider bearing down on them. AND they bung up our already narrow lanes with their Range Rovers, trailers and horseboxes .

So, despite the ban, foxes are still hunted by people who think that dressing up in silly clothes, blowing horns [yes, they actually do that] and generally disturbing the peace is all part and parcel of being rural and green and loving the countryside. [Bollocks – Dr Monkfish]

In fact, most Local Hunts are rubbish at killing foxes. Foxes are a lot cleverer than local huntspersons and their would-be killer dogs. But that’s not the point. INTENT is the point. And soon, providing Mrs May wins the election, these repellent people will be legally entitled to kill foxes again. The ban will be lifted.

Why will Mrs May lift the fox-hunting ban ? Well, she’ll do that because the hooray Henrys and Henriettas who “ride to hounds” are Conservative voters, and the PM wants to smash all opposition with a huge majority on her way to becoming the new Iron Lady. So what do a few foxes matter ? Not at all, apparently. They’re only animals after all.


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In Their Own Words: Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani tells Amnesty International about the awful reality of her arrest and interrogation

May 16, 2017 in General

Atena Farghadani talks of her appalling treatment by the Iranian authorities

Amnesty International’s fortnightly series ‘In Their Own Words’ launched on 17th March with the story of Albert Woodfox, an American who spent 44 years in solitary confinement. Other episodes include the story of Khadjia Ismayilova, an investigative journalist from Azerbaijan who was imprisoned and framed by her own government for exposing political corruption. Then there is Steve Kelly, who became a human rights activist after his brother, Mike, was tragically killed in the Hillsborough football disaster.

The success of the first series which featured, among others, Chelsea Manning and Chen Guangcheng (voiced by Michelle Hendley and Christian Bale respectively) has resulted in a second set of broadcasts, concluding with Atena Farghadani’s story, her words voiced by UK-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi.

Atena’s episode is a distressing tale of a young woman being subjected to the most degrading treatment simply because she drew pictures depicting authority figures as animals.

The 30-year-old Iranian was freed one year ago after an international campaign for her release – she had been due to serve 11 more years in prison – but she isn’t free of the nightmare. Atena was given a three-year suspended sentence for ‘insulting Iran’s leader’ – which means that she could still be sent back to prison at any point until May 2019. This is a common tactic to try to deter former prisoners from speaking out.

It is a testament to her courage that she will not be silenced.

Atena’s contribution to Amnesty International’s ‘In Their Own Words’ second series can be heard here.

You can also listen to the other episodes here.

Report on the situation of cartoonists worldwide

May 11, 2017 in General

Cartooning For Peace have produced an excellent and detailed report highlighting the difficulties and persecution of cartoonists around the world. The publication coincided with World Press Freedom Day.

It includes pieces on Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart who we covered on here and a really good piece by CRNI campaigner & PCO member Terry Anderson on Eaten Fish.

There are some harrowing stories and very powerful cartoons. Very well put together too. You can read it here.

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100 days of Trump, the year of Brexit…and Boris

May 11, 2017 in General

© Peter Brookes

Chris Beetles Gallery is currently running a significant selling exhibition comprising the astute observations of award winning political cartoonists Peter Brookes of the Times and Matt (Matthew Pritchett) of the Telegraph.

© Matt (Matthew Pritchett)

The exhibition includes over 120 works, covering the build-up to Donald Trump’s election and his first 100 days as President. In this momentous period of political turbulence there has been plenty of material for two of our greatest cartoonists to get their teeth into: Brexit, the Budget, the ‘Snap Election’ and everything in between.

© Peter Brookes

© Matt (Matthew Pritchett)

You can view the cartoons here or, better still, visit Chris Beetles Gallery at:

8 & 10 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6QB

Telephone: 020 7839 7551

Gallery Opening Times are Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm

The exhibition runs until 20th May 2017


© Peter Brookes

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A labour of love…

May 10, 2017 in General

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

A story, remarkable and touching in so many ways, with illustrations by PCO member Sarah Boyce:

Kings Langley resident, Andrew Knowlman, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April 2015 and now uses a wheelchair and eyegaze technology to communicate. This week sees the publication of a book he wrote for his daughter entirely using his eyes called Die Kleine Backstube (The Little Bakery).

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

Andrew was born in Camberley, Surrey in 1967. He went to school in York, where his love of languages developed at a young age. He was interested in the world beyond the UK. He was lucky enough to travel and his parents spoke Norweigan. After completing A levels at school, Andrew studied German at Aston University in the UK’s midlands. He has lived and worked in Germany, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Australia and France enjoying learning new languages along the way.

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

With Andrew’s daughter, Valentina, learning and enjoying German at school and also developing a passion for baking, he felt compelled to write this book for her no matter what challenges that would bring.

Die Kleine Backstube is written in German. It is the story of the Little Bakery, which has been in the same family for 100 years and how a young woman follows her passion to try and make something great. It tells of her creativity, hard work and determination, overcoming obstacles along the way. The book is suitable for anybody learning German or younger native speakers.

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

The illustrations are by Andrew’s friend, Sarah Boyce who visits him every week, when they work on projects together. Their follow up project is an audio book for his son Sebastian, called The Fantastic Race, about two boys on a driving race through Europe, which will be out soon. They have also created a short online video about his first book to be shared on twitter with the hashtag #thisyearIhave

Die Kleine Backstube is available from Andrew’s blog StopForAMomentPeople as well as Amazon and major online bookstores.

With thanks to The Surreal McCoy.