The Round-up

July 1, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Twelve cartoonists have been commissioned to create artwork about the First World War to accompany the BBC Radio 4 series 1914 Day by Day, in a collaboration between 14-18 NOW and the Cartoon Museum.

Margaret MacMillan, author of The War That Ended Peace, follows the events that led to the conflict in a daily broadcast at 4.55pm. The Procartoonists.org members Kate Charlesworth, above, with her artwork at the museum, Steve Bell and Ralph Steadman are involved in the project.

Quentin Blake tells Simon Schama that he is “not frightened by the word museum” in an interview for the FT about his inaugural exhibition at the new House of Illustration, in King’s Cross, London. The exhibition, called Inside Stories, runs from 2 July to 2 November and includes illustrations for children’s books as well as artwork for Candide by Voltaire. UPDATE: The BBC News website has a new feature on the House of Illustration.

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson (click to enlarge)

PCO member Martin Rowson has an exhibition of London-themed cartoons called Satirical City at the Building Centre until 12 July. The exhibition marks the 15th anniversary of London Communications Agency and displays close to 120 cartoons, drawn over the past 15 years, and a new mural. The cartoonist talks to BBC London News about the exhibition here, and writes about it here.

Andy Murray kicked off Wimbledon by becoming a guest editor of The Beano. “This might be my greatest title yet,” he told The Guardian.

What connects Finding NemoBambi and countless other cartoons? The writer Sarah Boxer (In the Floyd Archives) asks Why are all the cartoon mothers dead? in an article published by The Atlantic.

Moose Kids Comics launched online

Moose Kids Comics is available as PDF for free

The new kids’ publication Moose Kids Comics, above, brainchild of the cartoonist Jamie Smarthas launched for free online but is on the look out for a publisher.

The BBC has a report on the elaborate appeal of William Heath Robinson. The building of a museum to house his work begins in the autumn.

Following the exodus of Spain’s top cartoonists from the satirical magazine El Jueves last month (we covered that here), a rival digital version has appeared online titled Orgullo y Satisfacción (Pride and Satisfaction). It has had 30,000 downloads since its launch a few weeks ago. The digital magazine will become a regular monthly publication from September.

The 31st Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Turkey announced its winners, with the top prize going to the Turkish cartoonist, Kürşat Zaman. More than 800 cartoonists from 70 countries took part and the panel of judges was led by the cartoonist Liza Donnelly, of The New Yorker, and included the Cartoon Museum curator Anita O’Brien.

The US cartoonist Etta Hulme has died. She was twice named best editorial cartoonist by the National Cartoonist Society and was the subject of the documentary Trailblazer: The Editorial Cartoons of Etta Hulme. And one of the most distinguished US sports cartoonists, Amadee Wohlschlaeger, has died, aged 102.

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

Finally, we remember the New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti, who died on 16 June. He is fondly remembered by the magazine’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. And there is a selection of Barsotti cartoons on his favourite theme here.

Cartoonists take the pastiche

June 19, 2014 in Events, General, News

Andrew Birch. Dumbo's adolescence

Andrew Birch. Dumbo’s adolescence

Here are some more cartoon images by Procartoonists.org members from the exhibition Pastiche, Parody and Piracy. The show, which features fine artists alongside cartoonists, is at the the Cob Gallery from tomorrow (20 June) until 5 July.

See our original blog post on this here, along with the debate about the rights and wrongs of the exhibition in the comments section.

Alexander Matthews: "It's like an illness with you, isn't it?"

Alexander Matthews: “It’s like an illness with you, isn’t it?”

The Surreal McCoy. Morebucks

The Surreal McCoy. Morebucks

Royston Robertson. Rushmore

Royston Robertson. Rushmore

Clive Goddard. McNuggets

Clive Goddard. McNuggets

Nathan Ariss. Hokusai Fukushima

Nathan Ariss. Hokusai Fukushima

The Round-up

June 17, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kipper Williams draws Duchamp in Herne Bay. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Kipper Williams draws Duchamp in Herne Bay. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay Festival, which many Procartoonists members took part in, has won a hat-trick of gongs at the Culture Awards for East Kent. It was given the experience award, best project involving the wider community and the people’s award — the latter voted by the public. Our congratulations go to the organisers and all involved in the event.

Andy Davey, former Procartoonists.org chairman, shares his thoughts about the future of political cartoons with the ITV News reporter Olivia Paterson.

Another PCO member, Harry Harrison, draws attention to the importance of political cartoons in press freedom by taking part in an exhibition at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong.

The controversial El Jueves cover

The controversial El Jueves cover

The Spanish satirical magazine, El Jueves, was involved in a censorship row when many prominent cartoonists — Albert Monteys and Manel Fontdevila among them — resigned following the unprecedented pulping of the magazine’s issue featuring a cartoon of the abdicating king, Juan Carlos, and the future king, Felipe VI above.

For the past 37 years, El Jueves has been an unwavering voice of social and political commentary in the country. The disgruntled cartoonists are rumoured to be setting up a rival publication.

Cartoon © Dave Brown of The Independent

Cartoon © Dave Brown of The Independent. Click to enlarge

In light of the recent events in the Middle East, the debate surrounding the legacy of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 continues, with The Independent publishing a chilling editorial cartoon by new Procartoonists.org member Dave Brown, above, based on Turner’s Death on a Pale Horse. PolicyMic.com considers the history of British meddling in the Middle East as told in ten classic cartoons.

If that’s not quite enough for you, Peter Casillas, a self-proclaimed “cartoon junkie”, has created an extensive database of cartoons charting the history of the region from 1853 to the present, called A Cartoon History of the Middle East.

Pat Mills at the Cartoon Museum. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Pat Mills at the Cartoon Museum. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

The exhibition Never Again! World War One in Cartoon and Comic Art was opened last week by Pat Mills, above, of Charley’s War fame. He will be giving a talk to tie in with the exhibition in October.

The Huffington Post features a series of cartoons on climate change. The Danish Niels Bugge Cartoon Award 2014 organised an international competition titled Oceans Are in Our Hands.

For the inspired budding cartoonist, there is still time to take part in the NOISE Festival 2014 which aims to give a platform to undiscovered talent. One of the curators is Gerald Scarfe. Entries must be in by 6 July.

Finally, Jim Davis shows how to draw a very famous ginger cat who turns 36 this week using a Wacom Cintiq in this short video. But if you are more of a dog person, this should prick up yours ears.

Exhibition: Pastiche, Parody and Piracy

June 12, 2014 in Events, General, News

Steve Bell: "I licence the logo bearers ..."

Steve Bell: “I licence the logo bearers …”

Many PCO members feature in an exhibition that brings together cartoonists and contemporary artists called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy and opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on 20 June.

The exhibition was put together by the the curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster with artist Miriam Elia and cartoonist Jeremy Banx, with the aim of showing the importance of the “appropriation” of images made by others in art and satire.

The team say that they were inspired to “celebrate the historical creative act of pastiche, parody and piracy” after Penguin UK threatened to pulp Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery, a parody of the Ladybird series of children’s books.

Alongside Banx, the PCO members involved are: Nathan Ariss, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Matt Buck, Wilbur Dawbarn, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Steve Jones, Kathryn Lamb, Chris Madden, Glenn Marshall, Alexander Matthews, Jonathan Pugh, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy and Mike Turner.

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Dance by Matisse

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Matisse’s Dance

As well as cartoons, this exhibition will feature projections, photographs, prints and collage that use or pastiche other works of art, characters and logos.

The use of other works – though it has long been a tool in art – can be a controversial issue, particularly as those works are often copyrighted. The exhibition has already stirred up debate within in the PCO, with some members refusing to take part.

The gallery says: “The pieces in this exhibition play with other people’s ideas and pre-existing works to showcase a selection of contemporary appropriation in art that is often mischievous, somewhat humorous, and often unsettling. It plays with what the viewer might be comfortable with and questions ideas of authorship and originality.”

The title for this exhibition was inspired by a proposed exception for parody, satire and pastiche in a government copyright law. If it is passed, the act of subverting and appropriating elements of popular culture will be protected from large companies that often seek to silence artists through the courts.

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

“We believe this is crucial for the future of appropriative art and satire, and although the law has been delayed, we are putting on this exhibition to celebrate artists, satirists and cartoonists who are paving the way,” say the organisers.

Pastiche, Parody and Piracy: Exploring Different Approaches in Contemporary Art Appropriation is at The Cob Gallery, London NW1 from 20 June – 5 July. For more, email info@cobgallery.com or call 020-7209 9110

Opinion: The curse of Management

June 9, 2014 in Comment, General

Bill Stott from Punch magazine: "Be positive! At least  now we know that being able to fly has got noting to do with having a pointy head"

Bill Stott from Punch: “Be positive! At least now we know that being able to fly has got nothing to do with having a pointy head!” Click image to enlarge

In a somewhat acrimonious departure, Richard Ingrams has resigned as editor of The Oldie. In this opinion piece, Bill Stott sees echoes from the latter days of Punch magazine and hopes that cartoonists will not see history repeat itself.

Whilst it might sound uncomfortably like a medical examination, there’s interesting stuff coming out of The Oldie right now. Quite a bit of bile. The departure of the multi-faceted, sometimes contradictory Richard Ingrams will be a huge loss, not only to The Oldie, but to gag cartooning in the UK.

Logically, bearing in mind the fact that his team apparently liked and respected him, the job should go to one of them and a cartoon-friendly status quo will spread a warm glow throughout Humourland. However, given James Pembroke’s apparent management style and his grasp of the purse strings, that may well not happen.

The Oldie’s predicament reminds me of the beginning of the end for Punch, a magazine strong on cartoons and humour but which never made a profit in its 500-year existence, unlike The Oldie which has loads of readers and does make a profit.

The similarity lies with “management”. Alan Coren, probably one of the best Punch editors, fell out with those who bought the mag and got sacked. He was locked out of his office, in fact.

After a few false starts, a new bought-in editor was presented to a restaurant full of cartoonists in thatLondon. He foolishly delayed them from getting at the free food and drink by climbing on to a rostrum to tell all hands about his vision for the new Punch. I seem to remember the sixth-form market being mentioned. Honest!

The new ed was apparently a very good manager. Quite soon after his appointment, which was made despite the existence of excellent candidates already on board, Punch ceased to be.

Could this happen to The Oldie?

Thanks Bill. We hope the answer to your last question is no! We will continue to follow developments at The Oldie, noting for starters that Mr Ingrams appears to have influential friends

The Round-up

June 4, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Never Again, World War One in Cartoon and Comic Art, will be held at the Cartoon Museum

Never Again, World War One in Cartoon and Comic Art, will be held at the Cartoon Museum

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The next exhibition to at the Cartoon Museum in London is titled Never Again and will be on the subject of cartoons drawn during the First World War. It will run from 11 June to 19 October. Until then, there is still time to catch the Spitting Image 30th anniversary exhibitionwhich ends on 8 June.

Private Eye’s Scene & Heard comic strip, by Procartoonists.org member David Ziggy Greene, is to be published in hardback at the end of the month. The cartoonist is currently choosing the 50 strips that will feature.

The artist/cartoonist David Shrigley talks to The Guardian about how it is difficult in the world of fine art to have a comic voice.

Alex Salmond cartoon © Brian Adcock

Alex Salmond cartoon © Brian Adcock. Click to enlarge

The Norfolk-based cartoonist Brian Adcock is celebrating a hat-trick at the Scottish Press Awards this year. He is best known for his political cartoons for The Scotsman and The Independent.

Meanwhile, another political cartoonist, Christian Adams of the Telegraph, has given behind-the-scenes access to his cartooning process via Instagram. And if you have Sky Atlantic, you probably want to tune in at 9pm tonight (4 June) to see For No Good Reason, the documentary about Ralph Steadman.

© Michael Heath. The cartoonist's first ever cartoon for The Spectator

© Michael Heath. The cartoonist’s first ever gag for The Spectator, from 1960

A new Twitter feed has been set up to showcase cartoons from The Spectator, old and new. It kicked off this week with the magazine’s first ever cartoon by Michael Heath, its cartoon editor, from 1960, above.

If you are a fan of the comics artist Dave McKean, do not miss the UK premiere of 9 Lives at the British Library on 6 June. The collection of songs, images and animation was first shown at Sydney Opera House last October and coincides with the Comics Unmasked exhibitionMeanwhile, it has been announced that the 5th International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference will be hosted at the library in July.

Returning to the centenary of the First World War, two other exhibitions open this month: Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour at the British Library, which is to examine how people coped with life during the conflict, and Charley’s War at Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, which will display artwork by Joe Colquhoun from the acclaimed comic strip.

Finally, this is great fun and very clever: the storyboard artist Marty Cooper takes an animated look at ordinary objects.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Duchamp in Herne Bay: the Movie

June 3, 2014 in Events, General, News

The organisers of last year’s Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay Festival, which many Procartoonists members took part in, have released a rather nice video of the event, above. It was put together by David Good.

The festival is one of the nominees in the East Kent People’s Awards. You can vote for it here.

Those with short-attention spans note: the cartooning action starts at 8mins in, but the whole thing is worth a watch — a reminder of a marvellous event as well as last year’s terrific summer!

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

The Round-up

May 22, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

It’s time for another cartooning news Round-up and we kick off again with a few busy Procartoonists.org members

From The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success © Rob Murray

From The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success © Rob Murray

Rob Murray has illustrated a new book called The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success by Andy McNab and Professor Kevin Dutton (above, left to right).

“Part of the idea,” Rob tells us, “is to get across the message that while people immediately think of serial killers and axe murderers when they hear the word ‘psychopath’, it actually covers a wide range of people and some — like McNab — are functioning ‘good’ psychopaths.”

There’s more on the book at the Telegraph and Mail Online.

Wilbur Dawbarn appeared on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 and showed hosts and guests how to draw Billy Whizz. You can see the show on 4oD here. Will appears at 22 minutes in and at 1hr 7mins. The show also features comics expert Paul Gravett talking about the exhibition Comics Unmasked.

Nathan Ariss at Studio 106

Nathan Ariss at Studio 106

Studio 106 in Hove is holding an open house every weekend in May, from 11-5pm, as part of the Brighton Arts Festival. Nineteen local artists including the cartoonists Grizelda and Procartoonists’ own Nathan Ariss, above, are showcasing their work and method of working. The studio is at 106 Coleridge Street.

The South China Morning Post cartoonist Harry Harrison, probably the most far-flung of Procartoonists members, celebrates 20 years in Hong Kong with a look back at his favourite cartoons.

In an edition of the Resonance FM show Panel Borders, Tom Sutcliffe talks to Nick Newman, cartoonist and editor of Private Eye: A Cartoon History, and the magazine’s editor Ian Hislop about the Eye’s most memorable and controversial cartoons.

Voteman is coming!

Look out: Voteman is coming!

Feeling apathetic about this week’s European elections? Think again! The Danish parliament decided that Voteman, a cartoon packed with sex and violence, would bring more voters to the polls. It later withdrew the video, but nothing ever dies on the internet and you can watch it here (but be warned!)

Over in the US, the New York Post dropped its comics page. Tom Richmond has something to say about that.

Pat Mills, creator of Charley’s War, talks to the BBC about the epic comic strip and argues that the First World War was the “first sci-fi war”.

The annual Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Competition (they really need a catchier name) is now open. The deadline for entries is 26 September.

Finally, you’ve heard of mini comics, well Forbidden Planet has details on the world’s smallest comic strip, which is drawn on a human hair.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Back to the drawing board

May 19, 2014 in General, News

Andrew Marr, a prominent advocate of drawing and patron of the PCO, which runs this site, features in a new video called Why is Drawing Important?

It was put together by The Campaign for Drawing, the people who run The Big Draw.

Curators unmasked at British Library’s major new comics exhibition

May 13, 2014 in Events, General, News

Mannequins with V For Vendetta masks, which have become a symbol of protest, at Comics Unmasked

V For Vendetta masks at the Comics Unmasked exhibition. The masks have become a symbol for protest globally

Kasia Kowalska reports from Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

“Have we blown your mind?” asked Paul Gravett, the UK’s leading comics expert, at the launch of Comics Unmasked. Together with Adrian Edwards of the British Library and the comics writer John Harris Dunning, he has curated the biggest exhibition of comics in the UK to date.

The simple answer to his question is: Yes.

The exhibition, which features more than 200 exhibits and took two years to prepare, is unapologetic about its ambitions. “There’s a lot of controversial, potentially alarming content here, deliberately to push the boundaries,” said Gravett.

It is organised thematically into six areas, including different sections on sex and politics. Dunning, writer of the comic Salem Brownstone, explained why: “We approached things like politics, sexuality, altered states, social issues, to really highlight the fact comics are a medium that can convey very powerful messages.”

John Harris Dunning and Paul Gravett at the Comics Unmasked opening

John Harris Dunning and Paul Gravett, co-curators of the British Library’s Comics Unmasked exhibition, at the opening

Every section explores these themes through the often troubled history of comics, including looking at the anti-comics movement that led to the formation of the Comics Code in 1950s America. A similar panic happened in the UK.

“The very first exhibition of comics in the UK was an exhibition against comics,” Gravett said. “It was meant to alarm and horrify the opinion formers and parents. Ironically, they also toured a film strip around the country. They took it to schools and we’re convinced that a lot of people didn’t know about the comics before that.”

The exhibition aims to give comics their rightful place as a literary genre and to give the authors the recognition they deserve. “The show is put on to give creators the respect that’s due them. Because that’s really something, I don’t think, that has happened enough in this country,” said Dunning.

Some filth from Porcartoonists.org member Hunt Emerson

Click to enlarge this filth from Procartoonists.org member Hunt Emerson

Dave McKean, creator of Batman: Arkham Asylum and the exhibition’s artistic director, is one of the artists whose work has put British comics creators on the map. Dunning said: “What might surprise certain members of the public is that those are American characters but they’re very much owned by British talent. British comic creators are responsible for the current popularity of superheroes.”

The most controversial part of the exhibition — Let’s Talk About Sex — aims to chart the evolution of erotic comic art and candidly explores complex themes of sexuality. Comics are often associated with men, and sometimes with men who refuse to grow up, yet comic art has been the ideal medium for women creators.

Ceasefire by Angela Martin

Ceasefire by Angela Martin

Throughout its history it has been considered subversive and has often fallen under the radar of those occupying and regulating the mainstream of creative writing. It allows for an unbridled freedom of expression and can often blossom unchecked.

“Thematically, what is interesting is that we find quite a lot of female creators”, said Dunning. “One could believe that this is a very male area but we’ve discovered it’s not really the case.”

Lawless Nelly by Jamie Hewlett

Lawless Nelly by Jamie Hewlett features on the Comics Unmasked posters

The show’s cartoon muse is Lawless Nelly, above, created especially for it by Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl). She has a literary connection, being named after Ellen Lawless Ternan, mistress of Charles Dickens, “a half forgotten but very powerful woman in the background,” according to Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library.

What also preoccupies the curators is the future of comics. Their intention is to throw the gauntlet down to the next generation.

“That’s the message: make comics, don’t just read them”, said Gravett. “The final frontier is the internet. Interactive hyper-comics, that’s the next form.”

Comics Unmasked presents its subject as a serious, legitimate and relevant genre. It marries the beauty and draughtsmanship of the art form with storytelling and utilises it as a vehicle to deliver a message.

Jonathan Ross, TV presenter and comics fan, said at the opening: “It’s a remarkable experience waiting for you inside. It still amazes me, and shocks me somewhat [that] we don’t yet have a proper literary appreciation of the incredible work that’s been done here, some of which is as sophisticated, more interesting and more bold than you would find in straightforward prose or fiction.”

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is at the British Library until 19 August

Photos by Kasia Kowalska and the British Library