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by Jonesy


September 4, 2016 in General

One or the other? Or both? Nathan Ariss ponders these questions and more…


Picture: “Cartoon or illustration?” From a series of Hutchinson Design and Technology books, 1991.

An occasional borelog on artists and subjectivity, and whether one really decides what kind of artist one actually is: do you let the market (eventually) decide, or do you just persist in what you feel best expresses yourself or the subject at the time… (I always think rhetorical polemics don’t require a question mark).
I haven’t the foggiest, to answer myself, as curiously I rarely actually try to over-analyse it.
As an ‘artist’ artist – please forgive if I include cartoonist in that (Arts Council England don’t, and they ‘should’ know) – I spent years surrounded by painters, illustrators and the world of graphics, and was dissuaded by school art teachers from my cartoony, ‘lower’ form, and encouraged first into realism, then interpretative, and very nearly driven to abstraction. So, I asked myself, more not than often, does it really have to accurately ‘represent’, beyond the plain patronage and rather sad aggrandising caricature commission, and particularly after photography superceded the whole superball game?
With the exception of one brilliant person on here, I very often see artists just copying their photographs, using them beyond simple reference material for their artwork, and invariably am left with the impression that the photograph might have done just as well. Perhaps it’s easier than standing ‘live’ and working the eye/brain/hand gateway to mastery, let alone adjusting to the nuance of light and texture – it is after all what gives us form, colour and ‘life’. If practising the technique is all, why is it invariably just the one technique that is worked on and comes to dominate?; to me that is as restrictive as having no technique at all. I seem to have many techniques; my commercial downfall is I seem to have too many, and often produce work in different modes even in the same batch. Perhaps it’s a lack of discipline, or intelligence, not to limit myself. The expectation for similitude is in great demand from an editor, a viewer, a buyer: how do they know they can rely on something turning out the way they expected it to? My stream-of-typing thought process here thinks that that is a very boring ‘artistic’ world indeed. ” don’t actually like the work, but at least I knew what I was getting”.

So, for years, I guess, I became technically, photographically ‘good’: boring, to my eyes, but it paid the rent. Safety in (drawing by) numbers. But even then I think I was subverting the thing and channelling my inner cartoonist. There’s no one quite so stupid as someone not applying their intelligence, I now realise.

I need to stay in more.

This article was first seen on Facebook.

See for yourself the variety in Nathan’s work right here.


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by Jonesy

Ralph Steadman: then and now

August 26, 2016 in General



© Ralph Steadman

Rediscovering Ralph Steadman’s illustrated edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Published in 1995, this special edition, titled “Animal Farm: A Fairy Story”, contains one hundred of the great man’s spectacular illustrations in both full colour and halftone.

Sadly, the book is now out of print. Luckily for us Maria Popova has managed to unearth a copy and provide us with a sumptuous taster of the great man’s work on this masterpiece.



© Ralph Steadman

Accompanying Steadman’s illustrations is Orwell’s proposed but unpublished preface to the original edition, titled “The Freedom of the Press”, a sadly prescient comment on the media’s fear of public opinion and its corrosion of responsible journalism.


© Ralph Steadman

More illustrations and information can be found here on the “brainpickings” website

Thanks to Glenn Marshall for drawing the Blog’s attention to Maria Popova’s article.

Ralph’s latest venture: Critical Critters


Photograph by Alexander Clouston

More recently, “Mr. Porter” (in the guise of Tom M. Ford) was invited to Mr. Steadman’s home in Maidstone to discuss his latest book about endangered species, “Critical Critters”.

The conversation, however, soon veers off into wild tales of Ralph Steadman’s collaborations with the American “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Read them here on the “Mr. Porter” website


© Ralph Steadman


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by Jonesy

Laydeez (Timez Three) do Comics

August 19, 2016 in General

the_surreal_mccoy_tinnitus copy

© The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy (PCO committee member, cartoonist, illustrator, accordionist, DSO and Bar) joins cartoonists Angela Martin and Cath Tate at Gosh! Comics in London this coming Monday evening to present and talk about their work, answer questions and eat cake.

Sounds like the perfect start to the week and certainly not to be missed.


© Angela Martin & Cath Tate Cards

Unbelievably, tickets are free but must be booked here: Eventbrite booking

The event, which is run by Rachael Ball and Wallis Eates, takes place at:

Gosh! 1 Berwick Street, W1F 0DR (Nearest Tube: Piccadilly)

Times are 7:30pm – 9pm.

More information can be found here on the Laydeez do Comics website.


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by Jonesy

PCO Profile: Mike Turner

August 14, 2016 in General


© Mike Turner

Mike is one of our best loved and most widely published members. Name a publication and one of his brilliant cartoons has almost certainly appeared in it.


© Mike Turner

Immigants neighbourhood 1181_edited-1

© Mike Turner

Dinner with family

© Mike Turner

He has been producing cartoons and illustrations on a full time basis since 1976 and prides himself on a fast turnaround of ideas and artwork.

To see more of Mike’s work visit his PCO portfolio page here.


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Drawing Hillary Clinton and incurring sexist ire

August 14, 2016 in General

Signe cartoonSIGN28eHerstory

© Signe Wilkinson

Political cartooning from a female perspective

Signe Wilkinson (The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News), Ann Telnaes (The Washington Post) and Jen Sorensen (political cartoonist and comics editor at Fusion) are three women cartoonists who have observed and satirised Clinton as the politician’s career has advanced to the current status of Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.


© Jen Sorenson

You can see the three cartoonists’ video interview with The Huffington Post here.


© Ann Telnaes


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by Royston

Sun shines on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival yet again …

August 9, 2016 in General

We’ve shown you the photos of the parade of cartoonists at the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, which knocked the Rio Olympics opening ceremony into a sun hat, now here are some great photos of the Bandstand event itself, as well as the event’s exhibition openings.

Photos © Kasia Kowalska. Click images to enlarge.


Where to begin? Matt Buck opts, logically enough, for the top left-hand corner


Steve gets Way down


Des Buckley and Andrew Birch draw on the shared boards. Many cartoonists contributed to these, helping to build up several murals of seaside gags


A seagull’s-eye view of the proceedings


Rich Skipworth goes nose-to-nose with his big board cartoon


Glenn Marshall paints his Photo-U booth. Later he sat inside and drew strips of passport-style cartoons for paying customers, raising money for Amnesty International. There was a permanent queue

"Photos" from the booth (see above)

“Photos” from the booth (see above)


Pete Dredge in caricature mode. He also drew general cartoons for the public, along with Roger Penwill, as they queued for caricatures drawn by Alex Hughes


Dave Brown creates another masterpiece


Festival regular Karol Steele, second right, with her family, in caricature form


Master of ceremonies Steve Coombes, left, and cartoonist Andrew Birch, with Jacob Watts, 6, one of the winners of the event’s Young Cartoonists Competition

Alex Hughes inspires a future generation. Pix © Chris Williams

Alex Hughes inspires a future generation. Pic © Chris Williams


Clockwise from top left, Royston Robertson, Gerard Whyman and Chris Williams tackle the boards


The cartoon workshop with Tim Harries was popular


Singer Amelia Fletcher, who performed at the event with The Catenary Wires, contributes to the large public board



Jeremy Banx and Rich Skipworth. Note “cartoonist as rock star” pose


Cathy Simpson, right, offered advice and tips on the public board


The Surreal McCoy contributes a shared-board gag


Clive Goddard’s wonderfully inventive peep board, featuring, clockwise from top left, Amy Amani-Goddard, Steve Way, Clive himself, and Royston Robertson


Chris Burke’s peep board. All the cartoonists were certainly in need of a beer after another sunny day’s cartooning at the Bandstand


Earlier, on the Saturday, Cathy Simpson hosted a workshop on drawing monsters at Beach Creative, where the main festival exhibition was also held. Pic © Royston Robertson

There were private views of the festival exhibitions, including Glenn Marshall's Not Funny at One New Street art gallery. Here's the man himself in front of his Wall of Rejection

There were private views of the festival exhibitions, including Glenn Marshall’s Not Funny at One New Street  gallery. Here he is in front of his Wall of Rejection

Specially brewed ale was available with bespoke Marshall labels

Specially brewed ale was available with bespoke Marshall labels and badges

Cartoonist Rob Murray takes in the exhibition by the late David Hawker

Cartoonist Rob Murray takes in the exhibition by late punch cartoonist David Hawker, at a private view at the tiny Bay Art Gallery. Pic © Royston Robertson

Rupert Besley, left who co-organised the Hawker exhibition, with Nathan Ariss

Rupert Besley, left, who co-organised the Hawker show, with Nathan Ariss

Postcards from the Seaside, the main festival exhibition, was opened by Sir Roger Gale, left, with Steve Coombes, the Thanet North MP. The postcard featured new cartoons by dozens of cartoonists riffing on the idea of seaside postcards, as well as a small exhibition of prosecuted cards by Donald McGill, king of the saucy postcard

Postcards from the Seaside, the main festival exhibition, was opened by Sir Roger Gale, left, the Thanet North MP, with Steve Coombes,

The show featured new cartoons by dozens of cartoonists on the theme of seaside postcards, here about to be hung, as well as a small exhibition of prosecuted cards by Donald McGill, king of the saucy postcard

The show featured new cartoons by dozens of cartoonists on the theme of seaside postcards, here about to be hung, as well as a small exhibition of prosecuted cards by Donald McGill, king of the saucy postcard. Pic © Royston Robertson

The show featured new cartoons by dozens of cartoonists on the theme of seaside postcards, as well as a small exhibition of prosecuted cards by Donald McGill, king of the saucy postcard. Article from Herne Bay Gazette, click to enlarge

Article from Herne Bay Gazette, click to enlarge

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Trump’s tilt at the Whitehouse – Garry Trudeau saw it coming years ago

August 8, 2016 in General


© Garry Trudeau

Garry Trudeau is the creator of the comic strip “Doonesbury” (currently being re-run in The Guardian) and the first cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize. Perhaps foretelling the future can now be added to his list of talents…

Nearly thirty years ago Trudeau ran a series of comic strips satirising the narcissistic Trump’s political ambitions. They now appear almost prophetic as the strangely coiffeured one’s run for the Presidency unfolds as a clanger riddled farce.


© Garry Trudeau

Trudeau has continued to poke fun at Trump ever since the strips first appeared in 1987. Everything from his hair (no surprise there) to his ego and thin skinned nature have been targeted as fair game. Many of these cartoons have now been collated to form a new book titled “Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump.”

MSNBC”s Rachel Maddow talks to Garry Trudeau about the book here.

Many thanks to Terry Anderson for drawing this interview to the Blog’s attention.


© Garry Trudeau


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by Royston

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2016:

No rain on this parade

August 4, 2016 in General

The sun shone brightly on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival for the fourth year running, bringing thousands of people to the town’s Bandstand on Sunday for a truly memorable day.

It began with a parade of cartoonists conducted by organiser Steve Coombes (above, with back to camera). They wielded large pencils and banners and played Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside on ukuleles.



The cartoonists then gathered for a group photo before the drawing began. Click to enlarge and see those happy, smiling faces!


Pictured, left to right, are:

Back row: Gerard Whyman, Roger Penwill, Rich Skipworth, Rob Murray, Chris Burke, Tim Harries, Des Buckley, Chris Williams, Alex Hughes and Dave Brown. Middle row: Cathy Simpson, The Surreal McCoy, Royston Robertson, Wilbur Dawbarn, Glenn Marshall, Pete Dredge, Clive Goddard and Simon Ellinas. Front row, kneeling: Jeremy Banx, Matt Buck, Steve Way, Rupert Besley and Andrew Birch.

We’ll have more pictures from the 2016 Herne Bay Cartoon festival later.

Pictures © Kasia Kowalska.

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by Royston

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2016

July 24, 2016 in Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2016
The fourth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival takes place next month. The festival’s flagship live event will be held, as usual, in the Bandstand on the seafront, on Sunday 31 July.

More than 20 cartoonists from all over the country will be there to draw big-board cartoons, cartoon murals, caricatures and to host workshops. There will also be opportunities for the public to release their inner cartoonists and a few surprises and other general silliness.

The main festival exhibition, Postcards from the Seaside, is currently being put together and will feature cartoons all about the seaside, many offering modern spins on the classic saucy seaside postcards drawn by the likes of Donald McGill, much as the Independent cartoonist Dave Brown has done in the brilliant poster, above.

The exhibition opens at the Beach Creative gallery on Tuesday 26 July and runs until Sunday 14 August.

There will also be an exhibition of the work of the Punch cartoonist David Hawker, who died last August. Original cartoons by Hawker, who specialised in poking fun at petty middle-class concerns, can be seen at the Bay Art Gallery, on the same dates as the Beach Creative show.

Giles at the Seaside

Kicking off the festival, from Saturday 2 July, the Seaside Museum will host the exhibition Giles at the Seaside. Featuring a selection of seaside-themed cartoons by the much-loved Daily Express cartoonist, and spanning more than five decades, it is run in conjunction with the British Cartoon Archive in Canterbury.

This year also sees the launch of the festival’s first East Kent Young Cartoonists competition. There will be prizes for the winners and the best entries will be displayed during the festival.

To link in with that, there will be cartoon workshops at the Seaside Museum on 9 July, with myself and fellow PCO member Des Buckley.

Herne Bay Cartoon Workshop

And there’s more … but it’s all still being worked out. For updates follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or go to

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

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Glenn Marshall takes his seat on the PCO committee

July 17, 2016 in General


Glenn swots up for his first committee meeting

Seeing as cabinet shuffles are all the rage, the PCO has undertaken one of its own. We’re happy to report, however, that our manoeuvres were not politically motivated – and no knives were plunged into backs – as Simon Elinas stepped down voluntarily, his tour of duty complete. He leaves with the thanks and best wishes of his fellow committee members.

Into the breach steps the winner of The Most Colourful Man Ever to Appear in Monochrome Attire award, Mr. Glenn Marshall.


A noted introvert, Glenn prefers to blend into the background at social events

Raised in Shropshire and trained at Shrewsbury & Newport Schools of Art (he missed the week they taught how to draw noses), Glenn is now based in London. As well as being a seriously gifted cartoonist he has a wealth of broadcasting experience. He has also been known to turn his hand to animation from time to time.

Glenn says he hopes to bring fresh ideas, Fig Newtons and terrifying self portraits to the committee table.


‘A Study in Calm’ – Self Portrait © Glenn Marshall