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by Jonesy

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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by Jonesy

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.