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An acquaintance to remember

April 17, 2014 in Events, General, News

The Auld Acquaintance show. Alex Salmond caricature © Bill Houston

The Auld Acquaintance show. Alex Salmond caricature © Bill Houston

This year is both the 15th anniversary of the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio and of political devolution in Scotland. We’ve organised a new touring exhibition entitled The Auld Acquaintance, taking our cue from Rabbie Burns’ Auld Lang Syne, sung whenever folk leave one chapter of their life behind and start another.

Our call for contributions attracted over 350 caricatures, editorial cartoons and strips by artists from around the world responding to the same question that will be put to Scots in a referendum this September: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Having whittled the pile down to a workable number, we’ve selected a balanced cross-section of opinion that reflects healthy scepticism as well as enthusiastic support for independence. There will be a number of showings around Europe in the year ahead. The first is taking place in Saint-Just-le-Martel, France’s own little capital du dessins.

Grasp the thistle! A cartoon by Steve Bright

Grasp the thistle! Steve Bright’s view

Steve Bell's take on Scottish independence

Steve Bell’s take on the subject

My colleague Tommy Sommerville and I travelled to the Espace Loup for a vernissage on 10 April. We found the work displayed sequentially according to its origin: Catalonia, Scotland, the rest of the UK, Québec and the wider world, with the studio team’s own contributions in the middle of the space.

Featured cartoonists include the PCO members Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Steve Bright, Chris Cairns, Andy Davey and Malc McGookin. The locals added whimsical touches including a “Nessie” monster made by the village’s school children.

Also present and correct was the perennial mascot of Saint-Just and its annual Salon International, the Limousin cow. 

AA-France-70

The Auld Acquaintance, at Espace Loup, Centre International de la Caricature, du Dessin de Presse et d’Humour, Saint-Just-le-Martel, will run until 14 August. There will be further showings around Europe to be announced in the coming months.

The Round-up

April 15, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe's Bar courtesy of and © The Spectator

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe’s Bar © The Spectator

Kasia Kowalska and Royston Robertson write:

Cartoonists and alcohol are often linked, and now one of the UK’s best known political cartoonists, Gerald Scarfe, has a bar named after him at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, London. The Spectator has more and the Telegraph has a video in which the cartoonist talks about the drawings on the walls.

Congratulations go to Peter Brookes of The Times, who was named cartoonist of the year at the British Press Awards. In the US, of course, they give cartoonists the Pulitzer Prize. You can watch Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer honoured by work colleagues here.

Private Eye cartoonist and Procartoonists.org member Tony Husband has recently been out and about, taking cartooning to the people.

A dog is a man’s best friend and William Hogarth‘s was a pug. Lars Tharp reveals the 18th century artist’s obsession with his four-legged companion in conversation with Clare Barlow, the National Portrait Gallery’s assistant curator.

Hot on the heels of The New Yorker’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who is tirelessly promoting his memoir (including here and hereRoz Chast of the magazine also has an autobiographical book out, called Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

For those eager to embrace new technology, a team of designers has developed a 3D sketching tool called Gravity. It is designed for sketching in “immersive augmented reality”, apparently, and you won’t need a computer to use it.

Phoenix Children's Comic Festival poster

Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival. Click to enlarge

The second Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival will take place at the Story Museum in Oxford in May. Among the guests will be Jamie Smart and Matt Baker from the comic. Meanwhile, DownTheTubes.net wonders whether comics are made for children any more, or are they being made for adults?

Ever wondered why cartoon characters on cereal boxes always have a similar expression? The Daily Mail reports that, according to a Cornell study, they always stare downwards to appeal directly to young children in supermarkets.

Hayao Miyazaki, the acclaimed animator and founder of Studio Ghibli, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, is to retire. The BFI is running a Studio Ghibli retrospective throughout April and May. Miyazaki is also one of the nominees at the Reuben Awards for his latest film The Wind Rises.

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by Royston

Cartoonist does the maths

April 10, 2014 in General, News

From Alex Through the Looking Glass © The Surreal McCoy

From Alex Through the Looking Glass © The Surreal McCoy

Procartoonists.org member The Surreal McCoy has drawn cartoons for a new book that claims, among many other things, to reveal the world’s favourite number.

Alex Through The Looking Glass, by the mathematician Alex Bellos, was featured on Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday: listen to John Humphrys struggling with the maths here (at 2hrs 55mins).

The book is published today by Bloomsbury. Oh, and the number is revealed here.

Click here to see all the Procartoonists portfolios.

The Round-up

April 2, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kasia Kowalska and Royston Robertson write:

The documentary Stripped, which covers the past, present and future of comic strips, looking at how they are affected by the digital age, has been released on iTunes. The Kickstarter-funded film certainly seems to have spoken to alll the major players.

There’s more at boingboing.net, which gives it a thumbs up. And the creators of the film discuss the survival of strips in a Q&A here.

With the First World war very much in the news, as its centenary approaches, the Daily Mirror looks at some of its satirical cartoons from the time. Meanwhile, a group of comics artists have published an anthology of stories to take on Michael Gove’s “jingoistic” view of the war.

Is laughter the best medicine? Researchers at the University of Southampton have used the work of Procartoonists.org member Fran Orford to show that cartoons can be beneficial in helping people to cope with long-term conditions.

The cartoonist and illustrator Bob Dewar has never sought the limelight, but The Scotsman says that a new exhibition of his work could change that.

Remember the animated Charley Says public-information films from the 1970s? They’re back, with comedian David Walliams doing the voiceover.

Excerpt from the strip that spawned the "Bechdel Test" © Alison Bechdel.

Excerpt from the strip that spawned the “Bechdel Test”. Click to enlarge

Alison Bechdel, the acclaimed creator of Fun Home and Dykes To Watch Out For, talks about creating women characters as subjects and not objects, in an interview with Sabine Brix. The above strip from 1985 spawned the Bechdel Test, which is now used by film academics to assess the roles of women in films.

Protesters in Turkey responded with cartoons when their government recently blocked access to YouTube and Twitter in the build up to the national elections on 30 March. But doubts remain over the future of the free press there, as Nicholas Clayton explains.

Two video lectures for you: the Iranian cartoonist Kianoush Ramezani on “Cartooning, the art of danger” and Mike Luckovich of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who says there is more to cartooning than meets the eye.

Finally, regular readers will know that the theme of this year’s Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is music but can everyone name that (cartoon) tune? Try your luck and listen to the musicians at Carnegie Hall who played 43 different cartoon themes in under five minutes.

The Round-up

March 23, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Clive Goddard draws for Sport Relief at the BBC

Clive Goddard draws for Sport Relief at the BBC

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Procartoonists.org member Clive Goddard played his part in the most successful Sport Relief to date when he showed his support for BBC Radio 2 host Jo Whiley during her 26-hour treadmill challenge. He posted more pictures here.

More PCO members are out and about: Ahead of a talk at Hornchurch Library next week, Adrian Teal spoke to a local paper about his book The Gin Lane Gazette and political satire. And next month Martin Rowson is hosting a workshop for The Laurence Sterne Trust.

In anticipation of Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK at the British Library, the artist behind Tank Girl and the band Gorillaz, Jamie Hewlett, has unveiled new artwork for the exhibition poster.

Following the parody-heavy backlash after the recent post on tax cuts by Grant Shapps on Twitter, Pam Cowburn of Open Rights Group bemoans the fact that UK copyright law is no laughing matter when it comes to parody. The planned reforms appear to have been kicked into the long grass due to parliamentary delays.

Bob Mankoff has written a memoir

Bob Mankoff has written a memoir that doubles as a guide for aspiring cartoonists

The memoirs of The New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, went on on sale yesterday in the US (readers in the UK will have to wait until 14 April). How About Never — Is Never Good for You? My Life In Cartoons will become a guide for aspiring cartoonists, according to Janet Maslin of The New York Times.

To coincide with the release of the book, CBS’s 60 Minutes produced a report on Mankoff and the art of choosing cartoons.

The Washington Post caused a furore by publishing a cartoon by Zunar criticising the Malaysian government’s response to the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The Malaysian editorial cartoonist was previously charged for sedition in 2010 for publishing his book of cartoons Cartoon-O-Phobia.

Not every cartoonist has an asteroid named in their honour. 4942 Munroe bears the name of xkcd creator Randall Munroe whose book What If? is due to be published later this year.

The Seattle cartoonist Tatiana Gill has created a collection of comic art to celebrate Women’s History Month. What is that? you may ask. This cartoon by Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette may help (or not!)

Finally, Procartoonists.org members never make mistakes, of course, but just in case, the BBC reports on a pen that spots errors.

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by Royston

The Round-up

March 19, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Boredom by Thomas Rowlandson

Boredom by Thomas Rowlandson @ Procartoonists.org

A new exhibition called The Long Nineteenth Century, which looks at British art from 1789 to 1918, opened at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London this week.

Many of those charting the huge changes in society over this period were cartoonists, of course, and the show features work by Gillray and Rowlandson, above, through to Tenniel and Heath Robinson. The exhibition runs until 12 April.

A study of 20th century satire, the Arena documentary Whatever Happened to Spitting Image?is to be broadcast on BBC Four tomorrow (20 March). See clips and more here. It ties in with the puppet show’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

Still on BBC Four documentaries with questioning titles, the Scottish comic book artist Frank Quitely has been profiled in What Do Artists Do All Day?, which you can watch now on iPlayer.

The organisers of the Melksham Comic Con in Wiltshire are looking to expand the event in 2014 and have turned to Kickstarter for help. They clearly had fun making this “charity appeal” for the non-profit event. The target is just £5,000 and they emphasise that every £1 counts.

Salmond and Cameron From The Auld Acquaintance © Scottish Cartoon Art Studio
From The Auld Acquaintance © Scottish Cartoon Art Studio


The Scottish Cartoon Art Studio is injecting some much-needed humour into the independence debate with an international touring exhibition called The Auld Acquaintance, above. Find out more here.

This year Finland is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins. If you don’t know your Moominmamma from your Moominpappa, you can get up to speed with this article by Mark Bosworth.

Finally, as if last week’s Bananaman vs Stephen Hawking photo wasn’t enough for fans of the Dandy superhero, we now hear that there is a Bananaman film in the works, though so far all we have to go on is this teaser campaign. The Metro suggests five other TV cartoons that should follow it to the big screen.

The Round-up

March 10, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

© Jen Sorensen. Click to enlarge

© Jen Sorensen @ Procartoonists.org. Click to enlarge

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Jen Sorensen, cartoonist for the Austin Chronicle and other US papers, has become the first woman to win the coveted Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.

The annual award was created to recognise editorial cartooning as an essential vehicle for freedom of speech and the right of expression. Meanwhile Emlly Carroll, creator of the horror comic Out of Skinwon the Cartoonist Studio Prize for the best web comic.

Chris Ware, the cartoonist behind Building Stories, talks about the devaluation of drawing in an age dominated by visual images in an interview with Chip Kidd at Salon.com. He says that the schools curriculum in  the US does not allow much time for drawing, a problem echoed in the UK that we have covered on this blog.

Talking of our visual culture, Getty Images has announced that everyone can now use their images online for free. But not everyone is impressed, as Brian Krogsgard explains.

Food cartoon © Berger & Wyse

© Berger & Wyse @ Procartoonists.org

The Guardian cartoonists Joe Berger and Pascal Wyse have an exhibition called Sense of Fun at Creation Fine Arts in Beverley, the East Yorkshire town where Wyse was born. The Hull Daily Mail has more. Meanwhile, Birmingham Museum has announced the opening in May of a must-see exhibition: Marvellous Machines: The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett.

Great news for comic strip aficionados, Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, has published his first new work in 19 years: it’s this poster for a documentary on the future of comic strips.

On a more sombre note, cartoonists used International Women’s Day last weekend to draw attention to issues that affect women: Alexsandro Palombo focused on domestic violence, Touka Neyestani on the curtailment of women’s rights in Iran, and Damien Glez on violence against women in Africa. Also, an exhibition of cartoons portraying Korean sex slaves during the Second World War goes on display in Seoul.

In Málaga, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo is celebrating the work of Andrés Rabago, the El País cartoonist known as El Roto. His work has been likened to Goya by the critic Matthew Clayfield.

Finally, the Procartoonists.org member Steve “Brighty” Bright, co-creator of Bananaman, was tickled by this stag night photo that made it to the BBC news site.

Festival details released

March 6, 2014 in Events, General, News

Barry the Shrew, the festival mascot, tunes up © Roger Penwill

Barry the Shrew, the festival mascot, tunes up © Roger Penwill

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival takes place next month and more details of the events have been released. 

These include the title of the music-themed exhibition: With a Song in My Art – we are featuring cartoons submitted for the exhibition – and details on the live drawing events and workshops on creating strips,  mini-comics and, er, farting musical instruments. There’s also a talk by the Clare in the Community creator Harry Venning.

Head over to events page of the official festival website for more.

There’s even a fringe exhibition. Artists in Shropshire are invited to take part in a cartoon competition organised by the VAN Gallery to coincide with the festival.

The participating cartoonists are: Rupert Besley, Steve Best, Andrew Birch, Rosie Brookes, Dave Brown, Kate Charlesworth, Jonathan Cusick, Wilbur Dawbarn, Noel Ford, Alex Hughes, Tim Harries, Tim Leatherbarrow, Chichi Parish, Roger Penwill, Helen Pointer, John Roberts, Royston Robertson, Chris Ryder, Cathy Simpson, Rich Skipworth, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy, Harry Venning and Gerard Whyman.

Happy members of the public at Shrewsbury Cartoon festival

Happy members of the public at Shrewsbury Cartoon festival @ Procartoonists.org

The writer and broadcaster Libby Purves, a patron of the festival as well as of Procartoonists.org, will also be attending.

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by Royston

The Lady is for returning …

March 6, 2014 in Events, General, News

 

Steve Nallon as Margaret Thatcher. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Steve Nallon as Margaret Thatcher, watched by Roger Law, right, one of the Spitting Image creators.  Photo © Kasia Kowalska. Click to enlarge

Spitting Image: From Start to Finish was launched in style at the Cartoon Museum in London last week, with an appearance by the late Baroness Thatcher.

Steve Nallon, the actor who voiced the Thatcher puppet in the TV series, brought his most famous creation back to life to open the show (click the link for a short video excerpt, courtesy of Oliver Preston).

The exhibition includes images of the satirical sculptures created by Peter Fluck and Roger Law – or “Luck and Flaw” as they were known – before Spitting Image hit our TV screens 30 years ago last week. They were a regular feature of magazines and newspapers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Heavily featured are preliminary pencil caricatures that were the templates for the show’s puppets. You can see sketches of all the major celebrities of the day alongside the Royal Family and Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet and political opponents.

The show also reunites some of the best-known puppets, including the Queen, Princess Diana, Mr Spock, Alan Bennett, Roy Hattersley (the only Spitting Image puppet regularly seen spitting) and, of course …

Margaret Thatcher puppet. Photo © Hilary Foster

Margaret Thatcher puppet. Photo © Hilary Foster

Procartoonists.org member Simon Ellinas, who was at the opening, told us: “As always with such shows, it’s the preliminary sketches and some complete caricatures that are of great fascination to us cartoonists. The stunning work of David Stoten, Pablo Bach and Tim Watts predominated and some early Fluck and Law models were on show.

“This is a definite date for your diaries for whenever you happen to be in London.”

The exhibition runs until 8 June. All material in the exhibition is © Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive

The Round-up

March 3, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Handsworth Creative cartoon by Hunt Emerson

© Hunt Emerson/Handsworth Creative cic

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Hunt Emerson, the comics artist and Procartoonists.org member, is helping launch a new project called Handsworth Creative cic.

The “cic” stands for community interest company. The not-for-profit venture is part Lottery-funded and aims to develop creative local history projects by and for the residents of Handsworth, Birmingham. Appropriately, the first product will be a comic, with input from young, aspiring cartoonists, charting the history of the area.

Cartoonists often share work on social networks these days, but Dacs and Own-It emphasise that it’s important to read the small print and have collaborated on an article: Social media: understanding the terms and conditions

What would become of us if we could not grumble? Two familiar PCO names, Andy Davey and Bill Stott, have adopted alter egos in order to let off steam in a new venture titled Men of Letters. There are some rather good cartoons there too, of course.

Bash Street sign

Bash Street becomes reality © The Beano

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Bash Street Kids, Dundee has named a street after the notorious Beano characters and has unveiled a unique illustrated sign, above. The Courier has a video of the event.

A different kind of street art can be seen in Newcastle, where a graffiti artist has made a stand against Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws. Meanwhile, Russia has become a focal point for cartoonists in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, both in Russia and abroad.

A cartoonist in Germany has been accused of anti-Semitism, for depicting Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook as a hook-nosed octopus, after the company acquired WhatsApp. Burkhard Mohr apologised for any offence caused, which he said was unintentional, and provided an alternative cartoon.

Procartoonists.org member Jonathan Pugh is among the nominees for Cartoonist of the Year award at the Press Awards 2013. Other nominees include Peter Brookes, Ingram Pinn, Matt, Chris Riddell and Gerald Scarfe.

In the US, the National Cartoonists Society has published nominations for the 2013 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker has more on the difference/overlap between Twitter wisecracks and cartoon captions. Ed Koren, the recently appointed Cartoonist Laureate for Vermont has got stuck in to his new role.

And the award for immortalising the Oscars in cartoon form … goes to Liza Donnelly.