You are browsing the archive for News.

Everyone’s a cartoonist nowadays

January 6, 2014 in Comment, General, News

Google_Comic_Strip_Automation_©_Matthew_Buck_Hack_Cartoons_@procartoonists.org

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons @ Procartoonists.org

Regular readers of this blog will be unsurprised to learn that automation has struck once more with Google receiving a patent for the ‘‘self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications’’.

The advertising giant is following in the footsteps of other digital toolmakers such as Bitstrips.

Digital automation of cartoon formats for display is inevitable in a time of growing digital processing power, and it means that now everyone can be a cartoonist.

Procartoonists.org believes that quality will out, however.

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ procartoonists.org

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ Procartoonists.org

The Round up

December 31, 2013 in General, Links, News

Cartoon_Museum_Exhibition_bring_me_laughter © Jonathan Cusick @ procartoonists.org

© Jonathan Cusick @ procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Bring Me Laughter‘ opens at the Cartoon Museum on 7th January celebrating comedy through cartoons and caricatures.

But even though ♫ ‘there should be more happiness’ ♫ here’s some accompanying controversy to bring in the new year!

The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, won a global injunction against the publication of book of cartoons after Danish cartoonist and former pro footballer Olé Andersen caused a stink with it.

The Swiss courts may not be not the only ones getting involved in censorship as a report on president Putin’s new Literary Assembly in Russia explains. Spare a thought for the Russian cartoonists following in the footsteps of someone such as Mikhail Zlatovsky, displayed below.

© Mikhail Zlatovsky @ procartoonists.org

© Mikhail Zlatovsky @ procartoonists.org

A fitting antidote might be the publication of a book by a French-based group Reporters Without Borders and Cartooning for Peace. This is the first time Reporters Without Borders have published a book of cartoons instead of a book of photographs.

The South African cartoonist John Curtis reflected the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela with a fine collection of cartoons. And also noting the great drawing board in the sky was comic artist JAKe who paid a tribute to the actor Peter O’Toole.

Neill Cameron for The Story Museum @ procartoonists.org

© Neill Cameron for The Story Museum @ procartoonists.org

Working at scale was Neill Cameron, who was commissioned to write a gigantic comic strip telling the story of… The Story Museum which is scheduled to open in Oxford this spring. In an interview with Matt Badham, he talked of his ambition is to see an entire town filled with massive comics. This is something that Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has gone some length to achieving by dedicating an entire street to cartoons.

Equally epic is Ari Folman, director of ‘Waltz with Bashir’, who announced his next animated feature will be Anne Frank’s diaries. It should be going into production in 2014. You don’t have to wait for the magic of the ‘Annual’ even if it is Useleus.

Happy New Year to us all.

The Round up

December 22, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The Winter Solstice is behind us and the traditional festive fun is in full swing.

Christmas season is upon us © Martin Honeysett @ procartoonists.org

© Martin Honeysett @ procartoonists.org

Also high on the agenda is freedom of speech after the London School of Economics apologised to two students who had been banned from wearing T-shirts featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ.

Twitter was also accused of losing its sense of humour. The microblogging site ran into trouble when it removed tweeted cartoons by the Indian political cartoonist Manjul.

The truth Hits Everybody art by Daniel Clowes :: scanned from 20th Century Eightball :: Fantagraphics Books :: 2002 © procartoonists.org

The truth hits everybody. Art by Daniel Clowes from 20th Century Eightball by Fantagraphics Books 2002 @ Procartoonists.org

The Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf is likely to be crossed off Daniel Clowes’ Christmas card list following accusations that he plagiarised the Ghost World creator’s 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano in his short film HowardCantour.com. Removal of accreditation for cartoonists in this age of digital ubiquity is a not an uncommon experience as a similar story from Rachel Duke illustrates.

Moving from theft to sharing, the CEO of Bitstrips has rebuffed claims that the social-media platform is a flash in the pan. The self-generated storytelling programme was the second most downloaded app in the world during November. Stuart Dredge found out why.

Movie interactives mashups from the Guardian © procartoonists.org

Matt Blease drawing for the Movie Mashups interactive app at The Guardian website @ Procartoonists.org

We note, see above, that other sites are also following this new fad. (Yes, we are looking at you The Guardian).

Seventeen years ago this month one of the founders of Private Eye, Willie Rushton, died. Adam Sonin remembers him as “the greatest satirist of them all” and explains the origins of the eccentric radio game Mornington Crescent.

For all the culture vultures out there, desperate to avoid last-minute Christmas shopping, there is still a chance to see The Age of Glamour at the Cartoon Museum which ends on Christmas Eve. Also, Cartoons and Caricatures at the Bank of England finishes on 31 December and The National Theatre’s Lampoon exhibition will end on 5 January.

Trippin' through the rain @procartoonists.org

Trippin’ through the rain from Toddles’s Comic Almanac 1862 @ Procartoonists.org

If you would rather stay inside than brave the current weather, you can always entertain yourself by trying out different cartoon styles. Which is exactly what Mike Holmes did when he created 100 cartoons of himself and his cat.

A Merry Christmas to us all.

Updated: 24th December with the sad news that political image maker Leon Kuhn has died.

work_pay © Leon Kuhn @ procartoonists.org

© Leon Kuhn @ procartoonists.org

The Round-up

December 12, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Peter Brookes @Procartoonists.org

The death of Nelson Mandela inspired poignant tributes from UK cartoonists, among them Peter Brookes in The Times (above), Peter Schrank in The Independent and Christian Adams in The Telegraph. Elsewhere, the South African cartoonist Zapiro tells the BBC a personal anecdote that demonstrates Mandela’s appreciation of satire.

Congratulations to Len Hawkins, who has been named the first-ever recipient of The Spectator’s Michael Heath Award for Cartooning. Already an established gag cartoonist, Len has won a year’s contract with the magazine, an original drawing by Heath, a bottle of gin, and a hand-made pair of shoes from John Lobb, which sponsored the competition.

Bill Watterson, creator of the much-loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, looks set to be the subject of a feature film from Warner Bros., with Leonardo DiCaprio among its producers.  Visit The Daily Cartoonist for more information. Watterson and his strip were also recently the focus of a documentary film.

According to Forbes, Bitstrips are now being used by French politicians to connect with the electorate. For the PCO‘s view on the popular automated ‘cartoons’, read this previous article.

Restaurant has great taste in cartoons

December 9, 2013 in General, News

Andy Davey gorges on a fine selection of cartoon morsels

There is a rather nice restaurant in a picture-perfect situation, hidden inside a particularly ugly example of Sixties architectural brutalism on the banks of the river in Cambridge. It’s the on the first floor of the University Centre.

Tom Walston © Sir Cam

It’s called the Riverside Restaurant, but don’t tell anyone about it – it’s a local secret. It’s run by a nice chap called Tom Walston (above, photograph © Sir Cam).

We at Procartoonists.org have a particular regard for him because he rather likes cartoons. So much so that he has plastered the walls of the approach to the restaurant with gag cartoons, all on a food and drink theme. We went along to find out how this came to be.

Tom had become bored with the usual watercolours depicting rows of punts or King’s College. So after chortling at a cartoon by Gabriel Alborozo, then drawing as W. Spring, in his copy of Private Eye ten years ago, he phoned the mag to ask if he could buy the original. In those days before data protection, when real people sat at the end of phone lines, he was given the phone number of the cartoonist.

Restaurant cartoon by Alborozo

© Gabriel Alborozo @ Procartoonists.org

After a quick negotiation, the original cartoon was wending its way to Tom. He framed it and hung it on the wall. People commented that it would be nice to have a few more so, with a degree of patience and persistence, a rather excellent collection of cartoons by the great and the good of UK gag cartooning was built up by Tom. Employing a local framer to give the mostly monochrome cartoons more visual presence, a whole wall was covered with the gags.

There are gags by familiar names such as McLachlan, Geoff Thompson, Robert Thompson, A.J. Singleton,  Newman, Ian Baker, Pilbrow, Reeve, Dish, NAF, Honeysett, Pearsall, Larry, Tony Husband, KES, BerniePAK, Parker, Warren and Peattie, and Knife and Packer, among others.

Tom says he likes it because it’s different to most walls in the colleges, which are full of dark portraits of worthy Victorian beards, bursars and beadles.

Punters seem to agree – he often sees a party of diners appreciating the gags before heading in to the restaurant. He has also enjoyed buying direct from the artists concerned as it makes the transaction more interesting.

Ed adds: Phone numbers of cartoonists for purchase of original artwork you say? Try here.

Politics and plebs at awards bash

December 6, 2013 in Events, News

Andrew Mitchell presents Steve Bell with the Political Cartoon of the Year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Andrew Mitchell MP presents Steve Bell with the cartoon of the year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The annual Political Cartoon of the Year Awards, hosted by the Ellwood Atfield Gallery, in Smith Square, Westminster, were full to the brim with guests and cartoonists alike.

You didn’t have to move far to rub shoulders with the elite of political cartooning in Britain today – most of the nominees, from Christian Adams to Ingram Pinn, Bob Moran to Martin Rowson, were there.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Society, thanked the organisers and said: “We do not lead the world in many things, but we certainly have always led the world with regard to political cartoons.”

Following the introduction of online voting for the Political Cartoon of the Year for the first time, he hinted that, in the future, members of the public would also be able to vote for the Political Cartoonist of the Year.

This year’s awards were presented by the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, the former Chief Whip, who has found himself at the sharp end of many a cartoonist’s pen over the past year, during the Plebgate scandal. In spite of this, he admitted that he could not resist accepting the invitation, as he is an enthusiastic collector of political cartoons.

He did not resist giving the gathered cartoonists a taste of their own medicine by reflecting on the unique relationship between politicians and cartoonists as he recalled a recent interview by the head of the Israeli intelligence service who said “he didn’t like politicians because they tended to leave their wounded on the battlefield”.

He added: “It struck me that that’s basically what politicians may do … and then cartoonists come along and finish them off.” He stressed that it is, nonetheless, an enduring relationship.

Steve Bell Margaret Thatcher cartoon

Political Cartoon of the Year © Steve Bell @ Procartoonists.org

Steve Bell was announced the winner of the coveted Gillray Cup for Political Cartoon of the Year for his portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, above, with Andy Davey as the runner up. Morten Morland was named 2013 Political Cartoonist of the Year.

Upon accepting the award from Mr Mitchell, Steve Bell said: “it’s a great honour to get the Gillray goblet, it’s the one to win, that’s for sure.”

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The acceptance speech by Andy Davey, who was recently let go in cuts at The Sun, was greeted with a cheer when he addressed the room by saying: “Either you lot are masters of paradox and satire or you’re a bunch of plebs.”

Morten Morland said that he was “as surprised as everyone else and very glad to win the Low Trophy”.

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The exhibition of the political cartoons will run at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery until 23 December.

Many thanks to Kasia for the report and photographs. You can follow Kasia on Twitter: @katyrosesmith

Procartoonists play it again

December 5, 2013 in News

The Cartoonists Team - Alex Hughes, Royston Robertson, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell and Martin Rowson
The Cartoonists (Alex Hughes, Royston Robertson, Robert Duncan, Graham Fowell and Martin Rowson)

Procartoonists members can be seen on TV tomorrow (Friday 6 December) as BBC Two repeats the show in which our team took on the Eggheads.

The show was originally broadcast in 2009. We ran a report on it at the time but if you’d like to watch the show tomorrow without knowing the outcome, be aware that this contains spoilers!

Eggheads is on BBC Two at 6pm. Scheduling details correct at time of going to, er, WordPress.

Interview: Dave Brown of the Independent

December 3, 2013 in Events, General, News

Fighting-Portsmouth_©_Dave_Brown_@_procartoonists.org

© Dave Brown @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska reports:

Sitting across the table from me in The Betjeman Arms in St. Pancras, nursing a pint, is the four-time winner of the Political Cartoon of the Year award, The Independent’s Dave Brown.

He will be defending his title against many other cartoonists this evening.

His Rogues’ Gallery cartoon on the Leveson enquiry, The Last, Last, Last Chance Saloon, won the award in 2012, and this year he’s chosen The Fighting Portsmouth, a cartoon on the recent BAE shipyard closure, for his entry. How did he decide on that particular cartoon?

“I think it’s quite difficult picking a cartoon. The trouble with being a political cartoonist is that a lot of what you do is so ephemeral. A few months removed from the story, which may have faded in people’s memory, a lot of cartoons don’t mean very much. One reason why I picked The Fighting Portsmouth was that it’s still current. You’re also always more pleased with what you’ve done most recently. It’s one of the Rogues’ Gallery cartoons so it has an added recognition factor: it’s based on Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, which is, supposedly, the nation’s most-loved painting.”

Brown made his mark as the creator of Rogues’ Gallery, which has, since 2003, appeared on the pages of the Saturday edition of The Independent.

How did he come up with the idea of giving classic paintings a satirical edge?

“Anything that looks familiar, but which you can turn into something unfamiliar and strange, is a gift – all grist to the mill. It’s a reference point to start with and it’s fun for me. I get to play at being Francis Bacon one week and Caravaggio the next. It’s a political cartoon with its own brand. It has a life of its own.”

A political cartoonist’s job is to hold up a mirror to the powerful. Seeing that he is one of the leading political cartoonists in the country, has he become part of the establishment he is supposed to lampoon?

“I hope not,” he says, “I sit at home wearing old jeans and a black T-shirt covered in Indian ink most days, scratching away at a piece of paper. If that’s the establishment, it doesn’t feel much like it. Cartooning tends to be anti-establishment. To an extent you are a licensed jester but you are never quite on the inside.”

According to Brown, cartoons can’t change the world, though it might be their intention. The most they might do is influence people who are already leaning towards one’s point of view. Upon reflection, however, he concedes that cartoonists can be a small part of shaping the way people think. Does he have a favourite among his own cartoons that might have done that?

Hillsborough_cover_up_©_Dave_Brown_@_procartoonists.org

© Dave Brown @ Procartoonists.org

“There was one I did last year when the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report came out. There were a lot of pictures of Thatcher walking around Hillsborough with the police a few days after the tragedy, supposedly being briefed on what had happened – which, of course, we now know was a fiction – and who was very happy to swallow it all and blame the Liverpool fans.

“I did a cartoon of Thatcher down by the corner of the pitch, lifting it up like a carpet as the police swept bodies underneath. I got a lot of favourable responses from people in Liverpool.

“I was worried about offending the families of the Hillsborough fans; they’d gone through a lot. I don’t usually worry about offending people very much; it’s sort of the job to offend. However, a lot of people rang up who liked the cartoon. One guy said, ‘Not many people read The Independent on Merseyside but they’re selling loads of copies today ’cause everyone’s been talking about your cartoon.’ That makes you feel you’ve done your job properly.”

Ed adds: Thanks to Kasia for writing and sharing this content which you can also read at The Independent.

The Round-up

December 2, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Liza Donnelly @Procartoonists.org

Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for The New Yorker, shares with Forbes.com the transcript of a recent speech in which she looks at how cartoonists can use humour as a force for peace.

Huw Aaron, a member of Procartoonists.org, shares some strips from his ongoing North Stand series and asks, ‘Who’d be a rugby fan?’

Patrick Blower, whose editorial cartoons can regularly be seen in the Daily Telegraph, has been spotted drawing live to illustrate BBC political editor Nick Robinson‘s report on the energy industry. Watch the video, embedded in a related blog post by Robinson, here.

Still with the BBC, a report on how comic strips are helping doctors improve their bedside manner. Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, psychologist Neil Cohn attempts to analyse the sophisticated language of cartoons.

And finally, “visual journalist” (or straightforward “comics artist”?) Joe Sacco talks to Salon about his work and how the graphic novel makes it possible to deal with difficult subjects. Read the interview here.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Double the fun at Cartoon Museum

November 27, 2013 in Events, News

Next week, the Cartoon Museum in London is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

This means that for a limited period donations to the museum will be matched, making all contributions go further. Anita O’Brien, the curator, explains all in the above YouTube video.

The museum said: “For a limited time only, online donations are matched by other funders on a first come, first served basis, so timing is of the essence. Every £5 that you give could be worth £10. Matched funds will be released at 10am on the morning of 5, 6 and 7 December and we are asking you to donate at that time before the match-funding runs out.”

The money will fund the Cartoons and Comics for All project, which aims to bring new visitors to the museum and provide free events and sessions for schools.

To donate online, click this link on 5, 6 or 7 December at 10am.

The museum is currently showing an exhibition by R.S. Sherriffs. The gloom of winter will be brightened by Bring Me Laughter on 7 January, followed by a must-see Spitting Image exhibition  on 26 February. See the website for details.