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Battle fought, then sandwiches

November 24, 2014 in Events, General, News

Andy Davey works on the Procartoonists team banner

Andy Davey works on the Procartoonists team banner

Andy Davey gives his post-match analysis, as Procartoonists team captain, on the Battle of the Cartoonists 2014 Photos by Kasia Kowalska

It was great to take part in the Battle of the Cartoonists at Trinity Buoy Wharf in one of the less glamorous quarters of London’s fashionable Docklands. We cartoonists are not used to glamour, so it was perhaps fitting that a bunch of grubby satirists should be let loose in an old oil and hemp store on a wharf overlooking the Dome.

We, the PCO team, had done some vague pre-planning but left enough room for the spontaneity and creativity of the el Galacticos in our team – Jeremy Banx, Guy Venables and ex-Punch and Readers Digest cartoon editor Steve Way.

The Procartoonists team of Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Steve Way and Guy Venables

The Procartoonists team of Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Steve Way and Guy Venables at work. Note PCO banner from the 2008 St Pancras Battle in the background.

The work was good all round this year,  the quality of banner artwork was excellent and all kept on-theme (Recording Britain Now). The Independent deservedly won with a cohesively themed banner showing the map of the UK boasting “Here Be Monsters”. The draughtsmanship was superb, led by the inestimable pen of Dave Brown, with Peter Schrank, Dave Simonds and Matt Buck.

The Independent's winning banner

The Independent’s winning banner. Click to enlarge

Dave Brown, Matt Buck and Dave Simonds celebrate Grand Prix-style

Dave Brown, Matt Buck and Dave Simonds celebrate Grand Prix-style

Other teams present were The Guardian (Steve Bell, Ros Asquith and Kipper WIlliams) and Private Eye (Simon Pearsall, Henry Davies, Kathryn Lamb and David Ziggy Greene). The Eye, those perennial winners of the popular clap-o-meter vote, didn’t win this year but had a banner that could easily have done so – a delight of wit, simplicity and minimalism, including several excellent gags.

Detail of Henry Davies cartoons from the Private Eye banner

Detail of Henry Davies cartoons from the Private Eye banner

Kipper Williams and detail from the Guardian banner

Kipper Williams and detail from the Guardian banner. Click to enlarge

Of course, it pains me to say all this as captain of the Procartoonists.org team. I have, of course, offered, in the manner of honour down the centuries, to take the pistol and whisky option, or a more public display of seppuku with a blunt nib.

It’s quite a challenge to get the whole thing planned, drawn and coloured within the two-hour limit, so seeing the banners finished is always a treat. And it’s even more of a treat to get a free bacon sandwich and beer afterwards. Phew, largesse unknown to the likes of us scribblers.

The banners are to be sold off, apparently, so if you want a 4m x 1m work of spontaneous art to decorate your stately home, contact the Campaign For Drawing.

For sale: the finished PCO banner is held aloft

For sale: the finished PCO banner is held aloft

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonists prepare to do battle

November 17, 2014 in Events, General, News

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A team from the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation will once again take part in the Battle of the Cartoonists. (Cartoon above by Bill Stott)

The event is organised by the Campaign for Drawing, the people behind The Big Draw, and will take place at the Electrician’s Shop gallery, Trinity Buoy Wharf, in east London this Sunday (23 November) from 12pm-5pm. Admission is free.

Four teams, from Procartoonists, The Guardian, The Independent and Private Eye will each create huge banners on the theme of “Recording Britain Now” (click here for the full list of events on that theme).

The winner will be chosen by popular vote i.e. the team that gets the most cheers and applause. Banners from previous Battles over the past decade will be on display. Free cartoon workshops for all ages will also take place.

PCO members at work on Battle of the Cartoonists banners at Somerset House in 2006 ...

PCO members in the Battle of the Cartoonists at Somerset House 2006 …

... Covent Garden in 2007 ...

… Covent Garden 2007 …

... St Pancras Station in 2008 ...

… St Pancras Station 2008 …

... the Idea Generation gallery 2009 ...

… the Idea Generation gallery 2009 …

... Hay's Galleria 2010 ...

… Hay’s Galleria 2010 …

... and the V&A, 2012.

… and the V&A 2012.

Sir John Sorrell, a cartoon and drawing aficionado who was was publisher of The Cartoonist, the “cartoon newspaper”, will launch the event and will give a talk about the importance of visual satire.

The team line-ups are as follows (all teams feature Procartoonists members):

Procartoonists.org Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Neil Dishington, Steve Way

Private Eye Henry Davies, Kathryn Lamb, Simon Pearsall, David Ziggy Greene

The Guardian Ros Asquith, Steve Bell, Ben Jennings, Kipper Williams

The Independent Dave Brown, Peter Schrank, David Simonds, Matt Buck

We wish all the teams the very best of luck!

The Round-up

November 13, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun. Click to enlarge

Public voting is under way for the Political Cartoon of the Year 2014. Those in the running include the Procartoonists.org members Andy Davey, above, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Steve Bell, Steve Bright and Gary Barker.

The Times’s political cartoonist Peter Brookes is the subject of a short film called The Art of Satire, part of the newspaper’s Unquiet films series, celebrating its contributors and other aspects of the newspaper’s production (there’s even one for font geeks, we know you’re out there).

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

Many cartoonists have contributed to the new Stars on Canvas charity auction, in aid of the Willow foundation, which provides memorable days and experiences for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

The contributors include a whole bunch of PCO members: Rob Murray, Kipper Williams, Mike Williams, Jonesy, Jonathan Cusick, Matt Percival. Jonathan Pugh, Royston Robertson, Lawrence Goldsmith, Kate Taylor, Tony Husband and Noel Ford.

The BBC has a short film on Quentin Blake, talking about his new book The Five of Us, which is about a group of children who overcome diabilities

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

The Chris Beetles Gallery‘s winter selling exhibition The Illustrators opens this weekend (15 November). It features illustration from 1800 to the present day. One of the contempiorary artists featured is Procartoonists member Jonathan Cusick, above.

Britain has a poet laureate and a children’s laureate and now Dave Gibbons, best known as the artist behind Watchmen, has been named as the first comics laureate, an initiative by the charity Comics Literacy Awareness.  Gibbons recently spoke to the Guardian about his lifelong passion for the medium.

One person who doesn’t need convincing about the worth of comics is Price Harry, who revealed his love for them as he met cartoonist Will Kevans.

"Wittertainment" presenters © Terry Anderson

“Wittertainment” presenters © Terry Anderson

Finally, cartoons on the radio is a phenomenon that happens all too rarely but the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film review show and podcast, known to its army of fans as Wittertainment, has started a regular feature called Cartoonists’ Corner, so those who listen to the show while drawing cartoons can say hello.

Those inaugurated into Cartoonists’ Corner so far include Procartoonists members Martin Rowson and Royston Robertson. And the Witertainment presenters have been caricatured, above,  by Terry Anderson. Pictured, clockwise, are Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, plus the recent stand-in presenters James King and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Update: The Auld Acquaintance

October 29, 2014 in General

The views from Scotland and Britain in the Auld Acquaintance show

The views from Scotland and Britain in the Auld Acquaintance show. Click the image to enlarge

Terry Anderson updates us on a touring exhibition:

After an amazing year The Auld Acquaintance, the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio’s touring exhibition about the independence referendum, has made its final stops in Lleida, Catalonia, and Limoges, France.

The exhibition was shown at the Institut de Estudis Illerdencs in Llieida.  Although the smallest and briefest iteration of the exhibition, it was incontestably in the most attractive venue. The IEI is a stunning Gothic building in the centre of Lleida, a former infirmary complete with courtyard now used as a multipurpose exhibition and performance venue and library.

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On the opening evening I was presented with an estelada, above, by Rosa Pujol, the IEI’s deputy director, and by the political cartoonist Ermengol, the main host for the event, whose work appears daily in La Mañana.

More recently, the exhibition opened at the Faculté de Droits et des Sciences Économiques, Université de Limoges.

After speaking with a class at the university about the Scottish independence referendum and its impact upon European politics, I attended a private view with Christophe Bonnotte, executive vice president of the university, and Gérard Vandenbroucke, president of the Limousin region.

Limoges is the last stop on the exhibition’s tour of Europe in 2014. The exhibition will continue at the university until 14 November.

Thanks to all who have lent their support, including the PCO. Among the  cartoonists whose work was shown were Procartoonists.org members Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Steve Bright, Dave Brown, Chris Cairns, Andy Davey, Bill Houston and Malc McGookin.

Double up at The Auld Acquaintance

September 1, 2014 in Events, General, News

Terry Anderson, left, with Steve Bell at the opening of the London version of The Auld Acquaintance

Terry Anderson, left, with Steve Bell at the opening of the London version of The Auld Acquaintance. The show is also on in Glasgow

Terry Anderson tells us about two chances to see a cartoon exhibition about the Scottish referendum:

The Auld Acquaintance exhibition is now fully under way in its two UK venues: Leiper Fine Art on West George Street, Glasgow and the News & Media Gallery at The Guardian & Observer newspapers, part of the Kings Place arts venue in London.

As in the exhibition’s French showing [we covered that here – Ed] work has been arranged according to point of origin with the additional bonus of a section of original drawings and paintings. These are for sale, as are prints of the digitally submitted work.

A range of Q&A sessions will be taking place in the gallery in the next fortnight including contributions from cartoonists Frank Boyle and Lorna Miller as well as Chris Cairns, David Kerr, Malc McGookin, Greg Moodie, Cinders McLeod and the Comic Soapbox Scotland project.  Book places at these free talks via Eventbrite.

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The Guardian has gone for a scattershot approach to its display which makes for impressive visual impact. At both venues the cartoons are highly visible from street level and sure to attract lots of interest from commuters and tourists.

In Glasgow the show is a stone’s throw from the offices of both the “Yes Scotland” and “No Thanks” campaigns and handy for the city’s rail link to Edinburgh. In London it’s in the thick of the hubbub at Kings Cross St Pancras and not far from the newly opened House of Illustration.

Scottish independence cartoon © Andy Davey

Scottish independence cartoon © Andy Davey. Click to enlarge

The exhibitions are free of charge and open daily. The show will close the weekend after the referendum. In Glasgow we shut on 19 September and in London on 21 September.

Our continued thanks to everyone who has given time and effort to make our tour a success, in particular Ewan Kennedy and Niall Campbell at Leiper Fine Art and Luke Dodd and David McCoy at The Guardian. Also to all PCO members who sent us cartoons.

Our thanks to Terry for his report. Cartoonists exhibiting in The Auld Acquaintance, several Procartoonists members among them, include: Brian Adcock, Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Frank Boyle, Steve Bright, Carlos Brito, Dave Brown, Chris Cairns, Steven Camley, Andy Davey, Frank Quitely, Bill Houston, Graeme MacKay, Malc McGookin, Cinders McLeod, Lorna Miller, Greg Moodie, Ross Thomson, Chris Watson … and many more.

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.

The Round-up: Procartoonists special

May 7, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, illustrated by Kate Charlesworth     © Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Brian Talbot

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, illustrated by Kate Charlesworth      © Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Brian Talbot

We’re blowing our own trumpet this week with a Round-up focusing on members of Procartoonists.org — the Professional Cartoonists Organisation — as they seem to be a busy lot at the moment.

First up is Kate Charlesworth, whose book Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, above, is out now. You can read a “behind the scenes” piece at Down the Tubes and a review at The Independent.

Ralph Steadman has been promoting the release of his documentary For No Good Reason in the US by talking to the LA Times and AV Club.

A series of cartoons by Andy Davey for the pressure group Clean Air In London  is set to put pollution at the heart of the local elections, according to ITV.com.

Take Care, Son © Tony Husband

Take Care, Son © Tony Husband

A book by Tony Husband about his dad’s dementia, Take Care, Son, is to be serialised in the Daily Mail. We’ll let you know when that happens. Meanwhile, he continues to tour his Cartoon History of Here with the poet Ian McMillan.

Many Procartoonists.org members contributed to a new exhibition called The Art of Drawing, at Stranraer Museum, after the organisers put out an urgent call to professional cartoonists to submit artwork, in order to show schoolchildren that a love of drawing can turn into a career. It runs until 7 June.

Simon Ellinas recently made an appearance on Channel 5 News illustrating a feature on David Cameron, Alex Salmond and the Scottish referendum.

Luis Suarez puts best foot forward for Phil Disley's posters. Photos © Liverpool Echo

Luis Suarez puts best foot forward for Phil Disley’s posters. Photos © Liverpool Echo. Click image to enlarge

Here’s an unusual one! Fifty paintings featuring the Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s footprint have gone on sale. They were created by cartoonist Phil Disley. Read more at the Liverpool Echo.

Martin Rowson has been working with the Laurence Sterne Trust producing a collaborative artwork that the 18th-century satirist and creator of Tristram Shandy would have been proud of. There’s a Facebook gallery of the day here.

Cartoons on Demand © Royston Robertson

Cartoons on Demand © Royston Robertson

Cartoonist and editor of the Procartoonists blog Royston Robertson has collected together dozens of gags from Private Eye, Reader’s Digest and other magazines in a new book called Cartoons on Demand.

And finally, our patron Bill Tidy tells his local newspaper why he will never stop drawing cartoons. Quite right too.

See all the Procartoonists profiles here.

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. 

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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

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.

The Round-up

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

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Dave Walker, a Procartoonists member, talks about what makes him tick in a short film by Michal Dzierza, above, called Being A Cartoonist.

If you like to know what makes other people tick, a new exhibition celebrating the life and work of Mel Calman has opened at the Freud Museum in Hampstead, London. Titled Calman meets Freud, it explores the much-loved cartoonist’s interest in psychiatry and mental health.

Andy Davey has put his recent lecture on the future of political cartooning, which we previewed here, on his website “in windbaggy blog form” (his words, not ours).

Though they may not always admit it, cartoonists are often inspired by other cartoonists. Michael Maslin wanted to know what cartoon collections inspired his colleagues at The New Yorker. He calls these collections “Cartoon Bibles”.

scott adams book

Passion – even for cartoons – is not everything: Scott Adams, the man behind Dilbert, ponders the virtues of failure in this video interview. He has succeeded in writing a book about failure, above.

Sometimes even the most creative ventures fail, as the DrawQuest founder Chris Poole found out.

Yet some cartoons are destined for success. It has been 25 years since The Simpsons broke the mould and made social satire a household name. To celebrate, Lego has teamed up with Fox to re-create them as its iconic figures. Keeping with the celebratory spirit, the cartoonist and animator David Silverman has published early Simpsons drawings on Twitter.

Bill Watterson made the news by winning the Grand Prix at 41st Angouleme Festival in France for his timeless strip Calvin and Hobbes. Also, the 30th Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Turkey announced its winners, with the top prize going to a Polish cartoonist, Krzysztof Grzondziel.

One cartoonist who may be certain that such recognition will not present itself in his own country is Bonil of Ecuador. Following a press watchdog’s ruling that he had insulted Rafael Correa, the president, the newspaper El Universo was forced to publish a suitable “correction” from the cartoonist.