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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.

aa_exhib_poster

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.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Talking truth to power

February 2, 2014 in Events, News

Cartoon © Andy Davey @ Procartoonists.org

Cartoon © Andy Davey @ Procartoonists.org

Andy Davey, PCO member and former editorial cartoonist at The Sun is presenting a talk hosted by the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent on Wednesday (5 February).

It’s called Truth, Power and … Cartoons: Are political cartoons irrelevant? and is part of a week of presentations on activism, campaigning and politics at the university.

Andy told us: “I’m showing how important, trenchant and powerful cartoons have been in times of yore and comparing with today’s cosy relationship between cartoonists, newspapers and politicians.”

He said the talk will also look at how political cartooning is “a life and death business” in other. less democratic countries.

“I want to make the point that we mainly address the Westminster Village soap opera, regardless of the fact that it has less and less power. Why do the real power brokers – global institutions, banks, funds, world trade organisations etc – escape criticism while we shout at the Westminster puppets on stage?”

He will also look at the changes cartoonists face in the digital age and what their future might be. Andy said he will be “making a plea that cartoons can still be powerful – perhaps when released from editors’ whims”.

The talk, which will be followed by a question and answer session, is at 1pm in room PK008 of the Pilkington Building, in the university’s Medway Campus in Chatham.

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

Opinion: Cartoonists and a new world

November 19, 2013 in Comment, General, News

You are here © Roger_Penwill_@_procartoonists.org

© Roger Penwill @ Procartoonists.org

The internet is a perfect medium for cartoons. Images can look much more striking on a backlit screen than they ever did in muddy print.

So the news that The Sun was dropping Andy Davey’s weekday editorial cartoon slot just as it finally attempted a serious transition to digital first publication is ironic.

I am a member of an endangered species … the cartoonists. In fact, my small colony is a sub-sub-species – the few who actually (well, as I write) make a living from the practice. The fact is that habitat change is threatening us.”
Andy Davey in an article for E!Sharp magazine

(In a fitting footnote, E!Sharp magazine moved from print to digital with the loss of Davey’s regular cover illustration).

Newspapers have been shedding journalists, photographers and cartoonists by the hundredweight over the past few years, as their print revenues have shrivelled. Few papers have managed the transition to digital presence while finding an alternative online revenue stream.

Obfuscation about their digital revenue clouds the facts but the basic problem of converting casual digital readers into paying subscribers remains.

© Ger Whyman at Procartoonists.org

© Ger Whyman @ Procartoonists.org

Publishing companies have tried two basic strategies. News UK papers The Times and The Sun are now both largely behind subscriber paywalls, amid huge tidal waves of PR and free giveaways. This was a a principled decision (nobody should work for nothing) but a rather brave one in a world where news and information is now free, instant and ubiquitous. The results are presently understood to be mixed.

The other model is the new-media idea that you give away your content and hope that spin-off merchandising and advertising revenue will flood in on the back of your increased global readership. Online services can be developed for a motivated and loyal crowd of customers.

© Dave Chisholm @procartoonists.org

© Dave Chisholm @ Procartoonists.org

The Guardian has attempted to make itself into the best upmarket liberal global news brand in this fashion. The Daily Mail has morphed silently into a sort of daily global Hello! magazine, titillating the masses with its “Sidebar of Shame”, in the process becoming the most widely read digital newspaper worldwide.

Significantly, neither of these organisations have been over keen to reveal how much revenue this accrues  and how it stacks up against their legacy costs of business.

But publishing companies and newspapers as product form only a small patch of land in the shrinking traditional habitat of the cartoonist. Magazines used to be a source of welcome revenue for scribblers. However, the rates of pay have been slashed over the years to levels of vanity publication. Regular readers and subscribers to this blog will also know about the direct-to-audience efforts that many cartoonists have made in recent years.

© Matt Percival at procartoonists.org

© Matt Percival @ Procartoonists.org

The traditional confidence in the utility of our skills leads the Guardian cartoonist and PCO member Martin Rowson to characterise our trade as parasites. Once the carrier dies, “like any hideous sensible parasite, we’ll just jump off on to the next host”.

And there is some truth in this.

In Georgian times, cartoonists plied their trade by selling prints of their work in coffee shops. The radical coffee shop died a death as the prim Victorians arrived. Consequently, cartoonists jumped on to new hosts ushered in by advances in print – Punch and similar magazines.

Newspaper circulation wars in the 1900s then saw a race to hire cartoonists, providing a very welcome long-lived carrier for us parasites. The chronic morbidity of printed newspapers means we have to find a new habitat.

Ed adds: And, of course, many of us are adapting successfully. If you have comments about any of themes in this piece please do add them in comments.

Opinion: The cartoonist and the editor

November 12, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Editor_and_editorial_cartoonist_a_metaphoe_@_procartoonists.org

© Andy Davey @ Procartoonists.org

Following the news that one of the UK’s mass market national newspapers had removed its weekday editorial cartoonist we asked Andy Davey to write about the strange relationship that lies at the heart of such jobs.

For the UK cartoonist, working outside of the beneficence of a major newspaper brings benefits and troubles; editorial freedom and financial uncertainty. Creative freedom and money are rarely thrown together at the same artist.

In general, print editors and proprietors control content with an iron hand, especially when they are paying for it. Tabloid editors for example, are a clever bunch. They know how to run tight, focused media organisations. There is little or no room for a dissenting voice. The paper has to speak with one voice on a narrow range of issues.

Cartoonists are not hired to express their idiosyncratic views of the world, they are there to draw an on-message gag about something that is being highlighted in the day’s paper (preferably on the same page). Topics that are fair game are often defined and limited by who the paper “likes” (politicians or celebs they seek to cultivate) at any one time.

This can become wearing for the cartoonist who likes to come up with his/her own ideas – and that is pretty well all cartoonists (It is one of the key identifiers between cartoonists and illustrators – Ed).

The constraint of the ‘‘family paper’’, hard as it has sometimes been to believe in the era of phone hacking, also prevents anything too graphic from being published. Consequently, editorial cartoons in the tabloids can often look like sad toothless pastiches of the deferential 1950s.

Tabloid readers are conditioned to expect short, snappy articles and plenty of photos. The editorial pages, unlike the rather type-heavy pages in the broadsheets, are awash with images and banner headlines. Cartoons must fight to make themselves seen amid all this; even more so amid the flashing ads and animated pop-ups on the web versions.

A looser hand on the editorial tiller would allow stronger satirical graphic cartoons to attract the eye in traditional print and also in the relatively new digital environments.

Editor adds: Thanks to Andy to writing this. What do you think about editorial cartoons in the newspapers? Please free to dive into the comments below.