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Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 15, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

It’s only fingerpainting

July 5, 2010 in News


Following our earlier post, here is more evidence that new technology can help turn a tactile skill into a digital work of art.

BBC plays Rude Britannia

June 15, 2010 in General, News

Rude Britannia Cartoon at Tate Britain. Reports at http://thebloghorn.org for the UK's Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

You can watch BBC Four’s take on the theme of Rude Britannia, which ties in with the exhibition of the same name at Tate Britain, just click the picture.

The documentary is one hour long. Parts two and three can be seen tonight and tomorrow night on BBC Four or on the iPlayer.

In praise of cartoonists

May 3, 2010 in Comment

Bloghorn thanks the editorial writers of The Guardian for spotting what our members and many others do in working for the media, companies and individuals. Modesty prevents us from quoting the nice things said about the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (but do go and read them)!

The organisers of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival would like us to add that the event is made possible by the kind, long-term support of Shropshire Council and the members of the PCO.

Festival patron, and friend of cartoonists, Libby Purves has words in The Times today for the Greek cartoonist guests at this year’s Shrewsbury. Sadly, they were prevented from actual attendance by unanticipated volcanic activity from the direction of Iceland.

The ghost editor and the cartoonists

April 30, 2010 in Comment

Alan Coren, ex-Punch editor and PCO patron (Art: John Roberts)

Bill Stott is a cartoonist. A rather good one, actually. Even the great Alan Coren thought so. But then he loved cartoonists generally.

Like many cartoonists, Bill doesn’t change his trousers with unseemly regularity. It’s a working-at-home thing. Why bother when the ones you’re wearing have a perfectly serviceable extra few weeks in them … and probably a healthy supply of mints and pocket fluff? However, the recent change of season occasioned a re-trousering, whereupon one of the pockets yielded a piece of gold dust.

It was a short note from Mr Coren, penned a short while before he died, which Bill had rammed into the pocket for filing; a paean to cartoonists intended as an introduction to the website of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, of which he had just accepted the title of inaugural patron. Bill hadn’t the heart to publish the piece because Coren died shortly after sending it.

In it, having left Punch, Coren mulls over what he misses. The limos, the yachts, the voluptuous assistants? No, he says, “None of these. What I miss most is those Tuesday mornings with the sadly late and very great Bill Hewison, my brilliant Art Editor, when we would sit at a huge leather-topped desk overlooking the complete absence of central heating, pull off our generously lent company mittens, and sift through the hundreds and hundreds of roughs submitted by the extraordinary numbers of extraordinary cartoonists which – and, remember, I speak as a writer – made Punch the brilliant and, most important of all, hilarious magazine it was.

“I miss the six hours of those golden-era Tuesdays when Bill and I would struggle – handicapped by constant helpless laughter – to choose, from 20 times as many, the 50-odd cartoons we needed to lift the readers’ spirits and break their ribs in next week’s magazine.”

He continues:

“Cartooning is the toughest art of all. A freelance cartoonist lives and works alone, staring out of the window in the fervent daily hope that something will begin to draw itself on the sky, then murmur its caption in his ear. He needs this to happen several times a day, every day, because he has not the faintest idea whether the editors who pay his rent will laugh at the same thing he laughs at, and therefore has to send them lots and lots of things, praying that they will laugh at at least one of them, and the cartoonist can get his shoes mended.”

Coren concludes that his greatest struggle was that “we couldn’t put a thousand gags in the paper, so how to select the best when ten are equally funny?” Enough, enough already. We cartoonists couldn’t possibly be so immodest about our talents. But … thank you, Mr Coren.

Declaration of Interest: Andy Davey is chairleg of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation which runs The Bloghorn (Editor: Matt Buck) and the print magazine Foghorn (Editor: Bill Stott).

He and the organisation welcome your comments, and your contact with us at our artist portfolio websites, through our social-media services, or via direct contact with our media team led by Pete Dredge.

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(Editor’s note: these are subscriber services and require a sign up from the service providers to use them.)

Support the UK’s Cartoon Museum

March 18, 2010 in Comment, News

Bloghorn_cartoonists ©http://thebloghorn.org for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation http://www.procartoonists.org

The Cartoon Art Trust, the registered charity [pdf] behind the UK national Cartoon Museum, receives no state or public funding. This means that every year the trustees have to raise £150,000 to run it.

For the first time in several years, the museum have managed to get a funds-runner a place in the London Marathon. Step forward one Marcus Barclay. Bloghorn thinks respect is due to this volunteer.

Marcus and his efforts are one of the museum’s main fundraising events of the year and any donation, however small, is very welcome. Bloghorn understands it is easy to make a donation using the Cartoon Museum’s online sponsorship page – which we have linked to below – and we would like to encourage our readers to do so.

Cartoon Museum London Marathon fundraiser

The Museum is currently showing Ronald Searle – Graphic Master which we have reported on here.

Digital speed-drawing from Angouleme

March 16, 2010 in Comment


Thanks to Dave Gibbons who alerted us to this video produced by Pixel TV of a speed painting session from the angouleme comic art event.

Artist of the Month: Andy Davey

August 15, 2008 in Events


Andy Davey is the PCO Artist of the Month for August 2008.

Bloghorn asked him how he makes his cartoons.

I draw with small pieces of broken china, dug up from the garden, while listening to Bach fugues on the wireless. Well, that’s not strictly true. I use pen and ink too … in fact, almost anything which will make a wet and awkward mark really (excluding live crocodiles).

I have tried computers, but I’ve reverted to the wet sensuous stuff – lovely large sheets of fat white watercolour paper, ink as black as jet, the rich wonderful unpredictable colours of Messrs Windsor and Newton, toothbrushes, nibs, blots, smells and mess – it’s wonderful. I’ve been working larger and larger lately – untroubled by the trivial annoyances of deadlines … or payment. I love the free sweep of a nib across virgin Imperial sized paper. It’s a bugger to scan though, even with an A3 scanner. I’m sure I’m going the wrong way here – everybody tells me the way forward is digital, digital, digital – including you, Mr Bloghorn – but you’re all wrong, I tell you – do you see? – Wrong! Ha ha ha (at this point, Mr Davey was heavily sedated under restraint).

Bloghorn says click D for Davey

It’s British cartoon talent

The curve of a cartoonist-part one

June 2, 2008 in General

To many people, one drawing can look much like another, but to a professional practitioner of the art, little could be further from the truth.

The simple dictionary definition of drawing* is the art of representing by line, but behind this statement the variety can seem infinite.

Expression and communication in drawn line and the way it is used to make a joke or a point is the unique thing in developing an original, visual sense of humour. And that goes towards making the cartoonist.

The picture here shows a small variety of the lines which are used to make jokes. You can find all of them – and their creators – in our PCO cartoon portfolios.


The curve of different PCO cartoonists from procartoonists.org
Click to enlarge the picture.

* Concise Oxford Dictionary.
British cartoon talent

How big is your pencil?

April 8, 2008 in General

Bloghorn noticed yesterday that artist David Hockney has donated his largest ever painting to the Tate Britain museum in London. The enormous picture is called “Bigger Trees Near Warter” and he’s made a pun in the title. It’s a play on words with a small village in East Yorkshire. This art behaviour is bit like that made, day-to-day, by cartoonists.

Some of our own oversized art talents will be big boarding at the Shrewsbury cartoon festival in a couple of weeks time. The picture here should help explain exactly what they will be doing and Bloghorn will be publishing the full list of the participating PCO cartoonists soon.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Big Boards

British cartoon talent