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The Round-up

July 1, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Twelve cartoonists have been commissioned to create artwork about the First World War to accompany the BBC Radio 4 series 1914 Day by Day, in a collaboration between 14-18 NOW and the Cartoon Museum.

Margaret MacMillan, author of The War That Ended Peace, follows the events that led to the conflict in a daily broadcast at 4.55pm. The Procartoonists.org members Kate Charlesworth, above, with her artwork at the museum, Steve Bell and Ralph Steadman are involved in the project.

Quentin Blake tells Simon Schama that he is “not frightened by the word museum” in an interview for the FT about his inaugural exhibition at the new House of Illustration, in King’s Cross, London. The exhibition, called Inside Stories, runs from 2 July to 2 November and includes illustrations for children’s books as well as artwork for Candide by Voltaire. UPDATE: The BBC News website has a new feature on the House of Illustration.

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson (click to enlarge)

PCO member Martin Rowson has an exhibition of London-themed cartoons called Satirical City at the Building Centre until 12 July. The exhibition marks the 15th anniversary of London Communications Agency and displays close to 120 cartoons, drawn over the past 15 years, and a new mural. The cartoonist talks to BBC London News about the exhibition here, and writes about it here.

Andy Murray kicked off Wimbledon by becoming a guest editor of The Beano. “This might be my greatest title yet,” he told The Guardian.

What connects Finding NemoBambi and countless other cartoons? The writer Sarah Boxer (In the Floyd Archives) asks Why are all the cartoon mothers dead? in an article published by The Atlantic.

Moose Kids Comics launched online

Moose Kids Comics is available as PDF for free

The new kids’ publication Moose Kids Comics, above, brainchild of the cartoonist Jamie Smarthas launched for free online but is on the look out for a publisher.

The BBC has a report on the elaborate appeal of William Heath Robinson. The building of a museum to house his work begins in the autumn.

Following the exodus of Spain’s top cartoonists from the satirical magazine El Jueves last month (we covered that here), a rival digital version has appeared online titled Orgullo y Satisfacción (Pride and Satisfaction). It has had 30,000 downloads since its launch a few weeks ago. The digital magazine will become a regular monthly publication from September.

The 31st Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Turkey announced its winners, with the top prize going to the Turkish cartoonist, Kürşat Zaman. More than 800 cartoonists from 70 countries took part and the panel of judges was led by the cartoonist Liza Donnelly, of The New Yorker, and included the Cartoon Museum curator Anita O’Brien.

The US cartoonist Etta Hulme has died. She was twice named best editorial cartoonist by the National Cartoonist Society and was the subject of the documentary Trailblazer: The Editorial Cartoons of Etta Hulme. And one of the most distinguished US sports cartoonists, Amadee Wohlschlaeger, has died, aged 102.

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

Finally, we remember the New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti, who died on 16 June. He is fondly remembered by the magazine’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. And there is a selection of Barsotti cartoons on his favourite theme here.

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.

Cartoon contest is no laughing matter

January 25, 2011 in Comment

PCO cartoonist John Jensen takes a look at a Turkish cartoon competition:

Cartoon by Ahmet Ozturklevent

Turkey recently staged its 27th Aydin Dogan International Cartoon Competition and a 255-page catalogue was released, beautifully printed throughout in colour, with text in Turkish and English.

There’s a long list of successful exhibitors – 44 countries are represented – and a much longer list of entrants who did not get past the judges.

There are 127 Turkish cartoonists and a random count reveals that Serbia is represented by 35 entrants, China by 53 and Iran by 122. Four UK cartoonists participated but only Ross Thomson has survived, to exhibit two drawings.

The three UK cartoonists, who did not make it are Houmayon Mahmoudi, Stephen Mumberson and Alexei Talimonov. Maybe they didn’t draw enough brick walls and prison bars, of which there were plenty.

The first-prize winner, by Turkish cartoonist Ahmet Ozturklevent, is pictured above.

There is an overall sense of stifling bureaucracy while the threat of violence, usually implicit, is a common theme. There are few, if any, English-style jokes. Even Ross Thomson succumbed to drawing a couple of tanks, but at least they are not avoiding daisies.

In the exhibition there are messages galore for mankind – which mankind will almost certainly ignore.

The quality of much of the draughtsmanship is undeniable. The contestants can think, they can draw and they can be very witty indeed, but English-style humour, they would claim, is not part of their job description.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

John Jensen on wit and wisdom: Part 3

February 18, 2010 in Comment


In the final part of his series on wit and wisdom (read part one here and part two here) PCOer John Jensen argues that sometimes cartoonists get better results on a smaller canvas

International cartoon exhibitions should be encouraged and they will continue throughout the years. The symbolic stone walls, barbed wire and the dying doves will still be there, awaiting to be transmuted into the pure gold of a beautifully drawn idea.

Continental cartoonists are happy seeking and finding wit. British cartoonists treat wit with suspicion. Fortunately, not all cartoonists are limited to generalising, tut-tutting and philosophising about Life.

Political cartoonists, even though their symbolism is also limited, have an ever-changing world on which to draw. Topicality generates excitement, which is great.

Then there are the niche cartoonists: nerd speaking unto nerd, where words can be used, thus freeing up the ideas, and ideas are more specific. On the downside, many of the ideas, like some wines, would not travel well.

The problem is that broad themes can become boring. Topicality and the occasional use of words can sometimes produce more interesting ideas. Niche stuff, limited though it is, and usually not wanted by Fleet Street, is where the some of the best cartoons are found.

Small may not be beautiful but it is often very, very funny. What’s the problem?

What do you think about John Jensen’s article? Have your say in the comments below.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

John Jensen on wit and wisdom: Part 2

February 15, 2010 in Comment

In the second part of his series on wit and wisdom (read part one here) PCOer John Jensen pinpoints a crucial difference between the British and European senses of humour

Cartoon competitions are a great tourist draw. In lands where overt or even covert censorship persists, an appearance is given that freedom of speech is encouraged. It isn’t.

The exhibitions are usually broad generalisations filled with visual euphemisms: there are countless brick walls, endless rolls of barbed wire, and doves of peace in need of a vet.

Words are not wanted here, so that the cartoons can speak to everyone. But not everyone appreciates the same visual language. UK cartoonists contribute to many of the exhibitions but their work is in a minority and is markedly refreshingly different to that from most European cartoonists.

Brits like humour, Europeans appreciate wit. Wit is serious stuff, humour is fun. They are two different worlds. Both worlds, the witty and the humorous, are limited by the subjects that are set: global warming, freedom of speech, pollution, sexual liberation, female emancipation, domesticity in today’s world … and on and on.

The cartoons are not only wordless, they are timeless – immediate topicality is not an option – and there must be nothing directly political. The ingenuity of the cartoonists is stretched to the limit and the limits are much the same as those felt by the surrealists: there is only so much symbolism to go around.

Eventually the terrain looks all too familiar. Beautiful draughtsmanship can’t hide threadbare ideas.

What do you think about what John is saying? Have your say in the comments below. The final part of John Jensen’s article will appear on Bloghorn soon.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

John Jensen on wit and wisdom: Part 1

February 11, 2010 in Comment

In the first of a three-part series on wit and wisdom, PCOer John Jensen looks at the international language of cartoon competitions

I have just received through the post a beautifully printed catalogue of cartoons. It contains the results of the annual Turkish Aydin Dogan International Competition, with seven Brits vigorously waving the Union Jack, among them PCOer Ross Thomson who picked up a ‘Success Award’. Iran contributed 162 cartoonists.

The catalogue lists the judges and shows their work. It lists the competitors and shows their work, spread throughout 220 glossily printed pages. The quality of the draughtsmanship is, as always, varied but there is a mass of genuine talent there too.

Where once I would have been delighted by the catalogue, however, today the elation is just not there. Grumpy old man? Of course. Complaining about the new, fresh talents? Not at all. Draughtsmanship is not the problem. Ideas are.

Bloghorn cartoon - The End of Ideas © John Jensen

Back to square one for just for a moment – don’t run away now, this is important. When Freud, way back when, revealed the workings of the unconscious mind there was a feeling that a new world of endless vistas had been opened up: sex, horror, fantasy, cans of worms (lots of those). Surrealism was born, but before long it died, because it became boring. There was only so much the unconscious mind can offer up. This seems to hold with some forms of cartooning.

If you are young and fresh to the game there is a thrill and great pleasure in discovering what’s going on in the rest of the cartoon world, of submitting your work to great international exhibitions.

But if you have followed the exhibitions for more than four or five decades, you realise that there are limits to the cartoon imagination too, particularly in international exhibitions.

What do you think about what John is saying? Please jump into the comments below. There will be more thinking about the end of ideas from Jensen on Bloghorn next week.