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The Round Up

January 28, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Fancy a spot of 18th century roistering? The caricaturist Adrian Teal can invite you to club nights with a difference with his Historic Punch.

© HistoricPunch.co.uk @ procartoonists.org

© HistoricPunch.co.uk @ Procartoonists.org

He has also revealed the story behind the Georgian John Bull, in History Today. John Bull was actually invented by a Scot but he proved a much loved subject of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, whose exhibition High Spirits you can still see at The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh.

Other cartoon masters have been listed by Richard Grigoris. At number 12 is Herbert Lawrence Block, better known as Herblock, whose US career spanned more than 70 years. A new documentary celebrating his career has just been broadcast on HBO. We expect it will turn up on the internet soon too.

Herblock_The_Black_and_the_White_@_procartoonists.org

Herblock: The Black and the White @ Procartoonists.org

As we noted yesterday, the Jesus and Mo cartoon continues to cause uproar. The Hampstead and Kilburn Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz has received death threats and calls for deselection after publishing the cartoon on Twitter. The cartoonists were quick to respond.

© Hero-Glyphics by Josh Low @ procartoonists.org

Hero-Glyphics © Josh Low @ Procartoonists.org

Cartoonists are regularly attacked in the UK and across the globe and here are a few recent examples. Peter Schrank had his cartoon removed from the Economist website following complaints by the Anti-Defamation League. The Ecuadorian cartoonist Bonil, received a court summons after publication of a cartoon criticising the country’s president. And, the Palestinian cartoonist Majedah Shaheen apologised on Twitter having somehow upset Hamas.

More happily, there are still plenty of places where cartoonists are welcome: the 16th PortoCartoon World Festival in Portugal, the 46th Umoristi A Marostica in Italy, the 31st Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Turkey and the very 1st Cairo International Cartoon Exhibition in Egypt.

And finally, Egypt was also on Josh Lane’s mind, when he recreated modern heroes in his Hero-Glyphics, above.

How ya doin’?

January 25, 2014 in Comment, General, News

Jesus and Mo - How ya doin'?

© http://www.jesusandmo.net/

Hey. How ya doin’? can be offensive. Find out how and why might this might be so.

Readers will be unsurprised that we have been around such subjects before and won’t be surprised that the matter is also conflated with the local politics of the UK.

If you wish to offer a view please do, in the comments below.

Updated 29th Jan 2014: An interview on the issue conducted by Channel 4 News.

The Round-up

January 13, 2014 in General, Links, News

Robert Crumb cartoon
Kasia Kowalska writes:

It’s clearly not an impossible task to pick your all-time favourite cartoons but Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker has had a go at the advanced level of difficulty.

You can see some of our members tried it once too with Ten Great Cartoonists.

Elsewhere, the admirable Joe Gordon takes on the might of the BBC to get to the bottom of why Leo Baxendale’s name was omitted from a news piece about his famous creation Minnie the Minx.

The January sales are well under way and the Chris Beetles Gallery 2014 sale is now on. Artwork up for grabs includes cartoons by several Procartoonists.org members, including Noel Ford, John Jensen, Nick Newman, Royston Robertson, Ralph Steadman. Bill Stott, Kipper Williams and Mike Williams.

Not be outshone by the boys is Kathryn Lamb, another member currently exhibiting original cartoons, who returns to her Alma Mater with the Lamb’s Tales show, opening on 18 January.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 15.14.31

‘Excuse me, Gentlemen – how would you rate your merriment levels’? © KJ Lamb@ procartoonists.org

A batch of Carl Giles artwork and memorabilia is expected for sale in February and will include contributions from family and friends of the Ipswich cartoonist. This follows the October auction of last year.

Hollywood enfant terrible Shia LaBeouf just cannot stop getting into trouble over allegations of plagiarism, only this time by using other people’s words to justify it. Meanwhile, the cartoonist Jamie Smart used Twitter to poke fun at LaBeouf.

And if protecting your reputation and authorship is important to you, make a note of this date in your diary: 5 February. This is the deadline for the public consultation on EU copyright legislation reforms, which aim to address the impact of digital media on users and authors.

 

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

Happy Christmas Eve from Procartoonists.org

December 24, 2013 in Events, General

© Stik (Bill Greenhead) at procartoonists.org

© Stik (Bill Greenhead) at procartoonists.org

With the UK labouring under a series of storms or Atlantic depressions, it’s nice to imagine our Australian friends traditional summer celebration.

howsmydingdonging © KJ Lamb @ procartoonists.org

© KJ Lamb @ procartoonists.org

Maybe we can get some traditional cheer in other fashions later on.

 

Mistletoe_app_© Ian baker @ procartoonists.org

© Ian Baker @ procartoonists.org

 

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

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.

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.

The sky is falling in

November 9, 2013 in Events, General, News

News that a satellite is descending to earth in an uncontrolled fashion reminds us that there’s nothing new under the sun – as these cartoons from Martin Minton – A cartoon novel by Ken Pyne show.

Cartoon_Life_© Ken_Pyne_@_procartoonists.org

Cartoon © Ken Pyne from Martin Minton - a cartoon novel @procartoonists.org

Satellite_Cartoon_©_Ken_Pyne_@procartoonists.org

Cartoon © Ken Pyne from Martin Minton - a cartoon novel @procartoonists.org

Ken told us:

Funny, I was only thinking of that book a couple of days ago in Waterstones. When it came out the publisher sent a blurb round saying it was a ‘Cartoon Novel’ and a book reviewer called me ‘pretentious’ for calling it that. How times have changed – now you can’t move around a book shop for ‘Graphic Novels’.

UK Professional Cartoonists

Opinion: The Sun drops editorial cartoons from weekday editions

November 7, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Rome Burns © Andy Davey for The Sun @ procartoonists.org

© Andy Davey for The Sun @ procartoonists.org

Andy Davey writes:

After more than 40 years, The Sun has cut editorial cartoons from the weekday editions of the paper.

The paper has boasted a roster of excellent cartoonists to poke fun at the political shenanigans of the day. Names such as Stanley Franklin, Dave Gaskill, Keith Waite, Paul Rigby, Posy Simmonds, Tom Johnston, Bill Caldwell, Bernard Cookson and Charles Griffin have all served on the super soaraway paper. But recently, circulation of printed publications has sunk, taking with it into the deep briny blue a huge wad of advertising revenue.

I write as the most recent regular incumbent and my cartoons have now been dropped. No reason was given to me, but it seems likely it was a financial decision. Cartoonists, together with many journalists and photographers, are apparently too expensive for these times. It’s much more cost effective to fill the editorial page with a splash headline and a crowdsourced free or cheap image.

The paper will still run editorial cartoons by another PCO member, Brighty (Steve Bright), in the Sun on Sunday and in Trevor Kavanagh’s Monday editorial column.

Traditionally, papers have run editorial, gag and strip cartoons but this has begun to change over the past few years.

The loss of daily editorial cartoons from The Sun is significant but it is not alone in ditching its cartoonists. Last month, The Sunday Times cast off several long term freelance cartoonists. The Mirror dropped daily editorial cartoons years ago and The Observer had a clear-out recently.

Alongside this, rates of pay have been cut. In 2011, The i newspaper, sister to The Independent, decided it needed strip, gag and editorial cartoonists to make its content shine. Instead of hiring cartoonists at a standard industry rate, it ran a competition in the oh-so-fashionable form of a “Cartoon Idol” to find new talent. The pay was so derisory that only one cartoonist could afford to take up the offer.

We at Procartoonists.org may be biased, but we think cartoons are still loved and appreciated by readers. It is a shame to see them disappearing at a time when humour and satire is desperately needed.

Ed adds: Procartoonists.org thanks Andy for sharing his thoughts here.