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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.

Sun shine wears off for Davey

November 7, 2013 in Comment, General, News

The_sun_logo_@_procartoonists.orgThe Sun, the largest circulation print newspaper in the UK is now without a weekday editorial cartoonist after Andy Davey, one of our members, left the paper.

With Andy’s help we shall be writing about this story and what it represents during the next week but you will get advance warning if you read one of our recent posts from Nick Newman of Private Eye (also a member) and a large piece produced by the New Statesman magazine during last summer.

Opinion: Cheerleading for art, part 2

September 25, 2013 in Comment, General

Bill Stott at the Shrewsbury Cartoon festival

Bill Stott at the Shrewsbury Cartoon festival @ Procartoonists.org

Bill Stott continues to put the case for better art education in schools.

You can read part one here.

Of course, Michael Gove could be a keen and knowledgeable student of the arts – first in line when there’s something new at Tate Modern, burning his thumbs on disposable cigarette lighters at Glastonbury, and clamouring for Bob Fosse retrospective tickets at the Albert Hall. Could be. He could be utterly distraught at the arts’ demotion.

Maybe he removed the arts from the core curriculum because he simply had to make cuts. Something had to give. And he couldn’t possibly cut maths or English or the Blessed Sciences could he? Couldn’t he? Why not? Well because there’d be a national outcry wouldn’t there?

And he couldn’t dare cut P.E., not after the glorious Olympic Games and their glittering, noble legacy. And we simply must have more physicists. We’re way behind Norway here, and standards in English literature in the UK are bettered by kids in Japan.

How about standards in arts education in the last 20 years? Anybody bothered looking at those in comparison with other countries? The UK would probably do well enough. But doing well in arts education overall, certainly in the secondary sphere, has never counted for much in the UK, mainly because those who judge it had a meagre arts education themselves.

So in demoting arts education to the fringes of the National Curriculum, Mr Gove is on safe ground. The majority of the enfranchised population will not rise up in horror. They are drip-fed the notion, mainly through the popular media, that dance is only for the naturally violently talented Billy Elliots of this world and that their dogs could do what Tracey Emin did to become a millionaire.

And yet, while we all know that nobody can expect to live a fulfilled and rounded life without having studied compulsory geography, the arts will out. Arts workshops, nearly always run on a shoestring, abound. Successful arts professionals give their time for not much money, and often for nothing at arts festivals, like – dare I say it ? – the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

Their workshops are always full, not with the naturally capable but with all ages who want to know how. Is that how geography workshops operate? At geography festivals? Is there a “Big Geog” jostling for a place in the nation’s affections with the evangelic barnstorm that is the Big Draw? Of course not.

Who’d go to a geography workshop? Don’t need to. That’s all looked after in school after cheerleading on Tuesday afternoons. The Big Draw probably doesn’t ask for tick-box answers about Jasper Johns, but it IS hands on.

Making communicative marks is probably the one thing the human animal can do which other animals can’t. Yes, some humans can draw well naturally. But by the same token, other humans like Sebastian Vettel can drive cars naturally well. Their prowess doesn’t put the majority of us off learning to drive. But we do that for socio-economic reasons. We don’t learn to draw for the same reasons.

© Bill Stott @ Procartoonists.org

© Bill Stott @ Procartoonists.org

So why do we/should we do it? Why should Mr Gove do it? Its because its EDUCATIONAL, that’s why. To “educate” means to “bring out”, and I’d bet a pound to a penny that an arts workshop or a practical, hands-on Big Draw session will bring out more hitherto unseen natural ability than would a geography festival.

I suppose I’d better apologise now for having a pop at geography. Its probably down to Mrs Leeming fifty-odd years ago. She was very keen on my class knowing all the facts and figures surrounding worldwide ground-nut production in countries that are no longer part of the British Empah and have names of their own now. It was hugely boring.

Mrs Lemming (her nickname) was a bit limited. There’s nothing limited about the arts education potential in this country. Sadly, should the essentially inexperienced, non-drawing, non-painting, non-sculpting Mr Gove get his way, that will all get booted into the long grass (quite close to where they’re practicing core curriculum cheerleading).

And who’s fault is it? Let’s start alphabetically: The Arts Council?

Editor says: Thanks,  Bill. Feel free to join the debate by commenting below.

Opinion: Cheerleading for art

September 20, 2013 in Comment, General

Bill Stott at Big Board

Bill Stott at the annual Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Bill Stott writes:

Remember your school reports? They become ingrained. Like your first snog. Mine weren’t bad. English, history, art, even P.E. (he was a bully) were all good but then they fell into the maths abyss. That bit was never good. I really didn’t care how long it took six men with rubber teaspoons to fill six wheelbarrows etc.

Last week I saw my 11-year-old grand-daughter’s report . She’s in Year 7 (that’s first year in old money and is a term thought up by some non-teaching think-tanker to give the impression that the learning process is seamless. It most definitely is not.) It was a good report apart from maths where the rubber teaspoon brigade didn’t quite click.

But there were a couple of subjects Grandad didn’t quite understand, i.e. why they were being taught and how they being taught. One was, you won’t believe this, cheerleading. That’s right, cheerleading. I mean, dear God, this is an all-girl comp. What on Earth is the school encouraging here ? Cheerleading is where a group of comely young women wiggle about celebrating male sporting prowess, isn’t it?

And the other was – gimme an A, gimme an R, gimme a T – Art, art art! (See? We got there eventually). Emily – for it is she – got a good comment in art. So I asked her what they did in art. “Well,” she said. “We’ve just done Jasper Johns.”

Now, I think that art, unlike cheerleading, is useful and teachable, and I’m all for the Big Draw events. But Emily and her 11-year-old chums don’t get all hands-on with clay, ink and paint. No. They DO Jasper Johns. She did say that “sometimes” they were allowed to draw. But mostly they DID artists. Don’t misunderstand me, nothing wrong with history of art. But exclusively? With 11-year-olds?

So who’s the villain here? I will tell you. It is Michael Gove, that’s who. I know that cheerleading sneaked in under the common-sense radar because apparently it’s accepted as being an alternative to P.E. Do they do history of cheerleading too?

Mr Gove doesn’t care about the arts subjects – quite possibly because his own art education was a bit thin. He sees dance, drama, music and art as hobbies. Pastimes. They no longer merit a place in the core curriculum (from September 2014) but because it bumps and grinds in under the P.E. banner, cheerleading does.

A pound to a penny Mr Gove believes that being able to draw is a “gift” and cannot be taught. He probably believes he can’t draw. I could teach him.

Ed adds:  We hope Mr Gove takes up Bill’s kind offer. We think a lesson would make some fine Reithian-style television for the British Broadcasting Corporation or similar. Don’t miss part two of Bill’s thoughts on art in education which is due next week.

Cartoon © Bill Stott @ procartoonists.org

© Bill Stott @ Procartoonists.org

 

Behind the bandstand

August 19, 2013 in Events, General, News

These seaside pictures artfully displayed behind the bandstand in Herne Bay have been saved from a municipal whitewashing.

Duchamp_in_Herne_Bay_Banx_Cartoons_panorama @ procartoonists.org

© Banx @ Procartoonists.org

The Jeremy Banx cartoons were drawn at the recent Duchamp in Herne Bay event.

Duchamp_in_Herne_Bay_Banx_Cartoons_panorama @ procartoonists.org

"Operated by Serco" and "Water Aid" © Banx @ Procartoonists.org

Fears that the jokes would fall victim to a “Serco-style” cleaning operation, as noted in part one of the cartoon trio, proved unfounded. Happily, this made a planned petition to the local council redundant.

Banx told us:

‘‘Let the council be warned: If they had whitewashed my triptych, I might have been forced to redo it in Whitstable, where the arty-farty Islington-on-Sea smart set appreciate a good urinal gag’’.

Duchamp_in_Herne_Bay_Banx_Cartoons_panorama @ procartoonists.org

"The Acme Fracking Company" © Banx @ Procartoonists.org

Now that these cartoons have been saved for the nation, we may all look forward to Jeremy and the other Procartoonists.org members adding to the gaiety of the UK again next year.

Indeed, if you run an event that would benefit from input from a selection of the country’s best cartoonists, do feel free to contact us here to discuss possibilities.

The Big Boards from Shrewsbury Cartoon 2013

April 24, 2013 in Events, General, News

The huge drawings made in the town Square in Shrewsbury on Saturday 20th April at the tenth edition of the cartoon festival.

The huge drawings made in the town Square in Shrewsbury on Saturday 20th April at the tenth edition of the cartoon festival.


Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2013

April 20, 2013 in Comment, General, News

You will be able to follow some of the events at the festival  by following the stream below.

The members of the UK Professional Cartoonists at the tenth edition of the festival.


 

 

 

Mrs Thatcher and the cartoonists

April 10, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Peter Brookes of Times on Margaret Thatcher @ procartoonists

© Peter Brookes of The Times @ Procartoonists.org

Powerful people in politics with wealth and helpers mix myth and reality to help deliver a projection of their achievements to the public. Parts of the same formula also drive the work of many cartoonists.

Dave Brown of The Independent on Mrs Thatcher

© Dave Brown of The Independent @ Procartoonists.org

Both sorts of visual trickery are now at work in the national catharsis following the death of the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Matt Pritchett of the Telegraph on Mrs Thatcher

© Matt Pritchett of The Telegraph @ Procartoonists.org

We’ve gathered ten cartoons for you to enjoy, whatever your opinion of the politician. We are sure you will have seen more, please do add links in the comments.

There is a mixture of reactions here from fresh-off-the-drawing-board images to retrospectives from the 1980s like this one.

Noel Ford of the Daily Star on Mrs Thatcher @ procartoonists

Noel Ford from the Daily Star @ Procartoonists.org

There are reactions from the regions …

Frank Boyle Edinbugh Evening News on Mrs Thatcher

© Frank Boyle of the Edinburgh Evening News @ Procartoonists.org

delayed jokes …

Christian Adams of The Telegraph @ procartoonists

Christian Adams of The Telegraph @ Procartoonists.org

iconography …

Steve Bell of The Guardian on Mrs Thatcher @ procartoonists

© Steve Bell of The Guardian @ Procartoonists.org

futurology …

Hack Cartoons on Mrs Thatcher from Tribune @ procartoonists

© Matt Buck Hack Cartoons for Tribune @ Procartoonists.org

appeals …

Banx of the FT on Mrs Thatcher @ procartoonists

© Banx of the Financial Times @ Procartoonists.org

and pathos.

Steven Camley of The Herald on Mrs Thatcher @ procartoonists

Steven Camley of The Herald @ Procartoonists.org

To repeat, we are sure you will have seen more and please do add them below in the comments.

Updated: Saturday 13th April. One national newspaper commissioned a whole supplement on Mrs Thatcher and gave the commission to Posy Simmonds – read it here. You will find more about Posy if you use the search tool on the sidebar of this site.

 

Springtime for cartoonists in Shrewsbury

February 25, 2013 in Events, General, News

Shrewsbury_Cartoon_Festival_@procartoonists

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival @ Procartoonists

We are very pleased to be able to list the cartoonist attendees at this year’s Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

They are: Huw Aaron, Charlie Adlard, Dean Alston, Nathan ArissIan BakerRupert Besley, Steve Best (Bestie), Andrew Birch, John Clark (Brick), Matthew Buck (Hack), Steve Chadburn, Jonathan CusickWilbur DawbarnPete Dredge, Noel FordClive Goddard, Tim HarriesJohn Landers,  Alexander MatthewsRob Murray, Chichi Parish, Roger Penwill, Helen Pointer, John RobertsRoyston Robertson, Chris Ryder, Bill Stott,  Cathy SimpsonRich Skipworth and The Surreal McCoy. The festival patrons Libby Purves and Alex Lester will also be attending.

We will be publishing details of the itinerary over the next few weeks ahead of the festival’s first events. The main weekend for the live cartooning and other public events is 19-21 April. Get it into your diaries!