John Roberts draws Dizzy Gillespie. Instant cartoons drawn in the Square and handed out to the public for donations to the festival were a feature this year
Royston Robertson and Matt Buck add to the instant cartoons gallery
Finally the Melodrawma is a great illustration of what makes the festival unique. It is a live comic-strip drawn to the accompaniment of narration, music, sound effects … and audience participation. The team this year was Andrew Birch, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Bill Stott and The Surreal McCoy.
Bill Stott,who will be writing regularly for the Procartoonists.org blog, gives us his take on the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival:
Shrewsbury is an opportunity to meet that most unpredictable of creatures: The Public. At Shrewsbury at least, they take cartooning in their stride. I was inking my 8ft by 5ft Big Board, when a couple (“We’ve come all the way from Wolverhampton for this.”) sidled up to watch.
He said, “It’s quite good, that.” Then she said, “’Course, I expect you get all your drawings off the internet.” She was wearing a plastic rain hood so I forgave her.
Later, whilst drawing fast black-and-white cartoons for Noel Ford’s instant gallery in the market, I was slightly disheartened by the number of people who weren’t taking any notice.
Suddenly, and at close hand, a male voice shouted, “Irene, they’re over here!” Good, thought I. Fans. Then there was another much louder shout. “IRENE! IRENE! THE TOILETS! THEY’RE OVER HERE!” He was right. They were.
Mr and Mrs Deafbladder bustled through. Much, much later he may have been puzzled by the black felt-tip pen stroke across the back of his mac.
Bill Stott will be back next week with more musing on the life of the professional cartoonist.
This will be our final post on Shrewsbury 2012, so we’ll finish with a round-up of links to personal blogs written by festival attendees this year: Alex Lester, the Radio 2 presenter and patron of the festival, wrote not one, but two blogs; and posts have also been written by the Procartoonists.org members Huw Aaron, Tim Harries, Rob Murray and Royston Robertson.
Amongst all the frenetic cartooning activity at Shrewsbury – the Big Boards, the caricaturing, strolling players in costume, the music, the wonderful weather and the public throng, two tiny incidents serve to underline the public’s liking for good cartoons.
One involved a tiny chap called Pacey who stood with his mum watching me paint my Big Board. Pacey was about five, I’d guess. I’d heard his mum saying things like, ‘‘No, you can’t help.’’ Pacey was undeterred and you could tell he was fascinated as the picture took form. So I asked him if he’d like to write his name on it.
Without hesitation, he wrote, very slowly, with a huge felt tip, ‘‘Pacey’’, all wobbly, in the bottom right hand corner. He was delighted and returned several times to make sure I hadn’t covered it up. Later I found, stuffed in my paint bag, a drawing by him, of his mum and a huge cat. All together – ‘‘Aaaah!’’
Later in the day, whilst doing reverse caricaturing – an esoteric activity involving the subject sticking their head through a hole in a big piece of paper and telling the cartoonist how they would like to be portrayed – another short type called Harry, even tinier than Pacey, got a bit tearful when I started to pack up in order to begin another activity. He’d waited with his mum for ages, been pushed in front of by a huge nine-year-old girl and looked very crestfallen. So I hurried things up and got him sorted.
Anyway, he was absolutely delighted with his picture (a footballer), which, when rolled up, was taller than him. So, while adult crowd members were being enthusiastic about all the surrounding huge cartoons and brilliant caricatures, and proving what cartoonists know is true – people love cartoons – so do little people. Quite possibly more so. Publishers take note. Real drawing for real people.
A small but important addition to this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is the exhibition of the completed Big Boards on the Sunday.
There is so much activity over the weekend that it’s easy to miss seeing some of the finished boards, but now the public get the chance to see this unique exhibition at their leisure on the Sunday.
The Bloghorn team, along with many other cartoonists and cartoon enthusiasts, have been taking loads of photos throughout the weekend. We’re in the process of getting them together online at Flickr. Expect to see many more throughout the week.
For a nice flavour of the Shrewsbury goings-on, see the piece written by festival patron Libby Purves in Saturday’s Times: Drawing the crowds.
Disclaimer: Any opinion expressed here is that of the named individual and not that of the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation unless explicitly stated. Artwork attributed to a named author or publication on this diary should be noted by anyone linking to us from any other site. Thank you. If you wish to reproduce an image please contact the artist from here.