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Cartoon festival this weekend

April 24, 2014 in Events, General, News

Cartoon © Malc McGookin

© Malc McGookin

The main Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival events take place this Saturday (though there is a workshop by PCO member Wilbur Dawbarn on Friday) and include live drawing in the town square, with the Big Boards, Humurals, the Melodrawma, caricaturing and reverse caricaturing, as well as talks and workshops.

Click those links to see pictures and videos of those events from previous years at the festival, which has been running since 2004.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

© Royston Robertson

Here is our final selection of music-themed cartoons submitted for exhibition at this year’s event. These are by the Procartoonist.org members Malc McGookinRoyston Robertson and Bill Stott.

For a virtual cartoon exhibition, click here to see all the Shrewsbury music cartoons we have posted.

We’ll be back next week with a report and photos from Shrewsbury 2014.

Cartoon © Bill Stott

© Bill Stott

Festival details released

March 6, 2014 in Events, General, News

Barry the Shrew, the festival mascot, tunes up © Roger Penwill

Barry the Shrew, the festival mascot, tunes up © Roger Penwill

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival takes place next month and more details of the events have been released. 

These include the title of the music-themed exhibition: With a Song in My Art – we are featuring cartoons submitted for the exhibition – and details on the live drawing events and workshops on creating strips,  mini-comics and, er, farting musical instruments. There’s also a talk by the Clare in the Community creator Harry Venning.

Head over to events page of the official festival website for more.

There’s even a fringe exhibition. Artists in Shropshire are invited to take part in a cartoon competition organised by the VAN Gallery to coincide with the festival.

The participating cartoonists are: Rupert Besley, Steve Best, Andrew Birch, Rosie Brookes, Dave Brown, Kate Charlesworth, Jonathan Cusick, Wilbur Dawbarn, Noel Ford, Alex Hughes, Tim Harries, Tim Leatherbarrow, Chichi Parish, Roger Penwill, Helen Pointer, John Roberts, Royston Robertson, Chris Ryder, Cathy Simpson, Rich Skipworth, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy, Harry Venning and Gerard Whyman.

Happy members of the public at Shrewsbury Cartoon festival

Happy members of the public at Shrewsbury Cartoon festival @ Procartoonists.org

The writer and broadcaster Libby Purves, a patron of the festival as well as of Procartoonists.org, will also be attending.

The Round-up

March 3, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Handsworth Creative cartoon by Hunt Emerson

© Hunt Emerson/Handsworth Creative cic

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Hunt Emerson, the comics artist and Procartoonists.org member, is helping launch a new project called Handsworth Creative cic.

The “cic” stands for community interest company. The not-for-profit venture is part Lottery-funded and aims to develop creative local history projects by and for the residents of Handsworth, Birmingham. Appropriately, the first product will be a comic, with input from young, aspiring cartoonists, charting the history of the area.

Cartoonists often share work on social networks these days, but Dacs and Own-It emphasise that it’s important to read the small print and have collaborated on an article: Social media: understanding the terms and conditions

What would become of us if we could not grumble? Two familiar PCO names, Andy Davey and Bill Stott, have adopted alter egos in order to let off steam in a new venture titled Men of Letters. There are some rather good cartoons there too, of course.

Bash Street sign

Bash Street becomes reality © The Beano

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Bash Street Kids, Dundee has named a street after the notorious Beano characters and has unveiled a unique illustrated sign, above. The Courier has a video of the event.

A different kind of street art can be seen in Newcastle, where a graffiti artist has made a stand against Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws. Meanwhile, Russia has become a focal point for cartoonists in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, both in Russia and abroad.

A cartoonist in Germany has been accused of anti-Semitism, for depicting Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook as a hook-nosed octopus, after the company acquired WhatsApp. Burkhard Mohr apologised for any offence caused, which he said was unintentional, and provided an alternative cartoon.

Procartoonists.org member Jonathan Pugh is among the nominees for Cartoonist of the Year award at the Press Awards 2013. Other nominees include Peter Brookes, Ingram Pinn, Matt, Chris Riddell and Gerald Scarfe.

In the US, the National Cartoonists Society has published nominations for the 2013 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker has more on the difference/overlap between Twitter wisecracks and cartoon captions. Ed Koren, the recently appointed Cartoonist Laureate for Vermont has got stuck in to his new role.

And the award for immortalising the Oscars in cartoon form … goes to Liza Donnelly.

Education chief is taking the Michael

February 4, 2014 in Comment

© Bill Stott @ Procartoonists.org

© Bill Stott @ Procartoonists.org

Opinion: As regular readers will know, Michael Gove gets up Bill Stott’s nose

Hmm, he’s at it again, that Gove fellow. Wants to bring back writing lines, detention and – who knows? – six of the best, in the search for his notion of discipline in the classroom. He really hasn’t got a clue, has he?

What on earth have the wrong-headed, ignorant aspirations of this Mr Bean look-alike got to do with cartooning? Well, as I noted some time ago, one of the first things he did as Secretary of State for Education was to demote art and design and take it OUT of the core curriculum and put it IN to the hobby fringe.

And despite what Brian Sewell thinks, there IS a link between art education and cartooning.

Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the art education on offer. Given that Mr Beangove has already meddled with curriculum content and syllabuses – e.g. lots more Monarchs’ dates and burnt cakes in history – it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he didn’t make the teaching of perspective and Ostwald Colour Theory compulsory in any art and design still remaining in any school’s curriculum.

Shading would become compulsory, as would dividing up the human body into seven segments. And back would sweep still lifes: brown bananas, leathery oranges and putrefying apples. When colouring-in, pupils would have to keep to the lines.

If Michael Gove ever had an opinion about cartoons, they’d have to be clean, crisp and completely devoid of personality – rather like the anodyne niceness presently available as apps.

Thanks to Bill. To see work from people who paid attention in art class, and strictly no anodyne niceness, visit the Procartoonist.org portfolios

Strangeways here we come:
Manchester cartoon show

October 24, 2013 in Events, General, News

Tony_Husband_and_admirer_at Hey_Wayne-cartoon_show@procartoonists.org

Cartoonist Tony Husband and curious bystander. Photograph © Elspeth Moore for @Procartoonists.org

The Surreal McCoy reports from the Hey Wayne! cartoon show.

Off to Manchester for the weekend and a treat in store at the Richard Goodall Gallery in the city centre, where four cartoonists were exhibiting their unique takes on the theme of cartoons and art.

Not only was there artwork aplenty on the walls but the assembled crowd were also treated to some stand-up cartooning, as Tony Husband, Bill Stott and Bill Tidy took to their easels and let rip.

Close_up_Hey_Wayne_Cartoon_Show@procartoonists.org

Taking a close up. Photograph © Mike Schick for @Procartoonists.org

Cartoonist Bill Tidy gathers a crowd. Photograph © Mika Schick for @Procartoonists.org

A surprise was in store for Bill Tidy. In honour of his 80th birthday and the Cloggies of yesteryear a rather fine clog cake was produced, bells included. Old at 80? Tripe!

Hey Wayne_Cartoon_show_extension_by_Bill_Tidy@procartoonists.org

Extendable ideas at Hey Wayne! Photograph © Elspeth Moore @Procartoonists.org

Hey Wayne! is on until 9 November and we would urge a visit if it’s possible. You can also read more about it here, here and here.

The Round-up

October 13, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Cartoon © Tony Husband / Photo © Rob Doyle @Procartoonists.org

Above: It’s difficult to whinge when your work is given pride of place in a fancy art gallery, but Procartoonists.org member Tony Husband still managed to include this observation of the cartooning community in the Hey Wayne! cartoon show currently taking place in Manchester. Tony’s art-related cartoons share the walls of the Richard Goodall Gallery with the work of fellow PCOers Bill Stott and Chris Madden, as well as that of Bill Tidy. Thanks to Rob Doyle for the photo, taken at Saturday’s private view. (There are many more pictures available here on Facebook.)

Another of our members, the fresh-faced and talented Will McPhail, was featured on ITV News last week after being named Young Cartoonist of the Year.

Steve Bell will be at the University of Aberdeen next month to give a free talk about early visual satirists including Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank. Find more details here. Another of those early satirists, Thomas Rowlandson, will be the subject of an exhibition in Edinburgh later this year.

Denise Dorrance talks about Mimi, her new cartoon series for The Mail on Sunday’s You supplement, in this interview.

And finally, the Illustration Cupboard gallery in London will be holding a selling exhibition of Daily Express cartoons by Paul Thomas, opening on 24 October. See the invite here.

Hey Wayne! Cartoon show to hit the North

August 30, 2013 in Events, General, News

Hey_Wayne!_Cartoon_Show_@_procartoonists.org

Hey Wayne! © Bill Stott @ procartoonists.org

Procartoonists  Bill Stott, Tony Husband, Chris Madden and Bill Tidy will open Hey Wayne! An art themed cartoon show at the Richard Goodall Gallery  in Manchester. The show is a part of the Manchester Literary Festival and will open on October 12th.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Bill Stott to address the nation

April 15, 2013 in Events, News

Bill Stott at Big Board

Bill Stott at last year's Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

Bill Stott, cartoonist, founder member of Procartoonists.org and all-round raconteur, is to appear on this week’s edition of Midweek on Radio 4, chatting to Libby Purves and fellow guests.

He told us: “Libby is very pro-cartoonist. I have worked with her many times over the years. Hopefully she’ll ask me nice questions. It’s all unscripted, so it’s anybody’s guess.”

Bill is also a member of the organising committee of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, so we’d hazard a guess that the 10th festival, which is held this weekend, might come up.

Midweek is a famously eclectic show which sees Libby Purves, who is a patron both of the festival and of Procartoonists.org, steering the conversation among a wide variety of guests. So who will be be sharing the microphone with Bill?

Bill: “Fellow guests include a brother and sister who have a remarkable collection of letters from their father, and an American sailor who sailed the wrong way around the world. I’m reliably informed that this does not mean blunt end first. The only spanner in the works is that the programme clashes with Mrs Thatcher’s funeral.”

That sounds to us like a useful listening alternative.

Midweek is on Radio 4 at 9am on Wednesday and will be available online.

Opinion: Illustration is easier than cartooning

January 24, 2013 in Comment, General

Cartoonist_or_Illustrator_@_procartoonists.org © Bill Stott

© Bill Stott @ procartoonists.org

When it was suggested by the editor that I should write a piece to the statement, “Illustration is easier than cartooning”. I thought he also ought to reverse the notion and ask an illustrator too.

Trouble is, I’m not an illustrator so know little of their strange and arcane ways. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I have illustrated a couple of books in what might loosely be called a non-cartoon style. And many years ago whilst doing a fine art degree, a snotty lecturer suggested I should switch to Illustration because my work was “rather slick and commercial”. The fool! Did he not see that I was going to be the next Jack Vettriano?

Cartoonist and illustrator are very wide terms. If by illustrator we mean those driven souls who churn out graphic novels – how do they do it? – then give me cartooning any day. On the other hand if, as a cartoonist, you get lucky with a multi-panel strip of Doonesbury or Calvin and Hobbes or The Fosdyke Saga proportions and you don’t have time to draw anything but the same re-occurring characters day after day, world without end, how do you stave off madness?

Do illustrators feel the same? What little illustration work I’ve done rapidly became tedious. Same characters, different situations. Rather more interesting to write than to illustrate. Unless, of course, you’re Victor Ambrus who is brilliant enough to stop even Tony Robinson becoming tedious.

However – I love that word, it means you’re about to kick the foregoing into the long grass – a good cartoon drawing has to be a good joke as well. Thinking of a good joke can be a killer. “Good joke” means one which in the first instance makes you the cartoonist laugh. Whether it makes a commissioning editor laugh is another matter entirely (Ian Hislop is such a tease). Some days good jokes pop up like weeds. On others – like today – there’s a great desire to draw funny stuff but nothing happens and an unhealthy amount of daytime TV is watched.

There. My head’s nearly empty now. The only thing I’d add is the word “good”. Good illustration is easier than good cartooning. Must dash, DCI Banks is on.

PS. If anybody wants a definition of “good”, ask the editor in the comments.

Editor adds: Thanks to Bill for putting his head above the parapet.

The Round-up

January 18, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Bill Stott @Procartoonists.org

Following on from our last post about what is and isn’t funny, we link to a recent BBC article about the history and humour of the pun – a weapon in the cartoonist’s arsenal that is loved by some and disparaged by others. (We at Procartoonists.org are happy to sit on the fence and say that while some puns deserve nothing but a weary groan, others – such as in the cartoon above, by Bill Stott – are inspired.) Read the article here.

There were equestrian puns aplenty bouncing around on Twitter this week, following the horsemeat burger scandal (log in and search for #horsemeat and you’ll find some good examples). Even Tesco itself decided to crack a joke on the subject.

The horsemeat story provided fodder for cartoonists, too, and The Telegraph’s Matt Pritchett was particularly inspired – producing no less than five gags on the subject in just two days. Click here to scroll through them.

BBC Radio 4 broadcast two programmes of interest to cartoonists and illustrators this week. First, there was a half-hour show celebrating the art and characters of The Beano (click here to listen). Then Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen chose to celebrate the Great Life of Aubrey Beardsley (here).

And finally, the Chris Beetles Gallery in London is holding a sale, beginning this weekend. Click here to see the artworks available.