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The Lady is for returning …

March 6, 2014 in Events, General, News

 

Steve Nallon as Margaret Thatcher. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Steve Nallon as Margaret Thatcher, watched by Roger Law, right, one of the Spitting Image creators.  Photo © Kasia Kowalska. Click to enlarge

Spitting Image: From Start to Finish was launched in style at the Cartoon Museum in London last week, with an appearance by the late Baroness Thatcher.

Steve Nallon, the actor who voiced the Thatcher puppet in the TV series, brought his most famous creation back to life to open the show (click the link for a short video excerpt, courtesy of Oliver Preston).

The exhibition includes images of the satirical sculptures created by Peter Fluck and Roger Law – or “Luck and Flaw” as they were known – before Spitting Image hit our TV screens 30 years ago last week. They were a regular feature of magazines and newspapers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Heavily featured are preliminary pencil caricatures that were the templates for the show’s puppets. You can see sketches of all the major celebrities of the day alongside the Royal Family and Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet and political opponents.

The show also reunites some of the best-known puppets, including the Queen, Princess Diana, Mr Spock, Alan Bennett, Roy Hattersley (the only Spitting Image puppet regularly seen spitting) and, of course …

Margaret Thatcher puppet. Photo © Hilary Foster

Margaret Thatcher puppet. Photo © Hilary Foster

Procartoonists.org member Simon Ellinas, who was at the opening, told us: “As always with such shows, it’s the preliminary sketches and some complete caricatures that are of great fascination to us cartoonists. The stunning work of David Stoten, Pablo Bach and Tim Watts predominated and some early Fluck and Law models were on show.

“This is a definite date for your diaries for whenever you happen to be in London.”

The exhibition runs until 8 June. All material in the exhibition is © Spitting Image Productions Ltd, Spitting Image Archive

The commercial art

January 31, 2014 in Comment, Events, News

Cartoon_Museum_Exhibition_bring_me_laughter © Jonathan Cusick @ procartoonists.org

© Jonathan Cusick @ Procartoonists.org

A collector of cartoons spoke some home truths at the recent private view of Bring Me Laughter. Kasia Kowalska writes.

In his speech opening the show, George Walker implored all those present to remember that he’s “not a Rothschild”. He was, undoubtedly, being modest as, together with his wife, Pat, he has dedicated more than 60 years to a collection that boasts drawings and cartoons by the great cartoonists of our age: Max Beerbohm, Phil May, H.M. Bateman, Heath Robinson, Ronald Searle and Trog, to name but a few.

The Queen © Jonathan Cusick @ procartoonists

© Jonathan Cusick @ Procartoonists.org

In this fine company one can also find several examples of George Walker’s own drawings and cartoons, which received a lot of attention on the night. Son of a miner, he recalls his father saying that ‘‘He thinks about nowt but actin’ and paintin’”. Although he left school at a young age to work in a local factory in Cumbria, George never let go of his passion for drawing and studied at Carlisle College of Art in his spare time.

The Walker collection includes several caricatures by PCO member Jonathan Cusick who attended the opening of the exhibition. Although Pat and George had commissioned him several times, this was the first time Jonathan had met them in person. ‘‘It’s a thrill to find my work amongst so many great names,’’ he said, selecting drawings by Heath Robinson, George Belcher and Pont as his personal highlights of the collection.

Jonathan Cusick withe George Walker and the piece that gave the exhibition its title @ Procartoonists.org

Jonathan Cusick. left. with George Walker and the piece that gave the exhibition its title. Photo ©Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

Anita O’Brien, curator of the Cartoon Museum, said that George Walker ‘feels vindicated in the increasing attention which cartoon art has attracted in recent years: “There is some satisfaction in always having admired so-called ‘commercial’ art, for so long considered greatly inferior to ‘fine art’ and now commanding the respect that the best of it deserves.’’

Long may it continue.

Bring Me Laughter an exhibition from the private collection of George and Pat Walker is at the Cartoon Museum until 23 February.

The Round-up

January 20, 2014 in General, Links, News

Dave Brown Ariel Sharon cartoon

© Dave Brown of The Independent @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The death of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon inspired cartoonists on all sides of the political debate. Sharon was famously the subject of a highly controversial award winning cartoon, above, which was based on Goya’s Saturn Devouring his Son. This image sparked a complaint from the Israeli Embassy, but not everyone took such a hard line, as Daniel Estrin explains.

More straight talking was provided by Alan Moore and Lance Parkin, in conversation about the recently published biography of Moore, Magic Words. Pádraig O’Méalóid is compelled to ask more about what followed.

George and Pat Walker, the couple whose extensive collection of original artwork can currently be seen at the Cartoon Museum in London are profiled by their local paper in Oxfordshire. Staying local, the Shropshire Star previews this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, which takes place on 26 April.

Is art as much a technical as an artistic undertaking? And can anyone with a tablet or a computer really be an artist? Tyler Hellard pondered both questions in the digital age. Cutting straight to the point was the Canberra Times cartoonist Pat Campbell, who is simply enjoying the rewards of making a change.

Pat Campbell cartoon

© Pat Campbell of the Canberra Times @ Procartoonists.org

Everyone likes a snoop around cartoonists’ studios, as this blog post by Countess Tea shows. The Daily Cartoonists detected a trend in the photographs: the demise of the traditional drafting table.

In a date for your diary, the Laydeez Do Comics graphic novel forum returns to Foyles in Charing Cross Road, London, on 20 January . Expect talks by Isabel Greenberg, Penelope Mendonça and Dr Geraldine Perriam. The long-running forum was set up in 2009 by Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman.

Finally, spare a thought for Shia LaBeouf who has now announced his retirement from public life following his expeditions in comics plagiarism.

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Double the fun at Cartoon Museum

November 27, 2013 in Events, News

Next week, the Cartoon Museum in London is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

This means that for a limited period donations to the museum will be matched, making all contributions go further. Anita O’Brien, the curator, explains all in the above YouTube video.

The museum said: “For a limited time only, online donations are matched by other funders on a first come, first served basis, so timing is of the essence. Every £5 that you give could be worth £10. Matched funds will be released at 10am on the morning of 5, 6 and 7 December and we are asking you to donate at that time before the match-funding runs out.”

The money will fund the Cartoons and Comics for All project, which aims to bring new visitors to the museum and provide free events and sessions for schools.

To donate online, click this link on 5, 6 or 7 December at 10am.

The museum is currently showing an exhibition by R.S. Sherriffs. The gloom of winter will be brightened by Bring Me Laughter on 7 January, followed by a must-see Spitting Image exhibition  on 26 February. See the website for details.

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Sherriffs in town

September 24, 2013 in Events, News

Conception of the Remote Austerity of Garbo (detail) by RS Sherriffs

Conception of the Remote Austerity of Garbo (detail) by R.S. Sherriffs @ Procartoonists.org

Here at the Procartoonists blog we’re hearing very good things about The Age of Glamour: Stars of Stage and Screen, an exhibition of drawings by the Scottish cartoonist R.S. Sherriffs.

It  focuses on the golden age of Hollywood and the West End stage and includes caricatures of Greta Garbo, above, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Ivor Novello, Buster Keaton, Laurence Olivier and many others.

Included in the show are single portraits as well as ensemble pieces. The drawings first featured in magazines such as Radio Times and The Sketch.

The Sherriffs exhibition runs until 24 December, alongside a redisplay of the Cartoon Museum collection, including many recent acquisitions. Visit  the Cartoon Museum website.

Young cartoonist contest goes digital

September 3, 2013 in Events, General, News

IPAD_cartoon ©_Philip_Warner_@_procartoonists.org

Digital cartoon © Philip Warner @ Procartoonists.org

The Young Cartoonists of the Year competition 2013 has opened and for the first time they are accepting artwork that has been created digitally.

Although the flyer for the event states “original artwork only”, the Cartoon Museum, which runs the event with the British Cartoonists Association, was happy to clarify, telling us:

“If you draw on computer or add colour on computer that is still acceptable. However, you have to submit a hard copy entry. You cannot send your entry by email.”

The Professional Cartoonists Organisation, which runs Procartoonists.org, welcomes this development.

There was much criticism from readers of this blog when last year’s competition was announced, as digitally created artwork was not accepted. The PCO put this to the organisers, pointing out that it excludes many young people who work entirely digitally.

Digitally created artwork submitted by post is a fair compromise. We know that when cartoonists submit artwork by email there is always one who shuns the standard 300dpi Jpeg format and goes for a Tiff file the size of a house!

There are two categories in the Young Cartoonists contest: under 18 and under 30. One cartoon, up to A4 in size, can be submitted and it can be colour or black and white. Send to: Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition, Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH. The closing date for entries is 30 September. Artwork cannot be returned.

Judges include cartoonists from newspaper including The Times, The Guardian and Private Eye. The judges’ decision is final. Winners will be given their prizes at the Cartoon Art Trust Awards on 17 October.

We’ll keep you posted.

The Round-up

July 15, 2013 in General, Links, News

Chris Burke in his studio © Anke @Procartoonists.org

Chris Burke, the widely published caricaturist and illustrator – and Procartoonists.org member – gives a local blog a tour of his home and studio in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Read the resulting feature interview, and see plenty of examples of Chris’ work,  here.

The Guardian has an interview with David Fickling and family – the tribe behind weekly comic The Phoenix – told in comic-strip format.

Charlie Paul, director of the Ralph Steadman documentary For No Good Reason, shares a short time-lapse film showing the Procartoonists.org member in action. (Brought to our attention by the Cartoon Museum – follow them on Twitter: @cartoonmuseumuk.)

Following a long-awaited British – or is that Scottish? – victory in the men’s singles event at Wimbledon, Andy Murray has been popping up in many a cartoon. He appears alongside his mother, Judy, in the 75th anniversary issue of The Beano; has been knighted courtesy of Procartoonist Andy Davey in The Sun; and was cynically adopted by the politicians, in cartoons by Christian Adams for The Telegraph and Peter Brookes for The Times.

The Round-up

May 4, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

 

Frank Sidebottom holds a copy of Oink! @Procartoonists.org

A new documentary is being planned about anarchic TV icon Frank Sidebottom (aka Chris Sievey). In the guise of Frank, Sievey contributed strips to Oink! in the late 1980s. Director Steve Sullivan says the film “will cover Chris and Frank’s whole career, including focusing on his work as a comic creator and illustrator.” Sullivan has turned to crowd-funding to kick-start the project, and raised over £11,000 from Frank fans in his first day of fundraising. Read more about the project here.

The documentary is not to be confused with this fictionalised take on the Sidebottom legend, which will star Michael Fassbender.

Procartoonists.org member Ralph Steadman was sadly too unwell to attend the private view of his Steadman @ 77 retrospective at the Cartoon Museum in London this week. But the exhibition has already been receiving good press, including this piece from the Camden New Journal. The paper also reports on the theft of a Steadman original from a nearby pub following the private view.

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the new British legislation that may change the way images are used on the internet, particularly when it comes to orphan works. Every cartoonist – or user of online materials – should brush up on this. For more on copyright law, and advice on how to protect your work online, look back at our previous posts on the subject here and here.

The Brighton Festival begins this weekend, and Harry Venning isn’t the only cartoonist opening up his studio to the public. PCOer Guy Venables and Private Eye/Independent cartoonist Grizelda will also be inviting visitors into their workspaces. Find out more about the festival here. The Spectator also has coverage of the Artists Open Houses.

For those who like lists, Buzzfeed has produced this handy run-down of historic cartoons that changed the world.

And finally, some encouraging signs from the next generation: Dutch teenagers have been clamouring for political cartoons in 7Days, a weekly newspaper for young people in the Netherlands. The editorial team have listened, and topical cartoons are now appearing courtesy of Cartoon Movement.

 

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Fear and loathing at Cartoon Museum

April 30, 2013 in Events, News

Self Portrait © Ralph Steadman 2006

Self "Poortrait" © Ralph Steadman 2006

A major retrospective on the work of Ralph Steadman to mark the acclaimed cartoonist’s 77th birthday on 15 May opens at the Cartoon Museum in London tomorrow (1 May). 

Steadman @ 77 will feature more than 100 original artworks and span the full range of his work including his first Punch cartoon, from 1956, and material from Private Eye, The Observer, New Statesman and others, as well as drawings that illustrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by his longtime collaborator Hunter S. Thompson.

The show also has drawings from Steadman’s takes on Alice in Wonderland and Animal Farm, and there are wine drawings for Oddbins, political cartoons and examples of  real and imaginary birds from his most recent book Extinct Boids.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas © Ralph Steadman for Rolling Stone

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas © Ralph Steadman for Rolling Stone

Accompanied by a 160‐page full-colour catalogue – with contributions by the actor Johnny Depp, the writer Will Self and the cartoonist Martin Rowson – the exhibition runs until 8 September.

The Cartoon Museum is in Little Russell Street, close to the British Museum. It also shows cartoons, comics and caricatures from the 18th century to the present day and is open Monday to Saturday 10.30am-5.30pm and Sundays 12noon – 5.30pm. For more information visit the Cartoon Museum website.

The Round-up

March 15, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Colin Whittock @Procartoonists.org

Our colleagues in the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain (CCGB) have produced The Little Red Nose-E-Book Of Cartoons in aid of Comic Relief. It features 101 cartoons by CCGB members, including the gag above by Colin Whittock, who is also a Procartoonists.org member. The e-book costs just £1.59 (with all proceeds going to the charity) and can be downloaded here.

Also to coincide with Comic Relief, Forbidden Planet asks comics professionals to pick their favourite humorous strips. The list includes the dark and desolate Viz strip, Drunken Bakers, drawn by Procartoonists.org member Lee Healey. Read the full article here and see if you agree with the selections.

Ralph Steadman, the world-renowned cartoonist and yet another of our members, is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at London’s Cartoon Museum. Steadman at 77 opens on 1 May. and runs until 21 July. Find more details here.

Ian Hislop and his frequent collaborator,  the cartoonist Nick Newman, have written a new film for BBC Two that focuses on a First World War forerunner to Private Eye. Read more here.

Finally, the illustrator Alex Mathers explains how he found himself drawing Google Doodles — arguably the most widely seen drawings in the world on any given day — and draws some useful conclusions. Read it here.