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by Royston

The Round-up

April 24, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Cartoon © Graeme Keyes

Cartoon © Graeme Keyes


The BBC has been looking at how political cartoonists in Northern Ireland coped with covering the Troubles. You can read the article and see an episode of BBC Northern Ireland’s The Arts Show (until 28 April) here.

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland, The Irish Times has apologised for a cartoon about priests by Martyn Turner, calling it “an editorial lapse”. Read more about it and see the offending cartoon here. We ran a profile of Turner in February.

Gerald Scarfe is to judge submissions made by budding cartoonists and illustrators to the Noise Festival. The deadline is 31 May. You can read more on the Noise Festival here, and they have an interview with Scarfe, talking about what he will be looking for, here. Meanwhile, Scarfe has also been talking to The Big Issue.

The New Yorker is widely regarded as the home of sophisticated cartoons and is a hugely competitive market for cartoonists. But Ted Rall is not a fan and argues that it is, in fact, bad for cartooning.

poster_garfield

Famous cartoon characters from all over the world have gone bald, in an initiative in Brazil designed to send out the message that a child with cancer deserves to be seen just like any other child: Bald Cartoons.

Finally, you may have heard that British Pathé has put a large chunk of its archive online for free. This will, of course, mean there are some cartoon and comic-related gems, such as this film about the creation of Dan Dare.

The Round-up

April 15, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe's Bar courtesy of and © The Spectator

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe’s Bar © The Spectator

Kasia Kowalska and Royston Robertson write:

Cartoonists and alcohol are often linked, and now one of the UK’s best known political cartoonists, Gerald Scarfe, has a bar named after him at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, London. The Spectator has more and the Telegraph has a video in which the cartoonist talks about the drawings on the walls.

Congratulations go to Peter Brookes of The Times, who was named cartoonist of the year at the British Press Awards. In the US, of course, they give cartoonists the Pulitzer Prize. You can watch Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer honoured by work colleagues here.

Private Eye cartoonist and Procartoonists.org member Tony Husband has recently been out and about, taking cartooning to the people.

A dog is a man’s best friend and William Hogarth‘s was a pug. Lars Tharp reveals the 18th century artist’s obsession with his four-legged companion in conversation with Clare Barlow, the National Portrait Gallery’s assistant curator.

Hot on the heels of The New Yorker’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who is tirelessly promoting his memoir (including here and hereRoz Chast of the magazine also has an autobiographical book out, called Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

For those eager to embrace new technology, a team of designers has developed a 3D sketching tool called Gravity. It is designed for sketching in “immersive augmented reality”, apparently, and you won’t need a computer to use it.

Phoenix Children's Comic Festival poster

Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival. Click to enlarge

The second Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival will take place at the Story Museum in Oxford in May. Among the guests will be Jamie Smart and Matt Baker from the comic. Meanwhile, DownTheTubes.net wonders whether comics are made for children any more, or are they being made for adults?

Ever wondered why cartoon characters on cereal boxes always have a similar expression? The Daily Mail reports that, according to a Cornell study, they always stare downwards to appeal directly to young children in supermarkets.

Hayao Miyazaki, the acclaimed animator and founder of Studio Ghibli, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, is to retire. The BFI is running a Studio Ghibli retrospective throughout April and May. Miyazaki is also one of the nominees at the Reuben Awards for his latest film The Wind Rises.

Special report: 50 years of cartoons in Private Eye

September 27, 2013 in Events, General, News

Left to right: Nick Newman, Ian Hislop and Richard Ingrams

Fans of Private Eye cartoons were in for a treat this week, as editor Ian Hislop and cartoonist Nick Newman took to the stage for two separate events looking back over 50 years of visual humour in the magazine – where they picked out a few favourite gags and discussed the challenge of selecting the cartoons that make it into the magazine.

Monday night saw the pair speak to a packed auditorium at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. On Thursday, they were joined for their appearance at the Soho Literary Festival by Richard Ingrams, Hislop’s predecessor at the Eye and now editor of The Oldie.

The talks were scheduled to coincide with the launch of Private Eye: A Cartoon History, a handsome new hardback book edited by Newman and containing more than 1000 of the best cartoons published by the magazine over the last five decades. Ingrams was promoting his latest collection of Oldie cartoons, also published this month.

© Ed McLachlan @Procartoonists.org

Hislop and Newman began their National Theatre talk by looking back at some of the Eye cartoons that have gone on to become classics, including drawings by Willie Rushton, Martin Honeysett, Michael Heath, John Kent and Ed McLachlan (above). They observed that cartoons became increasingly surreal and absurd during the 1970s – with the giant hedgehog being a case in point – and Newman noted that many of the best political cartoons have not made it into his book because their impact has been lost over time.

Libby Purves, the journalist, broadcaster and Procartoonists.org patron, was on hand to steer the conversation. She pointed out that there still seems to be life in cartoonist cliches such as the desert island and the suicidal man-on-ledge. Hislop agreed, observing that “Private Eye is nothing if not repeated jokes with slight twists.” He referred to two recent psychiatrist’s couch gags, both by Procartoonists.org member Royston Robertson, which played with the formula and made it into the magazine.

More generally, Hislop praised gag cartoonists for their ability to distil their observations of the world around them into pithy and memorable scenes. “They’ve observed it, frozen it, and made it more or less permanent,” he said.

© Alexander Matthews @Procartoonists.org

The issue of ‘bad taste’ was raised when a cartoon by PCOer Alexander Matthews (above) was met by explosive laughter – and some gasps. Purves asked where Hislop draws the line when it comes to offending his readership.

“I always have to be able to justify it – to myself, if to no one else,” said Hislop. “And sometimes there are things that might offend people, but that you think just have to be said. We got a lot of complaints about this cartoon, but I just thought it was incredibly funny.”

Newman explained to the crowd that a cartoonist’s life can be defined by whether he or she is able to cope with having most of their work rejected on a regular basis. He also agreed with Purves’ observation that there are fewer high-profile markets for cartoons these days, following the demise of Punch and with newspapers not currently running standalone gags.

Hislop said that “without Matt, The Telegraph would be in real trouble”, and argued that readers would welcome non-topical joke cartoons in the newspapers. “Editors are missing a trick; cartoons are not expensive,” he said, turning to Newman with a threatening grin before adding: “and they’re getting cheaper next week!”. We hope he was joking.

***

“I’ve got a much smaller book, but it’s also a lot cheaper,” said a deadpan Ingrams of his Oldie paperback collection, when he joined the others on stage at the Soho Theatre on Thursday. “Nick’s book is terribly good, but you can’t take it into the toilet – my book you can.”

The presence of Ingrams at this second talk meant more anecdotes about the 1960s satire boom – for example that it was Willie Rushton who persuaded Gerald Scarfe to stop drawing desert island gags and have a go at caricature.

But Ingrams was also keen to talk about the current crop of cartoonists, and his slideshow of gags from the Oldie book included one or two from younger talents, among them the cartoon below by Procartoonists.org member Huw Aaron.

© Huw Aaron @Procartoonists.org

Hislop explained that the sheer number of cartoons flooding in to the Eye means he is required to make quick decisions over what to publish.

“When I choose cartoons, I think ‘is that funny?’, rather than ‘is it beautifully drawn?’,” said Hislop. Ingrams agreed, but added that the drawing itself should be amusing, not simply the idea behind it.

“Cartoonists don’t realise that they’re probably the most important part of a magazine,” said Ingrams, citing a recent readership survey in which roughly 80% said that cartoons were their favourite part of The Oldie.

Both talks were packed and the audiences were extremely appreciative, filling the room with laughter at pretty much every cartoon shown – and with several jokes even eliciting a round of applause.

***

Also this week, Private Eye launched Newman’s book with a party at Kettner’s in Soho attended by Eye staff and dozens of the magazine’s cartoonists. A great night was had by all and it was an excellent opportunity for the cartoonists to mingle and swap stories.

Private Eye cartoonists at the book launch party © Philippa Gedge

More images from the party, by photographer Philippa Gedge, can be seen here. Head over to the BBC for a slideshow of selected cartoons from the new book.

On behalf of its members, Procartoonists.org would like to thank Private Eye and offer a toast to the next 50 years.

 

Human rights in cartoon form

September 16, 2013 in News

Know Your Rights. Cartoon © Ali Ferzat @ Procartoonists.org

Amnesty's Know your Rights booklet. Cover cartoon © Ali Ferzat @ Procartoonists.org

Amnesty International has come up with a memorable way to remind people about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: it has issued the document as a booklet illustrated with cartoons.

Know your Rights is published in conjuction with Waterstones and features 14 cartoonists, including the Procartoonists.org members Tony Husband, Fran Orford and Royston Robertson, illustrating various articles of the Declaration.

© cartoon Tony Husband

Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude © Tony Husband @ Procartoonists.org

The booklet features an introduction by the writer A.L. Kennedy and includes thoughts on human rights from the cartoonists themselves. Michael Heath accompanies his cartoon with a succint thought: “It’s nice to be able to draw anything you want without being arrested.”

The cover is by the Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who was beaten up because he drew cartoons critical of the Assad regime.

Publication marks the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified 60 years ago this month. The booklet contains the full text of the Declaration.

© Royston Robertson cartoon

Article 27. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community © Royston Robertson @ Procartoonists.org

The other cartoonists in the booklet are: Steven Appleby, Liza Donnelly, Merrily Harpur, Neil Kerber, Martha Richler (Marf), Chris Riddell, Gerald Scarfe, David Shrigley [Does this mean he's officially a cartoonist now? – Ed] and Judith Vanistendael.

Know your Rights can be found by the tills in branches of Waterstones nationwide, priced £2.

The Round-up

April 12, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Ed Fisher/Cartoon Bank @Procartoonists.org

Cartoon captions are a major theme in this week’s Round-up. Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker, looks back at the work of Ed Fisher (including the excellent meta-cartoon above), and also recalls some of the best caption contest entries by Roger Ebert. Both Ebert and Fisher passed away recently.

Over at The Telegraph, editorial cartoonist Christian Adams has unveiled his first caption competition, and is offering the original artwork as a prize for the best suggestion. Each contest will be topical, and this week’s features the late Baroness Thatcher. Head over to his blog to enter.

Unsurprisingly, Thatcher has been the subject of many cartoons in the past week or so. Gerald Scarfe, a cartoonist famous for his savage depictions of the former PM, talks about his relationship to his subject in this Q&A for the BBC. Elsewhere, David Ziggy Greene posts a piece he wrote and drew for French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo back in 2010. Read it here.

One of our members, the delightfully talented Gabriel Alborozo, has launched a new project. Simple Pleasures celebrates those small moments in life that make everything a little better. Alongside his own ideas, Gabe is taking suggestions from visitors to the site. You can also follow the project.

A new documentary film, Dear Mr. Watterson, celebrates the world of Calvin and Hobbes, while the strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, is also discussed in this article from Salon which argues that we should all respect the great man’s privacy.

Opinion: Beware digital challenges to the paper of record

January 30, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Scarfe cartoon of Netanyahu @ procartoonists

Gerald Scarfe cartoon of Benjamin Netanyahu @ procartoonists.org

The Sunday Times has removed the Gerald Scarfe cartoon from all of its digital editions following the controversy about its print publication.

The retrospective removal of the cartoon reported by Press Gazette this morning challenges a traditional role fulfilled by printed journalism as a paper of record. The removal of the image changes the paper of record, post publication.

We believe that such “digital cleansing” is harmful to the expression of opinion in publishing, in either print or pixel form. If the cartoon was good enough to see the light of day in ink on Sunday 27 January, 2013, then it should exist in the enduring pixelated editions too.

To be clear, we do not think this act of removal is “censorship” – that would have prevented Scarfe’s opinion cartoon being published at all. And the owners and editors of the newspaper also have a right to do as they will with the content they purchase from contracted contributors.

But when retrospective editing of “controversial” published items becomes acceptable practice inside digital newsrooms then we start to worry about access to provocative drawn opinions, and probably also written ones.

Are we right? If you have things to say about this, please do so in the comments below.

  • The Scarfe cartoon was certainly a provocative image, but that is to be expected from a political cartoonist. One of our members, Martin Rowson, helpfully explains why such cartoonists do what they do here.

Publishers, the patrons of the art

January 29, 2013 in Comment, General, News

A public kerfuffle over a Gerald Scarfe cartoon published after the recent Israeli elections has resulted in a public apology from Rupert Murdoch the publisher of The Sunday Times, the paper in which the image appeared.

A publisher apology is a rare thing in journalism of any sort but it should be noted that neither the paper, its acting editor or the cartoonist himself have apologised for the publication of the image itself. Any regret expressed has been directed towards the timing of publication, as the cartoon appeared on Holocaust Memorial Day.

If nothing else, this story reveals that even within strictly hierarchical print-publication businesses, dissent and, perhaps, mistakes are still possible.

Updated 10am: You can listen to a lively debate on Radio 4 Today between cartoonist Steve Bell (one of our members) and Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle.

Updated 6.15pm: The cartoonist has issued a short statement. The acting editor of the newspaper, Martin Ivens, has now also offered an apology stating that the cartoonist “had crossed a line”. You can read the full statement from the newspaper here.

Updated 9am, 30 January: Press Gazette (UK journalism trade magazine) reports that Scarfe’s cartoon is now also removed from all e-editions of The Sunday Times.

You may also watch the BBC Newsnight segment on the story on iPlayer.

The Round-up

January 4, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Gerald Scarfe @Procartoonists.org

Gerald Scarfe has revisited an old project by producing a new series of cartoons to illustrate the on-screen revival of Yes, Prime Minister. This drawing, above, of its stars David Haig and Henry Goodman, is also gracing billboards and bus shelters ahead of the show’s debut on the TV channel Gold on 15 January. Scarfe produced a memorable series of cartoons for the original Yes, Minister series. Those suffering from Thatcherite nostalgia can watch the original opening credits here.

Steve Bell guides us through a year of cartoons for The Guardian in this video (warning: contains expletives, contraceptives and bondage gear). Meanwhile, Peter Brookes selects the best from his own 2012 output for The Times (subscription required), and the Daily Mail’s Mac does the same here. Matt Buck (Hack) looks back at his own 2012 output here.

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, written by Mary Talbot and illustrated by her comics veteran husband, Bryan, has won the biography category of the 2012 Costa Book Awards – the first graphic novel to win in any of the five categories. Read more about the book, and what its success might mean for the medium more generally, here.

The weekly children’s comic The Phoenix has launched an app that allows readers to buy and download a digital version, and which includes free access to a sample “issue zero”.

And finally, Procartoonists.org patron Martin Wainwright brings us the story of an intriguing battle over intellectual property and the public domain.

The Round-up

March 1, 2012 in General, Links

Bloghorn: Chris Beetles show. The Illustrators at Bloghorn

© Quentin Blake - on display at Chris Beetles Gallery in St James London

London’s Chris Beetles Gallery is running an exhibition of work by William Heath Robinson and others, opening on 6th March and hosted at West House in Pinner. ‘William Heath Robinson and the Best of Contemporary Illustration’ also features work by Quentin Blake, Oliver Jeffers, Emma Chichester Clark and Michael Foreman, among others. See the Chris Beetles website for more details.

In an interesting blog post, Illustration Art looks at some of the well-known cartoonists that have managed to carve out a successful career after struggling academically. Read it here.

Gerald Scarfe was the subject of two feature interviews in national newspapers last week, with The Sun delving into his work with Pink Floyd and The Daily Mail taking a look at some of the items in his studio.

1980s documentary ‘Masters of Comic Book Art’, which features interviews with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Will Eisner among others, has been made available again via YouTube. You can watch the whole film, and read some choice quotes, over at Comics Alliance.

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

November 25, 2011 in Links

The prolific cartoonist David Langdon, whose long career included work for The New Yorker, Punch and The Spectator,  has died at the age of 97. Among his achievements, Langdon claimed to have originated the ‘open mouth’ expression now used by almost every gag cartoonist to clarify who is speaking in their compositions. See The Guardian for an extensive obituary, while the Bucks Free Press has more here.

Gerald Scarfe‘s savage and iconic depictions of Margaret Thatcher have led to a newly discovered species of pterosaur being named after the caricaturist. The Portsmouth News explains all here.

DC Thomson has announced a digital subscription service for its weekly comics, The Dandy and The Beano, allowing readers to get their fix via iPad or iPhone. The Courier has more details here.

Finally, while writing about the recent sale of a Roy Lichtenstein painting, ArtInfo.com questions the value – or lack of it – that is placed on original comic art, compared with the ‘fine art’ it inspires.