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Merry cartoony Christmas!

December 22, 2014 in Events, General

Procartoonists.org wishes you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year with this selection of festive cartoons from our members.

Have a great one, folks!

 

dredge_xmas

© Pete Dredge

jonesy_xmas© Jonesy

royston_xmas_2014© Royston

surreal_xmas© The Surreal McCoy

besley_xmas

© Rupert Besley

ariss_xmas© Nathan Ariss

whittock_xmas© Colin Whittock

aaron_xmas© Huw Aaron

hack_xmas

© Matthew Buck

brighty_xmas© Brighty

guy_xmas© Guy Venables

noelford_xmas© Noel Ford

ger_xmas© Gerard Whyman

anderson_xmas

© Terry Anderson

penwill_xmas© Roger Penwill

stott_xmas© Bill Stott

Check out all the PCO cartoonists in the portfolios here.

The Round-up

December 2, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Liza Donnelly @Procartoonists.org

Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for The New Yorker, shares with Forbes.com the transcript of a recent speech in which she looks at how cartoonists can use humour as a force for peace.

Huw Aaron, a member of Procartoonists.org, shares some strips from his ongoing North Stand series and asks, ‘Who’d be a rugby fan?’

Patrick Blower, whose editorial cartoons can regularly be seen in the Daily Telegraph, has been spotted drawing live to illustrate BBC political editor Nick Robinson‘s report on the energy industry. Watch the video, embedded in a related blog post by Robinson, here.

Still with the BBC, a report on how comic strips are helping doctors improve their bedside manner. Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, psychologist Neil Cohn attempts to analyse the sophisticated language of cartoons.

And finally, “visual journalist” (or straightforward “comics artist”?) Joe Sacco talks to Salon about his work and how the graphic novel makes it possible to deal with difficult subjects. Read the interview here.

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.

 

The Round-up

April 28, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

North Stand © Huw Aaron @Procartoonists.org

Kudos to Procartoonists.org member Huw Aaron, who was recently highly commended in the Cartoonist of the Year category of the 2013 Sports Journalism Awards for his rugby-themed strip, North Stand (the prize was eventually won by The Telegraph’s Matt Pritchett for his coverage of the London Olympics). Huw has also been busy with other projects, including producing stop-motion animations for S4C science programme Corff Cymru.

Following the recent publication of his Gin Lane Gazette, PCO member Adrian Teal has been leading guided tours of London.

Harry Venning, the cartoonist and comedy writer behind Clare in the Community, is opening up his Brighton studio for four weekends during May as part of the Brighton Festival. See the brochure to find out more about the Artists Open Houses event. Harry’s studio is at 93 Islingword Road.

Amazon has launched a new tool enabling cartoonists and comic creators to produce digital versions of their work for Kindle. Read more here.

Graphic journalist Dan Archer tells the BBC about how he uses comic strips to report on major political and social issues. Elsewhere, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly writes for Forbes about the importance of cartoons by women around the world.

Cartoonists and illustrators including Simon Tofield, Sir Quentin Blake and Peter Brookes are among the artists taking part in Gromit Unleashed, painting statues of the beloved Aardman dog for charity.

And finally, any cartoonist will appreciate the humour in this series of letters about rejection from Mad magazine.

If you come across a piece of cartooning news we might not have spotted, please let us know.

 

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Sporting chance for cartoonists

March 13, 2013 in Events, News

North Stand strip by Huw Aaron

© Huw Aaron @ Procartoonists.org

The Procartoonists.org members Huw Aaron and Nick Newman are among the nominees in the sports cartoonist category at the 2012 Sports Journalism Awards.

Huw is nominated for his strip North Stand (above, full-size version here) in The Rugby Paper, and Nick for Sunday Times and Private Eye cartoons. Other nominees are Paul Wood, Kerber and Black, Matt Pritchett and Russell Herneman.

We wish all the nominees the very best.

When cartoonists meet The Public

May 1, 2012 in Events, General

Bill Stott at Big Board

Bill Stott gives us his "meeting The Public" look

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.

Photo by Nicolette Petersen

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonists doing it for themselves

January 11, 2011 in News

Cartoon by Huw Aaron
Cartoonists are continuing to use the print-on-demand services provided by various websites to get their work out there.

These sites mean that they can print collections of their drawings as and when they are needed, so they don’t end up with boxes full of unsold books cluttering up their sheds.

While the cartoonists probably won’t get rich off these books, they can work well as a “calling card” for potential clients, a kind of mini portfolio. And, crucially, they allow cartoonists to sell their books online.
Cartoon book by Huw Aaron

Huw Aaron is the latest to use this model, producing a book of joke cartoons published in magazines such as Private Eye, Reader’s Digest and The Oldie in 2010, plus a few unpublished cartoons. The book is called Does This Breastplate Make Me Look Fat? He has also produced a book compiling cartoons from 2009, his first as a professional cartoonist, called Gentlemen, I’m Off to Join the Circus. Bloghorn cornered Huw to ask him a few questions …

You’re relatively new to the world of cartooning, why did you decide to do not one, but two cartoon books at this stage?

My intent from the start was to produce a collection each year of my full-time cartooning career. After one year, I was already a year behind schedule. I’ve now managed to catch up.

The first book comes with a recommendation from Richard Ingrams, editor of The Oldie. Fair enough. But also … Jilly Cooper?! How did that come about?

I had a lovely phone call from Ms Cooper last year, asking to buy a cartoon of mine she’d seen in The Oldie. As my only celebrity “fan”, she was a clear choice when looking for a few words to stick on the back cover!

You seem to be trying out lots of different drawing styles, particularly in the first book. Is that deliberate or do you just go with what feels right?

I do think that an “Aaron look” is slowly emerging, but until it does, I hope there’s enough humour in these collections to make up for the mishmash of styles.

Does This Breastplate Make Me Look Fat? and Gentlemen, I’m off to Join the Circus can be purchased online at Lulu.com for £5.99 each in paperback, or £1.99 each for a digital copy.