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The Round-up

February 23, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Thatcher Cutting Up Britain © Spitting Image Workshop

Thatcher Cutting Up Britain © Spitting Image Workshop

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The exhibition Spitting Image: From Start to Finish opens at the Cartoon Museum in London tomorrow (26 February) – 30 years to the day since the TV series burst into our living rooms and put satire back at the heart of British comedy.

The BFI is also joining in the celebrations with an anniversary event and a screening of the BBC Four Arena documentary Whatever Happened To Spitting Image? on Thursday. It will be broadcast in spring.

The anniversary has already prompted a debate on the current state of satire on TV, with the Spitting Image producer John Lloyd and the Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, a former writer for the show, putting forward opposing views

Booktrust has appointed a new online writer in residence, The Observer’s political cartoonist Chris Riddell, to write a weekly blog in the form of drawings. Meanwhile, The Beano’s, Barrie Appleby, lent a helping hand at a pre-school playgroup where he shared cartooning tips with children as part of the Annual National Storytelling Week.

Escaping the UK weather can be a funny business. The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain got together for its 3rd Mighty Malta Minicon last week and if you were not lucky enough to go, you can still find out what they got up to.

 

Doonesbury © Garry Trudeau

Doonesbury © Garry Trudeau

The syndicated Doonesbury comic strip is taking a long-term break from this week, the cartoonist Garry Trudeau has announced. Fans should not worry though, as older strips will be revisited.

Comic art continues to court controversy: the Angoulême International Comics Festival got into hot water over its sponsorship by SodaStream which is the target of an international boycott; a newspaper office in Baghdad suffered a bomb attack following the publication of a cartoon criticising Ayatollah Khamenei;  and the thought police are very much alive and well in Algeria, where the cartoonist Djamel Ghanem has been threatened with imprisonment for a cartoon that was not even published.

Across the border in Tunisia, there may be hope for the international campaign “100 drawings for Jabeur” to free Jabeur Mejri, who has been pardoned and offered asylum in Sweden. The blogger was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook in 2012.

Finally, we note with sadness that Gordon Bell, cartoonist for The Beano and the Dundee Courier, and Tony Harding, who drew football stories for Scorcher, Hotspur, and Action, both passed away recently.

The Round-up

October 7, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Some Funny Faces © Phillip Warner @Procartoonists.org

Phillip Warner, the cartoonist, animator and PCO member, has an exhibition of caricatures on show at the Gallery Maison Bertaux in London’s Soho. Some Funny Faces consists of a series of etchings of comedy icons, from Woody Allen and Groucho Marx to Spike Milligan and Peter Cook. This writer attended the packed private view on Thursday – so packed, in fact, that it was a challenge to make it round the entire room. Phillip is selling prints of the caricatures, and the show runs until 13 October. Find more details here.

Peter Brookes, cartoonist for The Times, appeared on The Daily Politics this week and talked about the ‘agony’ of his idea-generating process. Head over to the BBC site to watch the interview. Meanwhile, the Chris Beetles Gallery in London is holding a sale of more than 100 of Brookes’ recent Times cartoons, and there is a new book collection out, titled Sign of the Times.

For those who missed it, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman‘s recent talk at the National Theatre can now be watched in full online.

PCOer Tim Harries talks to The South Wales Argus – for which he produces the Never Say Dai comic strip – about his life and career.

“Cartoons can have a profound impact on awareness,” says psychologist Lawrence Shapiro, adding: “they are a great way to get a message across that might otherwise be overlooked.” We agree, and note that Shapiro’s US company, Talk to an Expert, Inc., has introduced a weekly cartoon series to open up topics for discussion. Read more here.

Note: Our members would be only to happy to discuss producing cartoons for your business. Take a look at our portfolios.

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

July 26, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© Kipper Williams @Procartoonists.org

Kipper Williamspocket cartoonist for The Guardian, member of Procartoonists.org, and the man behind the excellent cartoon above – has provided the illustrations for a new book of anecdotes from record shops. Read more here.

Ian Hislop and Richard Ingrams – editors of Private Eye and The Oldie respectively – will be joined by Nick Newman, long-time contributor to both magazines, for a panel session at the Soho Literary Festival on 26 September. The Cartoon Show will feature a slideshow of some of the best gags from the last 50 years, and the trio will talk about what they look for when selecting cartoons for publication. Tickets are available here.

Burmese cartoonist Kyaw Thu Yein tells Cartoon Movement about the way he works, as well as the impact of censorship, in this interview.

As The Beano celebrates its 75th birthday this week, cartoonist Nigel Parkinson talks about the success of Dennis The Menace while drawing a new strip in this short film for The Telegraph.

London’s Southbank Centre is currently host to Beanotown, a celebration of the comic that runs until 8 September and features a range of original artwork on the walls, as well as activities for the kids. Wilbur Dawbarn, a Beano cartoonist and PCO member, produced this huge map of Beanotown, which greets visitors by the entrance:

Wilbur Dawbarn for The Beano @Procartoonists.com

And finally, a brief reminder that next Saturday (3 August) will see a plethora of UK cartooning talent descend on Herne Bay in Kent, to take part in a festival celebrating the seaside town’s connection with Marcel Duchamp. Read more here, and visit us in the coming week for a more detailed post.

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.

The Round-up

January 28, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Graeme Bandeira @Procartoonists.org

Procartoonists.org member Graeme Bandeira is one of a group of artists who will feature in the Fantasista 2013 Exhibition of football illustration this spring. Alongside Graeme’s caricature of Ryan Giggs (above), you can also find his depiction of José Mourinho at the Telegraph site.

Libby Purves, Procartoonists.org patron and cartoon fanatic, will be interviewing Private Eye editor Ian Hislop at a special event for the Royal Geographical Society on 27 February. Read more and book tickets here.

Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at The New Yorker, shows us how his own health fears have found their way into his gag cartoons.

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has issued a statement condemning plagiarism and supporting originality. Meanwhile, US cartoonist Bill Day has been accused of self-plagiarism.

And finally, two editorial cartoonists – Matt Wuerker and Scott Stantis – speak to NPR about their depictions of Barack Obama as he starts his second presidential term. Listen to the interview here.

The Round-up

May 18, 2012 in General, Links, News

© Christian Adams

The Telegraph’s political cartoonist, Christian Adams, dissects his depictions of Cameron, Clegg and Osborne as he looks at what makes an effective caricature. In a subsequent blog post, he identifies which politicians are the best to draw in terms of the most cartoonable body parts (watch out for the photo of Merkel, which is close to being NSFW).

In a worrying development, a group of MPs in India has pressured the government into banning cartoons that lampoon politicians from school textbooks, despite saying that they have no objection to similar examples of visual satire appearing in newspapers. You can read more on the story here. Unsurprisingly, the move has already drawn criticism from academics and other professionals.

The second BD & Comics Passion festival takes place at the Institut français in London from May 24 to 27. The four-day event features a diverse selection of talks from comic creators including Kevin O’Neill, Pat Mills, Tom Gauld and Jonathan Ross, and will see a healthy contingent of French and Belgian cartoonists in attendance. See the website for more details.

For the aficionado of the modern media there is a final chance to hear Greed All About It, a drama upon the mid-career activities of Mr Rupert Murdoch at Wapping. Procartoonists.org member Nick Newman shares the writing credit with Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop. But, HURRY! There are only 12 hours left to do it!

Private Eye gets services to cartooning award

December 7, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Nick Newman Private Eye

Private Eye was presented with the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation Award for Services to Cartooning last night.

A small delegation from the PCO descended on the Eye’s Soho offices to present the award to Nick Newman, cartoonist and writer at the magazine, above, on behalf of the Editor, Ian Hislop.

Accepting the award, Nick said that the Eye had always been a staunch supporter of cartoons, from the early days when it would run two or three Willie Rushton cartoons to the present day which sees dozens of gags and strips in each issue.

Noting that the PCO gave the Award for Services to Cartooning last year to the Church Times, he added: “Obviously the Church Times is a much more humorous magazine …”

Pete Dredge, PCO member and regular Eye contributor, handed over the award, which he described as “a stylish, crystal-fashioned engraved paperweight recognising Lord Gnome’s 50 years of supporting the best of British cartooning and cartoonists”.

PCO Award for Services to Cartooning

He told the Bloghorn: “It is understood that the paperweight will be on display amongst the Eye’s other trophies, rather than holding down the ever-growing pile of cartoon submissions on the Editor’s desk.”

The PCO thanks the Eye for accepting the award, and appreciates the fact that the Ed did not say “Sorry not to use. Thanks for sending.”

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Private Eye: Looking good at 50

September 13, 2011 in Events, News

Private Eye at 50

Private Eye celebrates its 50th birthday next month and appears to be in rude health, bucking the downward trend for magazine circulation in the digital age.

The anniversary is October 25 but the celebrations start on Tuesday (September 20) with the release of a new book Private Eye: The First 50 Years, a history of the magazine written by the Eye journalist Adam Macqueen that charts its rise from 300 copies of the first edition in 1961, below, to a fortnightly circulation of more than 200,000.

First issue of Private Eye

The book features interviews with key players in the Private Eye story, rare archive material and unseen photos. (There are some “seen” ones too.) And, of course, there is an abundance of the cartoons that are so central to appeal of the magazine.

You can see more of those, including many by members of the PCO, which runs The Bloghorn, when the famously anti-establishment magazine puts on a First 50 Years exhibition at the very establishment Victoria and Albert Museum [Shurely shome mishtake? – Ed]. It opens at the V&A on October 18 and runs until January 8.

Cartoons will be shown in themed sections, on politics, royalty and social observation, and there will be gags, long-running strips and caricatures. The Bloghorn will have more on the exhibition nearer the time.

Ian Hislop, Editor of the magazine, has said of the 50th anniversary: “I do not want anyone to think that this is all just a huge celebration of ourselves. Our 50th year is a chance to look back and take a dispassionate view of how marvellous we are.”

You can read more on how marvellous they are in a Media Guardian article this week and even Vanity Fair is on the case with a piece by Christopher Hitchens. Updates on the 50th anniversary celebrations will appear on the Private Eye at 50 blog.

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK’s Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation