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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.

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.

 

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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.

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.

Big Draw 2012: The compere tweets

October 2, 2012 in Comment, Events, News

The final word on this year’s Big Draw launch goes to Libby Purves, journalist, broadcaster, compere of the event and Procartoonists.org patron, who sent us this dispatch from the front line of the Battle of Cartoonists

Libby Purves

Libby Purves files her Twitter report at the V&A

I may not be a trained war correspondent but here goes: In that echoing temple of Papal tapestry-based art, the Raphael Room at the V&A, the Battle of the Cartoonists was duly joined last Sunday. Given the utter impossibility of commentating in an acoustic like a giant’s bathroom,  after the initial draw for subjects – and the scuttle of massed cartoonists towards the free felt markers – I resolved to chronicle it on Twitter.

Someone had to. It is not every day (thank goodness) that you see, beneath sombre Biblical scenes, the wild-eyed geniuses of Private Eye, the Telegraph, the Guardian/Observer, Big Girls Drawers, Readers Digest, Procartoonists.org and the soaraway Sun gathered together in a sort of stone barn.

They were all fiercely at it, fending off swirling crowds of public, and working round not only the Stygian gloom of the gallery but dozens of small, inquisitive fingers groping at the side of their canvases. For the V&A on a Sunday, frankly, is always a bit like a middle-class family version of the last 20 minutes of the Roman Empire, with brats tearing round, lying on the mosaic floor drawing their own pictures, and intermittently going out to fall into the fountain and come back soggy but unbowed.

Libby Purves_2 at the Big Draw 2012 @procartoonists.org

Big Girls Drawers spent some time decorating their table with enormous knickers, while the rest knuckled down to sketching and muttering and stealing one another’s pens. The girls got The Healing of the Lame Man, the Telegraph The Conversion of the Proconsul, Private Eye got St Paul at Athens, the Guardianista faction The Death of Ananias, Readers’ Digest The Draught of Fishes and The Sun got Christ’s Charge to Peter.

The Procartoonists team rather got the short straw with The Sacrifice of Lystra. This involved members of the public – and the commentator – sidling up to them with “Who?” [Ed's note: It's actually AT Lystra, but it was very dark in the room!] and wondering if it had anything to do with Lycra, therefore the Olympics, therefore something we had heard of.

So on it went, good-humoured and frenetic, and on went the tweets:

“Honeysett & co have given St Paul three toes. PCO team working Will and Kate and Pope into Bible scene”

“Telegraph team huffily say Proconsul themes are secret. Readers Digest are drawing a dog. Andy Davey of the Sun drawing manically, subject as yet unclear”

“Big Girls Drawers team just added fab corgi joke. I love cartoonists”

“330 pm. Brilliant. Adults and kids now lying on cold stone floor drawing their own cartoons. Professionals battle on.”

“Aha! Everyone breaking out colours now. And Daleks. And Harry’s bum. Private Eye v funny already”

“Guardian team being impeded by small children. Excellent temper-management. Kipper on fire!”

“Hmm NHS satire creeping in to Healing of the Lame banner. Telegraph team having Ionic columns pawed by infants”

“Sun team on Harry gags. Guardian too. Procartoonists gone insanely Biblical. Telegraph got good V&A in-joke”

“There are even Ninja Turtle jokes! From Readers Digest! Not many national art events span such cultural richness”

“5 mins to go. Huge variety of styles from stark b&w to exuberant larkiness”

And then there was the judging.

Popular cheering and clapping having been banned by anxious curators, in case dust was dislodged and damaged the Raphaels, the Big Draw decided the clever thing would be to get people to cluster round their favourite and see who had most.

This profoundly, confusingly, almost Old-Labourishly block-vote system proved unreliable and, given the loud cheering that happened anyway, really quite suitably absurd. Private Eye won. But actually, everyone did.

Libby Purves_3 at the Big Draw 2012 @procartoonists.org

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by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – Sunday

April 25, 2010 in General, News

Big Boards exhibited on SundayA small but important addition to this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is the exhibition of the completed Big Boards on the Sunday.

There is so much activity over the weekend that it’s easy to miss seeing some of the finished boards, but now the public get the chance to see this unique exhibition at their leisure on the Sunday.

The Bloghorn team, along with many other cartoonists and cartoon enthusiasts, have been taking loads of photos throughout the weekend. We’re in the process of getting them together online at Flickr. Expect to see many more throughout the week.

For a nice flavour of the Shrewsbury goings-on, see the piece written by festival patron Libby Purves in Saturday’s Times: Drawing the crowds.

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by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – Friday

April 23, 2010 in Comment

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is under way and recent volcanic news events are providing good material for cartoonists.

Cartoonist_Jason_Chatfield_Shrewsbury at http://thebloghorn.org

Three artists from Australia were invited this year, but only Jason Chatfield, above, was able to make it. Luckily Jason started travelling long before Eyjafjallajokull did its thing.

Cartoonist_Cathy_Simpson_Shrewsbury at http://thebloghorn.org

At the time of writing, 4pm on the Friday, the Big Boards in the market square are starting to take shape. Also to be found in the square are caricaturists and “reverse caricaturing” (you provide the face, seaside-board style, the cartoonists provide the body of your choice!)

Elsewhere there are cartoon exhibitions to be seen, on the theme of Magic, Myths and Mystery. And at the Darwin Shopping Centre, the HuMurals – a collection of single-panel cartoons that form a huge cartoon mural – are progressing.

The good people of Shrewsbury, who are no doubt used to the invasion of cartoonists as this is the 7th year of the festival, all seem to be joining in the fun – and there’s plenty more to come on Saturday and Sunday.

You can see lots more pictures, taken and tweeted throughout the day, at the Bloghorn Twitter feed.

New patrons for Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2010

April 2, 2010 in General

Comedian, TV host and and cartoon fan Phill Jupitus has given his public support to this year’s upcoming Shrewsbury cartoon festival by signing up as a patron of the annual event. Phill and broadcaster Libby Purves will also be joined by BBC Radio 2 DJ Alex Lester.

The Festival’s full programme for 22-25 April is now available online and in a downloadable pdf brochure. You will be able to follow coverage of the event here at the Bloghorn and on our Twitter feed.

The festival, now in its seventh year, also enjoys support from long-time patrons Professor Colin Pillinger (the inspiring scientist from the Beagle 2 Mission to Mars) and TV news pundit Andrew Marr.


Bloghorn Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Magic, Myth and Mystery cartoon 2010

Highlights of this year’s event include an illustrated talk by one of Britain’s finest political cartoonists, Martin Rowson. His talk ‘Giving Offence – the Greatest Gift’ is at the Old Market Hall, 12.30pm on Saturday 24 April. Tickets are £5 from the Box Office which you can contact at 01743 281281.

Libby Purves presents an evening of conversation and cartoons with cartoonist Bill Stott at The Lion on Thursday 22 April at 7.30pm. Tickets are also £5 from Bear Steps Gallery , telephone 01743 356511

Full details of the many other free events, workshops, talks and cartooning activities are in the brochure linked above or from the official festival website.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is organised by Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Civic Society, The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, and Agate Design with support from the Arts Council and many volunteers and private sector sponsors. If you would like details of opportunities around this and future festivals you can make contact using the form below.

[contact-form 1 "Contact form 1"]

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by Royston

How cartoons help us cope

March 8, 2010 in Comment

Libby Purves, patron of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, writes in the Times today about how cartoons help us confront the dark side of human nature:

Cartoon grotesques let us face the real horrors

Above: Libby chats to the Guardian’s Steve Bell, creator of more than his fair share of cartoon grotesques, at last year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. Photograph © Gerard Whyman

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by Royston

Praise for British cartoons

April 27, 2009 in General

A Telegraph reader praises British cartooning in response to last week’s article by PCO patron Libby Purves.

Bloghorn endorses and approves any comments about how marvellous British cartoonists are, though we would not agree with the Telegraph reader’s view on cartoons in “continental newspapers”, having just returned from the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

An acclaimed exhibition by Czech cartoonist Miroslav Bartak can be seen at the Theatre Severn’s Chapel Bar in Shrewsbury until June 6. More details here.

PCO member Gerard Whyman has posted a selection of photographs taken at Shrewsbury on his Facebook page. Facebook members can view them here.