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by Royston

Remembering the cartoonists’ cartoonist

April 14, 2016 in Events, General, News

Honeysett Roundtable

Royston Robertson writes about taking part in a tribute to the late Martin Honeysett at the Cartoon Museum in London:

Martin Honeysett is described by Bill Stott as “the cartoonists’ cartoonist” in a foreword to the excellent A Taste of Honeysett book that accompanies the current Cartoon Museum exhibition. So it was fitting that a bunch of his fellow inkslingers got together this week to pay tribute to him.

The event was organised to tie in with the last week of exhibition, a career overview of the work of Honeysett, who died very suddenly after a short illness in January 2015.

I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the roundtable discussion along with Ken Pyne, Jeremy Banks and Nick Newman.

Charles Peattie, who draws the Telegraph strip Alex and Celeb for Private Eye, and had come as an audience member, was also persuaded to take part and share his appreciation of Honeysett. The museum was actually spoilt for choice as a sizeable number of the audience at the well-attended event were fellow scribblers, proving the truth of the cartoonists’ cartoonist tag.

Honeysett cartoon

“God knows what they teach them on those Government Retraining schemes.”

For an hour we discussed the unique art of Honeysett, a genuine one-off in the world of cartooning whose work is often seen as cruel or brutal but is, we all agreed, essentially truthful. And very funny, of course.

We also shared memories of Honeysett himself. Ken Pyne told a story involving Martin, the cartoonist Michael ffolkes, and a very large cake. Ffolkes, and the cake, came off worst. Nick Newman shared a cartoon Martin drew of the three Private Eye editors at the magazine’s 50th birthday party, which can be seen here.

The floor was then opened to the audience and many favourite cartoons were discussed.

All in all, a fitting tribute to Honeysett, who is sadly missed not just for his cartoons but for his good company. The cartoonists retired to pub next door, happy in the knowledge that had Martin been there he would have been utterly embarrassed about the whole thing.

A Taste of Honeysett runs until Saturday 16 April

Martin Honeysett at the 2014 Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

The cartoonists’ cartoonist: Martin Honeysett, summer 2014

From the dusty PCO blog archive, here are a couple of articles written by Martin Honeysett:

Teaching cartooning in Japan
If you are Oldie enough …

 

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by Royston

The Round-up

May 22, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

It’s time for another cartooning news Round-up and we kick off again with a few busy Procartoonists.org members

From The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success © Rob Murray

From The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success © Rob Murray

Rob Murray has illustrated a new book called The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success by Andy McNab and Professor Kevin Dutton (above, left to right).

“Part of the idea,” Rob tells us, “is to get across the message that while people immediately think of serial killers and axe murderers when they hear the word ‘psychopath’, it actually covers a wide range of people and some — like McNab — are functioning ‘good’ psychopaths.”

There’s more on the book at the Telegraph and Mail Online.

Wilbur Dawbarn appeared on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 and showed hosts and guests how to draw Billy Whizz. You can see the show on 4oD here. Will appears at 22 minutes in and at 1hr 7mins. The show also features comics expert Paul Gravett talking about the exhibition Comics Unmasked.

Nathan Ariss at Studio 106

Nathan Ariss at Studio 106

Studio 106 in Hove is holding an open house every weekend in May, from 11-5pm, as part of the Brighton Arts Festival. Nineteen local artists including the cartoonists Grizelda and Procartoonists’ own Nathan Ariss, above, are showcasing their work and method of working. The studio is at 106 Coleridge Street.

The South China Morning Post cartoonist Harry Harrison, probably the most far-flung of Procartoonists members, celebrates 20 years in Hong Kong with a look back at his favourite cartoons.

In an edition of the Resonance FM show Panel Borders, Tom Sutcliffe talks to Nick Newman, cartoonist and editor of Private Eye: A Cartoon History, and the magazine’s editor Ian Hislop about the Eye’s most memorable and controversial cartoons.

Voteman is coming!

Look out: Voteman is coming!

Feeling apathetic about this week’s European elections? Think again! The Danish parliament decided that Voteman, a cartoon packed with sex and violence, would bring more voters to the polls. It later withdrew the video, but nothing ever dies on the internet and you can watch it here (but be warned!)

Over in the US, the New York Post dropped its comics page. Tom Richmond has something to say about that.

Pat Mills, creator of Charley’s War, talks to the BBC about the epic comic strip and argues that the First World War was the “first sci-fi war”.

The annual Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Competition (they really need a catchier name) is now open. The deadline for entries is 26 September.

Finally, you’ve heard of mini comics, well Forbidden Planet has details on the world’s smallest comic strip, which is drawn on a human hair.

The Round-up

November 10, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Mike Williams @Procartoonists.org

In the wake of recent disappointing decisions elsewhere in the mainstream press, it’s encouraging to see cartoons being celebrated this week in a major newspaper. The Independent is the latest to provide coverage of Private Eye’s new retrospective cartoon book, and PCO members feature prominently in the article, which includes quotes from Nick Newman and is accompanied by classic gags from Ken Pyne and Mike Williams (above), among others. Read the article here.

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor, reveals the exhaustive lengths he and his staff go to in order to ensure cartoons used by the magazine bear no similarity to ones already used.

The latest Asterix book – and the first without co-creator Albert Uderzo wielding the pen – has launched to strong sales. Meanwhile, on this side of the Channel, Stephen Collins has received a nomination for his graphic novel, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year. Hear from Collins and fellow strip cartoonist Tom Gauld in this video from the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Comic strips, of course, are nothing new – but cartoonists are always finding new ways to approach them.

 

Opinion: People love cartoons,
so why let them go?

October 13, 2013 in Comment, General

Cartoon by Tony Reeve

Private Eye cartoon © by the late Tony Reeve

Nick Newman, cartoonist, PCO member and editor of Private Eye: A Cartoon History, writes for the Procartoonists.org blog:

The sound of 1,000 people laughing out loud at cartoons from Private Eye: A Cartoon History left me feeling elated as I departed from the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

The town hall, the largest venue in town, was packed to the rafters by a sell-out crowd of unlikely Eye fans on a Monday afternoon.

The demographic was definitely more staid than I’d expected, and I wondered how some of the Eye’s more risqué gags would fare on the big screen. I needn’t have worried. Alexander Matthews’ bishop saying of his choristers “God, it’s like everyone I’ve ever slept with is here!” raised the roof, as did Tony Reeve’s little girl saying to woman washing up “Mummy, why are your hands so soft?”, ” I’m twelve”.

Afterwards, the audience was fulsome in their praise and voted with their wallets by buying stacks of books. The story was the same at the Henley Literary Festival, the Soho Literary Festival and the National Theatre. People love cartoons – and not in a wry, chucklesome sort of way; in a roaring boom of belly laughter.

My euphoria was short-lived – returning to London to hear that four of my cartoonist newspaper colleagues had been axed for budgetary reasons. Two of these were the same cartoonists whose work was met with such a rapturous reception on the literary circuit.

Times are, of course, very hard for print journalism – hacks too are being laid off in their droves – but at the same time that newspapers are shedding freelancers, the online departments are desperately looking for ways to enliven the dull, digital, monotonous “swipe-me” editions.

There, the backlit cartoons look bright, cheerful and vibrant. But cartoonists have to be employed in order to do the job and getting rid of exclusive visual content surely can’t be the answer to attracting digital readers.

A week of contrasts left me feeling that the game is up for print journalism, if the demands of the digital age have left papers so strapped for cash that they can’t afford humour and creativity – assets desperately in short supply on Fleet Street.

And if newspapers let them go, it will not be because readers don’t appreciate them.

They do. I’ve heard them. In their thousands.

Editor adds: Many thanks to Nick. He and Ian Hislop, the Private Eye editor, will be doing another talk at the V&A on 19 November. He suggests that anyone wanting to hear how much people like cartoons should go along.

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

September 1, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© Stanley Franklin @Procartoonists.org

Cartoons of Margaret Thatcher – including The Pit and The Pendulum by Stanley Franklin, above, has been showing at Leeds Gallery over the summer. Read a review of the exhibition here.

The British Cartoonists’ Association is on the lookout once again for Young Cartoonists of the Year and will now also accept digitally produced artwork (although a hard copy must be submitted). Find out more about how to enter the contest here.

Artwork from Procartoonists.org member Hunt Emerson‘s adaptations of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Frankenstein will be exhibited by The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Cumbria, for one month from 4 October. Read more at downthetubes.net.

Procartoonists.org member Steve Bell discusses his depictions of US presidents in this audio interview and transcript.

Those interested in going behind the scenes with cartoonists and illustrators should check out both The Tools Artists Use and 20 Questions With Cartoonists.

The Oldie, one of the most high-profile markets for UK gag cartoonists, has reached 300 issues. Richard Ingrams, founder of the magazine and former editor of Private Eye, looks back on his time with both organs in this piece from The Telegraph. A new Oldie Book of Cartoons is released next month.

Also due to land on bookshelves and coffee tables in September is Private Eye: A Cartoon History. Edited by longtime Eye man Nick Newman, the book will feature more than 1,000 gags from the past 50 years. It certainly looks jam-packed, if these sample pages are anything to go by.

Ed adds: Late entry from Sarah McIntyre, aka @Jabberworks, at the Telegraph: Comic adventures for kids of all ages.

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.

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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.