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The Round-up

November 13, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun. Click to enlarge

Public voting is under way for the Political Cartoon of the Year 2014. Those in the running include the Procartoonists.org members Andy Davey, above, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Steve Bell, Steve Bright and Gary Barker.

The Times’s political cartoonist Peter Brookes is the subject of a short film called The Art of Satire, part of the newspaper’s Unquiet films series, celebrating its contributors and other aspects of the newspaper’s production (there’s even one for font geeks, we know you’re out there).

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

Many cartoonists have contributed to the new Stars on Canvas charity auction, in aid of the Willow foundation, which provides memorable days and experiences for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

The contributors include a whole bunch of PCO members: Rob Murray, Kipper Williams, Mike Williams, Jonesy, Jonathan Cusick, Matt Percival. Jonathan Pugh, Royston Robertson, Lawrence Goldsmith, Kate Taylor, Tony Husband and Noel Ford.

The BBC has a short film on Quentin Blake, talking about his new book The Five of Us, which is about a group of children who overcome diabilities

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

The Chris Beetles Gallery‘s winter selling exhibition The Illustrators opens this weekend (15 November). It features illustration from 1800 to the present day. One of the contempiorary artists featured is Procartoonists member Jonathan Cusick, above.

Britain has a poet laureate and a children’s laureate and now Dave Gibbons, best known as the artist behind Watchmen, has been named as the first comics laureate, an initiative by the charity Comics Literacy Awareness.  Gibbons recently spoke to the Guardian about his lifelong passion for the medium.

One person who doesn’t need convincing about the worth of comics is Price Harry, who revealed his love for them as he met cartoonist Will Kevans.

"Wittertainment" presenters © Terry Anderson

“Wittertainment” presenters © Terry Anderson

Finally, cartoons on the radio is a phenomenon that happens all too rarely but the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film review show and podcast, known to its army of fans as Wittertainment, has started a regular feature called Cartoonists’ Corner, so those who listen to the show while drawing cartoons can say hello.

Those inaugurated into Cartoonists’ Corner so far include Procartoonists members Martin Rowson and Royston Robertson. And the Witertainment presenters have been caricatured, above,  by Terry Anderson. Pictured, clockwise, are Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, plus the recent stand-in presenters James King and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Thinking big at mini cartoon festival

September 2, 2014 in Events, General, News

Rog Bowles caricatures the public at the Southport Mini Cartoon Festival

Rog Bowles caricatures the public at the Southport Mini Cartoon Festival

Paul Hardman reports on the first Southport Mini Cartoon Festival, which took place on the August bank holiday weekend and was arranged at the very last moment, with little or no budget or publicity

I have for many years thought that my now-hometown of Southport in the North West of England would be an ideal location for a cartoon festival.

I was approached by Brendan Riley, a comedian and friend, and he put me in contact with Tony Wynne, our local arts project manager, who had been asked by the council to put on the Southport Festival of Art as part of an event to promote a regeneration funding bid.

Tony wanted to know if I could come up with something at very short notice and with a very limited budget. My response was to call on some of my old friends and a tried-and-tested formula. A hasty budget and plan was arrived at and it was decided to have a big-board event in the centre of town.

Pete Dredge works on a big board cartoon at Southport. You can see Bill Stott and Rich Skipworth hard at work too

Pete Dredge draws a big board cartoon. You can see Bill Stott and Rich Skipworth hard at work too

I was delighted when Noel Ford, Bill Stott, Pete Dredge and Rich Skipworth immediately jumped at the chance to come up and draw a big board here in Southport. I then asked Rog Bowles and Tim Leatherbarrow to assist with the arduous task of caricaturing the public.

The two-day event proved to be a success and the lads delighted the crowds, who stopped in their hundreds to enjoy the skill on show. Bill, Peter, Noel and Rich produced eight magnificent boards, which were all on display by the second day.

There was also an impromptu gallery of A3 gag cartoons, which hung alongside brief biographies of the cartoonists.

Southport Mini Cartoon Festival

Sunny weather ensured a great turnout for the Southport Mini Cartoon Festival

The weather was very kind to us and the visual impact in the town centre was nothing short of spectacular. Far more successful than I could ever have hoped for and I know each of the team was delighted with their stay.

This is hopefully a foot in the door and the beginning of a regular event for our cartoonists’ community. Here’s to the next successful year.

Many thanks to Paul and we echo that last thought.

The Round-up

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

Noel Ford cartoon

© Noel Ford

Kasia Kowalska and Royston Robertson write:

Cartoonists including the PCO members Bill Stott and Noel Ford, above, are involved in the first Southport Festival of ArtMore on that here.

An exhibition of Tony Husband’s Private Eye cartoons is on display at The Swan in Dobcross as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival until the end of July.

What a week for Marvel, which hit the headlines by showing that it is not afraid of change, announcing future comics in which Thor becomes a woman (but don’t dare call her Thora!) and Captain America will be black

The Guardian reports on the response to the conflict in Gaza by cartoonists in the Arab nations, in particular on the lack of action to from their governments.

A death sentence has been pronounced via Twitter for the Kuwati-born comic-book artist Naif Al-Mutawa by the Islamist militant group Isis. Meanwhile, in the UK, a former Islamist extremist has created a series of cartoons aimed at young British Muslims, titled Abdullah-X, writes Jack Simpson in The Independent.

In the US, Bob Mankoff talks about his cartoon editing role at The New Yorker and why it may just be the best job in the world in this interview with Survey MonkeyGarry Trudeau talks to the LA Times about how working on his Doonesbury strip helped him to prepare for his new TV series Alpha House.

Bob Moran exhibition

© Bob Moran

Bob Moran has an exhibition of cartoons drawn for the Telegraph in his hometown of Petersfield, Hampshire (details above). “This exhibition is generating a lot of hype,” he says on Twitter, “with local people describing it as ‘happening’ and ‘something to do’.”

Dozens of insightful musings about making comics and cartoons have been published by Michael Cavna of The Washington Post in celebration of the 6th birthday of his Comic Riffs column. The art of cartooning is no laughing matter,  according to this article about a new exhibition on Martha’s Vineyard in the US.

This week also marks the 81st anniversary of the first film appearance of Popeye. Greg Belfrage provides insight (and several episodes) here. Meawhile, remembering Mel Blanc, who died 25 years ago this month, the Express offers  up “Top 10 facts about cartoons”.

Finally, these are very clever and great fun: 15 household objects transformed Into cartoon characters by the French artist Gilbert Legrand.

Exhibition: Pastiche, Parody and Piracy

June 12, 2014 in Events, General, News

Steve Bell: "I licence the logo bearers ..."

Steve Bell: “I licence the logo bearers …”

Many PCO members feature in an exhibition that brings together cartoonists and contemporary artists called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy and opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on 20 June.

The exhibition was put together by the the curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster with artist Miriam Elia and cartoonist Jeremy Banx, with the aim of showing the importance of the “appropriation” of images made by others in art and satire.

The team say that they were inspired to “celebrate the historical creative act of pastiche, parody and piracy” after Penguin UK threatened to pulp Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery, a parody of the Ladybird series of children’s books.

Alongside Banx, the PCO members involved are: Nathan Ariss, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Matt Buck, Wilbur Dawbarn, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Steve Jones, Kathryn Lamb, Chris Madden, Glenn Marshall, Alexander Matthews, Jonathan Pugh, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy and Mike Turner.

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Dance by Matisse

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Matisse’s Dance

As well as cartoons, this exhibition will feature projections, photographs, prints and collage that use or pastiche other works of art, characters and logos.

The use of other works – though it has long been a tool in art – can be a controversial issue, particularly as those works are often copyrighted. The exhibition has already stirred up debate within in the PCO, with some members refusing to take part.

The gallery says: “The pieces in this exhibition play with other people’s ideas and pre-existing works to showcase a selection of contemporary appropriation in art that is often mischievous, somewhat humorous, and often unsettling. It plays with what the viewer might be comfortable with and questions ideas of authorship and originality.”

The title for this exhibition was inspired by a proposed exception for parody, satire and pastiche in a government copyright law. If it is passed, the act of subverting and appropriating elements of popular culture will be protected from large companies that often seek to silence artists through the courts.

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

“We believe this is crucial for the future of appropriative art and satire, and although the law has been delayed, we are putting on this exhibition to celebrate artists, satirists and cartoonists who are paving the way,” say the organisers.

Pastiche, Parody and Piracy: Exploring Different Approaches in Contemporary Art Appropriation is at The Cob Gallery, London NW1 from 20 June – 5 July. For more, email info@cobgallery.com or call 020-7209 9110

Success for Shrewsbury festival

April 30, 2014 in Events, General, News

Shrewsbury 2014: The music-themed festival was sponsored by Procartoonists.org

Shrewsbury 2014: The music-themed festival was sponsored by Procartoonists.org

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, which took place at the weekend, drew huge crowds and was deemed a success by all involved. And it has already been given a major boost for next year.

The Shropshire Star reports that the festival has just won a £2,000 grant for next year’s event. Every penny will count as this year major funding was cut, so the 2014 festival was run on a shoestring – with a little help from Procartoonists.org.

However, as the organisers predicted, the public would not have noticed as the festival was as lively and busy as ever.

Here is a video of the Big Boards that the Shropshire Star created:

And here are more photos of the event, taken by Kasia Kowalska, that show the breadth of activities that took place at this year’s festival.

Andrew Birch and Kate Charlesworth at work on their Big Boards, the most high-profile element of the festival. They're hard to miss.

Andrew Birch and Kate Charlesworth at work on their Big Boards. The most high-profile element of the cartoon festival, the boards are impossible to miss.

Rich Skipworth, who has taken over as festival chairman from Roger Penwill, adds colour to his board

Rich Skipworth, who is tasked with organising next year’s event having taken over as festival chairman from Roger Penwill , adds some colour to his board

For the music-themed festival Rosie Brooks set herself the task of illustrating the story of Wagner's Ring Cycle in a few hours

For the music-themed festival, Rosie Brooks set herself the task of illustrating the story of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in just a few hours

Daniel Kawczynski, Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury, is caricatured by Jonathan Cusick

Daniel Kawczynski, the Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury, is caricatured by Jonathan Cusick

Alex Hughes, steampunk caricaturist outfit was enough to, er, draw a crowd

Alex Hughes’s steampunk caricaturist outfit was enough to, er, draw a crowd

Harry Venning, creator of Clare in the Community did a talk that was part cartooning part stand-up comedy

Harry Venning, creator of Clare in the Community, as seen in The Guardian and heard on BBC Radio 4,  did a talk that was part cartooning part stand-up comedy

Wilbur Dawbarn hosted cartooning workshops for all ages, as did Cathy Simpson

Wilbur Dawbarn hosted cartooning workshops for all ages, as did Cathy Simpson and Tim Harries

The participating cartoonists were: Rupert Besley, Steve Best, Andrew Birch, Rosie Brooks, 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.

Instant cartoons in the Square, handed out to the public for donations to the festival, were a feature this year. John Roberts draws Dizzy Gillespie

John Roberts draws Dizzy Gillespie. Instant cartoons drawn in the Square and handed out to the public for donations to the festival were a feature this year

Royston Robertson and Matt Buck add to the instant cartoons gallery

Royston Robertson and Matt Buck add to the instant cartoons gallery

Finally the Melodrawma is a great illustration of what makes the festival unique. A live comic-strip drawn to the accompaniment of narration, music and sound effects. The Melodrawma team this year was Andrew Birch, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Bill Stott and The Surreal McCoy.

Finally the Melodrawma is a great illustration of what makes the festival unique. It is a live comic-strip drawn to the accompaniment of narration, music, sound effects … and audience participation. The team this year was Andrew Birch, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Bill Stott and The Surreal McCoy.

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 Brooks, 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.

Canvassing for charity

November 27, 2012 in Events, General, News

Cartoon canvas by Robert Thompson

Cartoon canvas © Robert Thompson @ Procartoonists.org

Many cartoonists have contributed small canvases to the Stars on Canvas 2012 charity auction, which runs online until 2 December.

They include Procartoonists.org members Jonathan Cusick, Noel Ford, Tony Husband, Royston Robertson, Robert Thompson, above, and Kate Taylor. There are also canvases by names from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment.

The auction is in aid of the Willow Foundation, which arranges special days and experiences for seriously ill 16 to 40-year-olds. More details here.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Heritage exhibition: Just like that!

October 31, 2012 in Events, General, News

Tommy Cooper by John Roberts

Tommy Cooper © John Roberts

An exhibition of cartoons and caricatures by Procartoonists.org members Bill Stott, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill and John Roberts is being held at the Heritage Centre in Knutsford, Cheshire, from 6 November until 22 December.

The Cartoon Collective show is very loosely based on the theme of “heritage” and will include a collection of cartoons on imaginary old motorcycles by Roger and a series of caricatures of British comedians by John, such as Charlie Chaplin and Tommy Cooper, right.

Noel is selling some of his Punch original cartoons while displaying a couple of original full-colour Punch covers and the first two gags he sold to the magazine.

A preview evening will be held on 6 November, at which John will be drawing some live caricatures and Bill will be doing a “stand-up cartoonist” routine. For details, visit knutsfordheritage.co.uk, email info@knutsfordheritage.co.uk or call 01565-652 854.

Review: Punch Cartoons in Colour

October 18, 2012 in Comment, Events, General

Cartoonist and Procartoonists member Noel Ford takes a look back at The Best of Punch Cartooons in Colour. The collection is edited by Helen Walasek.

Well, as far as a review is concerned, I could leave it at that. The title says it all.

Oh, all right then … it has long been a bone of contention amongst cartoonists with respect to how important the actual drawing of a cartoon is. Many will argue that a good gag will carry a poor drawing but a poor gag is still a poor gag no matter how brilliant the draughtsmanship. Others will claim that a cartoon’s artwork is paramount, being the vehicle by which the idea is transported (and why would anyone trust the delivery of their finest ideas to the unreliability of drawing’s equivalent to a clapped-out K-Reg Ford Transit?) As to whether a cartoon needs colour, that is a further development of this debate.

Review: The Best of Punch Cartoons in Colour @ procartoonists.org

Review: The Best of Punch Cartoons in Colour @ Procartoonists.org

Whichever side of the argument you stand, I am pretty confident that the contents of this volume will delight you, comprising, as it does, an abundance of  the whimsical humour that Punch was (is!) famous for and some really wonderful, full colour artwork, ranging from  a classic 1924 Bateman full page colour cartoon through to the poignant cover of the final issue of the “real” Punch magazine, by Holte (Trevor Holder).

The cartoons themselves include some you may have known and loved for many years, but the real treasure of this book is the abundance of Punch colour cartoons that have never been published since their original appearance in the magazine. When Alan Coren, as Editor, introduced the full front-cover gag cartoon, in the late seventies, many of us younger (then!) contributors thought large format colour gag cartoons were something entirely new to the magazine. This book shows how wrong we were.

To the seasoned Punch cartoon enthusiast, the book holds a few other surprises, too. By the nature of the collection, some of Punch’s most notable contributors are nowhere to be found. Bill Tidy, Larry (Terry Parkes), Chic Jacob, masters of the black and white cartoon with only a relatively few outings into the broader spectrum of colour are, for once, absent from a Punch cartoon collection. I remember a conversation with Larry, many years ago, when he told me he didn’t really see the point of colour in a cartoon, though he did, I recall, relent sufficiently to produce one Punch cover. I think the point of colour in a cartoon is probably that same pleasure derived from any icing on the cake. Whilst it may not be absolutely necessary, it can, nevertheless, delight.

Finally, as with its sister volume, The Best of Punch Cartoons, this is a substantial volume (not really one for your Kindle!) and the contents often chronicle the historical and social events of the times. So if you need an excuse, other than pure and joyful entertainment, to be observed reading this tome, you can always fall back on that one.

Oh, and one more thing …

Anyone who believes cartooning is not real art should absolutely not open this book unless they want their illusions shattered irreparably!

Editor adds: Thanks to Noel for the review and you might care to visit the Punch Magazine Archive.

If any other reader is thinking about contributing to this blog please contact us here.

Personal Bests: Gold!

August 5, 2012 in General, News

Personal Bests_Gold! © Noel Ford @ procartoonists.org

London 2012: It’s Gold! Image extracted from Personal Bests.