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The Round-up

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

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe's Bar courtesy of and © The Spectator

Gerald Scarfe and drawings from Scarfe’s Bar © The Spectator

Kasia Kowalska and Royston Robertson write:

Cartoonists and alcohol are often linked, and now one of the UK’s best known political cartoonists, Gerald Scarfe, has a bar named after him at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, London. The Spectator has more and the Telegraph has a video in which the cartoonist talks about the drawings on the walls.

Congratulations go to Peter Brookes of The Times, who was named cartoonist of the year at the British Press Awards. In the US, of course, they give cartoonists the Pulitzer Prize. You can watch Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer honoured by work colleagues here.

Private Eye cartoonist and Procartoonists.org member Tony Husband has recently been out and about, taking cartooning to the people.

A dog is a man’s best friend and William Hogarth‘s was a pug. Lars Tharp reveals the 18th century artist’s obsession with his four-legged companion in conversation with Clare Barlow, the National Portrait Gallery’s assistant curator.

Hot on the heels of The New Yorker’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who is tirelessly promoting his memoir (including here and hereRoz Chast of the magazine also has an autobiographical book out, called Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

For those eager to embrace new technology, a team of designers has developed a 3D sketching tool called Gravity. It is designed for sketching in “immersive augmented reality”, apparently, and you won’t need a computer to use it.

Phoenix Children's Comic Festival poster

Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival. Click to enlarge

The second Phoenix Children’s Comic Festival will take place at the Story Museum in Oxford in May. Among the guests will be Jamie Smart and Matt Baker from the comic. Meanwhile, DownTheTubes.net wonders whether comics are made for children any more, or are they being made for adults?

Ever wondered why cartoon characters on cereal boxes always have a similar expression? The Daily Mail reports that, according to a Cornell study, they always stare downwards to appeal directly to young children in supermarkets.

Hayao Miyazaki, the acclaimed animator and founder of Studio Ghibli, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, is to retire. The BFI is running a Studio Ghibli retrospective throughout April and May. Miyazaki is also one of the nominees at the Reuben Awards for his latest film The Wind Rises.

A meeting of minds

February 13, 2014 in Events, News

Kasia Kowalska reports from the opening of Calman Meets Freud at the Freud Museum in Hampstead, London

"I hope I'm not boring you."  © Mel Calman @Procartoonists.org

“I hope I’m not boring you.” © Mel Calman @Procartoonists.org

The first thing you notice as you join the small gathering of family, friends and colleagues of Mel Calman at the Freud Museum is the unreserved warmth with which they talk about him.

It soon becomes apparent that he must have been a generous and engaging man and that he inspired love and loyalty in those who got to know him.

His daughter Claire Calman, who co-curated the exhibition with her sister Stephanie Calman, called it a “real labour of love” and remarked that it coincides with the 20th anniversary of Mel Calman’s death.

“Everything about Mel is still in sharp focus after 20 years” said the Times political cartoonist Peter Brookes, who worked with Calman in the 1990s. “His gruff bonhomie, his decency and kindness.”

Sir Peter Stothard, former Times editor with Peter Brookes, editorial cartoonist at the paper © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

Sir Peter Stothard, former Times editor with Peter Brookes, editorial
cartoonist at the newsaper © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The theme of psychology is explored in the exhibition and it reflects on both therapy and mental health, but the cartoons also explore the nature of relationships and intricacies of our private lives. Lisa Appignanesi, chair of trustees at the Freud Museum, said that it was “particularly wonderful to have Calman at the museum as Freud loved jokes“.

If you knew nothing about Mel Calman except for his cartoons, you would already know that he was funny, thoughtful and deeply interested in people and their inner lives. Peter Brookes called Calman’s cartoons “deceptively simple”.

Calman’s cartoons snap what one may be thinking or feeling into a surprisingly crisp form and clinch it with a witty, singular statement. They say that it’s OK not to be OK.

His “little man” who sometimes feels unloved and often put upon, unfit to tackle all of life’s problems, is prone to melancholy and depression. This was also true of Calman himself.

"Are you suffering from too much life again?" © Mel Calman @ Procartoonists.org

“Are you suffering from too much life again?”
© Mel Calman @ Procartoonists.org

Sir Peter Stothard, who was his editor at The Times, said: “Mel was a cynical realist, a laughing pessimist — a perfect fit for the Freud Museum.”

Among the cartoons and publications on display is a large collection of objects from the family’s private collection including personal letters, notes and the famous B5 pencils that became Calman’s medium of choice.

Cartooning permeated Calman’s life and he used it as a means of communication that stretched beyond his professional career. One object from the collection is a drawing on an envelope addressed to his young daughters at an imaginary address. It features a cartoon stamp and, in the top left corner, the word “AirMel”.

Calman Meets Freud runs until 16 March

The Round-up

December 12, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Peter Brookes @Procartoonists.org

The death of Nelson Mandela inspired poignant tributes from UK cartoonists, among them Peter Brookes in The Times (above), Peter Schrank in The Independent and Christian Adams in The Telegraph. Elsewhere, the South African cartoonist Zapiro tells the BBC a personal anecdote that demonstrates Mandela’s appreciation of satire.

Congratulations to Len Hawkins, who has been named the first-ever recipient of The Spectator’s Michael Heath Award for Cartooning. Already an established gag cartoonist, Len has won a year’s contract with the magazine, an original drawing by Heath, a bottle of gin, and a hand-made pair of shoes from John Lobb, which sponsored the competition.

Bill Watterson, creator of the much-loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, looks set to be the subject of a feature film from Warner Bros., with Leonardo DiCaprio among its producers.  Visit The Daily Cartoonist for more information. Watterson and his strip were also recently the focus of a documentary film.

According to Forbes, Bitstrips are now being used by French politicians to connect with the electorate. For the PCO‘s view on the popular automated ‘cartoons’, read this previous article.

The Round-up

October 21, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© George Grosz @Procartoonists.org

George Grosz, the German satirical artist who has inspired so many of today’s cartoonists, is the subject of a new exhibition at the Richard Nagy gallery in London – the first retrospective of Grosz’s work to be held in the UK for almost 20 years. Read more about the show here.

Matt Pritchett of The Telegraph has been named Pocket Cartoonist of the Year for an impressive seventh time. Other winners at the Cartoon Art Trust‘s gala dinner on 17 October included Procartoonists.org member Kipper Williams (The Guardian), Peter Brookes (The Times), Peter Schrank (The Independent), and Mike Barfield (Private Eye). The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Nicholas Garland. Cartoonist Oliver Preston, who MC’d the ceremony and set up the Cartoon Art Trust Awards in 1995, has plenty more about the awards evening here. Congrats and kudos to all the winners.

Michael Maslin, a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker, asks his peers to reveal some of their most autobiographical gags and the inspiration behind them. Read the responses here.

We are sorry to note that James Sillavan (JAS) has died at the age of 63. His cartoons appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, notably The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Tablet and The Economist. The Guardian has a detailed obituary here.

An auction of original Giles cartoons has far exceeded estimates. Visit the BBC for more details and a short video.

And finally – looking for something special for the history buff in your life? PCOer Adrian Teal, himself something of an expert on the 18th Century, is one of the brains behind this ‘replica cundum’, which is being auctioned on behalf of Cancer Research UK. Go on – you know you want to.

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.

The Round-up

July 15, 2013 in General, Links, News

Chris Burke in his studio © Anke @Procartoonists.org

Chris Burke, the widely published caricaturist and illustrator – and Procartoonists.org member – gives a local blog a tour of his home and studio in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Read the resulting feature interview, and see plenty of examples of Chris’ work,  here.

The Guardian has an interview with David Fickling and family – the tribe behind weekly comic The Phoenix – told in comic-strip format.

Charlie Paul, director of the Ralph Steadman documentary For No Good Reason, shares a short time-lapse film showing the Procartoonists.org member in action. (Brought to our attention by the Cartoon Museum – follow them on Twitter: @cartoonmuseumuk.)

Following a long-awaited British – or is that Scottish? – victory in the men’s singles event at Wimbledon, Andy Murray has been popping up in many a cartoon. He appears alongside his mother, Judy, in the 75th anniversary issue of The Beano; has been knighted courtesy of Procartoonist Andy Davey in The Sun; and was cynically adopted by the politicians, in cartoons by Christian Adams for The Telegraph and Peter Brookes for The Times.

The Round-up

June 14, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

The Addams Family © Charles Addams @Procartoonists.org

Boing Boing draws our attention to a 12-minute documentary about Charles Addams and the inspiration for his ghoulish Family. Watch it here.

Procartoonists.org member Tim Harries will be taking part in a comic fair in Newport this Saturday (15 June). Find an interview with Tim, along with more details of the event, here.

Peter Brookes, the political cartoonist for The Times, has unveiled his decorated Gromit statue, which was produced for charity and features Brookes’ depictions of Ed ‘Wallace’ Miliband and Ed Balls. Read more at the Times site.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall both appear as guest stars in this week’s edition of the Beano. Meanwhile, Beano cartoonist Kev F. Sutherland has been passing on tips to the next generation.

Superman turns 75 this year, and with a new movie interpretation out in cinemas this week, DC Comics has plans for new series featuring its flagship hero. Deseret News, the Mormon news site, looks back at the inspiration for Superman and the character’s virtuous traits in this article. And a copy of Supes’ first appearance has sold for $175,000 – having previously been used as insulation.

The Iron Lady vs the Cartoonists

June 11, 2013 in General, News

Margaret Thatcher © Jonathan Cusick @ Procartoonists.org

© Jonathan Cusick @ Procartoonists.org

An exhibition of Margaret Thatcher cartoons, The Eyes of Caligula and the Lips of Marilyn Monroe, opens at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London today (11 June).

The gallery is promoting the event with the caricature above by Procartoonists.org member  Jonathan Cusick. The exhibition features cartoonists including Jak, John Jensen, Larry, Ed McLachlan, Matt and Peter Brookes.

Running alongside it is a retrospective exhibition called Daggers Drawn: 35 Years of Kal Cartoons in The Economist. Both exhibitions run until 22 June. More details at the Chris Beetles website.

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.

 

Heard the one about Twitter jokes?

February 13, 2013 in Comment, General

Procartoonists.org member Royston Robertson on the rise of Twitter jokes

“Everyone’s a comedian” is a phrase often uttered sarcastically, but with the rise of the Twitter joke it almost seems true.

If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon you need to be hanging around on Twitter when a major news story breaks. Recent stories such as the horsemeat scandal, the resignation of the Pope, and the unearthing of the body of Richard III, have provoked huge numbers of jokes (click those links to see some of them). Some are by those in the business of writing jokes but most are not.

Twitter cartoon by Royston Robertson

© Royston Robertson @ Procartoonists.org

Of course there are plenty of clunkers, and quite a few groaners, but a lot of them are really rather good. And it leads to a bit of a problem for cartoonists: how do you follow that?

It can be tricky to come up with new and original ideas, possibly to be seen a day – or several days – later, in an age when a colossal wave of jokes travels around the world as soon as a story breaks.

Well, the simple answer is that you just have to up your game. Of course, you can’t read every tweet to make sure your joke hasn’t been done, you just have to get on with it. Twitter is clearly here to stay, so there’s no point in complaining.

For political cartoonists, the problem is even more acute as people have taken to predicting on Twitter how the following days cartoons will turn out, most notably when the Richard III story broke on the same day that the MP Chris Huhne changed his plea to guilty.

As predicted by the Twitterati, some cartoonists did combine the two stories. But if it is done with enough skill and original thought, it’s clear that there is a big difference between a beautifully crafted cartoon and a 140-character quip.

Ultimately, what the trend for Twitter jokes tells us is that millions of people love to look at the world and all its problems through the prism of humour.

And that has to be good news for cartoonists.

Editor asks: Do you agree? Please tell us what you think in the comments.