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by Royston

Cartoonists prepare to do battle

November 17, 2014 in Events, General, News

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A team from the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation will once again take part in the Battle of the Cartoonists. (Cartoon above by Bill Stott)

The event is organised by the Campaign for Drawing, the people behind The Big Draw, and will take place at the Electrician’s Shop gallery, Trinity Buoy Wharf, in east London this Sunday (23 November) from 12pm-5pm. Admission is free.

Four teams, from Procartoonists, The Guardian, The Independent and Private Eye will each create huge banners on the theme of “Recording Britain Now” (click here for the full list of events on that theme).

The winner will be chosen by popular vote i.e. the team that gets the most cheers and applause. Banners from previous Battles over the past decade will be on display. Free cartoon workshops for all ages will also take place.

PCO members at work on Battle of the Cartoonists banners at Somerset House in 2006 ...

PCO members in the Battle of the Cartoonists at Somerset House 2006 …

... Covent Garden in 2007 ...

… Covent Garden 2007 …

... St Pancras Station in 2008 ...

… St Pancras Station 2008 …

... the Idea Generation gallery 2009 ...

… the Idea Generation gallery 2009 …

... Hay's Galleria 2010 ...

… Hay’s Galleria 2010 …

... and the V&A, 2012.

… and the V&A 2012.

Sir John Sorrell, a cartoon and drawing aficionado who was was publisher of The Cartoonist, the “cartoon newspaper”, will launch the event and will give a talk about the importance of visual satire.

The team line-ups are as follows (all teams feature Procartoonists members):

Procartoonists.org Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Neil Dishington, Steve Way

Private Eye Henry Davies, Kathryn Lamb, Simon Pearsall, David Ziggy Greene

The Guardian Ros Asquith, Steve Bell, Ben Jennings, Kipper Williams

The Independent Dave Brown, Peter Schrank, David Simonds, Matt Buck

We wish all the teams the very best of luck!

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.

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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

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.

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

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.

 

The Round-up

October 28, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

 

© Peter Steiner / Cartoonbank @Procartoonists.org

The cartoon above, by Peter Steiner, is understood to be the most popular ever to appear in The New Yorker. Journalist Glenn Fleishman talks to its creator and looks at what has happened in the 20 years since it first appeared.

Last Friday’s edition of The One Show dropped in on a host of the UK’s most high-profile political cartoonists – among them PCO members Martin Rowson and Steve Bright. Ben Jennings and Bob Moran were then invited to draw against the clock, live on air. Watch the episode on BBC iPlayer here (available until 6.29pm on Friday 1 November).

The BBC show neglected to mention that the cartoonists were appearing in connection with the launch of a new book, edited by Tim Benson. The Best of Britain’s Political Cartoons 2013 will be published on 7 November.

Two British institutions are looking back over their own histories with the use of cartoons. The National Theatre on London’s South Bank is showing a selection of cartoons in its Olivier exhibition space, as part of a celebration to mark its 50th anniversary. Across the river, the Bank of England is exhibiting classics from its own cartoon collection. National Theatre Lampoon and the Bank’s Cartoons & Caricatures are both completely free to visit. The NT show runs until 4 January, and the BoE display is open until 31 December.

For No Good Reason, Charlie Paul‘s documentary about PCO member and Gonzo icon Ralph Steadman, is to get an airing on Sky Atlantic next year.

Congratulations to Emily Haworth-Booth, who has won this year’s Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. And on the subject of prizes, Mike Barfield of Private Eye responds to his recent win at the Cartoon Art Trust Awards.

 

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.