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Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2015

April 20, 2015 in News

AS USUAL, IT seems like a dream now. As with most Cartoon Festivals, they come and go in a flash with so many activities and social get-togethers lubricated by the products of many hostelries that ‘real life’ doesn’t seem real for the first couple of days back home.

The Twelfth Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival (yes – TWELFTH!) went off with its customary sparkle provided by the town’s influx of cartoonists from all over the country. Oh, and one all the way from Australia, Dean Alston, just so that the ‘international’ tag could be legitimized!

The high-quality exhibition at the Bear Steps Gallery was on the theme of ‘Style’ this year and it was probably as loose-fitting a theme as you could get allowing an awful lot of leg-room for cartoony inspiration. Shrewsbury is spoiled by having a unique exhibition like this every year – on display for over a month, not just during the festival weekend.

The Market Square, as always provided a focal point for the public to spot cartoonists and caricaturists at work. The well-established favourites, the Big Boards, were as usual becoming repositories for brilliant works of cartoon art and well-thought out gags. The new concept of ‘cartoon busking’, initially performed by Roger Penwill and Noel Ford and the ‘quick-on-the-draw’ style entertainment of the Cartoon Melodrawma were more ingenious ways of bringing the concept of cartooning memorably under the public gaze. Workshops in both caricaturing and comic strips were on offer, thanks to Terry Anderson and Tim Harries and Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson gave an illustrated talk on his view of the last five years of a coalition government.

As usual, the cartoonists sampled the hospitality of various establishments around the town and left the paper tabelcoths in the Henry Tudor House restaurant liberally spattered with cartoony inspiration.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is probably the longest-running UK cartoon festival ever and its organisers are already meeting to discuss the agenda for the thirteenth one in 2016. Contrary to traditional belief, that’s a lucky number for many people.

Publishers must “create space for new cartoons” says PCO Chairman

February 10, 2015 in Comment

THE RECENT FLURRY of cartooning activity precipitated by the tragic events in Paris towards the beginning of January has caused several pauses for thought. When you get beyond the bigger picture of rights to freedom of speech and the arguments for and against depicting whatever religious leader, we cartoonists arrive at the same modern-day conundrum: Where are our cartoons being PUBLISHED?

While, the modern age allows a little self-satisfaction with instant ‘publication’ through the media of Facebook and Twitter, it’s a sort of vanity-publishing whose merits shrink in size next to a big fat commission from a national newspaper or, perhaps, a global advertising campaign. Many cartoonists acquire a steady stream of, mainly private or ‘below the line’, bread and butter work by advertising themselves as such on social media but the kudos of being chosen by an art editor or creative director is a much less frequent experience these days. Perhaps, this is partly the fault of the aforementioned social media, too?

Cartoon-Editor-Save-Money

Bill Stott, the Chairman of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation writes:

The Draw the Line Here book of mainly UK cartoons, many from members of the PCO demonstrates, proves even, the power of good cartoons. The book will be published. Through sales of the book, funds will be sent to the relatives and families of those so mindlessly murdered in France. All of that is as it should be.

But what really puzzles, nay, infuriates me is that in the face of this demonstration of the power of humour, many UK publishers are ditching their cartoonists like unwanted ballast. The UK boasts some of the best cartoonists in the world. On current performance, UK publishers, of newspapers and magazines, do not value the UK’s professional cartooning talent. How many local newspapers still carry cartoons? Not many, in my view. What replaces the cartoon? Adverts?

The public loves cartoons. UK cartoon festivals, like Shrewsbury’s prove this, year on year. But there is an obvious disconnect between publishers’ thinking about cartoons and what the public like. New media, so-called social media, tweets, apps, and mobiles which can make toast or tell you what’s in your fridge might well have a hand in this disconnect, but the public doesn’t really have a voice here. It’s as likely to write to papers en masse about a lack of cartoons as there is to be a ninety percent turnout in a local government by-election. Newspaper sales are falling fast. It’s time for UK publishers to take a gamble. They must stop regarding the cartoon as the easiest thing to drop and be revolutionary. Reinstate dumped cartoons. Create space for new cartoons. Get brave! Bill Stott, Chair, PCO

Cartoon-Editor-Accountant

Cartoonists rally around for Draw The Line Here Cartoon Book

February 9, 2015 in News

Cartoonists rally around in aid of Charlie Hebdo families and Freedom of Speech

Draw The Line Cartoon Book Cover

THE PROFESSIONAL CARTOONISTS’ Organisation has been heavily-occupied with work on the  Draw The Line Here Cartoon Book in aid of the Charlie Hebdo victims and in support of freedom of speech charity English Pen.

Approached by the crowdfunding platform Crowdshed, the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation are aiming to produce ’100 cartoons by 100 cartoonists’ in reaction to the terrorist murders of cartoonists and others in Paris on January 7th. Freedom of Speech charity English Pen were also approached to form a three-part partnership in order to create a historic collection of cartoons by some of the UK’s best cartoonists.

Contributions from cartooning icons such as Ralph Steadman, Steve Bell, Martin Rowson and Dave Brown are promising to make this a cartoon book to be given pride of place in any collection. it will be an assortment of political cartoons, gag cartoons and caricature illustrations and will be a very memorable, entertaining and yet poignant landmark in cartoon publishing.

The book campaign received a boost from Stephen Fry recently who kindly retweeted our appeal for more people to advance-purchase the book.

Tweet from Stephen Fry for Cartoon Book

We’re still urgently collecting funds throught the crowdfunding site Crowdshed, and YOU can be one of the first to receive the book once it’s published. Simply go HERE and choose your option!

St Just for laughs

October 22, 2014 in Events, General, News

St Just poster © Daryl Cagle

St Just poster © Daryl Cagle

Simon Ellinas writes:

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Salon International Du Dessins de Presse et d’Humor at St Just-le-Martel in France. Impressively installed in a brand new building on the outskirts of this small satellite of the city of Limoges, this cartoon festival has been running for 33 years.

The permanent display of cartoons and caricatures from around the world makes this the largest public museum of cartoon art in Europe. The last time I was there, five years ago, the events took place inside a series of marquees, while the first bricks for the centre were being laid.

My cartoonist friend John Landers and I travelled by Eurostar to Paris where we met other cartoonists. The travel is laid on by the festival organisers and local residents put visitors up in their own homes. I was delighted to find that we had been handed over to my previous hosts, who live in a very spacious and comfortable house 12km away in Boisseuils.

Cartoonists Simon Ellinas, left, and John landers, second right, with new friends at the St Just festival

Cartoonists Simon Ellinas, left, and John landers, second right, with their hosts at the St Just festival

The whole weekend is taken up with a huge exhibition of cartoons and caricatures from around the world and a grand hall full of cartoonists drawing for the public. And the public really do appreciate this event, arriving in many hundreds on both days. The festival is actually spread out over ten or so days, with the first and second weekends being peaks of activity.

Various awards are handed out by the charismatic mayor and chief initiator of the whole thing, Gerard Vandenbroucke, the main award of the festival going to the Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani.

stjust_doc

We were treated to a French cabaret evening on the Friday and a superb visit to an old cinema in nearby St Leonard. This was to see the Cartooning for Peace documentary Caricaturistes: Fantassins de la Democratie (poster above). This featured 12 cartoonists from around the world who have been working, many under great restrictions from their governments, to uphold their rights to democracy and to free speech.

Featuring Suprana as well as the Cartooning for Peace organiser Jean Plantu, the film also revealed the difficulties faced by cartoonists as far afield as China, Palestine and Israel. A very moving film which I would urge you to see.

Daryl Cagle, left, with a caricature drawn by Philippe Moine, right

Daryl Cagle, left, with a caricature drawn by Philippe Moine, right

There was a contingent of political cartoonists from America, led by Daryl Cagle and including Monte Wolverton, Rick McKee, Steve Sack, Nate Beeler and Adam Zygler. The differences between US and UK political cartooning are interesting to compare. My impression is that the UK style is more predominantly “painterly” while the US cartoons are heavily populated with a very cartoony comic-strip style.

Jean Gouders, in the striped  shirt, and John Landers, in the traditional "defacing" of tablecloths

Jean Gouders, in the striped shirt, and John Landers, demonstrate the traditional “defacing” of tablecloths

Of course, part of the celebration and festivity are the meals with fellow cartoonists and friends. These take place at long tables in a huge marquee with the paper tablecloths becoming the centre of attention for all the artists and their arsenals of pens and markers.

All in all, a very inspiring if ultimately exhausting experience. I’ll be back.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonists on film

July 11, 2014 in Events, General, News

We like anything that bigs up the noble art of cartooning and a new French documentary called Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy does that with its title alone.

Details of a UK release date or TV screening have not been revealed but this English-subtitled trailer recently appeared on the internet, so hopefully we will get to see it.

The film, which focuses on 12 cartoonists from around the world, was screened earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Read a review here.

Cartoon festival exhibition opens

April 18, 2014 in Events, General, News

Cartoon © Glenn Marshall

Cartoon © Glenn Marshall

The exhibition With a Song in My Art opens at the Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury today (21 April). This cartoon was submitted for the music-themed exhibition by the Procartoonists.org member Glenn Marshall.

The show is the first event in the 2014 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. The main Cartoonists Live day is this Saturday (26 April) and there’s plenty to see and do …

shrewsposter

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Festival cartoon: The anticipation …

April 8, 2014 in Events, General

Music cartoon © Rupert Besley

Music cartoon © Rupert Besley. Click to enlarge

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is just a few weeks away now, with the main exhibition opening on 21 April and the Cartoonists Live day on 26 April.

More details are now on the official website. You can also download a PDF of the festival leaflet here.

This cartoon was submitted for this year’s music-themed exhibition by Rupert Besley.

Please click here to see all the Procartoonists portfolios.

Festival cartoon: Moving stuff

March 31, 2014 in Events, General

Music cartoon © Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

Music cartoon © Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

Here’s another cartoon submitted for the exhibition With a Song in My Art, part of this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival.

This one is by Pete Dredge a Procartoonists.org member. You can see all our members’ portfolios here.

Festival cartoon: Rock dinosaurs

March 20, 2014 in Events, General

Dawn of rock 'n' roll by Brighty

© Steve Bright @ Procartoonists.org

The music-themed exhibition With a Song in My Art, the main show at this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival opens a month today, on April 21, at the town’s Bear Steps Gallery.

This cartoon was submitted for the exhibition by the  Procartoonists.org member Steve Bright. You can see all our members’ portfolios here.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Festival set to be fast and funny

March 14, 2014 in Events, General

Music cartoon by Jonesy

Music cartoon © Jonesy @ Procartoonists.org

It’s likely that the participants at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival will look a little like the guy on the left at the end of this year’s Cartoonists Live day (26 April).

This year the usual two days’ worth of live-drawing events are packed into that one day. The hours have been extended as a result (now 10am-5pm). The organisers promise there will be lots for the public to see and do.

The  cartoon above is by Procartoonists.org member Jonesy and was submitted for this years music-themed exhibition With a Song in My Art.