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Opinion: The curse of Management

June 9, 2014 in Comment, General

Bill Stott from Punch magazine: "Be positive! At least  now we know that being able to fly has got noting to do with having a pointy head"

Bill Stott from Punch: “Be positive! At least now we know that being able to fly has got nothing to do with having a pointy head!” Click image to enlarge

In a somewhat acrimonious departure, Richard Ingrams has resigned as editor of The Oldie. In this opinion piece, Bill Stott sees echoes from the latter days of Punch magazine and hopes that cartoonists will not see history repeat itself.

Whilst it might sound uncomfortably like a medical examination, there’s interesting stuff coming out of The Oldie right now. Quite a bit of bile. The departure of the multi-faceted, sometimes contradictory Richard Ingrams will be a huge loss, not only to The Oldie, but to gag cartooning in the UK.

Logically, bearing in mind the fact that his team apparently liked and respected him, the job should go to one of them and a cartoon-friendly status quo will spread a warm glow throughout Humourland. However, given James Pembroke’s apparent management style and his grasp of the purse strings, that may well not happen.

The Oldie’s predicament reminds me of the beginning of the end for Punch, a magazine strong on cartoons and humour but which never made a profit in its 500-year existence, unlike The Oldie which has loads of readers and does make a profit.

The similarity lies with “management”. Alan Coren, probably one of the best Punch editors, fell out with those who bought the mag and got sacked. He was locked out of his office, in fact.

After a few false starts, a new bought-in editor was presented to a restaurant full of cartoonists in thatLondon. He foolishly delayed them from getting at the free food and drink by climbing on to a rostrum to tell all hands about his vision for the new Punch. I seem to remember the sixth-form market being mentioned. Honest!

The new ed was apparently a very good manager. Quite soon after his appointment, which was made despite the existence of excellent candidates already on board, Punch ceased to be.

Could this happen to The Oldie?

Thanks Bill. We hope the answer to your last question is no! We will continue to follow developments at The Oldie, noting for starters that Mr Ingrams appears to have influential friends

The Round-up

September 14, 2012 in General, Links, News

© Mick Stevens/The New Yorker @ Procartoonists.org

A recent New Yorker cartoon by Mick Stevens, above, led to a temporary ban on the magazine’s Facebook page this week, because it apparently broke the social network’s decency rules. Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker’s cartoon editor, looks in detail at the supposed offence on his blog.

The latest collection of Punch artwork focuses on the full-colour, and often full-page, cartoons, illustrations and caricatures that graced the magazine’s pages throughout the 20th century. The Best of Punch Cartoons in Colour also features a large number of cover illustrations and artist biographies, and includes work by FougasseE H Shepard, Trog, Quentin Blake, Norman Thelwell and Procartoonists.org member Mike Williams, among many others.  See more here.

Kevin Kallaugher, political cartoonist for The Economist under his pen name KAL, provides an interesting overview of how his depictions of US leaders have changed as they have been weathered by their time in office (for similar insights from other cartoonists, see last week’s Round-up).

And finally, Forbidden Planet responds to a BBC report about the decline in reading among children, by calling on adults to help create new comic readers.

 

 

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by Royston

More than Pooh and Mr Toad

September 10, 2012 in Events, News

Still More Fraternisation by EH Shepard

"Still more fraternisation" by EH Shepard © Punch 1935

E.H. Shepard is still best known for his illustrations for the Winnie-the-Pooh books and The Wind in the Willows, but a new exhibition aims to show that there was a lot more to his work than those much-loved drawings.

The Other E.H. Shepard, which is at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London from this Wednesday (September 12) until September 29, features 200 published drawings and studies, representing the artist’s working life across six decades (Shepard was 96 when he died in 1976).

Shepard worked at Punch magazine for much of his career. As a staff cartoonist he was called upon to produce everything from gentle social satire to biting political comment. Many of the cartoons featured are from the Second World War. Drawings for other magazines, such as The Illustrated London News, also feature, along with illustrations created for books for adults and children.

For more information visit www.chrisbeetles.com

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by Royston

Remembering Ronald Searle

May 22, 2012 in Events, News

Ronald Searle Punch cover

The Chris Beetles Gallery is hosting the exhibition Ronald Searle Remembered, in memory of the cartoonist who died in December.

The show, which starts today, features more than 400 works by Searle, who is widely regarded as the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century. It runs until June 9.

It includes some of the clandestine drawings he produced as an inmate of Changi Gaol, the notorious Japanese prisoner of war camp,  Punch covers, such as the one above, plus book and magazine illustrations.

St Trinian’s and Molesworth are represented, of course, alongside adverts for Lemon Hart rum and Searle’s reportage on many issues of the day. Also included are unpublished letters that provide new insights into the life of the great man.

Ronald Searle letter

Detail from a letter sent from Singapore, September 21, 1945

The gallery has produced an accompanying 200-page fully illustrated catalogue, featuring newly researched essays and notes. For more details, and to view the exhibition online, visit the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

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by Royston

A Monday Round-up

April 16, 2012 in News

"Is there any news of the Iceberg?" © Bill Tidy

You may have noticed a lack of blog posts last week, this was caused by various changes going on behind the scenes to this website. To make it up to you, we offer an early round-up of cartooning links this week, as later we’ll be concentrating on this week’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival (April 19-22).

First up, you may have noticed that it’s 100 years since a certain large boat sank, and if you’ve not had enough of the excessive media coverage, here’s Bob Mankoff of the New Yorker on The world’s largest comedy cliche. We also revisit the definitive cartoon on the subject, above, originally in Punch in 1968, by the Procartoonists.org patron Bill Tidy.

Still on matters New Yorker, Liza Donnelly has transcribed one of her talks so you can read it on her blog: Word and image: The art of cartooning. And Carolita Johnson outlines her somewhat unusual career trajectory for the women’s website The Hairpin inHow to become a cartoonist in about 20 jobs.

Robert Crumb continues to be lauded by the art establishment in France, where he lives, and talks to AP about how odd he still finds it to see his art on walls in galleries. And talking of Art with a capital A, Charles Saatchi has his eye on a cartoonist.

Here’s something of which we were aware, from the AOI’s magazine, Varoom, but we hadn’t realised was now online. It’s a great read too. Martin Colyer, design director at Reader’s Digest, talks to cartoonists John CuneoSteve Way and Tom Gauld aboutThe process of cartoons.

Mark “Andertoons” Anderson does a bit of soul-searching on his blog and tells us Why I’m a cartoonist.

The popular DC Thomson comic strip The Numskulls is 50 years old, so comics artist Lew Stringer looks at how this story of little people in our heads fascinates and considers its many imitators, in Variations on a small theme.

The little people in my head tell me that’s enough links to be going on with. Expect Shrewsburyness tomorrow.

Review of the Year

December 31, 2010 in Comment

As the pencil of 2010 contacts the eraser of 2011, Bloghorn thought it was time to record some of the year’s highs and lows – and to speculate about the new year.

But first, news of a PRIZE competition which will be coming on Bloghorn over the New Year Bank Holiday weekend … so watch this space.

The Clash by Ray Lowry

© Ray Lowry cartoons The Clash

You can explore our full monthly archives of stories from the world of UK cartooning in 2010 at: January FebruaryMarchAprilMay - JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovember and December.

Team Foghorn Big Draw banner 2010

Team Bloghorn with the banner at the 2010 Battle of the Cartoonists

As you can see it’s been a packed show, featuring a fantastic Ray Lowry retrospective, above, at the Idea Generation Gallery, mixed with the odd rotten moment like losing Les Gibbard. We have had the fantastic highlights of our traditional events such as the Big Draw and Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival and, happily, the late great Alan Coren rose from the grave and provided  a shot of welcome wisdom.

After that we played Draw and Fold Over before reading a freshly minted copy of Foghorn magazine. What? You haven’t yet subscribed to six issues a year for only £20? Kindly do so here, now.

The promised appearance of The House of Illustration in London has long cheered many as this will be a sister organisation to our long-time favourite The Cartoon Museum, which lies close to the proposed new attraction at King’s Cross in London. The £6.5m fundraising target is stiff but site building has started and you can read more about the full plans here. Meanwhile, the crew at The Cartoon Museum excelled themselves with a fine range of shows and events, excelling with a fantastic Ronald Searle display as the man reached his 90th birthday.

What’s the difference between cartooning and illustration Bloghorn hears you ask?

Try these definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, although we thinks Searle shows the interchangeability of the terms about as well as anyone.

Car-toon – noun
From the Italian cartone pasteboard, cartoon, augmentative of carta leaf of paper.

Ill-ust-rat-ion noun
Something that serves to illustrate: an example or instance that helps make something clear : a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive.

Wikipedia has a definition here for print media which references Punch, the magazine which our former patron Alan Coren used to edit.

Happily, the past year has also seen terrific development in the way cartoons are being used in media and the possibilities, and markets will grow in the new year. We’ve got evidence below from The Times and its current TV advertising. You can find a link to the cartoon they are promoting lower down this article …

What the iPad Was Made For

Of course, we work on non-mobile television too, check out the titles to the new BBC adaptation of Just William and bow to the pen of cartoonist Ed McLachlan.

You’ll find a fantastic selection of the UK’s finest cartoonists working in all forms of the art at our UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation portfolio site which we will also be updating during 2011.

On the site the new and less-and-less unusual Government can expect its usual share of drawn innovation and horror – try Strictly Coalition for a start. In similar fashion, we wrote disobliging things about some parts of the Arts Council England because they sometimes deserve it.

© Jonathan Pugh of The Daily Mail

You can follow us day-to-day by adding your email address to our mailing list, which you can find on the right hand side of this blog, by following us on Twitter, or reading us inside the strange world of Facebook.

Modern Toss magazine

Forza Cartone!

Bloghorn is written, edited and maintained by Matthew Buck, Royston Robertson and Alex Hughes,  on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. You can contact the team here.

Foghorn magazine – Issue 48

December 16, 2010 in News

Just in time for Christmas, the latest issue of Foghorn, the cartoon magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation has been published. Featuring a festive cover by the PCO’s The Surreal McCoy, the magazine is available to subscribers for the very merry price of £20 for six full colour issues – all delivered down your chimney (or through your door).

What’s inside?

Ian Ellery treats us to a very Stanley Unwin Chrimbletide
A short history of the Christmas card by Chris Madden
Nathan Ariss relates some seasonal thespian tales of Mason Ayres
Mike Williams tells of his first taste of Punch
The partridge gets well stuffed by Neil Dishington
And  you’ll find a full page of Wilbur Dawbarn cartoons!

Plus…

…all the regular features - Buildings in the Fog, The Critic, The Foghorn Guide to…, The Potting Shed, Andy Davey‘s ‘Foggy’ strip and many more random acts of humour crammed in wherever we could find room.

You can read older issues of Foghorn online here, right up to our most recent issue.

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by Royston

Talking about Fougasse

September 6, 2010 in Events

Careless Talk Costs Lives poster by Fougasse
Be careful what you say and where you say it! – one of several wartime “Careless Talk Costs Lives” posters by Kenneth Bird a.k.a Fougasse

The exhibition Fougasse – Careless Talk Costs Lives opens at the Cartoon Musuem in London on Thursday (September 9) and runs until November 24.

Kenneth Bird (1887-1965), who drew under the pen name Fougasse, was the first cartoonist to edit Punch magazine. He popularised the simple joke cartoon, with minimal lines and short captions, moving the magazine’s cartoons away from their Victorian roots. The exhibition features more than 80 works by Fougasse and shows how his style became progressively more direct and economical.

Fougasse is best known today as the creator of the “Careless Talks Costs Lives” propaganda posters which he produced during the Second World War. The “anti-gossip” campaign, which was launched in 1940 by the Ministry of Information, showed Hitler and Goering eavesdropping in the most unlikely places.

They remain some of the most memorable images of the Second World War. Fougasse’s wartime work earned him a CBE in 1946.

The exhibition coincides with the publication of Careless Talk Costs Lives: Fougasse and the Art of Public Information by James Taylor and published by Conway.

The Cartoon Musuem, in Little Russel Street, London, is open Tues-Sat: 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £5, Conc £4, Students £3, Free to Under-18s. Nearest Tube stations: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road.

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by Royston

Review: Ray Lowry – London Calling

June 24, 2010 in Events

Ray Lowry Rock'n' Roll The Corporate Years
“What the hell are you wrecking your room for? We own the hotel chain”

Royston Robertson reviews the exhibition Ray Lowry – London Calling which is at the Idea Generation Gallery in East London until July 4.

This show is being promoted largely with artworks created by well-known names as a tribute to the Clash’s London Calling sleeve – a masterful piece of graphic design by Ray Lowry who was the “official war artist” for the band at the time – but it is the work of Lowry himself that is the real heart of the show.

Ray Lowry London Calling poster
That work can be divided into several sections: his most familiar drawings – cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, NME and the like – often on music and pop culture; a collection of lesser-known artworks, including some abstracts, sketchbook drawings, and even some photography; and reportage drawings of The Clash on tour.

The cartoons are, of course, hilarious. They still work because the absurdities of the rock and roll lifestyle which Lowry pinpoints are still with us today (as indeed are the many of the rockers, though sadly Lowry himself is not). From a cartoonist’s point of view it’s amazing how small so many of them are. With those detailed, inky drawings, I assumed Ray was one of the big canvas guys.

But the standout of the show, for me, were the drawings of the Clash live. They are so coourful, spontaneous and vibrant that you can feel the excitement of the moment in them. They are full of movement, the rapidly moving sticks of drummer Topper Headon, in particular, are brilliantly rendered.

The Clash by Ray Lowry

Some of the London Calling tributes are worth a look: there’s a great collage portrait of Lowry by the artist Ian Wright, and there’s a collage by Paul Simonon of The Clash which features a piece of the bass guitar which is smashed in the Pennie Smith photo on that iconic cover. The others are a mixed bag, some not so successful.

In this show Lowry is really a tribute to himself: the rock and roll cartoonist. Go and see this encore.

The ghost editor and the cartoonists

April 30, 2010 in Comment

Alan Coren, ex-Punch editor and PCO patron (Art: John Roberts)

Bill Stott is a cartoonist. A rather good one, actually. Even the great Alan Coren thought so. But then he loved cartoonists generally.

Like many cartoonists, Bill doesn’t change his trousers with unseemly regularity. It’s a working-at-home thing. Why bother when the ones you’re wearing have a perfectly serviceable extra few weeks in them … and probably a healthy supply of mints and pocket fluff? However, the recent change of season occasioned a re-trousering, whereupon one of the pockets yielded a piece of gold dust.

It was a short note from Mr Coren, penned a short while before he died, which Bill had rammed into the pocket for filing; a paean to cartoonists intended as an introduction to the website of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, of which he had just accepted the title of inaugural patron. Bill hadn’t the heart to publish the piece because Coren died shortly after sending it.

In it, having left Punch, Coren mulls over what he misses. The limos, the yachts, the voluptuous assistants? No, he says, “None of these. What I miss most is those Tuesday mornings with the sadly late and very great Bill Hewison, my brilliant Art Editor, when we would sit at a huge leather-topped desk overlooking the complete absence of central heating, pull off our generously lent company mittens, and sift through the hundreds and hundreds of roughs submitted by the extraordinary numbers of extraordinary cartoonists which – and, remember, I speak as a writer – made Punch the brilliant and, most important of all, hilarious magazine it was.

“I miss the six hours of those golden-era Tuesdays when Bill and I would struggle – handicapped by constant helpless laughter – to choose, from 20 times as many, the 50-odd cartoons we needed to lift the readers’ spirits and break their ribs in next week’s magazine.”

He continues:

“Cartooning is the toughest art of all. A freelance cartoonist lives and works alone, staring out of the window in the fervent daily hope that something will begin to draw itself on the sky, then murmur its caption in his ear. He needs this to happen several times a day, every day, because he has not the faintest idea whether the editors who pay his rent will laugh at the same thing he laughs at, and therefore has to send them lots and lots of things, praying that they will laugh at at least one of them, and the cartoonist can get his shoes mended.”

Coren concludes that his greatest struggle was that “we couldn’t put a thousand gags in the paper, so how to select the best when ten are equally funny?” Enough, enough already. We cartoonists couldn’t possibly be so immodest about our talents. But … thank you, Mr Coren.

Declaration of Interest: Andy Davey is chairleg of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation which runs The Bloghorn (Editor: Matt Buck) and the print magazine Foghorn (Editor: Bill Stott).

He and the organisation welcome your comments, and your contact with us at our artist portfolio websites, through our social-media services, or via direct contact with our media team led by Pete Dredge.

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