PCO MEMBER, cartoonist Royston Robertson reports on an interesting commission he undertook recently. While most cartoonists have to make do with the usual speculative submissions to the shrinking gag cartoon market or highly-specific corporate cartoons for Car Rental companies or the European Rubber production industries, Royston found himself asked to produce something for one of his local pubs.
Royston takes up the story: “Mike Beaumont, landlord of the Four Candles micropub in Broadstairs asked me to come up with a large cartoon poster on the brewing process, to mark the fact that the pub recently started making its own beer on the premises and is officially Britain’s smallest brewpub.
“The idea was to show the brewing process – where and when the hops and barley are added, timings, temperatures etc, in a humorous way, while including daft comments from many of the regulars. I am a regular myself, so I know you get a lot of daft comments in the Four Candles.
“It was a really fun job to do. Once finished we had it printed on a 107cm by 193cm Foamex board and laminated, because it has been placed by the stillage, where all the casks go, so it’s sure to get splashed a lot!”
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 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.
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.
Former PCO chairman Nathan Ariss is our host, taking us through the background to the event and the live drawing that took place. Sue Austen of Beach Creative in Herne Bay and cartoonist Tim Harries talk about the workshops.
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.
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.”
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020-7209 9110
Many Procartoonists.org members contributed to a new exhibition called The Art of Drawing, at Stranraer Museum, after the organisers put out an urgent call to professional cartoonists to submit artwork, in order to show schoolchildren that a love of drawing can turn into a career. It runs until 7 June.
Roger Penwill narrates the Melodrawma at Shrewsbury 2014. Photo by Kasia Kowalska
Roger Penwill reflects on more than a decade as chairman of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival as he hands over the reins:
I first approached the town of Shrewsbury with the idea of staging an annual cartoon festival in 2002. Back then very few people knew what a cartoon festival was, including the local council.
The idea gradually took root and the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival began in 2004. I had no idea that it would still be going strong after 11 years, I didn’t expect it to last more than two. It is the UK’s longest running annual cartoon festival by far and is currently the only one of its kind in the country. Hopefully it will still be with us for many years into the future.
Each year we festival organisers have enticed top cartoonists from our country and around the world to Shrewsbury in April. Numerous talks and workshops have been given over the “Cartoonists Live!” weekends. Nearly 50 exhibitions of cartoons have been shown, often giving the public opportunities to buy this collectable art form.
Roger Penwill drawn at Shrewsbury 2014 by Matt Buck
Exhibitions of cartoons from the UK, Australia, France, Greece, Germany, Holland, the US and elsewhere have been staged. Also each year, drawing live, have been many of the country’s best caricaturists. The huge Big Board cartoons were a world’s first for the festival.
What makes cartooning appealing to all ages is its emphasis on fun. The festival is defined by its humour, from its often bemused mascot Barry the Shrew (Shrew … Barry – geddit?) to the chaotic Melodrawma comic strip, which is drawn to a live narration, musical accompaniment and sound effects.
The festival may well have inspired many who have visited it to take up pen and brush. We would like to think so. It certainly was the inspiration for the birth of the Professional Cartoonists Organisation, with which it is closely linked.
The festival has been well-supported by the Shropshire Council from the start, but this year it could not continue with its funding because of cutbacks. The festival is therefore adapting to a self-funded future, which it is confident it can do.
Detail from this year’s Big Boards, photographed by The Surreal McCoy. Clockwise from top left: Bill Stott, Chichi Parish, Dave Brown, Rupert Besley, Rich Skipworth and Royston Robertson
After 11 years in charge, I felt this was time for a fresh hand on the tiller so I’ve decided to remove mine. Happily I have been able to hand over the chairmanship of the organising team to Rich Skipworth.
Apart from being a splendid cartoonist himself, Rich is a proven of organiser of cartooning events. I am sure he’ll do a grand job.
So, another enjoyable and popular festival has been and gone (but the exhibitions are still open) and the serious planning for next year gathers pace …
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
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.
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.
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