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Battle fought, then sandwiches

November 24, 2014 in Events, General, News

Andy Davey works on the Procartoonists team banner

Andy Davey works on the Procartoonists team banner

Andy Davey gives his post-match analysis, as Procartoonists team captain, on the Battle of the Cartoonists 2014 Photos by Kasia Kowalska

It was great to take part in the Battle of the Cartoonists at Trinity Buoy Wharf in one of the less glamorous quarters of London’s fashionable Docklands. We cartoonists are not used to glamour, so it was perhaps fitting that a bunch of grubby satirists should be let loose in an old oil and hemp store on a wharf overlooking the Dome.

We, the PCO team, had done some vague pre-planning but left enough room for the spontaneity and creativity of the el Galacticos in our team – Jeremy Banx, Guy Venables and ex-Punch and Readers Digest cartoon editor Steve Way.

The Procartoonists team of Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Steve Way and Guy Venables

The Procartoonists team of Andy Davey, Jeremy Banx, Steve Way and Guy Venables at work. Note PCO banner from the 2008 St Pancras Battle in the background.

The work was good all round this year,  the quality of banner artwork was excellent and all kept on-theme (Recording Britain Now). The Independent deservedly won with a cohesively themed banner showing the map of the UK boasting “Here Be Monsters”. The draughtsmanship was superb, led by the inestimable pen of Dave Brown, with Peter Schrank, Dave Simonds and Matt Buck.

The Independent's winning banner

The Independent’s winning banner. Click to enlarge

Dave Brown, Matt Buck and Dave Simonds celebrate Grand Prix-style

Dave Brown, Matt Buck and Dave Simonds celebrate Grand Prix-style

Other teams present were The Guardian (Steve Bell, Ros Asquith and Kipper WIlliams) and Private Eye (Simon Pearsall, Henry Davies, Kathryn Lamb and David Ziggy Greene). The Eye, those perennial winners of the popular clap-o-meter vote, didn’t win this year but had a banner that could easily have done so – a delight of wit, simplicity and minimalism, including several excellent gags.

Detail of Henry Davies cartoons from the Private Eye banner

Detail of Henry Davies cartoons from the Private Eye banner

Kipper Williams and detail from the Guardian banner

Kipper Williams and detail from the Guardian banner. Click to enlarge

Of course, it pains me to say all this as captain of the Procartoonists.org team. I have, of course, offered, in the manner of honour down the centuries, to take the pistol and whisky option, or a more public display of seppuku with a blunt nib.

It’s quite a challenge to get the whole thing planned, drawn and coloured within the two-hour limit, so seeing the banners finished is always a treat. And it’s even more of a treat to get a free bacon sandwich and beer afterwards. Phew, largesse unknown to the likes of us scribblers.

The banners are to be sold off, apparently, so if you want a 4m x 1m work of spontaneous art to decorate your stately home, contact the Campaign For Drawing.

For sale: the finished PCO banner is held aloft

For sale: the finished PCO banner is held aloft

Avatar of Royston

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

November 13, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun

Nigel Farage © Andy Davey for The Sun. Click to enlarge

Public voting is under way for the Political Cartoon of the Year 2014. Those in the running include the Procartoonists.org members Andy Davey, above, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Steve Bell, Steve Bright and Gary Barker.

The Times’s political cartoonist Peter Brookes is the subject of a short film called The Art of Satire, part of the newspaper’s Unquiet films series, celebrating its contributors and other aspects of the newspaper’s production (there’s even one for font geeks, we know you’re out there).

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

A cartoon for Stars on Canvas © Jonesy

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 contributors include a whole bunch of PCO members: Rob Murray, Kipper Williams, Mike Williams, Jonesy, Jonathan Cusick, Matt Percival. Jonathan Pugh, Royston Robertson, Lawrence Goldsmith, Kate Taylor, Tony Husband and Noel Ford.

The BBC has a short film on Quentin Blake, talking about his new book The Five of Us, which is about a group of children who overcome diabilities

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

Peter Capaldi © Jonathan Cusick

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.

Britain has a poet laureate and a children’s laureate and now Dave Gibbons, best known as the artist behind Watchmen, has been named as the first comics laureate, an initiative by the charity Comics Literacy Awareness.  Gibbons recently spoke to the Guardian about his lifelong passion for the medium.

One person who doesn’t need convincing about the worth of comics is Price Harry, who revealed his love for them as he met cartoonist Will Kevans.

"Wittertainment" presenters © Terry Anderson

“Wittertainment” presenters © Terry Anderson

Finally, cartoons on the radio is a phenomenon that happens all too rarely but the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film review show and podcast, known to its army of fans as Wittertainment, has started a regular feature called Cartoonists’ Corner, so those who listen to the show while drawing cartoons can say hello.

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.

Update: The Auld Acquaintance

October 29, 2014 in General

The views from Scotland and Britain in the Auld Acquaintance show

The views from Scotland and Britain in the Auld Acquaintance show. Click the image to enlarge

Terry Anderson updates us on a touring exhibition:

After an amazing year The Auld Acquaintance, the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio’s touring exhibition about the independence referendum, has made its final stops in Lleida, Catalonia, and Limoges, France.

The exhibition was shown at the Institut de Estudis Illerdencs in Llieida.  Although the smallest and briefest iteration of the exhibition, it was incontestably in the most attractive venue. The IEI is a stunning Gothic building in the centre of Lleida, a former infirmary complete with courtyard now used as a multipurpose exhibition and performance venue and library.

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On the opening evening I was presented with an estelada, above, by Rosa Pujol, the IEI’s deputy director, and by the political cartoonist Ermengol, the main host for the event, whose work appears daily in La Mañana.

More recently, the exhibition opened at the Faculté de Droits et des Sciences Économiques, Université de Limoges.

After speaking with a class at the university about the Scottish independence referendum and its impact upon European politics, I attended a private view with Christophe Bonnotte, executive vice president of the university, and Gérard Vandenbroucke, president of the Limousin region.

Limoges is the last stop on the exhibition’s tour of Europe in 2014. The exhibition will continue at the university until 14 November.

Thanks to all who have lent their support, including the PCO. Among the  cartoonists whose work was shown were Procartoonists.org members Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Steve Bright, Dave Brown, Chris Cairns, Andy Davey, Bill Houston and Malc McGookin.

Double up at The Auld Acquaintance

September 1, 2014 in Events, General, News

Terry Anderson, left, with Steve Bell at the opening of the London version of The Auld Acquaintance

Terry Anderson, left, with Steve Bell at the opening of the London version of The Auld Acquaintance. The show is also on in Glasgow

Terry Anderson tells us about two chances to see a cartoon exhibition about the Scottish referendum:

The Auld Acquaintance exhibition is now fully under way in its two UK venues: Leiper Fine Art on West George Street, Glasgow and the News & Media Gallery at The Guardian & Observer newspapers, part of the Kings Place arts venue in London.

As in the exhibition’s French showing [we covered that here – Ed] work has been arranged according to point of origin with the additional bonus of a section of original drawings and paintings. These are for sale, as are prints of the digitally submitted work.

A range of Q&A sessions will be taking place in the gallery in the next fortnight including contributions from cartoonists Frank Boyle and Lorna Miller as well as Chris Cairns, David Kerr, Malc McGookin, Greg Moodie, Cinders McLeod and the Comic Soapbox Scotland project.  Book places at these free talks via Eventbrite.

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The Guardian has gone for a scattershot approach to its display which makes for impressive visual impact. At both venues the cartoons are highly visible from street level and sure to attract lots of interest from commuters and tourists.

In Glasgow the show is a stone’s throw from the offices of both the “Yes Scotland” and “No Thanks” campaigns and handy for the city’s rail link to Edinburgh. In London it’s in the thick of the hubbub at Kings Cross St Pancras and not far from the newly opened House of Illustration.

Scottish independence cartoon © Andy Davey

Scottish independence cartoon © Andy Davey. Click to enlarge

The exhibitions are free of charge and open daily. The show will close the weekend after the referendum. In Glasgow we shut on 19 September and in London on 21 September.

Our continued thanks to everyone who has given time and effort to make our tour a success, in particular Ewan Kennedy and Niall Campbell at Leiper Fine Art and Luke Dodd and David McCoy at The Guardian. Also to all PCO members who sent us cartoons.

Our thanks to Terry for his report. Cartoonists exhibiting in The Auld Acquaintance, several Procartoonists members among them, include: Brian Adcock, Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Frank Boyle, Steve Bright, Carlos Brito, Dave Brown, Chris Cairns, Steven Camley, Andy Davey, Frank Quitely, Bill Houston, Graeme MacKay, Malc McGookin, Cinders McLeod, Lorna Miller, Greg Moodie, Ross Thomson, Chris Watson … and many more.

The Round-up

July 1, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kate Charlesworth. Photo by Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

Twelve cartoonists have been commissioned to create artwork about the First World War to accompany the BBC Radio 4 series 1914 Day by Day, in a collaboration between 14-18 NOW and the Cartoon Museum.

Margaret MacMillan, author of The War That Ended Peace, follows the events that led to the conflict in a daily broadcast at 4.55pm. The Procartoonists.org members Kate Charlesworth, above, with her artwork at the museum, Steve Bell and Ralph Steadman are involved in the project.

Quentin Blake tells Simon Schama that he is “not frightened by the word museum” in an interview for the FT about his inaugural exhibition at the new House of Illustration, in King’s Cross, London. The exhibition, called Inside Stories, runs from 2 July to 2 November and includes illustrations for children’s books as well as artwork for Candide by Voltaire. UPDATE: The BBC News website has a new feature on the House of Illustration.

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson

From the Satirical City exhibition by Martin Rowson (click to enlarge)

PCO member Martin Rowson has an exhibition of London-themed cartoons called Satirical City at the Building Centre until 12 July. The exhibition marks the 15th anniversary of London Communications Agency and displays close to 120 cartoons, drawn over the past 15 years, and a new mural. The cartoonist talks to BBC London News about the exhibition here, and writes about it here.

Andy Murray kicked off Wimbledon by becoming a guest editor of The Beano. “This might be my greatest title yet,” he told The Guardian.

What connects Finding NemoBambi and countless other cartoons? The writer Sarah Boxer (In the Floyd Archives) asks Why are all the cartoon mothers dead? in an article published by The Atlantic.

Moose Kids Comics launched online

Moose Kids Comics is available as PDF for free

The new kids’ publication Moose Kids Comics, above, brainchild of the cartoonist Jamie Smarthas launched for free online but is on the look out for a publisher.

The BBC has a report on the elaborate appeal of William Heath Robinson. The building of a museum to house his work begins in the autumn.

Following the exodus of Spain’s top cartoonists from the satirical magazine El Jueves last month (we covered that here), a rival digital version has appeared online titled Orgullo y Satisfacción (Pride and Satisfaction). It has had 30,000 downloads since its launch a few weeks ago. The digital magazine will become a regular monthly publication from September.

The 31st Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Turkey announced its winners, with the top prize going to the Turkish cartoonist, Kürşat Zaman. More than 800 cartoonists from 70 countries took part and the panel of judges was led by the cartoonist Liza Donnelly, of The New Yorker, and included the Cartoon Museum curator Anita O’Brien.

The US cartoonist Etta Hulme has died. She was twice named best editorial cartoonist by the National Cartoonist Society and was the subject of the documentary Trailblazer: The Editorial Cartoons of Etta Hulme. And one of the most distinguished US sports cartoonists, Amadee Wohlschlaeger, has died, aged 102.

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

© Charles Barsotti/The New Yorker

Finally, we remember the New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti, who died on 16 June. He is fondly remembered by the magazine’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. And there is a selection of Barsotti cartoons on his favourite theme here.

Exhibition: Pastiche, Parody and Piracy

June 12, 2014 in Events, General, News

Steve Bell: "I licence the logo bearers ..."

Steve Bell: “I licence the logo bearers …”

Many PCO members feature in an exhibition that brings together cartoonists and contemporary artists called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy and opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on 20 June.

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.

The team say that they were inspired to “celebrate the historical creative act of pastiche, parody and piracy” after Penguin UK threatened to pulp Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery, a parody of the Ladybird series of children’s books.

Alongside Banx, the PCO members involved are: Nathan Ariss, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Matt Buck, Wilbur Dawbarn, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Steve Jones, Kathryn Lamb, Chris Madden, Glenn Marshall, Alexander Matthews, Jonathan Pugh, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy and Mike Turner.

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Dance by Matisse

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Matisse’s Dance

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.”

The title for this exhibition was inspired by a proposed exception for parody, satire and pastiche in a government copyright law. If it is passed, the act of subverting and appropriating elements of popular culture will be protected from large companies that often seek to silence artists through the courts.

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

“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 info@cobgallery.com or call 020-7209 9110

An acquaintance to remember

April 17, 2014 in Events, General, News

The Auld Acquaintance show. Alex Salmond caricature © Bill Houston

The Auld Acquaintance show. Alex Salmond caricature © Bill Houston

This year is both the 15th anniversary of the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio and of political devolution in Scotland. We’ve organised a new touring exhibition entitled The Auld Acquaintance, taking our cue from Rabbie Burns’ Auld Lang Syne, sung whenever folk leave one chapter of their life behind and start another.

Our call for contributions attracted over 350 caricatures, editorial cartoons and strips by artists from around the world responding to the same question that will be put to Scots in a referendum this September: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Having whittled the pile down to a workable number, we’ve selected a balanced cross-section of opinion that reflects healthy scepticism as well as enthusiastic support for independence. There will be a number of showings around Europe in the year ahead. The first is taking place in Saint-Just-le-Martel, France’s own little capital du dessins.

Grasp the thistle! A cartoon by Steve Bright

Grasp the thistle! Steve Bright’s view

Steve Bell's take on Scottish independence

Steve Bell’s take on the subject

My colleague Tommy Sommerville and I travelled to the Espace Loup for a vernissage on 10 April. We found the work displayed sequentially according to its origin: Catalonia, Scotland, the rest of the UK, Québec and the wider world, with the studio team’s own contributions in the middle of the space.

Featured cartoonists include the PCO members Gary Barker, Steve Bell, Steve Bright, Chris Cairns, Andy Davey and Malc McGookin. The locals added whimsical touches including a “Nessie” monster made by the village’s school children.

Also present and correct was the perennial mascot of Saint-Just and its annual Salon International, the Limousin cow. 

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The Auld Acquaintance, at Espace Loup, Centre International de la Caricature, du Dessin de Presse et d’Humour, Saint-Just-le-Martel, will run until 14 August. There will be further showings around Europe to be announced in the coming months.

Politics and plebs at awards bash

December 6, 2013 in Events, News

Andrew Mitchell presents Steve Bell with the Political Cartoon of the Year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Andrew Mitchell MP presents Steve Bell with the cartoon of the year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The annual Political Cartoon of the Year Awards, hosted by the Ellwood Atfield Gallery, in Smith Square, Westminster, were full to the brim with guests and cartoonists alike.

You didn’t have to move far to rub shoulders with the elite of political cartooning in Britain today – most of the nominees, from Christian Adams to Ingram Pinn, Bob Moran to Martin Rowson, were there.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Society, thanked the organisers and said: “We do not lead the world in many things, but we certainly have always led the world with regard to political cartoons.”

Following the introduction of online voting for the Political Cartoon of the Year for the first time, he hinted that, in the future, members of the public would also be able to vote for the Political Cartoonist of the Year.

This year’s awards were presented by the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, the former Chief Whip, who has found himself at the sharp end of many a cartoonist’s pen over the past year, during the Plebgate scandal. In spite of this, he admitted that he could not resist accepting the invitation, as he is an enthusiastic collector of political cartoons.

He did not resist giving the gathered cartoonists a taste of their own medicine by reflecting on the unique relationship between politicians and cartoonists as he recalled a recent interview by the head of the Israeli intelligence service who said “he didn’t like politicians because they tended to leave their wounded on the battlefield”.

He added: “It struck me that that’s basically what politicians may do … and then cartoonists come along and finish them off.” He stressed that it is, nonetheless, an enduring relationship.

Steve Bell Margaret Thatcher cartoon

Political Cartoon of the Year © Steve Bell @ Procartoonists.org

Steve Bell was announced the winner of the coveted Gillray Cup for Political Cartoon of the Year for his portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, above, with Andy Davey as the runner up. Morten Morland was named 2013 Political Cartoonist of the Year.

Upon accepting the award from Mr Mitchell, Steve Bell said: “it’s a great honour to get the Gillray goblet, it’s the one to win, that’s for sure.”

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The acceptance speech by Andy Davey, who was recently let go in cuts at The Sun, was greeted with a cheer when he addressed the room by saying: “Either you lot are masters of paradox and satire or you’re a bunch of plebs.”

Morten Morland said that he was “as surprised as everyone else and very glad to win the Low Trophy”.

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The exhibition of the political cartoons will run at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery until 23 December.

Many thanks to Kasia for the report and photographs. You can follow Kasia on Twitter: @katyrosesmith

The Round-up

November 26, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© Steve Bright @Procartoonists.org

Above: This cartoon by Steve Bright – a member of Procartoonists.org – is one of 12 political cartoons selected as among the best of the year by BuzzFeed. Other PCOers, Gary Barker and Martin Rowson, are also included. See the full list here.

Elsewhere another of our cartoonists, Steve Bell, talks to the BBC about the history of political cartooning and its legacy today. Watch the video here.

An exhibition of some 90 prints by Thomas Rowlandson has opened in Edinburgh. See the Daily Record for more information.

Head over to the Forbidden Planet blog for a full overview of the winners of this year’s British Comic Awards. The Herald speaks to the best emerging talent winner Will Morris, while FP itself looks at Garen Ewing, winner of the young people’s award, which was voted for by children.

And finally, the cartoonist and illustrator Ros Asquith talks to BookTrust about how she uses her work to highlight disability and diversity.