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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

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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!

Budding cartoonists take note

October 2, 2014 in Events, General, News

Young Cartoonists of the Year flyer

Now is the time to get entries in for the annual Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition. See above for details.

The contest is organised by our sister organisation the British Cartoonists’ Association with the Cartoon Art Trust, which runs the Cartoon Museum. The closing date is 10 November — so get drawing, young people!

Quentin Blake cartoon for The Big Draw

In other drawing news: It’s October, which means that the The Big Draw, the world’s largest drawing festival, is now under way. (Cartoon above © Quentin Blake.)

You can get details on events taking place around the country at the Big Draw website and you can see the very latest by following them on Twitter.

This year’s event was launched at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London. The Guardian has is running a drawing competition in association with the festival.

The Campaign for Drawing, which runs The Big Draw is also organising another Battle of the Cartoonists banner competition. Procartoonists.org teams have taken part in this many times in the past (here’s the last one), competing against teams from various newspapers and magazines.

This year’s event is on 23 November at the Electricians Shop gallery in Trinity Buoy Wharf, east London. We’ll have more on that nearer the time.

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by Royston

Back to the drawing board

May 19, 2014 in General, News

Andrew Marr, a prominent advocate of drawing and patron of the PCO, which runs this site, features in a new video called Why is Drawing Important?

It was put together by The Campaign for Drawing, the people who run The Big Draw.

The Round-up

August 11, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

 

© Kipper Williams @Procartoonists.org

Above: with the Duchamp in Herne Bay festivities now behind us, there’s just room for this cartoon by Kipper Williams – featuring the names of participating cartoonists, many of whom are among our membership. The original is hanging in a gallery space in the Kent seaside town, as part of an exhibition of art cartoons to tie in with the celebrations.

Alexander Matthews, a cartoonist for The Beano and member of Procartoonists.org, has started a campaign to improve the quality of children’s comics by making them more reliant on great content and less on cover-mounted freebies. He is suggesting a change to the way in which free gifts are treated under VAT rules, and is seeking support for the campaign – which he believes would benefit comic fans and cash-strapped parents alike. Read more on Alex’s blog.

Another PCO member, Tony Husband, has had cartoons about his father’s dementia tweeted to millions, courtesy of Stephen Fry. See the cartoons here, here and here. Fry also wrote the introduction for I Nearly Died Laughing, a collection of Tony’s gag cartoons that was published last year.

Looking ahead to October, Sue Grayson Ford of The Campaign for Drawing writes about what to expect from this year’s Big Draw, and how to take part.

In an interview for Truthout, political cartoonist Matt Bors discusses his influences, the dangers of on-spec work, and the value of comics journalism. Read it here.

And finally, The New Yorker’s Bob Mankoff looks at what is often considered to be one of the hardest forms of cartoon to master: the captionless gag.

Big Draw 2012: The compere tweets

October 2, 2012 in Comment, Events, News

The final word on this year’s Big Draw launch goes to Libby Purves, journalist, broadcaster, compere of the event and Procartoonists.org patron, who sent us this dispatch from the front line of the Battle of Cartoonists

Libby Purves

Libby Purves files her Twitter report at the V&A

I may not be a trained war correspondent but here goes: In that echoing temple of Papal tapestry-based art, the Raphael Room at the V&A, the Battle of the Cartoonists was duly joined last Sunday. Given the utter impossibility of commentating in an acoustic like a giant’s bathroom,  after the initial draw for subjects – and the scuttle of massed cartoonists towards the free felt markers – I resolved to chronicle it on Twitter.

Someone had to. It is not every day (thank goodness) that you see, beneath sombre Biblical scenes, the wild-eyed geniuses of Private Eye, the Telegraph, the Guardian/Observer, Big Girls Drawers, Readers Digest, Procartoonists.org and the soaraway Sun gathered together in a sort of stone barn.

They were all fiercely at it, fending off swirling crowds of public, and working round not only the Stygian gloom of the gallery but dozens of small, inquisitive fingers groping at the side of their canvases. For the V&A on a Sunday, frankly, is always a bit like a middle-class family version of the last 20 minutes of the Roman Empire, with brats tearing round, lying on the mosaic floor drawing their own pictures, and intermittently going out to fall into the fountain and come back soggy but unbowed.

Libby Purves_2 at the Big Draw 2012 @procartoonists.org

Big Girls Drawers spent some time decorating their table with enormous knickers, while the rest knuckled down to sketching and muttering and stealing one another’s pens. The girls got The Healing of the Lame Man, the Telegraph The Conversion of the Proconsul, Private Eye got St Paul at Athens, the Guardianista faction The Death of Ananias, Readers’ Digest The Draught of Fishes and The Sun got Christ’s Charge to Peter.

The Procartoonists team rather got the short straw with The Sacrifice of Lystra. This involved members of the public – and the commentator – sidling up to them with “Who?” [Ed's note: It's actually AT Lystra, but it was very dark in the room!] and wondering if it had anything to do with Lycra, therefore the Olympics, therefore something we had heard of.

So on it went, good-humoured and frenetic, and on went the tweets:

“Honeysett & co have given St Paul three toes. PCO team working Will and Kate and Pope into Bible scene”

“Telegraph team huffily say Proconsul themes are secret. Readers Digest are drawing a dog. Andy Davey of the Sun drawing manically, subject as yet unclear”

“Big Girls Drawers team just added fab corgi joke. I love cartoonists”

“330 pm. Brilliant. Adults and kids now lying on cold stone floor drawing their own cartoons. Professionals battle on.”

“Aha! Everyone breaking out colours now. And Daleks. And Harry’s bum. Private Eye v funny already”

“Guardian team being impeded by small children. Excellent temper-management. Kipper on fire!”

“Hmm NHS satire creeping in to Healing of the Lame banner. Telegraph team having Ionic columns pawed by infants”

“Sun team on Harry gags. Guardian too. Procartoonists gone insanely Biblical. Telegraph got good V&A in-joke”

“There are even Ninja Turtle jokes! From Readers Digest! Not many national art events span such cultural richness”

“5 mins to go. Huge variety of styles from stark b&w to exuberant larkiness”

And then there was the judging.

Popular cheering and clapping having been banned by anxious curators, in case dust was dislodged and damaged the Raphaels, the Big Draw decided the clever thing would be to get people to cluster round their favourite and see who had most.

This profoundly, confusingly, almost Old-Labourishly block-vote system proved unreliable and, given the loud cheering that happened anyway, really quite suitably absurd. Private Eye won. But actually, everyone did.

Libby Purves_3 at the Big Draw 2012 @procartoonists.org

The Big Draw: who’s drawing?

September 26, 2012 in Events, General, News

Bloghorn at the Big Draw from the Campaign for Drawing

Here’s the full list of cartoonist combatants in the Battle of the Cartoonists at this weekend’s Big Draw, Big Make launch event.

Compere Libby Purves of the oh-so-neutral Times newspaper will be keeping order. In a brief spot of self-congratulatory parping from our resident Foghorn, Procartoonists.org has members in all seven of the teams.

  • Big Girls Drawers Chichi Parish (captain), The Surreal McCoy, Kathryn Lamb, Rosie Brooks
  • Guardian/Observer Kipper Williams (c), Dave Simonds, Nicola Jennings, Harry Venning
  • Readers’ Digest Steve Way (c), Simon Meyrick Jones, Nathan Ariss, Royston Robertson
  • Procartoonists.org Pete Dredge (non playing c), William Rudling, Kate Scurfield, Guy Venables, Gerard Whyman
  • The Sun Andy Davey (c), Clive Goddard, Tim Harries
  • Private Eye Tony Rushton (non playing c), Martin Honeysett, Andrew Birch, Simon Pearsall, Henry Davies
  • The Telegraph Patrick Blower (c), Charles Peattie, Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons, John Springs
And of course there are also the free cartoon workshops we wrote about yesterday and the attraction of a talk by the master caricaturist Gerald Scarfe. Don’t miss any of it.
Big Draw, Big Make details
See you there!

Let’s work together at the Big Draw

September 24, 2012 in Events, News

Big Draw workshop

A workshop run by Procartoonists.org members at the Big Draw's 2010 launch. Picture by Denis Dowland @ Procartoonists.org

Cartoon workshops will be held throughout the Big Draw, Big Make event this Sunday (September 30) at the V&A in London.

They will take place in the Raphael Room, the same venue as the Battle of the Cartoonists, and are being run by Procartoonists.org members. Running times are: 11am-12.30pm Robert Duncan; 12.30pm-2pm Tim Harries; 2pm-3.30pm Wilbur Dawbarn; and 3.30pm-5pm Cathy Simpson.

Download the full schedule here if you want to make it a family day and get involved in the child and adult-friendly activities.

A 30-minute talk by Gerald Scarfe50 Years of Being Rude – will be held at 2.45pm. Booking is advised for that event.

Battle of the Cartoonists 2012: Bring it on!

September 24, 2012 in Comment, Events, News

Can London take any more excitement? First the Olympics, then the Paralympics, now the Pen-and-ink-ics! Andrew Birch, Private Eye cartoonist and Procartoonists.org member, writes:

Raphael's Death of Ananias @procartoonists

Raphael's Death of Ananias @ Procartoonists.org

This Sunday (September 30) at 2pm, seven teams of Britain’s best cartoonists will gather in The Raphael Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum in The Battle of The Cartoonists.

Half an hour before the start of play, the teams – The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Sun, Private Eye (Hoorah!), Big Girls Drawers, Reader’s Digest and Procartoonists.org  – will each be allotted one of Raphael’s seven massive cartoons hanging on the walls to inspire them, and will draw something connected with it (or maybe not) on a great big banner.

Two and a half hours later, the completed (or maybe not) banners will be shown to the assembled throng, and the winner will be the one that gets the most applause.

Light-hearted stuff, you say? Think again! Previous years have seen skullduggery, blatant cheating, tantrums, verbal and physical assaults, kidnapping and arson as passions run high and the ink runs like blood.

Cartoonist contestant at Battle of the Cartoonists @procartoonists.org

Contestant (possibly)

Members of the Royal family, top politicians, celebrities  and foreign dignitaries are all people who might well be there – so make sure you arrive early!

Editor adds: Our thanks to Andrew for writing the above.

Event site: The Raphael Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum – The Battle of The Cartoonists.

Organisers and friends of Procartoonists.org: The Campaign for Drawing 

Reading: What WAS a cartoon

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by Royston

The Big Day approaches

September 17, 2012 in Events, News

Those nice folk at The Big Draw have sent us this reminder …

Big Draw, Big Make details

This is the event that includes the Battle of the Cartoonists, which features a Procartoonists.org team. Read our preview of that here. And read more on Big Draw, Big Make and download the programme here.