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Bloghorn: Moving home this autumn

August 31, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

We’re back after our summer holiday with some good news for the autumn.

We’re moving to a new home alongside all of the portfolios from our membership of professional UK cartoonists.

Packing the boxes will take us a little while but this blog won’t be moving anywhere even though eventually all our new updates will appear at the new, ahem, pad.

Long time readers of Bloghorn may recall we have done this before and we are sure we will get better with the practice.

Keep your eyes here for the updates about progress and in the meantime do check out the membership artwork which is frequently updated.

Bloghorn is made by  Matthew Buck, Royston Robertson, Alex Hughes and Rob Murray.

Round up : What the Bloghorn saw

July 22, 2011 in Comment, News

Rob Murray writes:

A handsome new book about the use of cartoons in early advertising is released this month by graphic novel and comic art publisher Fantagraphics Books. In 128 full-colur pages, Drawing Power spans from the 1870s to the 1940s and features lesser-known work by cartoonists such as Peter Arno, Thomas Nast, George Herriman and Dr Seuss. More information on the book, including a slideshow of many of the cartoons featured, can be found here.

The News International phone-hacking scandal has made headlines around the world, and reminds Vancouver Sun writer Darah Hansen of a classic Doonesbury strip, as she explains here.

Judge Dredd, the iconic star of long-running UK sci-fi comic 2000 AD, is getting a second chance at movie stardom – this time without Sylvester Stallone – in a new film due early next year.

Last but by no means least, the UK Professional Cartoonists Organisation – which runs the Bloghorn – has this week unveiled its portfolio website. Take a look, if you haven’t already. We will be moving to the new site in due course.

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

June 24, 2011 in Comment, News

Rob Murray writes:

Over at the New Yorker blogs, cartoon editor Bob Mankoff has been looking at what makes a good caption for a gag cartoon – and argues, contrary to popular opinion, that  novelty is overrated.

Following up, he considers whether it is possible to generate a universal caption that would work with all the cartoons featured in the magazine’s long-running caption contest, and asks readers to suggest their own. Mankoff  analysed some of these in a subsequent blog.

Five postcards by prolific cartoonist and master of the double entendre, Donald McGill, have gone on sale for the first time since being banned on obscenity grounds 56 years ago. The cards have been reprinted and sold by the  Donald McGill Postcard Museum on the Isle of Wight, and the Daily Mail has the full story  here.

Two months on from the royal wedding, Pippa Middleton is still making headlines – this time in cartoon form. The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister stars in a tongue-in-cheek comic strip, one of several released as part of the marketing campaign for video game Infamous 2.

A New York Times blog entry by historian Adam Goodheart deconstructs a cartoon that ran in Harper’s Weekly at the start of the American Civil War, and which later proved prophetic. It should make interesting reading for enthusiasts of both history and cartoons.

Meanwhile, in Russia, a new cartoon strip depicting prime minister Vladimir Putin and president Dmitry Medvedev as superheroes foiling a Speed-style bomb plot has become an internet hit. Creator Sergei Kalenik says he created the Superputin strip to change people’s depressing views of Russia’s political scene. You can read the strip in English translation here.

Bloghorn adds if you see something we should know, please tell us.

 

Shrewsbury perspective

April 20, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Shrewsbury festival cartoonist Bill Stott writes:

Amongst all the frenetic cartooning activity at Shrewsbury – the Big Boards, the caricaturing, strolling players in costume, the music, the wonderful weather and the public throng, two tiny incidents serve to underline the public’s liking for good cartoons.

One involved a tiny chap called Pacey who stood with his mum watching me paint my Big Board. Pacey was about five, I’d guess. I’d heard his mum saying things like, ‘‘No, you can’t help.’’ Pacey was undeterred and you could tell he was fascinated as the picture took form. So I asked him if he’d like to write his name on it.

Without hesitation, he wrote, very slowly, with a huge felt tip, ‘‘Pacey’’, all wobbly, in the bottom right hand corner. He was delighted and returned several times to make sure I hadn’t covered it up. Later I found, stuffed in my paint bag, a drawing by him, of his mum and a huge cat. All together – ‘‘Aaaah!’’

Photograph ©Ian Ellery

Later in the day, whilst doing reverse caricaturing – an esoteric activity involving the subject sticking their head through a hole in a big piece of paper and telling the cartoonist how they would like to be portrayed – another short type called Harry, even tinier than Pacey, got a bit tearful when I started to pack up in order to begin another activity. He’d waited with his mum for ages, been pushed in front of by a huge nine-year-old girl and looked very crestfallen. So I hurried things up and got him sorted.

Anyway, he was absolutely delighted with his picture (a footballer), which, when rolled up, was taller than him. So, while adult crowd members were being enthusiastic about all the surrounding huge cartoons and brilliant caricatures, and proving what cartoonists know is true – people love cartoons – so do little people. Quite possibly more so. Publishers take note. Real drawing for real people.

You can catch up with the news from Bloghorn at Shrewsbury 2011 here.

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.

Big Draw sketched out

September 29, 2010 in Events


The Campaign for Drawing has announced details of the launch event for this year’s Big Draw festival, which is called Make Your Mark on the Future.

The London launch takes place over the weekend of October 22 and 23 on the South Bank, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Highlights will include free cartoon workshops run by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and the returning Battle of the Cartoonists, featuring a Bloghorn team who will be defending their title following their glorious (and surprising) victory in last year’s cheer-off.

Bloghorn at the Big Draw from the Campaign for Drawing

Other events include talks and workshops by artists in this year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize, Walk and Draw – a sketching tour of nearby memorials and people, an exhibition of Stephen Wiltshire‘s amazing drawings of the City, and a mural by the cartoonist Quentin Blake, the long-time Roald Dahl collaborator.

For more details, go to the Campaign for Drawing’s website or download a PDF with full programme and map.

You say tomato, we say cartoonist …

September 27, 2010 in News

Bloghorn Opinion logo Bloghorn must take issue with the US political cartoonist Daryl Cagle over a blog post in which he talks about the “cultural” difference between cartoons created in America and those from the rest of the world.

Cagle, who also syndicates cartoons through the Political Cartoonists Index argues that there is a ‘‘BIG cultural gap’’ between American cartoons, where the emphasis is on humour and/or making a clear point, and those created by ‘‘world cartoonists’’, which are more oblique.

He takes the view that in America cartooning is a proper job, but for ‘‘world cartoonists’’ it is merely a hobby, as all these cartoonists do is enter competitions.

‘‘The American cartoonists’ idea of actually making a living from our work, and judging our success by the size of our audiences, or our wallets, seems strange to the obscure foreign cartoonists, who are busy building their CVs and planning their travel schedules.’’

He goes on to say;

‘‘Most world cartoons look strange to an American eye and we have a hard time finding world cartoonists to syndicate, whose work can be understood by our audience.’’

Bloghorn is not saying we don’t recognise his view of some foreign cartoons, particularly those seen in international competitions, but we think he has got American and ‘‘world’’ mixed up with English speaking and non-English speaking.

We would ask Mr Cagle to take a broader view, perhaps by looking at UK cartooning for a start. There are plenty of cartoonists here who draw cartoons which are funny and make clear points.

And many UK cartoonists are as baffled by wordless and often worthy competition cartoons as Cagle is. Indeed, not too long ago John Jensen wrote a three-part article for this blog in which he outlined the difference between British cartoons, which focus on being funny, and those created by our European neighbours, which are about a more serious form of wit.

Indeed, just as Cagle characterises them as ‘‘daisies in the gun barrels’’ cartoons, so Jensen talks of ‘‘countless brick walls, endless rolls of barbed wire, and doves of peace in need of a vet’’.

You can read John Jensen’s series here: Wit and Wisdom: part 1, part2, part 3.

And in response to Cagle’s view of ‘‘world’’ cartoonists as hobbyists, we would like to point out that there are many cartoonists in the UK making a living. They may be striving to do so against the odds – and the PCO which runs the Bloghorn does all it can to help them – but they are professional cartoonists and funny to boot.

Instant art – good or bad?

September 23, 2010 in News

Bloghorn sees more evidence of the speed of digital processing and how it is changing the way images are made.

Doodle Cam is a recently launched application for smartphones which provide instant, or real-time animation effects for video shot on that device.

The app is made by a firm of developers called MacPhun, you can see some of the other services they make here. They include Real-Time Distorter, iRetroscope and PopArt VidCam.

All provide instant access to art effects. Bloghorn thinks this clearly proves that everyone is an artist nowadays.

Please feel free to agree or disagree in our comments section below.

Drawing expresses ideas well

May 25, 2010 in Comment

Bloghorn liked this video from The Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Thanks to member Jonathan Cusick for the tip-off.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonists at The Groucho

May 10, 2010 in General, News

Cartoonists at the Groucho Club
Revellers at the Groucho Club, London’s premier trendy media hangout, found something to distract them from the anti-climax of the General Election last Thursday night: live cartooning.

Members of the PCO, the organisation which runs the Bloghorn, were on hand to draw cartoons in an informal capacity – is there any other way in the Groucho Club? – on the subject of politics and the election, as well as drawing live caricatures. The cartoons were then pinned up on the walls, showing up the Emins and Hirsts.

Cameras are not permitted in the Groucho, and the cartoonists went untroubled by the paparazzi outside the club, so there is no photographic record. Instead, we offer you some fine drawings of the assembled scribblers by Wilbur Dawbarn.

Much fun was had by all, even if there was still no conclusive result in the election by throwing-out time at 4am. But, who knows, we may be back there for the next election in a matter of months …