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by Royston

Political cartoonist has it covered

May 24, 2011 in News

IMF cartoon by Gary Barker
Everyone needs a break from time to time, and when regular cartoonists on national papers take time off it’s an opportunity for others to cover for them and show what they can do.

This week Gary Barker, a member of the PCO which runs the Bloghorn, is covering for Steve Bell at the Guardian. His Monday editorial cartoon is above, he will also do the Thursday and Saturday drawings.

Gary told the Bloghorn that he had covered at various national papers, and had been hoping to have a go at the Guardian. “My last cover was for the Trevor Kavanagh column in the Sun and I know he is an influential character Westminster. So I emailed the Guardian art director and mentioned Trevor’s name. It was either that or my timing was lucky, because I was offered a couple of days almost straight away.”

Covering is a tricky business though. By moving from paper to paper the cartoonist may have to adapt to different stances on political issues.

“All newspapers have different approaches, from almost ‘Hands-off and do as you like’, right through to ‘Can we have A standing in such a way, and B saying this and carrying a cabbage and a gramophone’. I’ll leave you all to make your minds up as to which political slant is likely to be the more prescriptive,” said Gary.

Covering for others is a rite of passage for political cartoonists. Other PCO members who have taken that route include Patrick Blower, Andy Bunday, Alex Hughes, Morten Morland, Martin Rowson, and Bloghorn’s own Matt Buck.

Matt said: “Me and my cartoon shadow is a hard game to play. It takes time to build a personal relationship with an audience of readers so stepping into someone’s ‘spot’ can feel like mission impossible.”

Rogues and Epoques

May 12, 2011 in Events, News

Two prominent political cartoonists have exhibitions opening in London in the next couple of weeks. On Wednesday 25 May, Bell Époque, featuring the cartoons of Steve Bell opens at the Cartoon Museum. The exhibition, which celebrates 30 years of Guardian cartoonist Steve’s work runs until 24 July.

Not to be outdone, on Monday 30 May Rogues’ Gallery, opens at Westminster Reference Library. Featuring the classical art parodies of the Independent‘s Dave Brown the exhibition runs until 18 June. Dave will also be giving an illustrated talk, titled ‘Mimicking the Masters’ on Tuesday 7 June, 7pm. To book a free place, email rblack1@westminster.gov.uk or phone 020 7641 5250.

Bell Époque, Cartoon Gallery, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH, 25 May to 24 July. For opening times and admission prices, go to cartoonmuseum.org.

Rogues Gallery, Westminster Reference Library, 35 St Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP, 30 May to 18 June.  Free entry. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm.

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.

Political Cartoonist of the Year

December 8, 2010 in Events, General, News

While on the theme of awards, congratulations to PCO member Martin Rowson who won the annual Political Cartoon Society’s Cartoonist of the Year award on Monday. You can explore Martin’s work at The Guardian, Tribune and The Morning Star.

The economic recovery is here © Martin Rowson Cartoon

The economic recovery is here Jan 2010 © Martin Rowson Cartoon

Dave Brown of the Independent won the prize for the individual drawing of the year.

Doonesbury hits 40

October 27, 2010 in News

The first ever Doonesbury, published 26th October 1970

American cartoonist Garry Trudeau has notched up 40 years of drawing his comic strip Doonesbury. The strip first appeared as ‘Bull Tales’ in his student newspaper at Yale University from where it was picked for syndication in the national press.

As its popularity grew, rights for its publication were sold overseas and it has been a popular and long-running feature in the Guardian newspaper in the UK as a result. We know this because of the howls of protest when it was dropped as a part of an ill-advised redesign during 2009. The paper backed down and the strip was hastily reinstated.

The 40th anniversary of the strip is being marked by the publication of Doonesbury 40: A Retrospective, and by celebration of all things Doonesbury-esque in the online magazine Slate, including an interview with Trudeau.

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by Royston

Scenes from a mall: Big Draw 2010

October 25, 2010 in Events

A burst of British Weather meant that Saturday’s Big Draw events on the South Bank in London had to be swiftly moved, from the open-air space of The Scoop, next to City Hall, to the nearby Hay’s Galleria.

The cartoonists’ spirits were not dampened by this turn of events, however, even though the move meant that many of us precious artists, unused to heavy lifting as we are, had to carry our own trestle tables.

Procartoonists cartoon workshops at the Big Draw @ procartoonists.org

Procartoonists workshops in full swing

PCO members were on hand to provide workshops throughout the event, for budding artists young and old. These were run by Wilbur Dawbarn, Tim Harries, Chichi Parish, above, and The Surreal McCoy.

Announcer Maxwell Hutchinson with Foghorn magazine @procartoonists.org

The Hay’s Galleria proved to be a great venue with lots of members of the public passing through and stopping to take part in the workshops and watch the Battle of the Cartoonists banners being created.

The Battle was hosted – impressively without the usual microphone or megaphone – by Maxwell Hutchinson, the architect and Sony award-winning radio broadcaster, seen here brandishing a copy of Foghorn, who did a sterling job of talking up the noble profession of cartooning in a suitably erudite manner.

Team Foghorn Big Draw banner 2010

The team from Procartoonists.org

For the Battle, the PCO’s victorious Team Bloghorn from 2009 was this year rebranded as Team Foghorn, in order to give a push to our sister print magazine.

The PCO team was, left to right, Cathy Simpson, Ian Ellery, Royston Robertson, Robert Duncan and Nathan Ariss. Cathy was standing in as captain for Pete Dredge, who co-ordinated planning of the banner beforehand but was unable to attend on the day. All banners were on the festival theme of “Make your mark on the future”.

We competed against three other teams: Private Eye (Andrew Birch, Henry Davies, Simon Pearsall and Steve Way), The Guardian (Steve Bell and Martin Rowson alongside Ben Jennings and Anna Trench who made their debut in the newspaper over the summer) and, due to the fact that the Financial Times team was unable to make it, a hastily assembled “Coalition” team (formed the day before by Matt Buck, Alex Hughes and David Trumble).

Steve Bell at the Big Draw

Steve Bell starts from the beginning...

The Coalition team at the Big Draw

David Trumble and Matt Buck get the right reaction

Each of the groups that Team Foghorn faced included at least one PCO member, such is the reach of the organisation: Bell, Birch, Buck, Hughes and Rowson are all in the PCO.

This made losing – as the Private Eye team romped to victory in the traditional “cheer-o-meter” from the public – slightly easier to take! As did the usual camaraderie from cartoonists from all teams in the pub afterwards.

Private Eye Procartoonists.org at the Big Draw

Team Private Eye hard at work

Our compere looks on as Andrew Birch, Steve Way and Simon Pearsall put their backs into the Private Eye banner, while Henry Davies puts his knees in

Another marvellous Big Draw then, and Bloghorn would like to say many thanks, as ever, to Sue Grayson Ford and all at The Campaign for Drawing.

Photos by Gerard Whyman and Denis Dowland.

The Big Draw 2010

October 22, 2010 in Events, News

The 2010 London launch event of the Big Draw starts today and runs into this weekend – the 22nd and 23rd of October. Many members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation will be working there and we’d be delighted to see you.

You will find us running free workshops on the craft and skill of cartooning and also participating in the annual Battle of the Cartoonists with many of our members playing for Private Eye, The Guardian and our own Foghorn magazine.


View Bloghorn at the The Big Draw 2010 in a larger map

Of course, we think the events at number six on Saturday  steal the show, but as you can see below, the organisers at the Campaign for Drawing have done a terrific job in making a great long line up of events along a large stretch of the River Thames. Bloghorn says don’t miss it.

The London events of the Big Draw 2010 at the Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

The London events of the Big Draw 2010 at the Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

Les Gibbard, cartoonist – 1945 to 2010

October 14, 2010 in Events, News

Les Gibbard Cartoons at The Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

Les Gibbard cartoonist and animator 1945 - 2010

Some sad news that Leslie Gibbard, long-time cartoonist for The Guardian, the BBC and many more has died.

You can read about Les, his life and work at The University of Kent’s cartoon archive, at wikipedia or, in this anthology of his work.

Updated: Bear Alley blog has added a tribute here following The Guardian’s obituary.

What happened next…

September 2, 2010 in Events, News

Foghorn Bloghorn for The UK Professional Cartoonists’ OrganisationA quick follow-up of stories we’ve covered recently on Bloghorn.

Cause and effect: Cartoonists’ Showcase

August 18, 2010 in Events, News

“Double Dip and Toil and Trouble !!” by Nick Hayes,
from the Guardian’s summer cartoonists showcase.

As previously mentioned in Bloghorn, the Guardian is showcasing six up-and-coming cartoonists whilst regular incumbent Steve Bell is on his summer holidays.

Since the last week of July, the cartoons of Anna Trench, Lou McKeever (aka Bluelou), Ben Jennings, Tanya Tier, Bob Moran and Nick Hayes have been adding their own visual takes on the day’s news. Their contributions haven’t been without controversy, with many cartoons receiving over 100 comments each, including numerous pieces or rebuttal from fellow Guardian cartoonist, Martin Rowson. As Martin says in the comments:

The reason for giving these cartoonists an airing here – including, of course, the opportunity to fail – is that these days it’s almost impossible to undergo that kind of baptism of fire in a national newspaper , and thus hone your native skills.

and on the subject of the comments:

[...] these six debutants have overturned an original editorial decision not to have comments on their work when it appears on this site. I think that’s quite brave of them, so it might be worthwhile some of you repaying the compliment by being constructive in your criticism, rather than just trolling about as usual, beating up this particular bus shelter on the side of the information superhighway with the kind of reckless abandon that seems to come so easily to the heroically anonymous.

On a related note, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson will be in conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this weekend, whilst Steve will also be chatting to American political cartoonist Garry Trudeau and comic book writer Alan Moore.