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Artist of the Month: Nathan Ariss

January 23, 2009 in Events

bloghorn_ariss_cartoon_no3Bloghorn’s Artist of the Month, Nathan Ariss explains how he makes his cartoons:

I know, this is really that question about which nibs and paper I use, isn’t it? Well, to put the knitted Parker on for a minute, I mostly go for the Gillott’s 404, lightly dipped in FW acrylic ink and drizzled on to Bristol Board. I have also been known to use charcoal, graphite, crayon, Pitt, Pigma, and Artline pens on “Not” paper, or any bit of scrap that can potentially take an ink wash for toning or colouring if so desired later on.

I’ll generally take on the artwork only after all the thinking, writing and basic compositional stuff is worked out in my head. I tend not to make pencil roughs as I like to “see what happens” when the ink hits the page. I try to work fast and loose at this stage, and try not to stress too much if some rouge elements – like that one – appear, as that can easily be excised later on in Photoshop.

I might produce quite a few versions or progressions of the same idea, or the image could just come fully formed, but I try not to judge anything there and then. I’ll walk away for twenty minutes or so to let it all dry, then scan it, and see if there is anything there that might be useable. From here it might need a few ink washes, or it could just be tidied up, or some elements pieced together as layers, perhaps distorted or possibly coloured within the blessed Adobe – hallowed be thy name. At this later stage I like to be more thorough and I try to take my time. So, lots of stretching, walking away and caffeine.

Then it’s on to final adjustments and printing off a copy to see if I can live with it, just the way it is. Invariably I can’t, but after a tiny bit more tweaking and tinkering it somehow just seems to settle, and whispers “Ooh-ee! I’m done!” Hurrah!

You can see more of Nathan’s answers to our interview here.

Digital cartoons reach the Louvre in Paris

January 22, 2009 in General

Courtesy of the Associated Press. Bloghorn’s respects are due to Bernar Yslaire.

by Royston

Tony Hart dies aged 83

January 19, 2009 in General

Tributes are being paid to the TV presenter and artist Tony Hart, who has died aged 83. Tony Hart probably did more than anyone to get generations of British children drawing, through TV shows such as Vision On, Take Hart and Hartbeat.

The BBC has an obituary and a picture gallery on Tony Hart’s career.

Picture copyright BBC

Picture copyright BBC

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
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by Royston

Cartoon exhibition: Browned Off!

January 19, 2009 in General

Gordon Brown cartoon by Morten Morland

Gordon Brown cartoon by Morten Morland

The Political Cartoon Gallery’s Tory Blues exhibition has now closed so, in the interests of balance, attention is turned to the Labour Party.
Browned Off! A cartoon exhibition on the first 18 months of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, opens at the gallery on Wednesday (January 21) and runs until March 14.

The show will feature Britain’s top political cartoonists, such as Peter Brookes, Steve Bell, Dave Brown, Nicholas Garland and Christian Adams, and include PCOers Martin Rowson, Morten Morland, Andy Davey and Matt Buck.

Gordon Brown cartoon by Andy Davey

Gordon Brown cartoon by Andy Davey

The Political Cartoon Gallery, at 32 Store Street, London, is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
Subscribe to The Foghorn – our print cartoon magazine

by Royston

Cartoon Pick of the Week

January 16, 2009 in Links, News

Foghorn for Cartoon of the Week

We spotted this great work this week …

One: Jonathan Pugh in The Times on trouble at M&S

Two: Peter Brookes in The Times on the last days of Bush

Three: Harry Venning in the Guardian: Clare in the Community

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
Subscribe to The Foghorn – our print cartoon magazine

How to draw President George W. Bush – with Steve Bell

January 16, 2009 in General

Published here by The Guardian. Steve Bell will be appearing at the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival in April 2009.

Artist of the month: Nathan Ariss

January 16, 2009 in Events


Artist of the Month, Nathan Ariss explained to Bloghorn how he became a cartoonist:

I feel immensely fortunate to have been born into a creative household where it was entirely acceptable to set one’s sights on becoming an artist, musician, actor or professional itinerant, which is pretty much what I am all about to this day.

As a kid I was always drawing, and it still feels like the most natural thing in the world to do, even if the tools I use have changed a bit. I think we are all natural artists as children. Unfortunately, it usually gets knocked out of us when we are told we have to grow up or be more realistic. I try and keep something of this child-like directness and honesty alive in all my work. Back then it was all about cats, or rubbish monsters, or people with big noses, clowns with flowers growing out of their heads; grotesques really. I don’t know if I’m cured yet, but I still like to draw people with really big noses.

Nathan’s top tips for would-be cartoonists are:

Take up juggling, learn a musical instrument or just sketch for the sheer love of it. Nothing will hone your skill as an artist more than regularly practising something which utilises your eye to hand co-ordination (hopefully via your brain). Another tip would be to try and develop your own sense of humour. Beyond that it is all speculation and opinion. No one else knows what might work out for you.

Popeye is out of copyright…

January 14, 2009 in Comment

…in Europe at least. The copyright on the spinach-munching sailor passed into the public domain under European copyright law as of the 1st January. 2009 marks 70 years since the death of Popeye‘s creator, cartoonist Elzie Segar, although his creation is still covered in the US until 2024 by their longer 95 year rule. According to the Times:

The copyright expiry means that, from Thursday, anyone can print and sell Popeye posters, T-shirts and even create new comic strips, without the need for authorisation or to make royalty payments.

Inevitably though, things are more complex than that. The Popeye trademark is retained by King Features, the US comic synidicate, and it is unlikely that they will let unauthorised use go unchallenged.

Poop! Poop!

The cartoonists in recession

January 13, 2009 in General

Cartoonists Matt Pritchett and Nicholas Garland of The Telegraph are having a short exhibition in central London at the start of next month. It is being organised by art dealer John Rae-Smith.

Artist of the Month: Nathan Ariss

January 13, 2009 in Events

Bloghorn_Nathan_Ariss_cartoon_No1Nathan Ariss is our featured artist for January 2009.

Well, thank you for asking me to be your Artist of the Month dear Bloggy. As your January 2009 pin-up, it falls to me to inject a tone of – dare I say it? – optimism into the current credit-crunchy world of the freelance cartoonist. Yes, traditional markets may be shrinking, commissions and spirits appear to be down, and doom and gloom seem to scour this land, but perhaps the New Year is exactly the right time to look to the best that the future has to offer and positively set about embracing it. With that in mind may I wish us all a very happy, joyous and prosperous New Year!

Nathan works as a cartoonist and illustrator, has been published in Private Eye, The Spectator, Slightly Foxed and Business Executive (BEX). Other work includes book and album illustrations and covers, school text books, advertising campaigns and greeting cards, as well as numerous private commissions.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
Subscribe to The Foghorn – our print cartoon magazine