You are browsing the archive for 2009 March.

Keep Calm and Carry on Drawing

March 19, 2009 in Comment

PCOer Royston Robertson writes:

The World War Two propaganda poster Keep Calm and Carry On is proving to be a big hit in recession-hit Britain, so I came up with a version for cartoonists. It’s not hard to see why people love the 1939 government poster, they’re embracing the “Blitz spirit”, and refusing to let the economic downturn get them down. Here’s the original image, below:

But, as a cartoonist friend said to me recently, “Your whole life’s a credit crunch when you’re a cartoonist!” Like many self-employed people, cartoonists do find it tough-going sometimes, recession or no recession. You may not be selling enough work, maybe not getting enough commissions … it can feel tough. But, all you can do is keep calm and carry on, as the poster says, and hope that something turns up. It usually does.

Cartoonists solve knotty visual problems

March 18, 2009 in Comment

Ever had problems with with that spaghetti of tangled-up cables? Christoph Niemann certainly has and here illustrates his frustrations for the New York Times using a novel approach involving cartoons and wire.

by Royston

Bloghorn patron raises laughs and money

March 16, 2009 in Comment

PCO patron Libby Purves raised lots of laughs on Radio 4’s Stand-up With the Stars, as well as raising money for charity.

But sadly she was not the winner – that honour went to fellow Radio 4 presenter Peter White. Listeners decided the winner by a telephone vote. Proceeds from the vote raised money for Comic Relief.

You can read more about the programme and watch videos of the performances on the programme’s website.

The bigger picture and the cartoonists

March 15, 2009 in General

Following some recent evidence for the power of a very traditional visual art, PCOer Patrick Blower writes with details of his recent adventures with BBC News:

The news at ten called me up, knowing that a cartoon was the perfect medium to explain quantitative easing – the driest and most arcane of subjects. I knocked it out at speed, missed it on the 10 o’ clock news but learnt the next day that it formed part of the lead story. They also put it online and they told me it was the 7th most-viewed item on the BBC site that day. Needless to say, I wasn’t on a Jonathan Ross pay rate, but I’m not complaining, and nor are the BBC who got a lot of mileage out of my cartoons. A reminder that our chosen medium is often the perfect communication tool.

You can see Blower’s work for the BBC here.

by Royston

Cartoon Pick of the Week

March 13, 2009 in Links, News

Bloghorn spotted this great work during this week ending the 13th March 2009.

One: Tim Sanders in The Independent on bankers retraining as teachers

Two: Nick Newman in The Sunday Times on Heston Blumenthal’s woes

Three: Alex Hughes in Tribune on Northern Ireland

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Artist of the Month – The Surreal McCoy

March 13, 2009 in Events

Bloghorn cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

Bloghorn cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

The PCO Artist of the Month for March is The Surreal McCoy.

Bloghorn asked Surreal the usual searching question: What made you become a cartoonist?

As there’s no history of madness in the family I can only assume it must have been drunken musicians laughing at my incoherent doodling on the tour bus. Since then its been a gradual but dignified slide down to where I am now.

Actually cartooning was the last thing I expected to be doing, having had no formal art training, but I must say it is rather a lot of fun.

There will be more from Surreal next Friday, or, you can check through our Artist of the Month archives in the column on the right hand side of the page.

Red Nose-d cartoonist

March 12, 2009 in General

Bloghorn: Graham Fowell caricaturist

Bloghorn: Graham Fowell Red_Nose caricaturist

PCOer Graham Fowell will be drawing caricatures of all-comers for just £5 per head on Comic Relief Night this Friday (March 13).

The caricaturist, known professionally as the Hit Man, will be doing his five-hour stretch of drawing crowds at The Trent Inn on his home patch near Nottingham. Graham told the Bloghorn: “We want to raise loads of cash for Comic Relief.”

The self-analysed cartoonist

March 12, 2009 in Comment

Caricaturist Adrian Teal writes about the paralysis of analysis:

A PhD student phoned me yesterday, wanting to pick my brains. She’s doing research into politicians and how political cartoons are perceived, and emailed me a list of searching questions which she’ll be putting to me in a telephone interview in a day or so.

I’m happy to help, though she tells me she has already spoken to Steve Bell and Martin Rowson, so I’m not sure I’ll have anything more insightful and enlightening to offer than these two giants of the Comment page.

And so to confession time …

The problem is that I tend not to think too deeply about what I do – at least, not that often. Analysing the cartoonist is like taking a butterfly apart to see how it works. I don’t draw because I think I can change the world, or to destabilize governments, though it is highly rewarding to have a pop at a venal politico now and again. I draw because I have to. At 34, I can’t see myself doing anything else. It is as much a part of my life as shaving, or yawning. The actual process can be agonising, although the labour pains are usually forgotten when the artwork turns out well. Sure, I like to be praised when I do a good job, but if I’m honest, I don’t even enjoy cartooning 100 per cent of the time. I suspect most cartoonists are the same.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

Who’s going to Shrewsbury 2009

March 11, 2009 in Events

With a little over six weeks to go until the start of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, the full list of cartoonists in attendance has been revealed.

British cartoonists taking part this year will include Neil Dishington, Noel Ford, Pete Dredge, Andy Davey, Bill Stott, Martin Honeysett, Steve Bright, Steve Best, Tim Harries, John Roberts, Roger Penwill, Dave Brown, Kipper Williams, Nathan Ariss, Clive Goddard, Will Dawbarn, Andy McKay, John Landers, Janis Goodman, Jacky Fleming, Carol Isaacs, Hunt Emerson, Chichi Parish, Angela Martin, Jed Pascoe, Simon Ellinas, Chris Ryder, Helen Pointer, Terry Christien, Steve Bell, Kate Charlesworth and Gerard Whyman, who will be joined by Festival (and PCO) Patron Libby Purves. From Europe, Miroslav Bartak (Czech Republic), Heinz Pfister (Switzerland) and Michael Kountouris (Greece) will also be joining in the fun.

Royston Robertson, Alex Hughes and Matt Buck will be reporting the events for Bloghorn. Information on getting to and staying in Shrewsbury can be found here.

Update: It turns out we’ve missed Cathy Simpson from the list of attending cartoonists. Apologies, Cathy!

by Royston

Web-comic creators do their Thing

March 9, 2009 in General

If you have put together an event and can’t think of a name for it, you can always just call it a “Thing”. That’s what the organisers of the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing did.

The annual Thing, which began in 2004, is a convention for readers and creators of web-comics and self-published mini-comics, complete with stalls, panels of experts, and DVD screenings.


The 2009 Thing takes place on March 28 at the Great Hall, Queen Mary University, Mile End, London, from 9am-5pm. Advance tickets are £3 and tickets will be available on the day for £4.

For more details, visit the Thing 2009 website.