You are browsing the archive for 2009 November.

by Royston

Caption competition with a difference

November 30, 2009 in General

An informal cartoon caption competition, which began as a one-off on the Cartoonists’ Club public forum in the summer, is now into its 20th week. Matt Buck spoke to Noel Ford, moderator of the forum along with Nigel Sutherland and Ian Ellery, and asked how this is different to any other caption contest.

The competition is similar to the readers’ caption competitions that were once so popular in Punch magazine, but with one major difference: instead of competitors being provided with a cartoon to which they have to think of a caption, it’s the caption that is provided and they must draw a cartoon to suit.


Noel’s entry from week three of the competition – “Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere” – was voted the winner

How did it start?
It was the brainchild of part-time cartoonist Chris Cooper (CLIB) and PCO member Ian Ellery. Chris originally wondered, in July this year, how different cartoonists would interpret a single cartoon scenario, and Ian suggested that, rather than a scenario, we should give the same caption to a group of cartoonists and see what they came up with. The idea was quickly taken up and what was at first intended as a one-off experiment, quickly became the popular competition that it now is.

Who can take part?
Anyone registered on the forum can have a go: full time pros, part-timers and people who aren’t cartoonists at all. We have had cartoons from people whose entry was the first cartoon they had ever drawn. The winners, so far, have come from a wide spectrum of full-time and part-time cartoonists. Apart from the fame and the kudos, the winner has to provide the caption for the next competition.

Tim Harries’ take on “Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere”

When does it take place?
Entries are posted on the forum between 12 noon on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. Voting takes place, using a points system, between 1pm Sunday and 6pm Monday. All entrants can vote and non-entrants can vote, too, subject to certain conditions.

How did you end up managing it?
Cynics might say it was the only way I can guarantee winning (twice!), but the truth is that, as a moderator on the forum, it was a natural progression. And, I’m also a control freak – so my wife tells me!

Why do you think it started?
Cartoonists are natural show-offs. We love drawing cartoons but we crave an audience. For the the new kids on the block it provides an opportunity to have their work viewed by a niche audience and to elicit comments from the more experienced contributors. For all of us it is an opportunity to draw whatever we like without editorial considerations. And, it’s great fun!

Artist of the Month – Tim Harries

November 27, 2009 in Events


Tim Harries, Bloghorn’s Artist of the Month Tim Harries reveals the names of other artists who have inspired him:

I think my favourite form of cartooning is the newspaper comic strip and there are plenty of cartoonists in this field I admire. The worlds they created and the quality work they produced over decades is something I certainly envied and wanted to emulate. Charles Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ and Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp were early favourites, and later on Bill Watterson’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and Jim Meddick’s ‘Robotman’ became my comic strip obsessions.

Currently I enjoy Stephan Pastis’ ‘Pearls before Swine’ and Darby Conley’s ‘Get Fuzzy’. Outside of newspaper comic strips, I admire Peter Bagge, Jeff Smith, Kazu Kibuishi, Jamie Hewlett. Oh and Pete Dredge. And Roger Kettle. Really like Pete’s artwork and Roger’s writing. There’s loads more but it would get tedious…

And what does Tim think is the future of cartooning in the digital age?

I’ve certainly embraced digital cartooning. It allows me to work for clients all over the world. The other side of the digital age is of course the decline of print media, but with the advent of iPhones, Kindles, Sony Readers, the fabled Apple Tablet and all manner of future gizmos I think there’s a definite market for cartoons and comics in the digital age. It’s just a different way of delivering our content.

The tricky part is no doubt working out how we can get paid for our skills in an online world that expects everything for free. “Interesting times ahead”, as someone much cleverer than me once said…

Bloghorn thanks Tim for being our Artist of the Month for November.

The cartoon-reality crossover

November 26, 2009 in General

News of a movie deal for David McKee‘s Mr Benn – and also of a nice tribute to Festing, or Festive Road. Spotted by PCOer Nathan Ariss

Manga at the Museum

November 25, 2009 in General

hoshino_smallThe British Museum is currently exhibiting original artwork from acclaimed Japanese manga artist Hoshino Yukinobu‘s newest comic. The exhibition follows the adventures of Yukinobu’s character Professor Munakata and is set in the Museum itself. The work uses icons including the Sutton Hoo mask and the Lewis chessmen. Artwork from more of Yukinobu’s manga also features at the museum, alongside talks and family events.

British film director Ken Russell has written a review of the exhibition for The Times.

by Royston

Cartoons continue to bite

November 23, 2009 in General

From 30 Years of Viz, currently at the Cartoon Museum

“Pictorial satire is so ingrained in our culture that people often don’t realise what a huge part of their lives it is. Not just in comics and newspapers, but also animations, games, advertising, greetings cards”
– Anita O’Brien, Curator, Cartoon Museum

Taken from an article in the Daily Telegraph on 21 years of the Cartoon Art Trust, the charity behind the Cartoon Museum

LINK: Funny how cartoons still have bite

Artist of the Month – Tim Harries

November 20, 2009 in Events


Bloghorn’s Artist of the Month, cartoonist Tim Harries, gives his tips for would-be cartoonists:

  • Keep practicing. Nothing wrong with copying other people’s work for practice if you want to learn, as long as you don’t try to pass it off as your own. You’ll find your own style as you progress.
  • If you’re aiming to become a professional cartoonist, you’ll need to get yourself a web site and get yourself advertised. If you want to be taken seriously put your best stuff on there, not some sketches you did for Auntie Flo when you were 10. You can save that stuff for your inevitable blog
  • Nearly all work is done via the internet these days – receiving and answering enquiries, sending roughs and final art, invoicing are all expected to be done online, so be prepared for this.
  • Don’t miss deadlines. Clients don’t like it and probably won’t use you again. Simple!
  • Develop a thick skin. If you’re sending cartoons anywhere speculatively, be prepared for rejection somewhere along the line.
  • Also be prepared to diversify – there is work out there, but if you’ve got your heart set on just working in one field of cartooning “Right I’m only going to draw gag cartoons… about Aardvarks!” it may be a struggle, so the skills you learn producing gag cartoons, comic strips and humorous illustrations can be used in all manner of work – greetings cards, calendars, advertising, comic books, trade mags. Some may not be the glamorous ‘high profile’ gigs you’d like but they pay the bills.

Bloghorn will have one more week of thoughts from Tim next Friday, in the meantime,you can enjoy our Bloghorn Artist of the Month archives whenever you want.

by Royston

Cartoon award winners 2009 announced

November 19, 2009 in General


The 15th Cartoon Art Trust Awards were presented last night at a fundraising dinner at the Mall Galleries in London.

The dinner also celebrated the 21st birthday of the Cartoon Art Trust, the charity behind the Cartoon Museum. The trust has presented the CAT Awards annually since 1995.

PCO member Morten Morland (cartoon above) was among the winners, taking home the Political Cartoon Award. (There’s reaction from Morten to his win at the bottom of this piece.)

The full list of Award Winners:

Strip cartoon award: Graham Dury, Davey Jones and Simon Thorp, the artist/editors of Viz

Pocket cartoon award: Matt Pritchett MBE (Matt) of the Daily Telegraph

Joke cartoon award: Robert Thompson of Private Eye, The Oldie, The Spectator and others

Political cartoon award: Morten Morland of The Times

Caricature award: Howard McWilliam of The Week

Young cartoonists of the year: Alex Shaw (under 18) and Nick Edwards (under 30)

The Pont prize for drawing the British Character: Annie Tempest of Country Life. The Pont Award was set up five years ago in memory of Graham “Pont” Laidler, who drew the series The British Character in Punch in the 1930s and 40s.

Lifetime achievement award: Michael Heath of The Spectator, Private Eye and Mail on Sunday. Previous winners of the award have included Raymond Briggs, Ronald Searle, Gerald Scarfe, Fluck and Law, and Trog.

A fundraising auction of cartoons was held in aid of The Cartoon Museum. These included a cartoon signed by Margaret Thatcher, and a Chris Riddell original cartoon about the financial crisis, signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron.

Morten Morland, Winner of the Political Cartoonist of the Year award, told Bloghorn:

It was a great evening, with the added excitement for me of picking up an award. It’s a peculiar feeling to receive that kind of honour in front of so many terrific cartoonists, most of whom would have had every right to stand up and shout: “WHAT?! HIM?” Fortunately they all waited until I was out of earshot.

Black tie events are a rarity for most cartoonists, and most would probably say mercifully so. However, this annual chance to dress up in hired ill fitting fineries is terrific fun – and a great celebration of cartooning as an art form and as a trade.

PCOer Martin Honeysett said:

The evening is all about raising money for CAT with an auction of works donated by various cartoonists, including Neil Dishington and Steve Best. Closing bids ranged from respectable hundreds for the earlier lots to gobsmacking thousands for later ones.

Morten added:

When presenting the award for Joke Cartooning, film director Mike Leigh heaped praise on the work the small team at the Museum does, and quite rightly so! It is a terrific place which deserves to be supported in any way possible. For most of us it means happily paying ten quid to pop a balloon, or to be photographed sticking our heads through a humongous Dave Brown painting of an executioner holding the head of Gordon Brown. For those with rather more impressive bank balances, it means paying £3,500 for an  original Matt cartoon.

Young Cartoonists of the Year to be announced

November 18, 2009 in General

Foghorn for Cartoon of the WeekVoting has now taken place for the 2009 UK Young Cartoonist of the Year awards. The awards will be presented at the annual Cartoon Art Trust event in central London this evening. The awards are made in two categories, for artists under 18 and 30s years old, and were chosen from more than 200 submissions. The judges panel was headed by Guardian cartoonist and PCO member Martin Rowson. Fellow judge Christian Adams of The Daily Telegraph has written about the process here. Bloghorn will have full coverage tomorrow.

by Royston

Apple U-turn on cartoonist's iPhone app

November 16, 2009 in News

Since we reported last Wedneday (November 11) that Apple rejected an iPhone application by MAD magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond, which featured caricatures of members of the US Congress, it seems the company has done a U-turn and approved it.

Apple had claimed that the app “contains content that ridicules public figures” and is in violation of “the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”. That is no longer the case and it appears that the online reaction to the news may have played a part in getting the decision overturned.

Ray Griggs, who produced and financed the app, called Bobble Reps, said: “I would like thank all of the websites, news stations, Twitter, Facebook, internet bloggers, and email sources that showed their support.”

Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonists Index has the full story.

Artist of the Month – Tim Harries

November 13, 2009 in Events


Bloghorn’s Artist of the Month is freelance cartoonist Tim Harries. We asked Tim how he produced his cartoons.

Nearly all my work is done digitally these days. I say nearly, since I still produce my daily strip using traditional methods (in my case – pencils, Staedtler Pigment Liners, Pitt brush pens and a nice bit of paper!). The strip is something I could do digitally, but I quite like ‘keeping my hand in’ with actual pen and paper. It’s a good backup if the computer ever dies on me!

All my other work is done (technophobes look away now!) on Photoshop with my PC and Wacom Cintiq, which I upgraded to recently from the Intuos tablet. The Cintiq is a great piece of kit, well worth the cost if you’re serious about digital cartooning. After all these years of PC use, I’ve finally bought my first Mac, the 13in Macbook Pro, so will be eager to see how it performs.

There will be more from Tim here at the Bloghorn next week. Remember, you can enjoy our Bloghorn Artist of the Month archives at any time.