You are browsing the archive for 2010 March.

Digital speed-drawing from Angouleme

March 16, 2010 in Comment


Thanks to Dave Gibbons who alerted us to this video produced by Pixel TV of a speed painting session from the angouleme comic art event.

by Royston

It's a Comix Thing

March 15, 2010 in Events


If you’re a fan of small-press comics, you might want to get along to the
UK Web & Mini Comix Thing, which this year takes place on March 27.

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 2010 Thing takes place at the Great Hall, Queen Mary University, Mile End, London, from 10am-5pm. Advance tickets are £3 and tickets will be available on the day for £4.

For more details, visit the Thing 2010 website

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2010

March 12, 2010 in General

More than 40 of the UK’s top cartoonists will be drawing for and entertaining the public at the UK’s only cartoon festival next month. There will be many workshops, clinics, talks and much drawing of cartoons and caricatures over the weekend of April 22-25.

On the Friday and Saturday in the town square, the cartoonists challenge themselves against the clock, with huge blank canvases placed in front of them, to complete the Big Boards. You can see one of the finished boards from last year here.

Bloghorn Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Big Board http://thebloghorn.org © Ger Whyman

The confirmed cartoonist attendees this year are:

Andy Davey, The Surreal McCoyDave BrownMartin HoneysettJohn LandersClive GoddardWill DawbarnGerard WhymanRupert BesleySteve BrightBill StottJohn RobertsAngela MartinSteve WayHelen MartinJed PascoeSimon CassiniSheba CassiniTim LeatherbarrowChris RyderChichi ParishCathy SimpsonAndy GilbertTim Harries and  Martin Rowson.

The festival will also be welcoming three Australian Cartoonists: Steve PanozzoJason Chatfield and Dean Alston, and a large contingent from Greece.

Alex Hughes, Royston Robertson and Matt Buck will be there for reporting for Bloghorn and we think that there will be a large “fringe event” going on too. So, if you are planning a trip to the festival as a cartoonist or as a fan of the fun, please tell us in the comments below.

We’ll be talking more about the exhibitions which run across the town on the Bloghorn next Friday.


Ronald Searle on Ronald Searle

March 11, 2010 in Comment


Interviewed by, wait for it, Nick Glass* for Channel 4 News.
Bloghorn says watch for the full explanation.

Steve Bell on Ronald Searle

March 10, 2010 in Comment

Cartoonist Steve Bell, who curated the current Ronald Searle show at the Cartoon Museum writes here about the experience. You can read more of Bloghorn’s coverage about the three Searle shows currently on in London here.

by Royston

How cartoons help us cope

March 8, 2010 in Comment

Libby Purves, patron of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, writes in the Times today about how cartoons help us confront the dark side of human nature:

Cartoon grotesques let us face the real horrors

Above: Libby chats to the Guardian’s Steve Bell, creator of more than his fair share of cartoon grotesques, at last year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. Photograph © Gerard Whyman

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2010

March 5, 2010 in General

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2010 Image from http://thebloghorn.org. Photograph copyright Gerard Whyman

Photograph © Gerard Whyman

The UK’s big cartooning event of the year, the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is coming to Bloghorn.

This year the weekend is April 22-25 and the theme is Magic, Myth and Mystery. It is the 7th year of the festival, making it the UK’s longest running event of its type. There will be a large range of events catering for joke and cartoon enthusiasts of all ages and Bloghorn will be featuring news about all of these every Friday leading up to the event. If you are curious about what goes on at a cartoon festival take a look back at our coverage of Shrewsburys past

Ronald Searle shows open in London

March 2, 2010 in Comment


In the spirit of our recent coverage of the Ronald Searle exhibitions, we are pleased to publish Martin Rowson‘s article from the exhibition catalogue produced by the Cartoon Museum.

In 1999 Ronald Searle was judged, by his fellow cartoonists, to be the greatest cartoonist of the 20th Century. It’s a judgement I thoroughly endorse, though as someone who was brought up on Searle, like most people of my generation born in the late 50s and early 60s, I thought distant worship would be as close as I ever got to him. After all, Searle famously scarpered when I was about one, so I, along with other British cartoonists, could only ever venerate him as the King Across the Water.

Still, when I was approached in 2005 to front a BBC4 documentary about Searle, I jumped at the chance, even though he made clear very early on he wanted nothing whatsoever to do the making of the film or anyone involved with it. That’s his prerogative, and my reverence for him includes a deep respect for his desire for a bit of peace and quiet. Nonetheless, the programme went ahead without him, and I enjoyed it for the most part (although, as I’d decided to speak to camera unscripted, to capture a greater sense of immediacy, there were occasions when the demands of the producer that I repeat a line 20 times meant that by the end I kept forgetting it, as well as forgetting what it could possibly mean.)

Part of the gig – part of the reason they’d got me to do it in the first place – was that, when pressed, I can draw a little bit like the master, and I did several pieces to camera sitting at a drawing board and replicating his style. One riff I went off on was the idea that Searle had invented his version of Hogarth’s famous “Line of Beauty”, which in his case was the “Angle of Beauty”, which I claimed was an acute angle of 37 degrees (I made that bit up, but you get the point) which can be seen repeated again and again in his depiction of feet and noses. I argued further that feet and legs – be they spindly, black-stockinged St Trinian’s legs, or the tree-trunk legs of the Masters at St Custard’s – were, for Searle, the windows to the soul.

All that may or may not be true, but I discovered a deeper truth when I was reproducing the standard Searle script for the “Entr’-Act” cards for the programme. Apart from the fact that each letter tended to twist my nibs into unusability, I soon realised something about that gnarled, nobbly lettering: that without the way Searle drew and wrote, most of the best British post-war cartooning would be unimaginable. Every line of Steadman’s or Scarfe’s had its origins in Searle’s blots. Those blots had shown us all the true path.

Anyway, we finished the film and it was duly broadcast – though in post-production I felt they added too many interviews about his life, and didn’t concentrate enough on his drawing, but what do I know? The production company sent him the film, and were greeted with silence. But unreciprocity from your gods is what you should expect, so I didn’t mind that much.

But then, a few weeks after the programme’s first transmission, I got a letter, sent to my home, addressed in a strangely familiar handwriting. It was a personal letter from Searle, thanking me for placing the garlands on his brow and apologising for the fact that he’s be dead by the time it was my turn. The letter is now framed and hangs in its place of honour next to the only Searle original my wife could afford to buy me. Better yet, in the few interviews he’s given since, he’s been kind and generous enough to say he likes my work. So happy 90th birthday, Mr Searle, from a very humble and grateful admirer…

Bloghorn thanks The Cartoon Museum and Martin for permission to publish here in advance of tonight’s opening.

by Royston

Hats off to Searle at bookshop exhibition

March 1, 2010 in General


A small exhibition of original cartoons by Ronald Searle, all drawn for for Sarah Kortum’s book The Hatless Man: An Anthology of Odd & Forgotten Manners, is at Maggs Bros Antiquarian Books, 50 Berkeley Square, London from this Wednesday, March 3.

March 3 is the 90th birthday of Searle, and as we mentioned here on the Bloghorn last week, there are also two major exhibitions in London to mark the event. The Hatless Man, which was published in the US in 1995, was a compilation of more than 700 of the most irate and amusing condemnations of impropriety, taken from nearly 200 etiquette books from the 14th Century to the present. It featured 35 Searle drawings. The selling exhibition at Maggs Bros Antiquarian Books runs for three weeks. Visit their website.

Thanks to Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum.