You are browsing the archive for 2010 April.

The ghost editor and the cartoonists

April 30, 2010 in Comment

Alan Coren, ex-Punch editor and PCO patron (Art: John Roberts)

Bill Stott is a cartoonist. A rather good one, actually. Even the great Alan Coren thought so. But then he loved cartoonists generally.

Like many cartoonists, Bill doesn’t change his trousers with unseemly regularity. It’s a working-at-home thing. Why bother when the ones you’re wearing have a perfectly serviceable extra few weeks in them … and probably a healthy supply of mints and pocket fluff? However, the recent change of season occasioned a re-trousering, whereupon one of the pockets yielded a piece of gold dust.

It was a short note from Mr Coren, penned a short while before he died, which Bill had rammed into the pocket for filing; a paean to cartoonists intended as an introduction to the website of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, of which he had just accepted the title of inaugural patron. Bill hadn’t the heart to publish the piece because Coren died shortly after sending it.

In it, having left Punch, Coren mulls over what he misses. The limos, the yachts, the voluptuous assistants? No, he says, “None of these. What I miss most is those Tuesday mornings with the sadly late and very great Bill Hewison, my brilliant Art Editor, when we would sit at a huge leather-topped desk overlooking the complete absence of central heating, pull off our generously lent company mittens, and sift through the hundreds and hundreds of roughs submitted by the extraordinary numbers of extraordinary cartoonists which – and, remember, I speak as a writer – made Punch the brilliant and, most important of all, hilarious magazine it was.

“I miss the six hours of those golden-era Tuesdays when Bill and I would struggle – handicapped by constant helpless laughter – to choose, from 20 times as many, the 50-odd cartoons we needed to lift the readers’ spirits and break their ribs in next week’s magazine.”

He continues:

“Cartooning is the toughest art of all. A freelance cartoonist lives and works alone, staring out of the window in the fervent daily hope that something will begin to draw itself on the sky, then murmur its caption in his ear. He needs this to happen several times a day, every day, because he has not the faintest idea whether the editors who pay his rent will laugh at the same thing he laughs at, and therefore has to send them lots and lots of things, praying that they will laugh at at least one of them, and the cartoonist can get his shoes mended.”

Coren concludes that his greatest struggle was that “we couldn’t put a thousand gags in the paper, so how to select the best when ten are equally funny?” Enough, enough already. We cartoonists couldn’t possibly be so immodest about our talents. But … thank you, Mr Coren.

Declaration of Interest: Andy Davey is chairleg of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation which runs The Bloghorn (Editor: Matt Buck) and the print magazine Foghorn (Editor: Bill Stott).

He and the organisation welcome your comments, and your contact with us at our artist portfolio websites, through our social-media services, or via direct contact with our media team led by Pete Dredge.

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The Beauty of Maps

April 29, 2010 in General, News

The Beauty of Maps: Cartoon Maps – Politics and Satire is part of a season of map-themed documentaries currently running on BBC4, and features Frederick Rose’s famous octopus map of Europe and an interview with Times cartoonist Peter Brookes. Hurry though, the programme is only available on the BBC iPlayer until tomorrow…

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – The photos

April 26, 2010 in Events, General, News

Caricaturing at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival
Bloghorn has set up a Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival group at the Flickr photos site, to collect together pictures taken by cartoonists and by the visiting public.

There are dozens of great photos there already, so do take a look. And if you’ve got any great shots, please add them. Pictures will be moderated before appearing on the site.

Here’s the link:

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival poster by Roger Penwill

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – Sunday

April 25, 2010 in General, News

Big Boards exhibited on SundayA small but important addition to this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is the exhibition of the completed Big Boards on the Sunday.

There is so much activity over the weekend that it’s easy to miss seeing some of the finished boards, but now the public get the chance to see this unique exhibition at their leisure on the Sunday.

The Bloghorn team, along with many other cartoonists and cartoon enthusiasts, have been taking loads of photos throughout the weekend. We’re in the process of getting them together online at Flickr. Expect to see many more throughout the week.

For a nice flavour of the Shrewsbury goings-on, see the piece written by festival patron Libby Purves in Saturday’s Times: Drawing the crowds.

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 #6

April 25, 2010 in General

Cartoon by Nathan Ariss

Shrewsbury 2010 – Saturday video

April 24, 2010 in Comment

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – Saturday

April 24, 2010 in General

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival
Laughter and music has been ringing out on the streets of Shrewsbury today as the cartoon festival gets into full swing.

The market square has been abuzz with crowds who have come to see the cartoonists producing Big Boards, caricatures and “reverse” caricatures, with live bonus as an added bonus.

Cartoon workshops
Political cartoonist Martin Rowson didn’t let a power failure at Birmingham New Street prevent him from attending the festival. He made one taxi driver very happy by getting a cab all the way to Shrewsbury. He gave a talk entitled Giving Offence: The Greatest Gift, the festival’s sole non family-friendly offering.

You can see lots more pictures, taken and tweeted throughout the day, at the Bloghorn Twitter feed.

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 #5

April 24, 2010 in General

Cartoon by Cathy Simpson

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Director Roger Penwill talks to Bloghorn

April 23, 2010 in General

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2010 – Friday

April 23, 2010 in Comment

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is under way and recent volcanic news events are providing good material for cartoonists.

Cartoonist_Jason_Chatfield_Shrewsbury at

Three artists from Australia were invited this year, but only Jason Chatfield, above, was able to make it. Luckily Jason started travelling long before Eyjafjallajokull did its thing.

Cartoonist_Cathy_Simpson_Shrewsbury at

At the time of writing, 4pm on the Friday, the Big Boards in the market square are starting to take shape. Also to be found in the square are caricaturists and “reverse caricaturing” (you provide the face, seaside-board style, the cartoonists provide the body of your choice!)

Elsewhere there are cartoon exhibitions to be seen, on the theme of Magic, Myths and Mystery. And at the Darwin Shopping Centre, the HuMurals – a collection of single-panel cartoons that form a huge cartoon mural – are progressing.

The good people of Shrewsbury, who are no doubt used to the invasion of cartoonists as this is the 7th year of the festival, all seem to be joining in the fun – and there’s plenty more to come on Saturday and Sunday.

You can see lots more pictures, taken and tweeted throughout the day, at the Bloghorn Twitter feed.