You are browsing the archive for 2010 August.

Taking cartoons to the people

August 31, 2010 in News


Cartoon Classroom, the project set up by comics artist David Lloyd, cartoon historian Paul Gravett and teacher Steve Marchant to take cartooning into schools, has seen a rise in the number of teachers and schools registering to use its services, following a letter to The Teacher magazine.

However, they are always keen to take on more educational organisations and more cartoonists who are interested in sharing their skills. You can register your interest at or you can contact them directly here.

On the subject, of taking cartoons from the page directly to audiences, Bloghorn’s own Royston Robertson has written a blog report on a cartooning talk which he presented at an arts festival in Ramsgate.

by Royston

Like a cartoon? Always ask before taking

August 27, 2010 in Comment

Daryl Cagle altered cartoon
A cartoon by Daryl Cagle which was re-labelled by the user

Any professional cartoonist will tell you it’s annoying when they hear that one of their cartoons has been used without permission, but it’s doubly annoying when the person doing the taking has made ‘‘amendments’’.

So it must have been, er, triply annoying when this happened to US cartoonist Daryl Cagle because the person doing the amending was not some clichéd copyright-infringing college kid, but was retired Air Force Lieutenant General James R. Clapper Jr. He is President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence.

He used the cartoon above in a presentation to staff and added his own caption to the car and labelled Uncle Sam, the visual archetype for the United States, with his own name.

The Washington Post has the story here, and Daryl Cagle vents his spleen here. See the latter for some staggeringly ill-informed comments in relation to copyright law and the licensing of images, which is how reproductions of drawings are traditionally sold.

Bloghorn admires the fact that Lieutenant General James R. Clapper Jr. knows that cartoons are a great addition to any presentation, but does think he might have asked permission first.

If you like a cartoon, you should always ask before using it. There may, or may not, be a fee, depending on the use, but it’s only polite to ask. And as for ‘‘amendments’’, let the cartoonist do those!

Quite Interesting Cartoonists

August 25, 2010 in News

PCO member Stevyn Colgan writes:

This year, members of the PCO have once again contributed to the BBC TV series QI and its spin-off book titles. It’s a relationship that has existed ever since the first QI Annual was published in 2008.

The TV show – in which each season follows a letter of the alphabet – was already in its fifth ‘E’ season when it was decided that some sort of annual was in order. True to form, QI inventor John Lloyd (also the man who created The News Quiz, The News Huddlines, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, produced all four series of Blackadder, and co-wrote two episodes of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with his friend Douglas Adams) sought out the funniest contributors he could find, roping in the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Alan Davies and, of course, Stephen Fry. He also needed illustrations and lots of them. And that’s where the relationship with members of the PCO started.

The annuals have featured work by Jonathan Cusick (cover of the ‘G’ Annual), Adrian Teal (who also painted the cover of the ‘F’ annual), and Stevyn Colgan. This Christmas, the brand new ‘H’ Annual will feature more submissions from Adrian and Stevyn. Also, the first three E, F and G Annuals are being bundled into a softback compilation edition in November with a brand new cover by Stevyn. And, for the first time, artwork by Adrian and Stevyn will be seen on the TV show itself gracing the big screens behind the panellists in the episode on ‘Horses’ and ‘Humans’.

The EFG Bumper Book of QI Annuals and the QI ‘H’ Annual are both published by Faber and Faber on November 4th.

The Illusionist – Review

August 24, 2010 in News

PCOer The Surreal McCoy writes with a short review of  The Illusionist, the new film by Sylvain Chomet.

The perfect antidote to Hollywood’s current obsession with computer-generated 3D imagery, The Illusionist is the latest animated feature from Sylvain (Belleville Rendez-vous) Chomet.

I defy anyone to watch dry-eyed as the poignant story of an ageing magician trying to make a living during the dying days of variety unfolds in glorious watercolour against the backdrop of 1950s Edinburgh.

Based on an unfilmed screenplay by Jacques Tati, Chomet uses hand-drawn images to conjure up an atmospheric and nostalgic film with breathtaking landscapes and city scenes, employing plenty of visual background humour but hardly any dialogue.

I’d argue magicians do exist (you have to see the film to get that reference) and surely Sylvain Chomet is one of the master illusionists.

Bloghorn particularly enjoyed the English garden party (there’s a snippet from it in the video) and the Scottish island. Click the video for a larger version. Our thanks to Surreal for the review.

The festive cartoonist

August 23, 2010 in News

On Mondays you can rely upon Royston Robertson to be posting news of the UK’s cartoonists here at Bloghorn – but not this week.

Bloghorn Royston Robertson cartoon on loyalty of cat and dog © Royston Robertson cartoons

After a long struggle, Bloghorn convinced Royston he should allow himself the week off because the Kent-based cartoonist will be giving an illustrated talk about his work at A Summer Squall in Ramsgate on Saturday 28th August.

Royston told us:

The idea is that I’ll show a load of cartoons – mostly published but maybe a few rejected ones as well – read the captions and talk a little about themes covered, the background to the cartoons, the process of coming up with ideas and drawing the cartoons etc. Hopefully it’ll raise a few chuckles and there will be questions and input from the audience.

So, kindly add yourself to the great August bank holiday weekend getaway for a high-quality end to the silly season.

The talk takes place at 2pm at Ramsgate Library on Saturday 28 August. Admission is free but you need to book. Tickets are available at the Custom House, Harbour Parade, Ramsgate, or by calling 07544-971 685.

Cause and effect: Cartoonists’ Showcase

August 18, 2010 in Events, News

“Double Dip and Toil and Trouble !!” by Nick Hayes,
from the Guardian’s summer cartoonists showcase.

As previously mentioned in Bloghorn, the Guardian is showcasing six up-and-coming cartoonists whilst regular incumbent Steve Bell is on his summer holidays.

Since the last week of July, the cartoons of Anna Trench, Lou McKeever (aka Bluelou), Ben Jennings, Tanya Tier, Bob Moran and Nick Hayes have been adding their own visual takes on the day’s news. Their contributions haven’t been without controversy, with many cartoons receiving over 100 comments each, including numerous pieces or rebuttal from fellow Guardian cartoonist, Martin Rowson. As Martin says in the comments:

The reason for giving these cartoonists an airing here – including, of course, the opportunity to fail – is that these days it’s almost impossible to undergo that kind of baptism of fire in a national newspaper , and thus hone your native skills.

and on the subject of the comments:

[…] these six debutants have overturned an original editorial decision not to have comments on their work when it appears on this site. I think that’s quite brave of them, so it might be worthwhile some of you repaying the compliment by being constructive in your criticism, rather than just trolling about as usual, beating up this particular bus shelter on the side of the information superhighway with the kind of reckless abandon that seems to come so easily to the heroically anonymous.

On a related note, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson will be in conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this weekend, whilst Steve will also be chatting to American political cartoonist Garry Trudeau and comic book writer Alan Moore.

by Royston

Hypercomics look to the future

August 16, 2010 in Events

Here at the Bloghorn we’re always ready to applaud when people do something different with cartoons and comics, and the exhibition Hypercomics, which is at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea, London, appears to do just that.
Comic by Warren Pleece
Subtitled The Shapes of Comics to Come, it runs until September 26 and features work on four floors by Adam Dant, Dave McKean and Warren Pleece, above, and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, below.

The show, we are told, “will explode the narratives in their work from the printed page into the gallery space and beyond”. We’re also told that it “uses the building’s unusual architecture to weave a story whose outcome depends upon how visitors interact and move through the space”.

If any of that sounds confusing, it probably indicates that the show should be experienced, rather than written about. And as the curator of the show is the comics expert Paul Gravett, who usually has his finger on the pulse, it’s sure to be nothing less than intriguing.

Comic strip by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Accompanying the exhibition will be a programme of screenings, talks, workshops and events. The newly refurbished Pump House Gallery is in the rather marvellous Battersea Park, so make a day of it and take a picnic! For more information, visit the Pump House Gallery website.

Louder than a vuvuzela

August 14, 2010 in News

Cartoonists in South Africa have joined their colleagues in the media to launch a open petition to protect freedom of expression in their youthful democracy.

This effort is in response to the ANC government’s proposal to introduce new media laws and to start a national panel of scrutiny over journalists, who were recently described as ‘dangerous’ .

The issue around media regulation of words and pictures is particularly sensitive because South Africa is a country where overall levels of literacy are relatively low. In this context, brief communication in cartoons is an extremely powerful tool for messaging, education and explanation of  public debates.

Twenty nine South African cartoonists have signed the petition and they would welcome your support. You can review some recent ‘free press’ cartoons at their website too.

Bloghorn wishes them luck.

Foghorn cartoon magazine – Issue 46

August 13, 2010 in Events, News

Foghorn Cartoon Magazine from the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

The new issue of Foghorn, the cartoon magazine of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, has been published. Featuring a cover by Steve Bright and a back cover by Gerard Whyman, Foghorn is available to subscribers for the modest annual sum of £30 for six full colour issues all delivered to your door.

What’s inside this issue?

Toyshops in my life – Clive Collins reveals how he never got the hang of wrapping up a fully inflated football.

A word to the wise – Chris Madden explains how simplified spelling is quite str8forward.

The Trevelyan Files – Foghorn’s very own rip-roaring adventurer continues his exploits, courtesy of Andrew Birch.

Buildings in the Fog – Roger Penwill dons his architectural trousers and heads to the nearest railway station.

The Potting Shed – Cathy Simpson keeps our resident gardening experts in check. Careful with that strimmer!

A full page of Rob Murray cartoons (described by Michael Heath,  cartoon editor at the Spectator magazine, as one of the “smart new kids on the block”.)

Strips from Wilbur, Andy Davey and The Surreal McCoy.

And of course the fun-packed filler features – The Critic, The Foghorn Guide to, Letters to the Editor, and a fair bucketload of cartoons!

Buy your own annual subscription here.

Saucy McGill continues to amuse

August 12, 2010 in News

Copyright Greaves & Thomas/McGill Archive

That saucy old salt Donald McGill continues to cause a stir, nearly 50 years after his death. For the first time, the full collection of 21 postcards which were banned after an Obscene Publications Act witch-hunt in 1953, have gone on display.

They can be seen in the perfectly appropriate seaside surroundings of the recently opened Donald McGill Museum and Archive in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

There is little option for the modern mind but to see them as cliché-ridden, pre-feminist, pre-60s snapshots of the suppressed British libido. But the sexual innuendo still has resonance. Despite the 60s and beyond, many of us Brits still have a “policeman inside all our heads” and the simple rudeness is appealing. Why do we still laugh at them? Well, because they’re funny.

Even George Orwell was a fan. A short essay of his (“The Art of Donald McGill”) in 1941, written at the height of Britain’s isolation, flattered McGill’s egregious talent and his essential Britishness, but Orwell the Old Etonian couldn’t help but warn readers that the “first impression is of overpowering vulgarity”.

Orwell points out that the viewpoint in McGill’s postcards is essentially safe and conservative – that of the aspirational working class. “They express only one tendency in the human mind, but a tendency which is always there and will find its own outlet, like water. On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”

Where the cartoonist’s view might differ from Orwell’s is that they are not “ill-drawn” – they are rather well drawn cartoon art of a certain period. Certainly better than the dozens of imitators he spawned.