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Shrewsbury Cartoon 2011 – Who’s going?

March 31, 2011 in Events, News

Bloghorn can announce the full line up of attending Cartoonists for the 2011 Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.
More than 40 of the finest cartoonists from the UK are this year joined by Graeme Keyes, Tom Matthews, Jim Cogan, Tom Halliday and Jon Berkeley our guests from Ireland.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Three cartoon exhibitions – Joking for Gold by GilesPersonal Bests – and Give us a Sporting Chance open next week in the town and the Smile-A-Thon Trail will lead visitors from venue to venue.

Ian Ellery, Andy Gilbert, Angela Martin and Paul Hardman will be running the free drawing workshops while Jacky Fleming and Chichi Parish will be playing script doctors in a series of Cartoon Clinics. (Get the details on our map.)

And after all the drawing education Gill Hudson , Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest, along with Martin Colyer, the magazine’s Design Director, and Steve Way, Cartoon Editor, will be offering an advice session for aspiring artists called What Makes a Good Cartoon? and Cath Tate will talk about Getting Published.

© John Roberts

Caricaturists Alex HughesTim LeatherbarrowJohn Roberts and Helen Martin will be plying their skills in the Square alongside The Big Boards.

And this is where you’ll find Bill StottPete DredgeSteve BrightMartin HoneysettMatt Buck (Hack Cartoons)Royston Robertson, The Surreal McCoy, Robert DuncanRosie BrooksCathy SimpsonJanis GoodmanClive GoddardNathan Ariss and Steve Best all of whom will be making enormous cartoons over the course of Friday and Saturday.

Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive will be talking about his day job of saving great art for the nation while Andy Davey of The Sun and Peter Schrank of The Independent will be going head-to-head over matters of contemporary news and politics.

We can‘t disclose what the the script of the  live Melodrawma is but we understand Roger Penwill, Bill Stott, Noel Ford and Pete Dredge will all be involved.

Bloghorn has made a handy Shrewsbury calendar to help you plan your way around the events of the weekend of 16th and 17th April. It should go nicely with our map.

It will be a packed weekend with a lively and growing fringe of unofficial events and many other visiting artists. If you are planning to come along, please let us know in the comments.

Shrewsbury Tourism can help you out with advice on accomodation and transport. Bloghorn says see you there.

Small steps at indie comics expo

March 29, 2011 in Events

Cartoonist Tim Harries took a table at the first London Comic and Small Press Expo, at Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London, to sell his wares. He tells us about his experience:

Tim Harries

Photo by Sarah McIntyre

Unofficially a replacement for the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing , the organisers picked an impressive venue to debut the Expo, in a bright, spacious hall big enough to accommodate all 91 sold-out tables and a vast throng of eager punters.

The variety of work on show was excellent, and visitors could spend several hours going from table to table and still not see everything.

Talks also ran throughout the day, ranging from “The History of Comics on Film and TV” to a discussion of the term “small press” and what it means for creators. Unfortunately attendance for the Expo was low and it wasn’t until late afternoon that things picked up, by which time we had to pack up! It’s a new event though, so I’m sure there will be bigger and better plans for getting visitors next year.

Comics Expo

Some excellent suggestions have already been made to this end, and hopefully the organisers will work with exhibitors to improve an event that already has good potential.

Personally, I enjoyed my first time as an exhibitor at one of these events. I debuted some new books, made pretty good sales and got to meet a lot of friendly comic creators and readers. Can’t ask for much more than that really, so I’m already looking forward to future conventions.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2011 Map

March 24, 2011 in News

The 2011 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is almost upon us and  visitors can expect a packed weekend of activities in the heart of the medieval town.

The main event weekend is April 16th-17th but many shows and exhibitions open in advance  and Bloghorn has attached details to this handy map.

Enlarge the map

The festival has been running since 2004. Please click here to scroll back through some of last year’s activities.

Bloghorn and the membership of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation are long time collaborators with the Festival, the local council and its commercial sponsors.

Budget paper cuts

March 22, 2011 in News

Budget Box © Ben Jennings at

© Ben Jennings

Cartoonist Ben Jennings is offering up some of the folding stuff for Chancellor George Osborne’s budget this week.

Ben’s paper toys all have a quirky parodic use with a Budget box for your spare change, a student protester Post-it note holder and a George Osborne scissors holder. The ‘‘Cuts’’ exhibition is a collaboration of 16 young illustrators which opens in London on Thursday 24 March at 6pm. You can find the show at Studio 54 Architecture, 54 Rivington Street, EC2A 3QN. It runs for a week.

George Osborne 3D cartoon © Ben Jennings at

© Ben Jennings at

Expect to find satirical cartooning, fine art using many different mediums including screen prints, pen and ink, collage, paintings on wood, watercolours, linocuts and typography.

Protesting student 3D cartoon

© Ben Jennings at

Bloghorn thanks Ben for the use of his images.

Say 'I do' to Marriage à la Mode

March 21, 2011 in Events

Pak marriage cartoon
A cartoon exhibition looking at all aspects of married life – for better, for worse – opens at the Cartoon Museum in London this Wednesday (March 23). Cartoon above by Pak

As Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare to tie the knot on April 29, Marriage à la Mode: Royals and Commoners In and Out of Love promises “a bouquet of barbed wit” on the subject of marriage.

It will feature musings on matrimony from cartoonists past and present, including William Hogarth, who created a series of works that give the show its name, James Gillray, H.M. Bateman, Donald McGill, Carl Giles, Mel Calman, Ralph Steadman and Posy Simmonds.

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, is represented with cartoons by Steve Bell, Rupert Besley, Noel Ford, Martin Honeysett, Ken Pyne, below, Royston Robertson, and Bill Stott.

Ken Pyne marriage cartoon
Arnold Roth Diana cartoonDespite being its inspiration, the royal couple are unlikely to give the show their seal of approval. As well as looking at some of the less successful aspects of marriage, some cartoons remind us of a certain royal wedding from 30 years ago that did not go too well, as seen in this 1995 Time magazine cartoon by Arnold Roth, right.

William and Kate may also not want to be associated with the work of Reg Smythe, who features in the exhibition and is famous for creating the less-than-idyllic marriage of Andy Capp and Flo.

Other cartoonists featured include Ros Asquith, Ian Baker, Biff, Nicholas Garland, Grizelda, Peter “Pak” King, David Langdon, Peter Schrank, Geoff Thompson, and Robert Thompson.

For more details visit the museum website. Marriage à la Mode runs until May 22, by which time those commemorative royal wedding tea towels may well be frayed at the edges.

Rising from the ashes

March 18, 2011 in News

Remember the DFC, the short-lived subscription-only comic weekly? Well, it looks like it might be returningsort of.

Many of the DFC’s former artists and writers including Philip Pullman, Laura Howell, Gary Northfield, Garen Ewing, and the PCO‘s own Wilbur Dawbarn attended what may have been the launch party for The Phoenix in Oxford.

Although details are a little sketchy, it appears this isn’t strictly a re-launch but a new comic edited by the DFC’s former editor Ben Sharpe. Or, as Lew Stringer puts it in Blimey!

So, a new comic with the same editor as The DFC which held a party to announce the new comic, attended by many ex-DFC contributors, and allegedly also involving Will Fickling who was previously involved with The DFC. Other than that, not a revival of The DFC.

DFC or not, it appears that the new comic is expected to launch in early 2012. You get more information by signing up for their mailing list at, or by following editor Ben Sharpe on Twitter.

Japanese Nuclear Boy

March 18, 2011 in News

Artist Kazuhiko Hachiya has made an animated short to help explain the ongoing nuclear crisis to Japanese children. The clip’s title character, Nuclear Boy, plays the role of the ill child representing Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

Reaction to the colorful clip has been mixed, with some folks calling it distasteful and others arguing it makes the situation more comprehensible for worried young children. Please comment below if you would like, Bloghorn does moderate comments if needed.

In praise of the gag cartoon

March 16, 2011 in News

Bloghorn Opinion logo

Whenever the media spotlight is turned on cartoons it is often those of a political variety. These cartoons shout the loudest and have news impact. But Bloghorn writer Royston Robertson thinks it’s time to speak up for its more modest cousin: the gag cartoon.

I have been drawing gag cartoons for the magazine market for about 15 years. I love the process of coming up with new ideas and, hopefully, getting them published.

Recently I’ve been sifting through my drawings from magazines such as Reader’s Digest and Private Eye in order to put together a book collection. I’m not friends with any famous people so I had to write my own foreword for the book and decided to to put down exactly what it is I like so much about gag cartoons as a medium. This was the crux of piece:Early man cartoon by Royston

“The single-panel joke is a perfect, self-contained unit of comedy, an instant hit of humour that doesn’t demand much of your time.”

I once heard the writer Will Self describe gags as “the haiku of cartoons”. That may sound a little pretentious (from Will Self? Surely not?) but I think it’s true.

A gag cartoon is like a poem. Or a one-liner joke, perhaps. It is a small, carefully crafted article. It doesn’t have the grandeur or the, let’s be honest, occasional self-importance of the political cartoon, but it is still designed to provoke a reaction: hopefully laughter.

I have heard some claim that the gag cartoon is in some way an old-fashioned form. This is probably because it is so closely connected with magazines, so people think of crumpled, yellowing copies of Punch in the dentist’s waiting room.

Plus, magazines and newspapers are “dead-tree technology”, and that, we are constantly being told, is on the way out. But, when you think about it, the gag cartoon is actually perfectly suited for this age of the short attention-span and sits just as easily on a web page, or an iPad app, as a magazine page. And long may it continue to do so.

Royston Robertson's cartoon book
Royston Robertson’s book Penguin vs Polar Bear and Other Ridiculous Cartoons is available online here, priced £5.99 (plus £1 p+p) or you can get a digital download version for £1.99

Smiley and the Smurks

March 15, 2011 in News

Smiley @ The Bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists Organisation
Love them or hate them, if you use digital technology you will have met Smiley,  and the other emoticons.

The ubiquitous graphic images,  which are generated by pronunciation marks in sequence as a code, or are small graphic images, are a widely used form of visual shorthand designed to aid digital communication.

Now, US cartoonist Pat Byrnes has unveiled an expansion of the idea with the Smurks.

Pat explains the business as an attempt to allow subtler, more nuanced emotions for status updates people make on their social networks using mobile and touch phone apps (applications).

There are more details here and here.

by Royston

Cartoonists idle away the evening

March 10, 2011 in News

Jonathan PughTwo top cartoonists are to give a talk on their art at a new venue set up in London by the Idler magazine.

Jonathan Pugh, pictured, and Tony Husband will host an event called Secrets of the Master Cartoonists at The Idler Academy on March 31 at 7pm.

After many years at The Times, Pugh is now the Daily Mail’s chief cartoonist, and Tony Husband contributes to The Times, Private Eye and many magazines. At this one-off event they will take questions from the audience, as well as drawing cartoons live.

Tony, a contributor to The Idler, was asked to do a talk and demonstration by the magazine’s editor Tom Hodgkinson. Tony told the Bloghorn:

“I thought it would be good to do it with a Jonathan Pugh, a cartoonist and friend whose work I admire. I’m not sure how it will go or where it will end up but it should be fun.

“The Academy is a great idea, a place where you can go to read, learn, listen and talk, drink coffee and meet like minded folks. Perhaps a new movement may start there, who knows, its a fascinating experiment and well worth supporting.”

The Idler Academy is a bookshop, café and “centre of learning” in West London. Founded by Hodgkinson and his wife, Victoria Hull, the intention is to bring back old-school teaching subjects and styles in the relaxed manner for which the magazine is known.

Their website says: “We want to combine the atmosphere of cultivated leisure that distinguished Plato’s Academy with the lively conviviality of the 18th century coffeehouse, and add a good dose of the 1950s grammar school.”

For more information on this and other events, visit the Idler Academy website. Tickets for the cartoon talk are £18.