You are browsing the archive for 2011 April.

The other big event

April 28, 2011 in Comment, News

While parts of the country are reeling under the weight of Royal Wedding merchandise (see here) the UK is also having its traditional May elections.

Cartoonist and new Bloghorn contributor Rob Murray, writes:

Candidate Dafydd Trystan Davies is campaigning with something a bit different from the traditional manifesto, instead commissioning a cartoon strip that outlines his ambitions for the constituency he hopes to represent.

Example of an election cartoon leaflet from the 2011 local elections in South Wales. Image displayed at bloghorn for the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation

Image © Dai Owen

The strip, by artist Dai Owen, shows Davies travelling through Cynon Valley in South Wales and touches on his goals for public transport, employment, housing and the local health service.

Image © Dai Owen


Davies, the Plaid Cymru candidate for the seat, told the Western Mail that the cartoon has already gone down well with the public. “They’ve laughed and they’ve read it – two important things,” he said, adding: “It’s a fun way to get a message across to people who are by and large disengaged with politics.”

Bloghorn would like to see more cartoons being used in publicity campaigns, be they political, commercial or charitable.

by Royston

Royal wedding? You're having a laugh

April 27, 2011 in Comment

Official engagement portrait by David O'Connell
Bloghorn has noted that there is not as much overt anti- monarchist feeling in the UK as we might have expected in the run-up to the royal wedding. Instead, the attitude seems to be a particularly British one: let them get on with it but we reserve our right to take the royal pee out of the whole thing.

This “official engagement portrait”, above, by David O’Connell, is a perfect example. He has also produced a wickedly non-reverent comic called Kate Middleton: In Her Own Words, which in less-enlightened times may have seen him locked up in the Tower .

What has been particularly notable is that unlike the 1980s, when Chas and Di got hitched, people now have access to all kinds of digital media production. As a result, rather than accepting the chintzy tea towels and mugs thrown at them in the past, they are able to create their own alternative wedding merchandise and market it via the web.

Royal wedding coasters
The most prominent and successful item has probably been Lydia Leith’s royal wedding sick bags, but there are many others. There’s the commemorative plate that declares “Thanks for the free day off” and describes the occasion as a “4 day bender”. Those of a sartorial bent can don a “Celebrate, peasants!” T-shirt. There are some cartoon coasters, above, available at Scary Go Round, to stick your royal wedding mug on, and for those who are, er, overcome by the whole occasion, you can buy a pack of Crown Jewels condoms.

Some bigger names have jumped on the bandwagon. Foulmouthed satirists Modern Toss have produced a commemorative mug which admits that it will probably end up “dumped in the shed filled up with old screws ‘n’ s***” . And the Guardian’s Steve Bell talks about creating his own mug in this video.

If you do make it to London to see the royal nuptials, you could pop to the South Bank where you will see Kate and Wills rendered by the graffiti artist Rich Simmons as Sid and Nancy. Respect.

Kate and William as Sid and Nancy
If you have seen any other amusing examples of disrespectful royal wedding tat, let us know in the comments below.

Reader’s Digest, digested

April 26, 2011 in Events

The Readers Digest stall, manned by Cartoon Editor Steve Way, with some of the winning captions*. Photo copyright and courtesy of PCO member Ger Whyman.

A new addition to this years recent Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival was the presence of a team from the magazine Reader’s Digest. From a stall in the town’s Square, the focus of many of the festival’s activities, the Reader’s Digest team engaged members of the public to try their hand at a popular Digest competition, Beat the Cartoonist.

Thankfully, this didn’t involve any physical violence towards the assembled cartoonists, as entrants were asked to provide their own captions to a series of cartoons from the magazine. With prizes that included the signed and framed original artwork, £100, subscription to the magazine and a goody bag, this was unsurprisingly a successful event, as there were more than 1,000 entries over the course of the weekend.

Bloghorn‘s own Royston Robertson was one of the cartoonists who had a drawing used in the contest. He said: “It was great to hear that people responded to the contest in such great numbers. More proof, as if it was needed, that people love cartoons, and a great interactive element for the festival.”

The Digest also hosted a free talk and advice session at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, titled ‘What makes a good cartoon?’ Cartoon editor Steve Way and design director Martin Colyer, along with the magazine’s editor Gill Hudson, talked a packed room through the submission process and discussed some of the factors that may influence their decision to accept or reject a particular cartoon.

The Digest team took questions from the floor and ran through some of the cartoons that have recently appeared in the magazine, after which there was an opportunity for aspiring cartoonists to show their portfolios and receive targeted advice.

*For those of you squinting to read the winning captions in the photo above, they read as follows (l-r): “Shouldn’t we be squeezing the silly banker instead of stretching him?” – Pete Yearsley; “I told you not to get this sat nav from the 99p store!” – Luke Grint, 11 yrs; “If we find the sixpence we can hire a sunshade too” – Janet Bell. The cartoons are by Simon Meyrick-Jones, Paul Wood and Royston Robertson.

Thanks to Rob Murray and Ger Whyman for help in writing this post.

Shrewsbury perspective

April 20, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Shrewsbury festival cartoonist Bill Stott writes:

Amongst all the frenetic cartooning activity at Shrewsbury – the Big Boards, the caricaturing, strolling players in costume, the music, the wonderful weather and the public throng, two tiny incidents serve to underline the public’s liking for good cartoons.

One involved a tiny chap called Pacey who stood with his mum watching me paint my Big Board. Pacey was about five, I’d guess. I’d heard his mum saying things like, ‘‘No, you can’t help.’’ Pacey was undeterred and you could tell he was fascinated as the picture took form. So I asked him if he’d like to write his name on it.

Without hesitation, he wrote, very slowly, with a huge felt tip, ‘‘Pacey’’, all wobbly, in the bottom right hand corner. He was delighted and returned several times to make sure I hadn’t covered it up. Later I found, stuffed in my paint bag, a drawing by him, of his mum and a huge cat. All together – ‘‘Aaaah!’’

Photograph ©Ian Ellery

Later in the day, whilst doing reverse caricaturing – an esoteric activity involving the subject sticking their head through a hole in a big piece of paper and telling the cartoonist how they would like to be portrayed – another short type called Harry, even tinier than Pacey, got a bit tearful when I started to pack up in order to begin another activity. He’d waited with his mum for ages, been pushed in front of by a huge nine-year-old girl and looked very crestfallen. So I hurried things up and got him sorted.

Anyway, he was absolutely delighted with his picture (a footballer), which, when rolled up, was taller than him. So, while adult crowd members were being enthusiastic about all the surrounding huge cartoons and brilliant caricatures, and proving what cartoonists know is true – people love cartoons – so do little people. Quite possibly more so. Publishers take note. Real drawing for real people.

You can catch up with the news from Bloghorn at Shrewsbury 2011 here.

by Royston

Can you tell what it is yet?

April 19, 2011 in Events

The PCO’s unofficial official photographer, Gerard Whyman, has put together a short YouTube film that shows the development of the Big Boards at the 2011 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival.

The time-lapse film is a fascinating watch, as it shows the different approaches taken by the cartoonists to the daunting task of filling a 6ft by 8ft board with something funny.

Cartoonists now resting …

April 19, 2011 in Events

Photo by Rosie Brooks

After the exertion of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, the cartoonists are now acclimatising to normal life. As usual, the event was covered by Team Bloghorn — Matt Buck, Alex Hughes and Royston Robertson. You can catch a taste of it by looking at the #shrews11 hashtag on Twitter but there will be more to come here in due course. For now, here’s a great gallery of photos, courtesy of Timothy King of Discover Shropshire.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 15, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Bloghorn at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 14, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 14, 2011 in Events, News

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival kicks off tonight with a drop-in cartoon workshop at the Bear Steps Gallery at 4.30pm, and a talk by Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive on the cartoons of Carl Giles at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 7pm, tickets £5.

In the meantime, the exhibition Personal Bests opened on Monday (also at the Bear Steps Gallery) and features cartoons on the Festival’s Olympic theme, including these:

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Pete Dredge

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Chichi Parish

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Noel Ford
Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Royston Robertson


Come back to Bloghorn for coverage of the festival as it happens, or follow the hashtag #shrews11 on Twitter.


Giles and the family go to Shrewsbury

April 13, 2011 in News

Joking for Gold an exhibition of cartoons about the Olympics from Carl Giles is one of the key events at this year’s cartoon festival.

Carl Giles cartoon exhibition at Shrewsbury 2011

Carl Giles cartoon exhibition at Shrewsbury 2011 © Estate of Carl Giles

The special one-off exhibit of work from to 1948 to 1998 is made possible by the support of the national Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent and following tradition, the museum worked with an individual cartoonist to develop the show.

Cartoonist Noel Ford, who had the honour, said;

This exhibition provides that very special experience of being able to see the hand-drawn work of a master cartoonist, which is a revelation especially when you have only previously seen the work in the smaller scale of newspaper reproduction.

Giles used his loveable, if dysfunctional family as a cartoon vehicle for his insightful and sometimes acidic wit. I’m sure it was this along with his sublime skills which helped people identify more closely with the events on which he was commenting.

Bloghorn : Carl Giles - One of the Family. Courtesy of the National Cartoon Archive

Carl Giles - One of the Family

There will be a chance to catch up with characters like Grandma at the Shrewsbury Museum until May 15th and you can read more about Carl Giles here and here.

Dr Nicholas Hiley from the national cartoon archive will be giving a talk on Giles on Thursday 15th April. Tickets are available on 01743 281200. Bloghorn will be reporting from the Shrewsbury festival over the next few days. You will be able to follow events here on Bloghorn or at our  Twitter and Facebook services.