You are browsing the archive for 2011 May.

by Royston

Beetles does cricket

May 31, 2011 in Events

‘‘… and once again we have interruption of play caused by movement behind the bowler’s arm.’’

Wit and Wisden: A Celebration of Cricket opens at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London tomorrow (June 1).

It features more than 200 paintings and cartoons from the past 200 years celebrating the clunk of leather on willow. Visitors can expect work by Glen Baxter, Tony Husband, John Jensen, Larry, Ed McLachlan, above, Matt, Nick Newman and many others.

Andrew ‘‘Freddie’’ Flintoff will officially open the show, which begins just days before the Sri Lankan Test Match at Lords. It runs until June 18 and will be unaffected by rain.

More details at the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

by Royston

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

May 27, 2011 in News

Rob Murray writes:

US cartoonist Ted Rall, who put himself up for sale on eBay earlier this month, has written about  how his left-wing views have seen him dropped by even left-leaning publications. In an opinion piece titled Rise of the Obamabots, he recounts some of the rejections he’s received from left-of-centre magazines and argues that the US press is so enamoured with Barack Obama that “there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush”.

Bloghorn also spotted an opportunity for cartoon fans to become part of Scott AdamsDilbert strip. Readers can upload photos of themselves and personalise one of 25 strips online, replacing one of the regular characters and becoming part of the action.

Closer to home, a selection of work by the profilic cartoonist and illustrator Ern Shaw (1891-1986) will be auctioned off next month. Hull-born Shaw had a career spanning more than 60 years, in which he is thought to have had around 25,000 cartoons published in newspapers and magazines, as well as illustrating children’s books and card games. More information on the sale can be found at the website of the auctioneers Dee Atkinson & Harrison.

Bloghorn says, if there is anything big we have missed please do tell us in the comments below

by Royston

Laughter rings out at Bell exhibition

May 26, 2011 in Events

Bell Epoque promoOxygen was in short supply at the Cartoon Museum last night, such were the numbers that turned up for the opening of the latest exhibition, Bell Époque, but it didn’t stop people laughing.

It’s hardly surprising that you would hear snorts of laughter, as this is a show celebrating more than 30 years of the cartoons of Steve Bell.

The Big Man stepped up on to the seating area plinth-type thing – specially reinforced, the chairman of the Cartoon Museum, Oliver Preston, joked – to make a speech.

He graciously attributed his success to a range of cartoonists – from Ronald Searle to Leo Baxendale, Wally “Trog” Fawkes to Kipper Williams – not forgetting to mention his wife, and the ideas he gets when the couple shout angrily at the radio together, berating those political upstarts who dare to lead us.

Steve Bell makes a speech
Gracious: Steve Bell makes his speech Photo by Simon Ellinas

Bell is one of the leading political cartoonists of our age, but it was interesting to see through this exhibition that it took him a while to arrive at his famous depictions of leading villains such as Major and Blair. One pre-Guardian image of Thatcher, from Time Out, is almost complimentary.

Also on show are notebooks, early strips from kids’ comics, a new cartoon featuring Monsieur L’Artiste as a brothel voyeur watching Thatcher et al prostitute themselves, and a plank carved into the image of John Major. Major Plank, of course.

What else can we say about this exhibition, other than, Go see! It’s the blockbuster cartoon exhibition of the year and runs until July 24. More details at the Cartoon Museum website.

In the meantime here is an article about the show by Steve Bell, with accompanying video piece:

”You must discover the character behind the face”

Plus a Bell Époque picture gallery

by Royston

Political cartoonist has it covered

May 24, 2011 in News

IMF cartoon by Gary Barker
Everyone needs a break from time to time, and when regular cartoonists on national papers take time off it’s an opportunity for others to cover for them and show what they can do.

This week Gary Barker, a member of the PCO which runs the Bloghorn, is covering for Steve Bell at the Guardian. His Monday editorial cartoon is above, he will also do the Thursday and Saturday drawings.

Gary told the Bloghorn that he had covered at various national papers, and had been hoping to have a go at the Guardian. “My last cover was for the Trevor Kavanagh column in the Sun and I know he is an influential character Westminster. So I emailed the Guardian art director and mentioned Trevor’s name. It was either that or my timing was lucky, because I was offered a couple of days almost straight away.”

Covering is a tricky business though. By moving from paper to paper the cartoonist may have to adapt to different stances on political issues.

“All newspapers have different approaches, from almost ‘Hands-off and do as you like’, right through to ‘Can we have A standing in such a way, and B saying this and carrying a cabbage and a gramophone’. I’ll leave you all to make your minds up as to which political slant is likely to be the more prescriptive,” said Gary.

Covering for others is a rite of passage for political cartoonists. Other PCO members who have taken that route include Patrick Blower, Andy Bunday, Alex Hughes, Morten Morland, Martin Rowson, and Bloghorn’s own Matt Buck.

Matt said: “Me and my cartoon shadow is a hard game to play. It takes time to build a personal relationship with an audience of readers so stepping into someone’s ‘spot’ can feel like mission impossible.”

Roundup: What the Bloghorn saw

May 19, 2011 in Comment, News

Rob Murray writes:

Cartoonists have a habit of predicting the future, but Cam Cardow, cartoonist for the Ottawa Citizen, is more prescient than most. He was the first to satirise the news that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child outside of his marriage – eight years before the story became known. The Washington Post has the full story and cartoon from 2003 here.

Meanwhile, the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series The Flintstones is due for a modern makeover – courtesy of  Seth MacFarlane, one of animation’s most controversial  success stories. Whether the remake will be closer to the original Flintstones series or to Family Guy remains to be seen, but you can read more courtesy of BBC News.

Cult 2004 film comedy Napoleon Dynamite has also been reinterpreted in cartoon format, debuting in the US this summer and featuring the cast of the original film.

Bloghorn also spotted an impressive piece of pavement art over at the Forbidden Planet – a truly vertigo-inducing optical illusion featuring Batman and Robin.


Copyright for cartoonists

May 18, 2011 in News

A post for our UK readers because today the Hargreaves Review into the law of copyright is published.

This is important because copyright governs how people who sell expressions of an idea for profit, such as cartoonists, may license that work for sale. Professor Ian Hargreaves’ review and its proposals deal with many of the issues raised by the changes the internet has made to selling imagery for print and online distribution.

You can read or download the report (PDF) here.

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and our colleagues in the Creators’ Rights Alliance submitted feedback to the review and you can read that here.


by Royston

Music to the ears of Hoffnung fans

May 17, 2011 in Events

Hoffnung music cartoon
Sometimes a cartoonist becomes inextricably likned with a particular topic and for Gerard Hoffnung it was music.

A tuba player himself, Hoffnung (1925-1959) made music the central subject of his work. He was born in Berlin, but Hoffnung’s family moved to London to escape the Nazis in 1939. Though he died only 20 years later, aged 34, he managed to establish himself as a cartoonist with a very English sense of humour.

That humour can be seen in touring exhibition of his work, drawn from the Hoffnung family’s own collection, which is coming to the Chris Beetles Gallery in London. It features many of his best-known musical cartoons.

The gallery will be displaying it alongside the work of William Heath Robinson, in an exhibition called Instruments and Inventions. The exhibition opens on May 25 and runs until June 22. For more details, visit the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

Rogues and Epoques

May 12, 2011 in Events, News

Two prominent political cartoonists have exhibitions opening in London in the next couple of weeks. On Wednesday 25 May, Bell Époque, featuring the cartoons of Steve Bell opens at the Cartoon Museum. The exhibition, which celebrates 30 years of Guardian cartoonist Steve’s work runs until 24 July.

Not to be outdone, on Monday 30 May Rogues’ Gallery, opens at Westminster Reference Library. Featuring the classical art parodies of the Independent‘s Dave Brown the exhibition runs until 18 June. Dave will also be giving an illustrated talk, titled ‘Mimicking the Masters’ on Tuesday 7 June, 7pm. To book a free place, email or phone 020 7641 5250.

Bell Époque, Cartoon Gallery, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH, 25 May to 24 July. For opening times and admission prices, go to

Rogues Gallery, Westminster Reference Library, 35 St Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP, 30 May to 18 June.  Free entry. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm.

Oor Wullie under the hammer

May 11, 2011 in News

Rob Murray writes:

An oil painting of iconic Scottish cartoon-strip character Oor Wullie is due to be auctioned in Glasgow on Thursday night, and has been valued at between £2,500 and £3,500.

Oor Wullie Oil Painting by Graham McKean

© STV – Scottish Television – Image by artist Graham McKean

The painting, by Irvine-based artist Graham McKean, shows D.C. Thomson‘s Wullie – and his trademark upturned bucket – away from his Dundee home and sat on a sandy beach.

McKean has called the painting ‘Oor Wullie, Your Wullie, A Holiday Wullie’ – a play on the strip’s tagline of ‘Oor Wullie! Your Wullie! A ‘body’s Wullie!’

The character is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, having first appeared in the Sunday Post in 1936.

“I have painted many famous people over the years but I wanted to do a real Scottish icon this time, and that was when I thought of Wullie,” McKean told STV News.

“Like many Scottish youngsters, I grew up reading Oor Wullie and The Broons, although when I was deciding where to set the piece I decided to take him away from Dundee and put him in a location closer to my own home,” he added.

The auction raises the age-old question about the relative value of different art forms.

If McKean’s painting reaches its expected sale price, it will have made roughly double that of a sketchbook containing Wullie drawings by the character’s original artist, legendary Thomson cartoonist Dudley D. Watkins – which sold last year for £1,600.

Meanwhile, Wullie has been reinterpreted in a very different way in the current issue of Viz. A one-page strip titled ‘Oor Frankie’, drawn by Davey Jones, casts comedian Frankie Boyle in the role and, for a limited time, can be viewed here for free.

Bloghorn says if you would like to share a view on the value of art and cartoon, or even of cartoon and art, please do in the comments below.

by Royston

Shaggy dog tale is no cartoon fantasy

May 10, 2011 in News

A film which is out in cinemas this week is sure to prove that cartoons about animals are not just for kids.

My Dog Tulip, a grown-up story of an elderly man and his dog, is no Disneyfied anthropomorphic tale. It often concentrates on some of the less appealing aspects of dog ownership, as this clip shows.

It was created by the American animators Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, a husband and wife team, and while it may look like the antithesis of CGI, this making-of clip shows that computers were very much a tool in the creation of the film.

My Dog Tulip film still
My Dog Tulip is based on a 1956 book by the English writer J. R. Ackerley, regarded by some as the best book ever written about dogs, and features the voices of Christopher Plummer and the late Lynn Redgrave.