You are browsing the archive for 2012 January.

by Royston

Back to the cold days

January 10, 2012 in Events, News

Cold war cartoon

The exhibition Drawing the Curtain: Soviet Cartoons from the Cold War, hosted by Guardian News and Media, opens on January 19.

It marks the publication of the book Drawing the Curtain: The Cold War in Cartoons by Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Society. The book takes key moments in cold war history, such as the space race and the Cuban missile crisis, and shows how they were represented in Soviet and Western cartoons.

The exhibition runs until February 16, and is open each day from 10am to 6pm. Guardian News and Media is at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1.

What copyright means for cartoonists

January 9, 2012 in Comment, General

Many people buying cartoons do not know how copyright law works, and in the digital age, more that ever, it is important for cartoonists to let clients know where they stand.

Copyright can seem complex but it is actually fairly straightforward. When selling a cartoon for publication, copyright law means that as long as you have signed no agreement to the contrary, you always retain copyright in your material.

Typically, a cartoonist will sell exclusive first rights for an image within a defined area (ie the UK) or for a defined purpose (website publication and archiving) to the publisher.

If, however, you receive a communication from a publisher requiring all rights in return for payment and the publication of your cartoon, you must write back to clarify your terms. Refusal to communicate isn’t wise because silence may legally be regarded as agreement to the publishers terms. A reply and a statement of your rights allows the cartoonist to retain rights.

In recent years, some unscrupulous publishers have issued contracts which acknowledge that you own your copyright, but go on to demand an all-encompassing range of licensed rights, for little or no extra payment. Bloghorn believes this is like them saying “We were asking for the freehold to your house for the price of a month’s rent, but now we just want a 999-year lease.”

Again, it is wise to respond to such contracts, in writing to clarify which rights the publisher actually wants and needs, immediately. Discuss how much will be paid for anything more than first use in the publication that commissioned you (that is, if it’s in the UK, First British Serial Rights). It is wise to leave open the opportunity to renegotiate should further licences be required.

It is clearly accepted by the Copyright Act that freelance cartoonists and illustrators who are paid by the day own their pictures.

In summary, communication is the key. Cartoonists must let clients know what rights they are buying, and the artist should strive to retain ownership of the drawings.

Bloghorn would like to hear your stories about looking after business in the comments or here.


The Round-up

January 6, 2012 in Links

As Google continues to expand into new areas, it has entered the world of cartoons with its own take on the traditional caption competition. has more details here, and you can submit your captions for Google cartoons here.

In the US, presidential hopefuls including Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are getting the comic book treatment.

Philadelphia Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson came up with a novel solution to fill her regular slot in the paper while she took a year-end break, by having local politicians draw the cartoons instead. Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, was the first to take up the challenge. Wilkinson told blogger Jim Romanesko that by inviting two female officials to take part, “I’ve significantly upped the number of women editorial cartoonists in America”.

Pop artist James Rizzi, known for his cartoony paintings and sculptures, has died aged 61.

Having appeared in a sketch for Stewart Lee‘s recent BBC2 show, comics writer and occultist Alan Moore has collaborated with the comedian again, providing the Thought For The Day when Lee guest-edited Radio 4’s Today programme on New Year’s Eve. Forbidden Planet has links and the transcript, in which Moore explains why he worships a god he knows doesn’t exist.

After Searle

January 3, 2012 in Comment

Bloghorn: Ronald Searle in Le Monde

Many cartoonists could get sentimental about the work of the late Ronald Searle who has died, aged 91.

Bloghorn - A present from Searle

The long list of the self-described graphic satirist’s achievements are well documented here, here and here. Bloghorn also recommends a visit to the long-running Perpetua blog, especially for anyone not familar with the full range of the man’s work.

Some of the great outpouring of affection for the artist since news of his death can be read here and some we have also clipped some reactions for this post.

Bloghorn: what is a cartoonist?

Many professionals have responded to the news, as below, and often with reflections on Searle’s experences in the prison camps of the Second World War. Much of his work from his time in the army is held at the Imperial War Museum archive in London.

Bloghorn: Searle WW2

There are many terrific tributes and retrospectives, some provided by last year’s Cartoon Museum exhibition, for which Searle was persuaded to give a rare television interview. We also recommend a listen to to BBC Radio’s Desert island Discs programme talking to the artist in 2005.

Speaking on behalf of the Professional Cartoonist’s Organisation, Andy Davey, the chairman, said:

He was one of the greats. Influenced everybody. It’s hard to know where to start — he worked in every area — from The New Yorker to Le Monde, children’s illustration to reportage, advertising to books and excelled in all, leaving his elegant, easily identifiable mark. 

And on behalf of its sister organisation, the British Cartoonist’ Association, Martin Rowson said:

Immensely sad news about the death of Ronald Searle, tinged with a kind of insane gratitude that we had him for so long, particularly as he probably thought he was going to die when he was 19 or 20, as a prisoner of the Japanese. But if he had, the whole of post-war British cartooning would have been immeasurably poorer, not just because of his work, but because of his influence.

John Jensen, chairman of the BCA, added;

I feel I have lost a lifelong companion and mentor. Ancient cartoonists like myself remember Searle’s first post-war cartoons making an appearance in Lilliput back in 1946, and then spreading everywhere. Right from the off it was clear that this was the new boy on the block. A very big block.

We’ll finish with a present given by Ronald Searle as reported by a grateful recepient on Twitter:

Bloghorn - Ronald_Searle_a_gift

And yes, of course, she kept the original.

Graphic Satirist Ronald Searle dies

January 3, 2012 in Comment

Ronald Searle, widely judged by his colleagues in cartooning to be the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century has died aged 91 at his home in the south of France.

Bloghorn recommends exploring these words and pictures from the UK National Cartoon Museum Searle show of last year.

We shall be returning to the subject of the great man’s work.

The Wireless Cartoonist

January 3, 2012 in Comment

Radio isn’t the most obvious home for a cartoonist but thanks to BBC Radio 2’s Alex Lester it has found a regular one.  

Bloghorn Goddard Radio Cartoonist

Each month PCO cartoonist Clive Goddard provides a visual relating to one of the many offbeat discussion threads the night-time show throws up. Subjects can range from the secret thoughts of pigeons to confessions on putting bizarre concoctions in a blender. Perhaps unsurprisngly some make most sense to the show’s night owl listeners. 

The cartoon has been running since August 2009 and receives regular plugs by The ‘Dark Lord’ himself. Clive told Bloghorn its a great gig as I have a pretty free hand and have never yet had a rough (idea) rejected by BBC compliance.

We should add Alex Lester is a patron of The Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival which we will be covering at Bloghorn later this spring.