You are browsing the archive for 2012 May.

Foghorn strips off

May 31, 2012 in Comment, General

Foghorn strips off @

© Andy Davey @

Postcards from Malaga

May 29, 2012 in Comment, General

© Andrew Birch

Andrew Birch writes:

This is my first blog about being a British cartoonist living abroad, in Malaga, Southern Spain. My first blog ever, in fact. Matt Buck suggested the title. This has a pleasing symmetry, as I started working for the Spanish press with a series called Postales de Malaga – Postcards from Malaga – in which a naive and rather foolish Englishman (me) writes a series of cards to his doting mother in England, telling her of his adopted city, and misunderstanding everything.

I got the job in a typically Spanish way, being invited to a bar by a writer friend “to meet some journalists who are starting a new paper.” I went along, got drunk with some friendly new people, and at the end of the evening the editor asked me to be a contributor. This was presumably based on my boozing ability, as he hadn’t even seen my work. When I realised that he wanted a daily cartoon I was panic-stricken, but jumped in at the deep end. It was, surprisingly, a great success. All the doors closed to me as no more than a long-staying tourist opened, and I was accepted as an honorary Malagueño. When I eventually ran out of ideas, I changed the strip into a political one, commenting on local and national  (Spanish) news. It ran for five years, until I was sacked for not heeding several warnings to lay off the Mayor.

Here’s the first cartoon published. I’m dressed as a horse-rider at the yearly fair – almost as incongruous as walking through the city centre as a bull-fighter. I’m immediately spotted as a “guiri” – a North European, usually British or German.

In traslation the card says: “Dear Mum, I’ve arrived safely in Malaga. I’m wearing typical Andalucian clothes, to fit in with the locals. Love, Andrew.”

Ed says: In the spirit of the present European unity, Andrew’s postcards will be winging their way to the blog on a regular basis henceforth.


by Royston

Lend a hand to stop the PLR move

May 29, 2012 in News

The Government is seeking the views of writers and illustrators over its plan to transfer the responsibility for managing the Public Lending Right scheme to another body.

PLR, the organisation that currently looks after the payments, which ensure that writers and illustrators receive remuneration for books lent in libraries, is to be abolished.

The Department for Culture is considering transferring responsibility for the payments to the British Library, Arts Council, or even itself. Many say that current body does the job perfectly well and should be allowed to continue.

Clive Goddard, cartoonist and member, who has illustrated many books, including more than 30 for Scholastic’s Horribly Famous, above, the sister series to Horrible Histories, told us: “The PLR system works brilliantly. It has a very simple-to-use online database which I can update myself.

“The whole process involves the minimum amount of fuss and is administered by one small, dedicated office with very few staff. All its recipients, I’m told, like it. Which is probably why the Government wants to change it.

“The result will undoubtedly mean more money spent on admin, redundancy, restructuring, relocation, consulting, retraining, system installation, data-transfer, management, line-management, departmental managers, management co-ordination seminars, office furniture, equipment, motivational artwork and yukka plants. And less money given to illustrators. A perfect vignette of the workings of modern Britain.”

The consultation paper is available on the Department for Culture website here. says: “Give ‘em hell, Clive.”

The Round-up

May 25, 2012 in General, Links, News


© Dave Walker

Dave Walker, regular cartoonist for The Church Times and a member of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, has been interviewed about his work by You can read it here.

Kevin ‘KAL‘ Kallaugher, editorial cartoonist for The Economist, proves that a single cartoon can change politics.

Elsewhere, politics is changing cartooning, with the fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia having done away with the censorship that was preventing political cartoons flourishing.

Meanwhile, four Iranian cartoonists – Firoozeh Mozafarri, Kianoush Ramenzani, Hassan Karimzadeh and Mana Neyewstani – have received this year’s Cartooning for Peace award. One of the judges, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly, writes about what she saw in their work.

Finally, Forbidden Planet looks at the trend for reviews in comic form.

Foghorn cracks up

May 24, 2012 in General, News

Foghorn cracks up @ UK

© Andy Davey at

How do you know you are a cartoonist?

May 23, 2012 in Comment, General

UK logoThis is a difficult question to answer because cartooning is a job without, for the most part, obvious qualifications.

So, how do we choose our members after they have applied to join the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation?

You can read the basic details here, but the key part is the review by peers. This is where existing PCO members, who serve on the committee (I’m one of them), vote on applications. It takes at least seven votes from the nine possible to be invited to join. This is a tough ask, although many applicants are voted in unanimously.

We all like to think we know a good thing when we see it.

Of course some applicants do not make it. We offer advice to the not-quite-this-time cartoonists and urge them all to participate in the public forums run by the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain. Many cartoonists, including some of our members who belong to both organisations, offer free advice there.

Oh, and you know we said  “cartooning is a job without obvious qualifications”? Well, I was wrong and we will be reporting back on this university course soon.

by Royston

Remembering Ronald Searle

May 22, 2012 in Events, News

Ronald Searle Punch cover

The Chris Beetles Gallery is hosting the exhibition Ronald Searle Remembered, in memory of the cartoonist who died in December.

The show, which starts today, features more than 400 works by Searle, who is widely regarded as the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century. It runs until June 9.

It includes some of the clandestine drawings he produced as an inmate of Changi Gaol, the notorious Japanese prisoner of war camp,  Punch covers, such as the one above, plus book and magazine illustrations.

St Trinian’s and Molesworth are represented, of course, alongside adverts for Lemon Hart rum and Searle’s reportage on many issues of the day. Also included are unpublished letters that provide new insights into the life of the great man.

Ronald Searle letter

Detail from a letter sent from Singapore, September 21, 1945

The gallery has produced an accompanying 200-page fully illustrated catalogue, featuring newly researched essays and notes. For more details, and to view the exhibition online, visit the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

The Round-up

May 18, 2012 in General, Links, News

© Christian Adams

The Telegraph’s political cartoonist, Christian Adams, dissects his depictions of Cameron, Clegg and Osborne as he looks at what makes an effective caricature. In a subsequent blog post, he identifies which politicians are the best to draw in terms of the most cartoonable body parts (watch out for the photo of Merkel, which is close to being NSFW).

In a worrying development, a group of MPs in India has pressured the government into banning cartoons that lampoon politicians from school textbooks, despite saying that they have no objection to similar examples of visual satire appearing in newspapers. You can read more on the story here. Unsurprisingly, the move has already drawn criticism from academics and other professionals.

The second BD & Comics Passion festival takes place at the Institut français in London from May 24 to 27. The four-day event features a diverse selection of talks from comic creators including Kevin O’Neill, Pat Mills, Tom Gauld and Jonathan Ross, and will see a healthy contingent of French and Belgian cartoonists in attendance. See the website for more details.

For the aficionado of the modern media there is a final chance to hear Greed All About It, a drama upon the mid-career activities of Mr Rupert Murdoch at Wapping. member Nick Newman shares the writing credit with Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop. But, HURRY! There are only 12 hours left to do it!

Foghorn mixes his metaphors

May 17, 2012 in Comment, General

© Andy Davey

Our old friend Foghorn muses on cultural differences in the trade of image making.


by Royston

Gillray’s timeless cartoons

May 16, 2012 in Events, News

The Plumb Pudding in Danger by James Gillray @ member Pete Dredge was interviewed on the subject of the political cartoonist James Gillray for the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show in the East Midlands: Watch it here

Pete visits a new exhibition of Gillray’s work at the Nottingham Contemporary gallery and talks about how the 18th-century cartoonist’s work strikes a chord with modern audiences with its parallels to today’s events.

The free exhibition runs until July 1 — click here for details. To tie in with the exhibition there is also a series of talks, The Critical Currency of Caricature, which looks at the relationship between cartoons and politics.

James Gillray on gout cartoon @

The Gout by James Gillray @