You are browsing the archive for 2012 June.

Rumble Fog

June 28, 2012 in Comment, General

As the 2012 European football championships come towards their end…

Foghorn @ - June 30 2012

Foghorn @ © Andy Davey

Now following, some short messages…

June 27, 2012 in General, Links, News

by Royston

High visibility for Invisible Art gags

June 26, 2012 in Events, Links, News

Invisible art cartoon © Bill Stott

Invisible Art cartoons © Bill Stott @

Invisible art cartoon by Bill Stott

You may have, er, seen features and reviews in the media about the Invisible Art exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London.

The cartoonist and member Bill Stott was so amused by the concept that he fired off a batch of gags to the South Bank gallery, despite the fact that, bar the odd show by surely-he-is-a-cartoonist-really David Shrigley, it is not generally known as an exhibitor of cartoons.

But credit is due to the Hayward, it has put them on its blog and described them as “One of our favourite responses to the ‘Invisible’ exhibition”. Could this be the start of the neglected art of cartooning making in-roads into a “proper” art gallery. Perhaps, though we note with interest that the site refers to Bill as a “painter” rather than a cartoonist …

Click here to see all of the cartoons.

The Round-up

June 23, 2012 in General, Links, News

The final instalment of Life In Hell, © Matt Groening

Life In Hell, the long-running syndicated comic strip that first made a name for Simpsons creator Matt Groening, has come to an end after 32 years and a total of 1,669 installments. Read more about the strip and Groening’s decision to call time on it here, here or here.

A little under a year after his hands were broken in an assault by members of the Assad regime, the Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat is drawing again and appears in this moving video on The Guardian site.

In a piece for his New Yorker blog, cartoon editor Bob Mankoff looks at some of the seemingly innocuous cartoons published by the magazine that have nevertheless succeeded in causing offence.

The Mankoff post includes a case in which a cartoon was both attacked and defended on Facebook. Elsewhere on the social networking site, member Clive Goddard has discovered that one of his cartoons has drawn thousands of ‘likes’ and dozens of comments – check out the responses (and more importantly, the cartoon) here.



Foghorn gets self-referential

June 23, 2012 in Comment, General

Foghorn cartoon

© Andy Davey

Legal wildlife hunts Oatmeal

June 21, 2012 in Comment, General, News

Last week we noted that Matthew Inman, writer of the Oatmeal, a popular US web comic, was being pursued by the threat of lawsuit following an unusual exchange of letters about copyright claims and intellectual property infringements.

The lawyer making claim against Inman, Charles Carreon, is acting for FunnyJunk, an online content aggregator, and he has now published the lengthy 45 page lawsuit at his website. In response, San Francisco based digital free speech lobbyists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation have announced they are now to have a part in representing Inman. This strange web comic case seems set to grow into a serious battle about the right to express cartoon or comic opinion on digital publishing platforms. The last link, published at The Guardian, and taking a wider look at the problems of online opinion, is credited to Canadian journalist Danny Bradbury.

The Washington Post also report the story and Andrew Orlowski of the Register explains some of the underlying issues about difficulties in challenging copyright infringement.

by Royston

Talking about Bateman

June 20, 2012 in Events, News

Bateman by Bateman

H.M. Bateman by H.M. Bateman

The cartoonist and member John Jensen is to host a talk on H.M Bateman at the Cartoon Museum in London next week.

The Early Bateman is held in conjuction with the museum’s exhibition The Man Who Went Mad on Paper. In the talk, on Wednesday 27 June at 6.30pm, John will explore the beauty and subtlety of the artist’s early work.

On Wednesday 11 July, Anita O’Brien, the museum curator, hosts An Unlikely Revolutionary, a talk looking at the impact Bateman had on 20th century cartoons in Britain and overseas.

The Man Who Went Mad on Paper runs until July 22 and is a must-see for anyone interested in cartooning. After that the museum hosts its summer exhibition, Animal Crackers, featuring cartoons and strips with a zoological angle. That opens on July 25. It is followed in the autumn by a show celebrating 75 years of The Dandy. We’ll have more on these exhibitions nearer the time.

For more details on exhibitions, talks and other events, visit

Courses for cartoonists

June 19, 2012 in General, News

News of cartoonists in academia is provided below, thanks to Adrian Tooth, leader of the Cartoon and Comics Art degree course at Staffordshire University. Adrian kindly answered questions about his work following a recent article.

Cartoon and Comics Art course at Staffordshire University

Cartoon and Comics Art course at Staffordshire University

Q. Who is interested in and applying for the course?

Applicants who have a very strong interest and skill in cartoon design and character development. At this stage it would be true to say that many are just mimicking a particular genre of comic or cartoon. The one thing fundamental to all of these applicants is their absolute passion for the subject and their very strong ability to draw. Until now there has been a very limited progression route for these students.

The interest has been excellent. Our numbers have been controlled over the past two years … with a cap of 12 per year group … but without this cap we could have recruited double if not triple this number!

Q. How do you draw the distinction between cartoons and the comic arts?

The award is aimed at anyone who has a passion to draw, create images and tell stories. The course allows individuals to develop a range of skills that make them more employable, so these include anything from the one-off political image which you might see in a newspaper, to a three-panel gag seen in magazines, to the full-blown graphic comic.

Cartooning is about mimicking life of characters and comic arts are about developing stories and events.

The course is not about copying other people’s artwork,  but we accept that you can be influenced by a particular style. But we want to develop the individual’s style and make them into something original.

Q. Why is such a categorisation important?

It’s not to me, but I think it allows students to understand what the course is about. People are embarrassed by the word cartoon and comic and try to hide them behind words such as satirical representation, or sequential art. The award has strong links to graphic design, illustration and animation.

Graphic design, because we want people to think and research the work they produce similar to a graphic design artist, and Staffordshire University produces some excellent award-winning graphic designers.

Illustration allows the student to develop their mark-making skills. Who says the only item you can draw a cartoon with is a fine black-tip pen, or a comic has to be such-and-such dimensions?

Animation helps the students to be future-proof and think about their ability to develop ideas and also about how comics will be read in the future. Already students turn up with their tablets and they have access to the internet and YouTube. Comics and cartoons are competing with this and we can’t bury our heads in the sand. Instead we have to embrace it and make it our future home.

You can read basic details of the course here and we will be publishing the second part of Adrian’s answers to our questions during the next fortnight.

Postcards from Malaga

June 18, 2012 in Comment, General

In 1881, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, where his father, a competent but uninspired painter, was Professor of Art. According to his mother, Pablo’s first word was “piz”, being the ending of “lapiz”, pencil. However, as “pis”, pronounced the same, means pee, I have my doubts.

In 1891, the family moved to Galicia. From those ten years, Malaga has created a thriving industry. The artist’s birthplace, a beautiful  house on the Plaza de la Merced, one of the city’s main squares, has been converted to a museum and art gallery. On the same square another building houses a good-sized gallery where  the shows all have some sort of Picassian connection.

But the main attraction is the Picasso Museum itself, housed in a magnificent Renaissance palace, and spreading outwards in a series of modern buildings that take up most of the old Jewish quarter, complete with concert hall, archives and study centre. “We bought the entire area and knocked it down,” Bernard Picasso once told me. Throughout the city centre, shops sell Picasso prints, postcards, T-shirts, you name it. Every other bar bears his name.

Above is a cartoon published a few years ago, about how it feels being an artist – or at least a British cartoonist – in Malaga.

Surprisingly for such a revered figure, Picasso still has the power to cause controversy. Last year there was a big fuss when Christine Ruiz Picasso tried to get the museum director sacked for a show of anti-fascist art, whose centrepiece was a series of etchings by Picasso himself! It made the Spanish news, and I wrote a short piece for The Independent.  It soon blew over, and the director’s still there. A storm in a teacup, like so much here.

The Round-up

June 16, 2012 in General, Links, News

© Posy Simmonds

An exhibition dedicated to the work of Posy Simmonds, the creator of Tamara Drewe, has opened in Belgium. Forbidden Planet has further details here, and Paul Gravett, who co-curated the show with Simmonds, writes extensively about her life and work on his blog.

To coincide with the recent Jubilee celebrations, The Guardian looked back at a David Low cartoon published by the newspaper to widespread controversy 60 years ago. The paper observes that depictions of the Royal Family have changed dramatically since then. Read the article here. Forbidden Planet also looks at the Low cartoon, and the satire that came later, in this blog post.

Pieces of original cartoon artwork can fetch healthy sums at auction, as proven by the recent sales of these works by Hergé and Bill Watterson.

The first East London Comics and Arts Festival (ELCAF) takes place in Shoreditch this Sunday, June 17. The event will feature live drawing by established illustrators, panel discussions and interviews, portfolio critique sessions, and a free evening concert. See the website for more details. For a round-up of other dates for your diary, click here.