You are browsing the archive for 2017 January.

by Jonesy

Recognition for PCO duo’s efforts in support of Atena Farghadani

January 31, 2017 in General


© Steve Bright

Rupert Besley writes:

As is well known, the French take caricature and cartooning rather more seriously than we tend to here. Each year since the early 1990s, academics at the University of West Brittany, through EIRIS (l’Equipe Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur l’Image Satirique), have published ‘Ridiculosa’, a weighty (300-plus pages) review carrying learned articles on the uses of caricature past and present.

This year’s volume contains a 23-page piece by Margarethe Potocki looking into the range of cartoons created in the wake of Atena Farghadani’s arrest in Iran. I’m pleased to report that this includes a page each on contributions from two PCO members, Steve Bright and, er, myself.

More importantly, having been sentenced to 12 years in prison, Atena was released last May after 18 months. But at considerable cost to herself. As this from Amnesty International makes clear.

The cartoonist should never have been imprisoned in the first place and was badly maltreated and abused. She had a virginity test forced upon her (shaking hands with her male lawyer was deemed a sexual act and further crime) and suffered a heart attack in consequence of hunger strike. Her release came with a 3-year suspended sentence, the Iranian regime’s way of silencing critics.

While Steve and I doubt whether our own drawings can have made any possible difference, the whole unhappy saga (Atena’s offence was to draw politicians as goats) must give anyone cause to think hard about any involvement with the state-sponsored Iranian House of Cartoon.


© Rupert Besley

Steve Bright writes:

Yes, it was great to hear of Atena’s release (even with strings), but she should obviously never have been imprisoned in the first place, and it’s a sobering reminder that some of the freedoms we all take for granted are, depending on your geography, very real dangers involving acts of tremendous courage. I hope and pray she never has to go through anything like that again in her lifetime, and that she can find a place to create meaningful art without fear.

Contributing to the campaign for her release through our own cartoons was, by comparison, a very easy decision and simple process. Small beer. As Rupert says, we’ll never know whether our drawings helped (it did cross my mind that they may even hinder, if the authorities dug their heels in against the protests from afar), but even if it only helped us, to know we’d done something to show support against this repugnant injustice, and others like it, then it was well worth the doing. Anything more than that would be a bonus.

by Jonesy

Andy Davey: ‘toons ‘n’ tunes

January 30, 2017 in General


© Andy Davey

The PCO member and political cartoonist par excellence sheds light on the dark arts of his particular craft whilst sharing some of his favourite music on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Sunday Supplement.

As you’d expect Andy proves an astute advocate for cartooning, helped enormously by a genuinely interested and intelligent interviewer, Nick Conrad.


© Andy Davey

His choice in music is pretty much on the mark too – Little Walter on daytime radio? Joy! – so do yourself a favour, set aside an hour of your time and spend it in the company of Andy Davey and Nick Conrad.

You can listen to the interview here but only for the next twenty eight days.


The man himself © Andy Davey


by Jonesy

PCO leaves FECO

January 25, 2017 in General


The reason for tendering our resignation:

After a great deal of thought by the PCO Committee and through consulting our members, PCO [UK] has decided to leave FECO forthwith.

This is a very sad decision, but has been brought about by FECO’s involvement with a Holocaust themed cartoon contest offered by the Iran House of Cartoon, known Holocaust deniers.

PCO cannot allow itself to be associated in any way with holocaust denial.

Perhaps, looking into the future, when FECO reorganises so that it is no longer associated in any way with holocaust denial PCO might apply to re-join.  In the meantime PCO intends to maintain good relations with individual cartoonists’ organisations such as France-Cartoon, formerly FECO France. But as of now we do not consider ourselves a member of FECO.

Sincerely, and with regret,

Bill Stott, Chair, PCO [UK]

For and on behalf of ;
The Surreal McCoy
Rupert Besley
Andrew Birch
Steve Jones
Jeremy Banx
Glenn Marshall

by Jonesy

Two years on from Charlie Hebdo…

January 8, 2017 in General


On the second anniversary of the atrocity, several organisations (see logos above) have combined forces to present a tribute to persecuted cartoonists.

Although it undoubtedly makes for a sobering read, the continuing courage and unwavering commitment of these cartoonists to do what’s right is both humbling and uplifting.

We have included some of their work below and a link to the full tribute on the CRNI website can be found here.

Many thanks to PCO member and CRNI representative Terry Anderson for feeding this to the Blog.


© Tahar Djehiche


© Zunar


© Rayma Suprani


© Jabeur Mejri


© Musa Kart

by Jonesy

Ralph Steadman: “I always say a mistake is just an opportunity to do something different.”

January 8, 2017 in General


© Ralph Steadman

This New Statesman interview with the incomparable artist and PCO member (as if we’d ever let you forget) finds the great man as vibrant and busy as ever.


Ralph Steadman

The piece covers pretty much everything from early memories of wartime evacuation right up to the present day as he continues to produce political cartoons for the New Statesman. (Although, strangely, none are included in the article. We’re happy to rectify that with a couple of examples of Ralph’s brilliant work from his PCO portfolio.)

You can read more about Ralph Steadman’s unquenchable work ethic and unwavering commitment to new projects here.

Many thanks to Glenn Marshall for drawing this to the Blog’s attention.


© Ralph Steadman



by Jonesy

Cartoons that go viral

January 8, 2017 in General


© Will McPhaill/The New Yorker

If proof were needed of a cartoon’s effectiveness in nailing a topic more succinctly than any other medium, we’d like to present these three examples of the craft as irrefutable evidence, m’lud…

We are happy to note that two of them are by PCO members Will McPhail and Royston Robertson. The third is from Paul Noth, and a Q&A interview with the American cartoonist can be read here on the Columbia Journalism Review website. (Thanks to Glenn Marshall for the link.)


© Paul Noth/The New Yorker

This brings us back to a recurring PCO Blog theme: the ‘price of everything, value of nothing’ mentality that sees publishers continue to reduce cartoon slots. Effective economies should not involve throwing the baby out with the bath water; every ill considered cut leaves readers with one less reason to buy ‘the product’.

Perhaps those very publishers should take note that these cartoons appeared in Private Eye and The New Yorker; two publications with burgeoning sales figures and both noted champions of the cartooning art.

And by flourishing online as well as in their original habitat these wonderful, attention grabbing, thought provoking, laughter inducing artworks (and countless others like them) refute the tired trope that the cartoon is an anachronism.

Cartooning is as popular and vital as it ever was. Case closed.


© Royston Robertson/Private Eye

by Jonesy

Times cartoonist Peter Brookes awarded CBE in New Year’s Honours list

January 1, 2017 in General


© Peter Brookes

Whether you regard the annual awarding of the gongs as worthwhile acclaim for outstanding achievement or a worthless anachronism that rewards cronyism, there is no doubt that even the most ardent opponent of the honours system would recognise Peter Brookes’ CBE falls into the first category.

Describing the long-standing tradition of satirical newspaper cartoons as a particularly “British sort of humour”, he said that world affairs over the last two years have provided him with the most material in his 25-year career so far.

The 73-year-old told Press Association: “More than anything I am grateful to be living in a country that recognises cartoonists that criticise and satirise its politicians, compared to countries that imprison theirs – and worse.”

After a quarter of a century providing daily pieces for The Times, he said: “These days it’s the people who seem to be ruling the roost, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. This summer was unbelievable, there wasn’t a day when there wasn’t an amazing, huge political event, following the referendum. We will all remember it. Every day you come up with something, but some days are better than others and sometimes it’s really a case of banging your head against the drawing board. But there isn’t a day that I don’t look forward to doing it.”


Times cartoonist Peter Brookes

But Brookes, from Liverpool, revealed that his job is not just about making people with a dark sense of humour laugh.

He described one of the most memorable pieces of his career as the cartoon he drew following the photo of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, whose body was washed up in Turkey after his family attempted to flee their home last year.

“I drew the picture and added an EU-life ring being thrown at him,” said Brookes. “There were no words or captions, it was a symbol of the inactivity of the EU over immigration. It would have been very difficult to draw the thousands of immigrants at the time, so this was my way of encapsulating it. Not all cartoons are meant to rasie a laugh.”

Looking forward to the new year following his Christmas break, Brookes added that he was keen to get stuck into the continuing Brexit issue.

“I’m looking forward to getting to grips with Theresa May and the whole Brexit thing,” he said.

“That should keep me in work for a while.”