You are browsing the archive for 2017 June.

by Jonesy

Cartoons to the rescue?

June 27, 2017 in General

© Martin Rowson

In last week’s Guardian the PCO’s Martin Rowson demonstrated, with a perfectly executed example of his art, how the political cartoon can pierce the thickest of skins – see Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s reaction – and cut straight to the heart of the matter.

Frustratingly, as newspapers continue the painful transition from print to digital, many of those that still employ political cartoonists lessen the impact of their work by relegating them to the less travelled backwaters of their websites. New Yorker cartoonist Chris Weyant, much like our own Andy Davey in a previous Blog article, questioned the way political cartoons were being used online and, happily, seems to have found a solution that should have publishers sitting up and taking note.

Weyant, who also spent fifteen years as a political cartoonist, was bewildered by newspapers’ failure to properly utilise their assets. “It just didn’t seem to make sense,” Weyant told Editor & Publisher’s Rob Tornoe. The lack of interest in digital political cartoons at newspapers with a history of cartooning was a puzzle. “The internet is a visual medium, so it seems obvious cartoons could be an important asset to journalism’s evolving digital business model.”

So the cartoonist took it upon himself to do some research and, according to traffic numbers Weyant has been studying, readers that enter a publication’s website through a topical cartoon tend to spend 25 percent more time browsing the site than they do entering through any other type of content.

“They stay so much longer and go so much deeper when they click a cartoon versus any other type of content,” Weyant said. “That’s an amazing metric of real reader engagement.”

A pretty convincing case for featuring cartoons more prominently. Even Mr. Dacre wouldn’t argue with that…

A direct link to Rob Tornoe’s encouraging article isn’t possible but you can find it on their website.


by Jonesy

Hannah Berry

June 27, 2017 in General

© Hannah Berry

“Her first graphic novel BRITTEN & BRULIGHTLY, begun while studying illustration at the University of Brighton, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2008. It has subsequently been published in the USA, Italy, Holland, France and Serbia, with the French edition chosen for the official selection of the 2010 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Her second graphic novel ADAMTINE was published in 2012, also by Cape, and she has just finished a third, LIVESTOCK, due out in May 2017. She currently does a weekly cartoon strip for the New Statesman – ‘Vox Pop’ – about humans and how funny they are.”

Reading the excerpt above from her website profile would lead you to believe that Hannah Berry has the world at her feet. In truth, she feels the gnarled fingers of economic reality clutching at her throat.

© Hannah Berry

Hannah Berry is a writer, illustrator, podcaster and, to quote again from her profile, “an editorial gun-for-hire”. However, creating graphic novels is her true love. In this article (please see link below) she outlines the reasons why the aforementioned ‘LIVESTOCK’ is more than likely her last. This is, however, by no means the saddest part of this painfully personal account…

Read Hannah Berry in Ink issue #10

Hannah Berry’s ‘LIVESTOCK’, published by Jonathan Cape is available in paperback and kindle

With thanks to Terry Anderson


by Jonesy

Hurry – Pete Dredge exhibition finishes this Friday

June 13, 2017 in General

© Pete Dredge

The Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir, Angus has been hosting the work of one of the PCO’s most esteemed gag cartoonists.

Some gallery regulars will be familiar with Pete’s wonderful cartoons through his contribution to the Gallery’s celebration of Private Eye’s 50th birthday in 2011. Most people, however, will recognise the great man’s work by virtue of his being published in pretty much any British newspaper or magazine you’d care to mention.

© Pete Dredge

Pete’s beautifully judged captions perfectly complement his seemingly effortless, brilliant penmanship: a combination guaranteed to tickle the viewer’s funny bone with hilarious regularity. Indeed, you would be wise to follow the gallery’s advice:

“Make sure you give yourself a little time to wander around the Gallery.  Every cartoon will bring a smile if not an outright guffaw.”

© Pete Dredge

The exhibition ends Friday 16th June 2017.

Bank Street Gallery, 26 Bank Street, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4BG

Tel: 01575 570070

Visit the Bank Street Gallery website for more information

See more of Pete Dredge’s work in his PCO Portfolio


by Jonesy

Andy Davey – as seen on TV

June 12, 2017 in General

Credit: ITV Anglia

Andy Davey, who has drawn for The Guardian, Private Eye, The Sun and many more, voices his concerns for the future of political cartooning in an interview with ITV News Anglia’s Olivia Paterson.

Whilst a continuation of the art form online beckons, Andy sounds a cautionary note about how differing presentation and reading patterns mean the political cartoon may not always be displayed to best advantage:

“You have to go and search for a cartoon on a newspaper website, whereas you would be confronted with it in a traditional print newspaper”

Andy Davey, Cartoonist

The medium may offer new challenges but cartoons have always found a way to adapt and survive as Dr. Nick Hiley, curator at the British Cartoons Archive, points out:

“It [political cartooning] has survived changes in the past”

Dr. Nick Hiley, British Cartoons Archive

Finally, support for political cartooning can come from surprising quarters…

Given his term as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has, unsurprisingly, been the ‘victim’ of many a vituperative cartoon. Despite this he still views the art through an appreciative eye:

“It’s actually a great gift, really, because it’s a combination of real skills”

Andrew Lansley MP

© Andy Davey

The politician goes on to say “You’ve got to be somebody who’s capable of doing the art, doing the humour, but also the politics.”

As Olivia Paterson says, “Cartoonists hope the internet will find a way to adopt them as their own.”

Doubtless the reading public will echo that sentiment.


Click this link to watch the report by ITV News Anglia’s Olivia Paterson

Bonus footage!

(Or, more accurately, the report your correspondent should have linked in the first place!)

Click this link if you want to see a more up to date report…

You can also see more of Andy Davey’s work here on his PCO Portfolio page



by Jonesy

Alex Noel Watson RIP

June 3, 2017 in General

Alex Noel Watson, renaissance man and raconteur

Terry Anderson writes:

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is saddened to learn of the death of veteran cartoonist Alex Noel Watson.

Born in Airdrie in 1929 Watson was a true renaissance man. As well as a cartoonist he worked as a film critic, travel writer, storyboard artist and book jacket designer. His cartoons appeared in publications too numerous to mention but most notably the Daily Express, Daily Star, Evening Standard, New York Times, Private Eye, Punch, Spectator, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Toronto Star and – a particular point of pride – The New Yorker.

Like many I only got to know the man in the last coupe of decades as he began making regular trips to the Salon International de la Caricature, du Dessin de Presse at d’Humour in Saint-Just-le-Martel.  Watson was one of the festival’s most effusive supporters, writing enthusiastically about it for the PCO’s blog as well as The Jester, the magazine of The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain.

With his bushman hat and walking stick he cut a distinctive figure, always to be found holding court with tall tales of his former exploits. A polyglot, he was very comfortable mixing with colleagues from around the world although he never made any concessions to accent – as far as I could tell his French was grammatically perfect but always spoken like a man from Lanarkshire rather than Limoges.

Alex takes centre stage at Saint-Just-le-Martel

One could hardly mention one of the world’s great cities without Watson being able to tell you about something that happened to him there in his youth. It became a little bit of a game for me to see if there was any conversational topic that he couldn’t stake a claim to. So while standing by the medieval church in Saint-Just I regaled a small group with the story of the Alien gargoyle to be found on my hometown of Paisley’s historic abbey, a curiosity which had become an internet sensation after it was spotted by an American tourist. Having quietly taken it all in he replied “Yes, very interesting. Of course, I used to draw storyboards for Ridley Scott…” I conceded defeat.

That was 2013, which I believe was the last time he made it to France having actually postponed a surgical operation in order to attend. No longer able to travel in his last few years some of my fellow cartoonists would make a point of visiting his home in Surrey to keep him up to date on all that was happening.

His passing will no doubt come as a blow to long-time members of the CCGB and PCO as well as the good people of Saint-Just-le-Martel who have lost far too many of their friends in recent years.

The PCO send our condolences to his wife Milenka who we understand is not in the best of health and so has asked that those who knew Alex refrain from making contact until circumstances have improved.