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Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2018

March 25, 2018 in Events, General

Festival poster illustration © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s only a few weeks now until the transport-themed Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival alights and this year it really is international with cartoonists shipped over from Belgium, Germany, Australia, the USA and Ireland.

Drawing in the crowds at last year’s festival.

The main event is the popular live drawing in the town square on Saturday 21st April. Cartoonists will be delivering up big boards and caricatures. There will also be opportunities for visitors to join in.

On Friday 20th, at 7pm there’s ‘Cartoonists in Conversation’ with PCO members Jeremy Banx, Wilbur Dawbarn, The Surreal McCoy and Royston Robertson hosted by BBC radio presenter Alex Lester. They’ll be addressing questions like: Can cartoonists find humour in anything? What’s a typical day? Do the times we live in affect the cartoons we get? Afterwards there’ll be a Q&A where you can put your own esoteric questions to the panel.

Venue: Wightman Theatre, 14a The Square, Shrewsbury. Tickets £5 (+booking fee). You can book here.

There are several workshops running over the weekend including:

© Tim Leatherbarrow

Tim Leatherbarrow on how to get movement and energy into cartoons.

© Helen Pointer

‘Introduction to Caricatures’ with Helen Pointer,

© William Rudling

and the intriguing ‘Make Your Own Giant Paper Plane’ piloted by Will Rudling.

There are also exhibitions a-plenty:

Are We Nearly There Yet?
Over 100 cartoons on the theme of transport.
10th-28th April
Bear Steps Gallery, St Alkmund’s Square

Shipped From Abroad
American cartoonists’ take on our ‘Transport’ theme.
4th April-27th May
Theatre Severn

More Belgium Imports
17th-28th April
VAN Gallery

Irish Cartoonist Wendy Shea (Irish Times)
Participate Gallery, Riverside
32-34 Riverside, Raven Meadows SY1 1PJ
April 7th-28th

More detailed information on all events can be found on the festival website, Facebook page and twitter.

by Jonesy

The Inking Woman – 250 years of wit and insight

March 19, 2018 in General

© Myriad Editions

“It matters that we remember women’s history. Like so much art, women have taken a backseat. Now they are at the forefront and I am SO proud!”

Sandi Toksvig (Author, TV & Radio presenter and PCO patron)

This timely and welcome book celebrates the massive contribution women have made, and continue to make, to cartooning and comics culture. Many were and are – still! – criminally unsung because, for many years, cartooning has been seen as a male preserve. The Inking Woman rights many of these wrongs, pointing out that women have been drawing and publishing cartoons for longer than most realise.

© Sally Artz

In the early 1760s, Mary Darly illustrated, wrote and published the first book on caricature drawing published in England, A Book of Caricaturas. In the nineteenth century, Britain’s first comic character, a hugely popular “lazy schemer” called Ally Sloper, was developed by the actress and cartoonist Marie Duval (1847–1890). Cartoons were used by suffragettes to promote their cause and, during the Great War, artists such as Flora White and Agnes Richardson produced light-hearted propaganda comic postcards.

The 1920s saw a few women cartoonists appearing in newspapers on a more regular basis. Sadly, they felt it necessary to sign their work with their surname so most readers were unaware of the cartoonist’s gender. During this decade Mary Tourtel created Rupert Bear for the Daily Express. Another immensely popular and successful cartoon strip was born and, nearly a hundred years later, the character is still going strong.

© Kate Charlesworth

Myriad Editions’ website further explains the book’s timeline to the present day:

“From the 1960s, feminism inspired cartoonists to question the roles assigned to them and address subjects such as patriarchy, equal rights, sexuality and child rearing, previously unseen in cartoons. Over the last thirty years, women have come increasingly to the fore in comics, zines and particularly graphic novels.”

The publisher’s website concludes: “This wide-ranging curation of women’s comics work includes prints, caricatures, joke, editorial and strip cartoons, postcards, comics, zines, graphic novels and digital comics, covering all genres and topics. It addresses inclusion of art by women of underrepresented backgrounds.”

We obviously couldn’t let this pass without highlighting the contributions of PCO members Sally Artz, Kate Charlesworth and committee member The Surreal McCoy. There is an honorable mention for the PCO’s Kate Taylor too.

© The Surreal McCoy

Based on an exhibition of the same name, held at the Cartoon Museum in 2017, and published by Myriad Editions, The Inking Woman is editied by Nicola Streeten, co-founder of Laydeez Do Comics, and Cath Tate, founder of Cath Tate Cards.

It is, quite simply, a must buy for cartoon lovers.

Read more about The Inking Woman, £19.99, here on Myriad Editions’ website


by Jonesy

Equatorial Guinea: Artist Freed from Prison

March 7, 2018 in General

Ramón Esono Ebalé, cartoonist

Officer Admits Superiors Ordered Dubious Charges

(Nairobi, March 7, 2018) – An Equatorial Guinean court on March 7, 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his February 27 trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.

“It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place,” said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers-in-Prison Committee. “We urge the authorities to guarantee his safe return to his family, allow him to continue creating his hard-hitting cartoons, and ensure that Equatorial Guinea respects the right to freedom of expression.”
The global #FreeNseRamon coalition, consisting of hundreds of artists, activists, and organizations devoted to protecting artistic freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights, carried out a campaign to direct international attention to his situation.

“Ramon’s release from prison is a testament of the power of collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens, and NGOs,” said Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice, which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea. “But we must not forget that dozens of government opponents who are not as fortunate fill Equatorial Guinea’s jails; thus, the fight against human rights violations and impunity must continue.”
Esono Ebalé, who lives outside of his native Equatorial Guinea, was arrested on September 16, 2017, while visiting the country to request a new passport. Police interrogated him about drawings critical of the government, said two Spanish friends who were arrested and interrogated alongside him and were later released.
But a news report broadcast on a government-owned television channel a few days after the arrest claimed that police had found 1 million Central African francs in the car Esono Ebalé was driving. On December 7, he was formally accused of counterfeiting. The charge sheet alleged that a police officer, acting on a tip, had asked him to exchange large bills and received counterfeit notes in return.
“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramon’s release is an important victory against repression.”
At the trial on February 27 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, it became clear that the police officer who had made the accusations had no personal knowledge of Esono Ebalé’s involvement in the alleged crime, according to his lawyer and another person present at the trial. After offering details that conflicted with the official account, the officer admitted that he had acted on orders of his superiors, they said. The prosecution then withdrew the charges.
“We are delighted that Ramón was acquitted and is finally free,” said Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists. “The fact that the state’s main witness recanted, underscores the point that authorities manufactured the charges in the first place. Ramon should never have spent a single day behind bars and we trust that he will not be subjected to any further reprisal.”
The human rights groups are Amnesty International, Arterial Network, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Asociación Profesional de Ilustradores de Madrid, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Cartooning for Peace, Committee to Protect Journalists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason, Doughty Street Chambers, UK, EG Justice, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Freemuse, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, PEN America, PEN International, Reporters without Borders, Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

“Now that Ramon has been released, the authorities must launch a thorough and effective investigation into whether the charges against him were fabricated, and ensure that the criminal justice system is no longer misused to target and harass human rights defenders,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Equatorial Guinea.

For more information, please contact:
In Chapel Hill, for EG Justice, Tutu Alicante (Spanish, English, French): +1-615-479-0207 (mobile); or @TutuAlicante
In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Saadoun (English): +1-917-502-6694 (mobile); or Twitter: @sarah_saadoun
In Washington, DC, for Cartoonists Rights Network International, Robert Russell (English): +1-703-543-8727; or Twitter: @BroDirector

by Jonesy

Matthew Pritchett (Matt) celebrates 30 years as Telegraph cartoonist

March 3, 2018 in General

The Telegraph’s Matthew Pritchett

Many have lined up to pay tributes to the much loved cartoonist as he chalks up a remarkable thirty years in the job.

Sadly, Jeremy Corbyn was not one of them: his team politely declined, saying none of the Matt cartoons they had seen about Mr Corbyn were funny.

In a world where desperate, short sighted publishers seem to lay off cartoonists every day The Telegraph knows when it’s on to a good thing, recognising the pocket marvel’s work as possibly the main reason for buying the newspaper.

Both cartoons above © Matthew Pritchett (Matt)

The broadsheet may no longer be worthy of its epithet “newspaper of record” but one constant, over the last thirty years at least, has been the outstandingly consistent and gently humorous ribbing of the great and the not so good by its wonderful pocket cartoonist.

Chris Evans, Telegraph editor, said: “In an unpredictable world, our readers know that Matt’s cartoon can be relied on to lift their spirits and make them smile. All of us at The Telegraph are delighted to celebrate 30 incredible years of cartoons with him.”

Reflecting on the last 30 years, Matt Pritchett said: “Time flies when you’re panicking about tomorrow’s cartoon.”

You can read the tributes and see Matt at work on The Telegraph site here

With thanks to Pete Dredge for drawing this to the Blog’s attention.


by Jonesy

Loss of a good friend to cartooning…

March 3, 2018 in General

…and to football, politics, theatre, health and much else besides. Ernest Hecht, whose Guardian obituary can be reached by the link below, has died at 88.

Rupert Besley writes:

In 1951 EH founded The Souvenir Press and remained its managing director and driving force for the next 65 years and more. As an independent publisher with an eye for mischief and a competitive streak, EH relished the thrill of chasing down those he admired across an extraordinarily wide field of interest. He was literary agent to Pelé and then to the whole Brazilian football team. And he was first to get the Beatles in print. Che Guevara was one of his authors, along with Civil Rights campaigners and five Nobel Prize Laureates – and none of that stopped him publishing ‘Le Petomane’ (star farter at the Moulin Rouge) or ‘an absorbing history of toilet paper’. Matt Busby, Albert Einstein, Ken Dodd, The Dalai Lama…the word ‘eclectic’ might have been invented for Ernest Hecht.

Football was an abiding love. He got to nine of the last eleven World Cup championships – and wore his Arsenal scarf and cap to the Palace when he went to collect the OBE presented to the ever-generous Hecht for a lifetime of charitable giving and philanthropy.

Publishing (and culture) in postwar Britain was transformed by a group of remarkable individuals, all of whom had arrived in this country in flight from Nazi persecution of Jews: George Weidenfeld, André Deutsch, Paul Hamlyn… Ernest Hecht was the last of that group. He reached Britain, unaccompanied, on the Kindertransport in 1939. It was the end of a long and difficult journey that began with him and his mother travelling to Prague by rail from their home in Czechoslovakia. (His parents later made it to the UK.) The only other occupant of the compartment was a Gestapo officer. The young Ernest, never good on trains, was promptly sick over the officer’s uniform. By good fortune for Mrs Hecht, petrified in that moment, the officer was himself a parent with some understanding.

A witty man, Ernest Hecht had a real enjoyment of humour and this was reflected in his publication list containing cartoon books by the likes of Hoffnung and Calman. From John Donegan he got three cartoon books, deliciously titled ‘Dog Almighty’, ‘Dog Help Us’ and ‘For Dog’s Sake!’ But the star name was Ronald Searle, five of whose books he published over 30 years. For these alone, cartoon-lovers everywhere will always have good reason for thanks to Ernest Hecht.

You can read The Guardian’s obituary here