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Cartoonists in Conversation

April 30, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick writes:

A Friday evening talk has traditionally opened the public programme of the Shrewsbury cartoon festival. This year ‘Cartoonists in Conversation’ aimed to give the public an insight into the lives of cartoonists, whose work they would probably be familiar with but know little about the people behind them.

The number of cartoonists gathering in the town (this year there were 30) meant we had a stellar line-up to choose from. Jeremy Banx (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Private Eye) resplendent in his beret, The Surreal McCoy (The Spectator, Reader’s Digest, The Sunday Times), Royston Robertson (Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator) and Wilbur Dawbarn (The Beano, Private Eye, The Spectator) were joined by Ken Krimstein (New Yorker, Harvard Business Review) who was over from Chicago and brought an international perspective to the chat. Our host for the evening was BBC radio presenter Alex Lester,  a festival patron and cartoon enthusiast.

Line up: Alex Lester, The Surreal McCoy. Royston Roberston, Ken Krimstein, Wilbur Dawbarn & Jeremy Banx. Photo © Gerard Whyman

The discussion covered various aspects of life as a cartoonist, alongside some superb examples of their work. Topics covered included the creation of the work and their workspace, some ‘greatest hits’ over the years, stories of rejection slips, offence, their influences and inspirations, and of course a mention of Trump. After the main panel discussion came questions direct from the audience.

A silhouetted Banx talks about one of his cartoons. Photo © Gerard Whyman

An abominable Royston Robertson cartoon. Photo © Gerard Whyman

 

 

An influential cartoon by Bernard Kliban.

We were delighted that the event was a sell-out, and indeed extra chairs were added for latecomers.

Photo © Gerard Whyman

Hearty thanks for the success of the evening go to the cartoonists on the panel, and Alex Lester for all being fabulous. The Wightman Theatre set us up wonderfully and Andy McKeown of WildStrawberry.com’s wonderful projection made the evening such a treat visually.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival in the rear-view mirror.

April 25, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick, Pete Dredge, John Roberts and Helen Pointer ‘drawing the crowds’.

Rupert Besley writes:

The sun shone on the righteous – and on the cartoonists in Shrewsbury. It was a bumper gathering in the town this last weekend, with visitors and participants drawn from far and wide. Few more so than festival regular Dean Alston from Down Under, whose ace Big Board, along with a Noel Ford classic, was among the first things to greet arrivals in The Square. Close by worked guest cartoonists from the States, Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein, while further input to the international flavour of the day came from the strong deputation of Belgians, all involved in the European Cartoon Centre at Kruishoutem near Ghent.

Big boards by Australia’s Dean Alston and the UK’s Noel Ford.

US cartoonists Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein with their big boards.

Cartoon by Nikola Hendrickx from Belgium and Nikola in action.

The private view of the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ exhibition at The Bear Steps Gallery.

This was the 15th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival and the theme of Transport was a fertile and perfect choice. The galleries (Bear Steps, Theatre Severn & V.A.N, plus Wendy Shea exhibition at Participate) gave proof, if ever needed, of what can be done from kicking around a good subject and, back in The Square, heads spun towards the reassuring sight of Air Flight Marshall at the check-in desk for budget airline Icarus Air.

The GORGEOUS Glenn Marshall at the Icarus Air check-in desk.

Roger Penwill fronts the Drawma while Noel Ford, Wilbur Dawbarn and Royston Robertson take to the boards accompanied by The Surreal Accordionist. 

You can count on Shrews for good live music from beneath the Market Hall and so it proved throughout. Mid-afternoon came the Drawma, with mellow accordion softening the oohs and aarrghs of those there for quick-drawn gags and terrible puns.

Caricaturists Alex Hughes suitably in tropical attire for the unseasonal heatwave.

Elsewhere in The Square, the line-up of top caricaturists was kept hard at it all day (Hughes, Roberts, Pointer, Cusick, Leatherbarrow, Dredge & Ryder, with Christelle Jones at Bear Steps). Meanwhile, other Big Boards got filled by the likes of (with apologies to anyone inadvertently missed) Clive & Amy Goddard, Steve Best, Royston Robertson, Wil Dawbarn, Ross Thomson, Ger Whyman, Hunt Emerson, Rich Skipworth, John Landers, The Surreal McCoy, Jeremy Banx, Roger Penwill, Nikola Hendrickx & present writer, not forgetting fine graphic contributions too from Zoom Rockman and Patrick Holden.

PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard with PCO’s Treasurer-human Amy Amani-Goddard.

Steve Best applying blue.

Maria Scrivan ‘likes’ Royston Robertson’s twitter cartoon. 

Gerard  Whyman hogs some limelight.

The top of Rich Skipworth.

The Surreal McCoy and her surreal cartoon.

Jeremy Banx creates Noah’s limo.

Semi-big boards by John Landers and Roger Penwill.

Ross Thomson & Hunt Emerson drawing and colouring in.

Dean Alston and Wilbur Dawbarn doing some more drawing and colouring in.

Rupert Besley on a familiar scene from a cartoonists daily life.

Zoom of Crouch End draws Clive of India.

Helen Pointer’s ‘Introduction to Caricature’ workshop.

The cartoon workshops are an important part of the festival – this year tackling caricature, movement in drawings, an automobile barn dance plus Stop Motion animation (Barry the Shrew) and some fun paper planes (from Biggles Rudling). Festival patrons Alex Lester and Martin Wainwright came up trumps in their support of the Festival, the former using his radio interview skills to host the panel of cartoonists in conversation at the Wightman Theatre on the Friday evening. The latter was able to apply some of his editing experience to the list of rules drawn up for the Air Cartooning contest that rounded off the following evening. And, on the Sunday morning, while bikers gathered in their droves on the outskirts of the town, festival participants were treated to a fascinating tour of Historic Shrewsbury.

Rupert Besley wins the inaugural ‘Air Cartooning’ Cartoon Off ® Noel Ford

Thanks and full credit to all responsible, beginning with organisers Sarah Knapp, Bill McCabe, Tim King, Roger Penwill, Noel Ford, and Jonathan Cusick, along with all the volunteer helpers, and not forgetting the many participants (including visitors) who made the whole thing so successful.

Thanks also to Mika Schick for the excellent photographs.

More detail on the festival: Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Could witchcraft be a winner at the World Illustration Awards 2018?

April 25, 2018 in General

© Rebecca Hendin/BuzzFeed

One of the PCO’s newest members, Rebecca Hendin, has been shortlisted for the prestigious award

The series of editorial illustrations, created to accompany a BuzzFeed article on historical witch animals, has already cast a spell in getting her nominated – no mean achievement as the World Illustration Awards 2018 received a record 3,000 entries from across 75 countries.

© Rebecca Hendin/BuzzFeed

© Rebecca Hendin/BuzzFeed

Having spent three years at Buzzfeed as an editorial illustrator/designer, Rebecca is now a fully fledged freelancer with a client list that already includes Amnesty International, Donmar Warehouse, BBC and New Statesman. As if that’s not enough, her political cartoons are nationally syndicated in the US by Universal uClick, America’s leading newspaper syndicate.

You can see the illustrations in situ on the BuzzFeed website and a little more of Rebecca’s work here.

Details of the World Illustration Awards 2018 can be found here on the Digital Arts website.

© Rebecca Hendin/BuzzFeed

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

MY LIFE IN HIGH FINANCE (or My Love Letter to Accountants)

April 17, 2018 in General

© Rupert Besley

Rupert Besley writes:

I’m ending my career much as I began it. Not getting paid.

My first regular job in cartooning was with a local newspaper and I got £5 a week. Only I didn’t. This was more than 40 years ago. I had a full-time job and this was just a sideline, so the pay was ok by me for starters.

Before I landed this slot, I had done cartoons for magazine illustration and got occasional ones into humour publications. And from these each time, back came a nice little cheque plus remittance note, with no need from me to send in an invoice. I knew nothing about invoices and the editor of my local rag, when taking me on, never touched on any such details.

Thirteen weeks passed, my cartoons appeared and no money arrived. Slowly, dimly, I thought I’d better ask why. Before I got an answer, a letter arrived to me as creditor, telling me the paper had gone bust  (the owner ended up in prison for financial misdoings). I was told to go and swear at a solicitor, all right, commissioner of oaths, to say who I was in order to have any chance (there was none) of getting what I was owed. This cost me a further £1.

Move on 44 years and I’m back in the same kind of poop. For 30 years I’ve contributed each week to another local paper on my patch. I’ve never had to send in an invoice; they see to the paperwork. Or did. Three months have passed without payment forthcoming. At the end of last year the paper got taken over by a larger concern. Jobs have gone. I’ve spent this morning in phone-calls and emails round the country chasing up my measly dues.

Earlier this year a cartoon of mine sold in a local gallery exhibition. To get my work on show required endless form-filling plus payment of £10 admin costs. By the time the gallery took 40% plus a cut for VAT, what was left was the same as the frame cost me. So, no actual earnings, but I did wait two months for my proceeds of the sale to be passed on to me. When I pursued the matter, I was told for the first time that I needed to put in an invoice (without knowing exactly how much the division of spoils should work out at). Another two weeks passed and a ratty email from me before I finally got my money back on the frame.

It’s tough being a freelance in any field, especially cartooning. It’s depressing having to spend almost as much time chasing up what one is owed as spent on the original drawing. But please don’t let me put you off. Keep at it, cartoonists. We need you more than ever.

Rupert Besley.

The Cartoon Museum announces move at ’50 Glorious Shows!’ launch.

April 3, 2018 in Events, News

The Cartoon Museum announced its exciting plans for a relocation to a new space at the launch of the ’50 Glorious Shows!’ exhibition last Wednesday.

The museum Curator Anita O’Brien reveals the plans.                                                   Photo © The Cartoon Museum.

The move has been necessitated by a severe rent rise at the current location.

The new museum will be housed at 55 Wells Street, which is north of Oxford Street in Fitzrovia, close to the BBC and Westminster University.

Artist’s impression of the new building.

It’s a great basement area, which at 4,200 sq ft is the same size as the current museum but it will have a higher ceiling. As part of the new build – by developers by Great Portland Estates – the Museum has secured a 25 year lease at a peppercorn rent (ie. no rent for 25 years) It is scheduled to open early in 2019.

Detailed plans of the new space are on display in the gallery.

The Museum is open to hear ideas and suggestions for the new location.

The varied ‘50 Glorious Shows!’ exhibition showcases what the Cartoon Museum has achieved since being at its current location, 50 being the number of exhibitions it has staged. It features original cartoons and comics from over 170 cartoon creators.

PCO member Kipper Williams with PCO new Chair-human Clive Goddard.           Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Since the museum moved to Little Russell Street twelve years ago its collection has risen from 1,500 cartoons to now over 4,000, these acquisitions mostly coming as donations.

The exhibition runs until 2nd September 2018.

More details on the Cartoon Museum website.