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Jane Mattimoe’s UK Case for Pencils (4): Jonesy

September 23, 2021 in General

A selfie by © Jonesy

Another of our occasional dives into the pencil case of a UK cartoonist from Jane Mattimoe’s A Case for Pencils series. In this instalment it’s the turn of PCO’s very own committee compadre:

Jonesy (aka Steve Jones)

Bio: So far I’ve been published in Private Eye, New Statesman, Prospect, Harvard Business Review, The Oldie, Reader’s Digest (UK), The American Bystander, The Phoenix, CAM (Cambridge University Alumni Magazine), Resurgence and Ecologist, London Evening Standard and The Spectator.

Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy

Tools of choice:

Traditional: Pentels, pencils (seldom anything harder than a B), Uni-balls, Sharpies, brush pens and dip pens. Allsorts, really. For instance, you’ll find various other weird and wonderful oddities in my arsenal like Pilot Parallel nib pens and folded brass dip-pens. The Pilots are intended for use by calligraphers but I enjoy drawing with them. As for the dip-pen, a HIRO Leonardt 41 Copperplate is my nib of choice, nib fans.

I use Higgins Black Magic and Daler Rowney FW ink and White Knights (formerly St. Petersburg) watercolour paints plus various makes of brushes. I find a toothbrush comes in handy too. (Not for my teeth, obviously: I’m British.) Oh, and a diffuser.

My favourite paper for ink and watercolour work is Saunders Waterford High White HP 140lb, and Canson Bristol mostly for ink only.

I draft out rough ideas on Daler Rowney layout pads. I also use various sketch and note pads and have been known to scribble ideas on anything to hand including pets, plants and passers by. Anything alliterative, really.

Sometimes when I’m out and about I also recite cartoon ideas into my mobile so I can pick them up off my voicemail when I get home. Saying stuff out loud like “lighthouse with a bowling alley” and giggling can attract strange looks from passers by. Scribbling on them, however, invokes a much stronger reaction.

Digital: I use MacBook Pros (x2), a Wacom Intuos 4 pad and stylus. I started off with Photoshop and Painter Essentials but now use Clip Studio Art and Affinity software. Both are much cheaper and – for my purposes anyway – just as good.

Recently I was considering an iPad but I think my newer Macbook Pro is about to give up the ghost so bang goes that idea for the time being. My 2010 MBP has been hammered day and night without giving me a moment’s complaint: a wonderful workhorse. I wish I could say the same for my 2015 version. In their efforts to make the laptop thinner and lighter, Apple, sadly, seem to have sacrificed build quality and durability. How about u-turning on this skinny/lightweight malarkey and making the upcoming model a bit sturdier, eh, Apple? Go on, you know you want to…

Tools I wish I could use better: All of them.

Tools I wish existed: Scanvision – ie: Just looking at the drawing equals instant scan filed on your computer.

Command z on dip-pens. Failing that, an effective ink eraser.

Tricks: Not so much a trick of the trade as sound advice: join the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. Only if you’re a cartoonist, like. Or a caricaturist. If you’re a shepherd, say, you probably won’t get too much out of it. Anyway, it’s been an enormous help to me.

Don’t spill coffee on your freshly drawn artwork. All other beverages are fine.

Cartoon published in Prospect. © Jonesy

Never throw away ideas. Sometimes I return to cartoons I initially rejected and get a fresh angle on them. Absence can make the thought grow stronger. (Sorry, that last sentence reads like one of those crap motivational posters…)

I find I get the best results by holding the pointy end of my pen to the paper.

Try to avoid cleaning your brushes in your tea/coffee/whatever cup/mug/glass/beaker/whatever. Or, indeed, drinking from your brush water container. (I’ve done both.)

Try to avoid typing sentences with lots of/too many/an excess of options/alternatives/choices/whatever.

Rejection comes with the cartooning territory, I’m afraid. Easier said than done, I know, but try not to let it get you down: use it as motivation to do better. Or try blackmail.

Miscellaneous: Be as helpful as you can to people starting out. I appreciated the kindness of, and learned a great deal from senior pros who took the time to help me with my first steps. (See “Tricks” section above as proof.)

Websites, etc:

My social media empire, such as it is, comprises the following…

Website (I should update this more often)

Instagram (I should update this more often)

Twitter (I should visit this less often)

Here’s a PCO blog bonus Jonesy:

Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy

You can see previous UK ‘Case for Pencils’ by PCO members:

Ralph Steadman

The Surreal McCoy

Bill Stott

Plus see many more on the following link Case For Pencils

Can cartoons be both funny – and diverse?

September 16, 2021 in Comment, General

Cartoon © Nick Newman

By Nick Newman and courtesy of The Spectator. 

Of the many challenges cartoonists face — rejection, money, drink, or lack of — one of the trickiest is the growing pressure to depict diversity. Nowadays readers often write to publications complaining about the dearth of ethnic minorities in our drawings and demand for cartoons to be more inclusive.

It’s like being trapped in a bad political cartoon, walking a tightrope above a minefield. A quick survey of my colleagues in the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation highlighted the following:

  1. Cartoons involve laughing at someone. If that person is black, you risk appearing racist; even including a BAME character in the background of drawing can lead to accusations of tokenism (‘background box-tickers’).
  2. Including any minority character in a cartoon can run the risk of implying that the cartoon is about race and so can inadvertently politicise the cartoon.
  3. At the end of the day, it’s safer to make the pale, male and stale the butt of the joke.

Gag cartoons are about speed and recognition. Stereotypes are a form of visual shorthand designed to get an idea across quickly. The French? Man in stripy shirt. Teacher? Mortarboard. German? Fat man with sausage. Cartoons amplify for comic effect, which runs the risk of promoting race hate when depicting BAME characters. ‘I draw a lot of idiots saying daft things and don’t want any accidental inference that it is because of their race,’ says PCO chairman Clive Goddard. ‘Better to stick to white idiots than be misunderstood.’ British newspaper and magazine cartoonists are predominantly white, which can make any joke about ethnicity feel awkward or patronising. Cartoonists may be cowards, but we are not afraid to admit to our cowardice in avoiding the issue.

Cartoonists’ drawing styles present another problem. Characters with big noses can lead to accusations of anti-Semitism. One political cartoonist has been told to reduce the size of all Middle Eastern noses. Attempts to make cartoon characters more diverse can be tricky. Kathryn Lamb likens ‘inking in’ her cartoon faces to ‘blacking up’.

For caricaturists whose stock-in-trade is exaggeration, the problem is, appropriately enough, exaggerated. Morten Morland, The Spectator’s cover artist, says that whenever he draws Diane Abbott or Priti Patel, someone always complains. ‘It’s usually because they disagree with the cartoon itself,’ he says, ‘and need something to hit back with. So by hinting that the caricature is racist they aim to discredit the whole cartoon.’

In 2018, a caricature of Serena Williams by the Australian cartoonist Mark Knight of the Herald Sun was reported to the Australian Press Council for depicting her with ‘large lips, a broad flat nose… and [being] positioned in an ape-like pose’ while throwing a tantrum on court. The National Association of Black Journalists said the caricature was ‘unnecessarily Sambo-like’ and even J.K. Rowling weighed in, tweeting: ‘Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes.’

Accusations of racism in cartoons stretch back to Gillray and beyond. The Georgian cartoonists depicted Africans as threatening and comical, with grotesque features and appetites. Cruikshank’s ‘The New Union Club’ (1818) is one of the most racist prints of the 19th century, depicting a debauched dinner held at the African Institution and attacking abolitionists such as Wilberforce. Two hundred years later the Commission for Racial Equality called for Hergé’s 1931 comic Tintin in the Congo to be withdrawn from sale because of its depiction of black Africans as simple, childlike and uncivilised. The New York Public Library locked its copy away. ‘Tintin in the Congo is a racist book,’ says the FT’s Jeremy Banx, ‘but Hergé was on a long journey, from King Leopold II to the Beatles, in which he ended up in a very different place to where he started.’ In later life Hergé himself referred to his early books as ‘youthful sins’.

There are lessons to be learned from history. In 1925 a glib cartoon by David Low portrayed England cricket’s run machine Jack Hobbs as a colossus compared with figures from history, including Caesar, Charlie Chaplin and a caricatured Muhammad. It led to rioting in Calcutta. As the staff of Charlie Hebdo found out, these days a cartoon of the Prophet is likely to get you cancelled — permanently.

We live in a sensitive age. Cartoonists agree on the need to promote diversity, but the complications are endless. Diversity itself is becoming a dirty word, suggesting ‘diverging from the white mean’. Meanwhile ‘inclusive’ is said to imply whites doing the including.

As the Sun’s Steve Bright says: ‘You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you don’t, you’re racist on the grounds of exclusion. If you do, unless there’s a perfect balance, you’re accused of tokenism, which is also racist. And if you achieve that mythical perfect balance — you’d have to draw 100 people in every cartoon, and colour them according to percentages of population — you’re obsessive, and quite possibly insane.’

Unfortunately, deconstructing cartoons also sucks all the fun out of them. As the great Barry Cryer says: ‘Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.’

This article first appeared in the 11 Sept 2021 issue of The Spectator

You can see Nick interviewed about this piece by Spectator TV here. Bonus points to Nick for sporting his PCO badge.

A Peer at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2021

September 8, 2021 in Comment, Events, General

A carousel of cartoonists. Photo by © Ray Covey

Apologies for the late running of our usual photo gallery of the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival but pictures were delayed by the HGV lorry driver shortage…so blame Brexit/Covid.

Join me now as we take a not-so virtual tour up the pier…

Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

The start of the traditional cartoonists’ parade, pencil led by Zoom and Ace Rockman who are also carrying the Steve Coombes Memorial Trilby. It was festival co-organiser Steve who instigated the annual musical ‘March of the Cartoonists’. Steve sadly passed away earlier in the year.

Board by © Zoom Rockman. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

Zoom’s was the first board you were greeted by on the pier. A splendid rendition of Boris Johnson’s bottom that you were invited to speak out of.

Board by © Zoom Rockman,

Martin Rowson demonstrating where Boris generally talks from.

Board by © Royston Robertson

I’ve often wondered how Royston constantly produces such a large volume of great gags…here’s your answer, he’s cloned himself!

Board by © Des Buckley. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

We had plenty of Covid at the festival this year, thankfully in the cartoons rather than in the cartoonists.

Here’s Des Buckley’s ‘JABS’ movie poster. Next year we’ll be expecting ‘JABS II – THE BOOSTER’.

Board by © James Mellor. Photo by © Karol Steele

A flotilla of topical cartoons from James Mellor.

Board by © The Surreal McCoy. Photo by © Karol Steele

I’m a huge fan of the absurdist humour of The Surreal McCoy.

Board by © Guy Veneables. Photo by © Karol Steele

Guy Venables – a man preparing himself for post big-board beer ownership.

Beachwear collection by © Glenn Marshall

Andy & Karol Steele before entering the ‘m a r s h a l l interactive plastic wave machine’.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Clive Goddard with his chief colourist Amy Amani.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Procartoonist Chairhuman Clive on the exulted PCO podium.

Board by © Rob Murray, Photo by © Ray Covey

Rob Murray about to launch his dating app for shingles.

Finished board by © Rob Murray

Board by © Chris Burke. Photo by © Ray Covey

A second wave of Boris cartoons. This one brushed up by Chris Burke.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Banx draws a blank.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Jeremy’s board with filling.

Board by © Martin Rowson. Photo by © Ray Covey

More Boris, this time from the venerable Martin Rowson. He’s left the best bit to last.

Board by © Kathryn Lamb. Photo by © Karol Steele

Finally at the end of the pier K J lamb has yet another Boris stranded out at sea in a ‘Lie Boat’. Surely a typo?

Photo by © Karol Steele

Alex Hughes manning (or should that be personing?) caricature corner.

There is also a great film record of the event by Dave Painter of HUTC productions. You can enjoy it here.

Plaudits to Sue Austen and the team for getting the festival together this year under such trying circumstances.

Thanks to festival regulars Karol Steele and Ray Covey plus festival coordinator Jason Hollingsworth for the photos in the absence of usual PCO snapper Kasia Kowalska.

Eaten Fish nets Norwegian award

September 6, 2021 in Comment, News

Cartoon by © Eaten Fish

Honorary Overseas PCO member Eaten Fish, also known as Ali Durani, has received the prestigious Fritt Ord Foundation award. This scholarship is given to nine cartoonists living in Norway who use the medium of visual satire.

 

Fritt Ord aim to strengthen the position of satire drawing in Norway, because it is an expression at the intersection of art and journalism that enriches written journalism and makes us see political issues with a new perspective.

 

Cartoon by © Eaten Fish

 

“After the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo, many have had their eyes opened to the significance of visual satire. At the same time, it seems that it is disappearing from the newsrooms, perhaps especially for financial reasons. They are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. We would like to give some artists the opportunity to continue working with this genre, of course with a view to publishing opportunities,” said Fritt Ord project manager Joakim M. Lie.

Photo of Ali by © Bengt Sigve Heggebø

 

Among the recipients of the scholarship are both Norwegian and international artists. Iranian Ali Dorani has been living in Stavanger since 2017 when he arrived through ICORN’s program for persecuted artists and writers. Prior to this, he spent five years in a refugee camp on the island of Manus Island, off Papua New Guinea, and his work as a satirist has been about documenting and communicating living conditions in refugee camps based on his own experiences.

“I have been in a difficult place in life without income and work, and this gives me the opportunity to continue drawing and communicating on behalf of refugees around the world”, he said.

 

Each recipient of the work grant receives NOK 100,000. each (about £8,300), which will cover four months’ work during the autumn of 2021. During the same period, guidance, advice and development will be offered by professionals and jury members, and the cartoonists will also have to opportunity to work with newspapers or other media. Fritt Ord will give a further grant of up to NOK 100,000 if any work results in a publication agreement or self-publication during 2022.

 

Many of you will have contributed fish to our #DrawEatenFish digital shoal where we joined the global campaign to get ‘Eaten Fish’ released from internment on Manus island. It’s great to see Ali now thriving in Norway

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival exhibition comes to the High Street

September 6, 2021 in Comment, Events, General, News

Poster illustration by © Jonathan Cusick

Festival Organising team member Sarah Knapp writes:

Delayed by lockdowns, and consequently without it’s usual live events,  Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival exhibition is going ahead this year represented by two exhibitions at the Bear Steps Gallery, Shrewsbury from 6th to 18th September.

The show goes up.

Our theme is ‘The High Street’ as we felt it’s time to show support to the many shops and eateries that have suffered so badly over the last 18 months.

Poster cartoon by © Fawzy Morsy

 

We are also pleased to also announce the return of international cartoons; in the upstairs gallery ‘Over the Shroopshire hills and Pharoah Way’ showcases over 25 cartoons from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabian cartoonists.

Cartoon by © Farouk Mousa

The result of the two exhibitions is a plethora of original cartoons showing different styles and humour gathered together in one place for your delight and amusement. A mixture of originals and prints, they are all for sale.

Started in 2004 by Shropshire based cartoonist Roger Penwill, the town’s Cartoon Festival is now a Shropshire treasure attracting locals plus visitors, artists and collectors of cartoons from further afield.

 

Illustration by © Ralph Steadman

Above is a signed print from Ralph Steadman entitled “Shopping Sisters”.  The cartoon was painted 12 years ago when Ralph was on a wine-tasting trip with Oddbins. Following the exhibition this oak-framed signed cartoon print will be auctioned in the

October Fine Art online timed auction to be held by Halls Fine Art, Shrewsbury. Ralph kindly signed the print for the Cartoon Festival and proceeds of the sale will be donated to the festival.

As in 2020 we would have liked to have brought more of the Festival to the town. However it will return as a full festival in its usual format in April 2022.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival has support from Shropshire Council as well as invaluable sponsorship from the Professional Cartoonists Organisation.

Below are a few shop samples from the show.

.

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

Cartoon by © Ian Baker

Cartoon by © Royston Roberston

Cartoon by © Jason Chatfield

 

Fingers raised

September 1, 2021 in Events, News

The PCO has been proud to be involved with the ‘Raise Three Fingers’ for Myanmar campaign. Members have been drawing the three fingers salute which is a symbol of protest in the region (originally from ‘The Hunger Games’ believe it or not) and donating artwork to be sold for the cause. We also ran a ‘draw three fingers’ workshop at the recent campaign fundraiser creating an instant gallery.

The day featured live music (from the London Mozart Players to Laura Marling), stand up comedy, craft stores and fabulous Burmese food. Plus some very moving speeches from some of the campaigners.

Over £40,000 so far has been raised from the fundraiser.

Here is a short film about the day on the PCO YouTube channel made by the Surreal McCoy.

Thanks to all who contributed, we hope to have a related exhibition later in the year.