An American cartoonist in Shrewsbury

The author pictured before starting work on her big board…
…and standing behind the finished artwork
Maria Scrivan writes:
I am thrilled and honored to have been part of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival this year. 
It was an incredible group of artists from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Australia and the US. The exhibition, spread across three galleries in the town, was filled with top cartoonists from around the globe. 
We kicked off Friday afternoon with a luncheon at the Golden Cross, a restaurant so charming that I must have stopped to photograph it three different times. 
The medieval town of Shrewsbury, lined with storybook tudors, felt like you were walking through a fairy tale. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see a knight jousting a dragon to save a princess.
Jeremy Banx and his big board
The Saturday festival in the town square was amazing. There were caricature artists drawing the crowds and a bunch of us drawing “big boards” while a band played in the background. 
Drawing a “big board,” a 6 x 9 foot cartoon, was a new challenge. The event organizers provided us with red, yellow, blue and white acrylic paint to create all the colors we would need. Some cartoonists worked solely in black and white. 
I started with some loose pencil guidelines for proportion and ended up initially drawing the characters too small for the size of the canvas. One passerby remarked that she was surprised to see that I erased. I told her she should come by my studio and see the minefield of crumpled paper when I’m working.
Wilbur Dawbarn, Chris Ryder and the author in The Shropshire Star’s report
Royston Robertson and his big board
The town square brought out thousands of spectators of all ages, including the Mayor. It was so wonderful to chat with everyone and hear their stories. 
That evening, we had dinner in the Lion Hotel, that had once hosted Darwin and Charles Dickens. We ate in the same ballroom where Paganini once played, followed by a late night ukulele sing along. The Belgian cartoonists graciously brought Belgian chocolate (which makes me want to move to Brussels) and a few of us made the cover of the Shophire Star with a perfectly puntastic headline.
Caricaturists at work in The Square (l to r) Jonathan Cusick, Pete Dredge and John Roberts
I am so grateful for the new experiences and friends and to be part of such a lovely event. The volunteers were wonderful as was the town and the energy of the artists and spectators.
Maria Scrivan
Syndicated Cartoonist and Creator of Half Full
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