New Yorker, New Yorker, it’s a wonderful ‘toon

November 27, 2021 in Comment, General

‘I can explain the meaning of life, but not the meaning of New Yorker cartoons.’

Cartoon © Nick Newman

Why do cartoonists struggle to break America?

by Nick Newman and courtesy of The Spectator. 

Cartoons are like gossamer and one doesn’t dissect gossamer.’ So says Mr Elinoff, the fictional cartoon editor of the New Yorkerin an episode of Seinfeld, when trying to explain a cartoon to Elaine. Elaine isn’t satisfied. Mr Elinoff suggests the cartoon is a commentary on contemporary mores, a slice of life or even a pun. ‘You have no idea what this means do you?’ says Elaine. ‘No,’ he concedes.

The scene sums up the problem of understanding the New Yorker’s sometimes oblique sense of humour — and may come as a relief to the many British cartoonists who have tried and failed to break into the Big Apple’s literary bastion. It’s reassuring to think that even Americans as funny as Seinfeld can be baffled by New Yorkerjokes. Yet still the mystique survives, and most British cartoonists have had a stab at getting into the magazine, lured by its great cartoon history (James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams) and the money: it pays more than ten times as much for a cartoon than UK magazines.

Former (real) cartoon editor Bob Mankoff said in a Ted Talk: ‘The New Yorker occupies a very different space. It’s a space that is playful in its own way, and also purposeful, and in that space, the cartoons are different… New Yorker humour is self-reflective.’ Elsewhere, he recalled that when he was finally rewarded with a contract in 1980, the contract referred not to cartoons but to ‘idea drawings’, what Mankoff calls the ‘sine qua non ofNew Yorkercartoons’: a drawing that requires both cartoonist and reader to think. Indeed, there is Sam Gross cartoon of a landscape with a large sign reading ‘STOP AND THINK’ and a man saying: ‘It sort of makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?’

So New Yorker gags are more philosophical than their British counterparts. Here, virtually anything goes — sick jokes, coarse jokes, badly drawn jokes, puns. The New Yorkerhas a metropolitan disdain for crudity and eschews wordplay. We reckon that if bawdy humour and puns were good enough for Shakespeare, they’re good enough for us.

New Yorker cartoons also tend to be more lifestyle-oriented, and inhabit a more whimsical world of middle-class social gatherings, boardrooms, domestic relationships and navel-gazing neuroses. Some recent ones look like architectural drawings, whereas British cartoons tend to inhabit a more traditional cartoon landscape: big noses, goofy expressions, surreal situations.

Humour is, of course, a serious business, and from the outset nobody took it more seriously than the New Yorker. Its legendary founding editor Harold Ross was obsessed with perfection and detail. Thurber recounted how Ross studied a cartoon of a Model T Ford on a dusty road and demanded ‘Better dust!’ He would also scan for hidden phallic symbols and sent a photographer to the UN building to check whether a drawing of its windows was accurate. Cartoons that fell below his standards would receive a ‘Get it out of here!’

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy/ New Yorker

Today, aspiring New Yorker cartoonists just have to endure months of silence once their ideas are submitted. Success is greeted with a restrained ‘Okay’ from cartoon editor Emma Allen. Two British cartoonists who have enjoyed such success — following on the heels of a few UK predecessors such as Ronald Searle, H.M. Bateman, and Heath Robinson — are Will McPhail and Carol Isaacs (who draws under the pseudonym The Surreal McCoy). Both are adamant that the work they submit for the New Yorker is essentially no different from that published in British magazines.

‘My approach is more or less the same for both sides of the pond,’ says Isaacs. ‘Maybe tweaking the grammar and spelling for the Americans. I love Seinfeldand the Marx Brothers as much as I love Spike Milligan and Fawlty Towers. As they say over there, go figure.’

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy/ New Yorker

McPhail thinks the recent trend towards more absurd and bizarre cartoons in the magazine have helped his cause. ‘Those are the cartoons that genuinely make me laugh, the ones where I don’t know why it’s funny. I’ve always seen a lot of the humour in British cartoons like maths equations. They’re perfectly balanced and everything that is set up at the start of the equation works out correctly by the end. But I like cartoons where you can’t see “the strings”, if that makes sense.’

Is familiarity with New York essential to inhabiting the New Yorker mindset? Isaacs thinks not. ‘After all,’ she says, ‘there are many New Yorker cartoonists who’ve never set foot in New York. Their sense of humour is perhaps more about the absurd than anything else — and that knows no borders.’

McPhail confesses that he used to make pilgrimages to the New Yorker offices just to submit in person to Bob Mankoff. ‘I of course pretended that I just happened to be in New York at the time. So I do think there’s a certain amount of them needing to know you’re serious about it before they publish you, like “Wow, he’s come all the way here to get rejected in person!”’

Each week thousands of submissions are boiled down to some 50 acceptances. The closest I’ve come to making the grade is when I saw a cartoon identical to one I once drew for Private Eye(of a drunk ventriloquist in the gutter whose dummy is vomiting) on the cover of a book entitled The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See, in the New Yorker.

This article first appeared in the 20 November 2021 issue of The Spectator

Dave Brown Busts Out

November 18, 2021 in General

Oliver Preston (Cartoon Museum Chair), Dave Brown and Steve Bell at the Cartoon Museum Gillray bust unveiling. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Dave Brown writes:

‘If Hogarth was the grandfather of the modern cartoon, You were its father…’

(David Low on James Gillray, 1943)

Gillray set the template for the modern political cartoon. His savage humour and supreme draughtsmanship making him the unrivalled visual satirist of the day. In The Plumb-Pudding in Danger he created arguably the greatest, and certainly the most pastiched, example of the form. For many contemporary political cartoonists he is a direct influence, but all cartoonists are indebted to him.

James Gillray ‘Plumb-Pudding in Danger’ 1805

Gillray stood out from his contemporaries due to his outstanding visual inventiveness, but also the sophistication and innovation of his print making technique. His prints were known and admired by Goya and David, both artists borrowing from them in compositions of their own. One German journalist claimed Gillray was ‘the foremost living artist in the whole of Europe’, while Napoleon allegedly remarked that Gillray had contributed more to his defeat than all the armies of Europe. Yet in the first anthology of his work, published three years after his death, the editor wrote, ‘It is a scandal upon all the cold-hearted scribblers in the land to allow such a genius as Gillray to go to the grave unnoticed’.

Self Portrait by James Gillray, c.1800 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Gillray’s antecedent in satirical print making, William Hogarth, is known to us from various self-portraits, a bust ‘from the life’, a statue on the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and a more recent life-size bronze in Chiswick High Road. William Blake, another visionary print maker and Gillray’s fellow student at the Royal Academy schools, commands both a small bas relief in St Paul’s and a large bronze bust by Epstein in Westminster Abbey. But of Gillray we have only one verified contemporary likeness, his self-portrait miniature, painted on ivory, measuring 3” x 2 1/2”. There are no statues, no blue plaque, his only memorial is the small gravestone in the churchyard of St James’s Piccadilly, which until its recent replacement was badly worn and cracked.

In the studio with the clay model. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

James Gillray is, in my opinion, not simply one of the greatest satirical cartoonist to have lived, but one of Britain’s greatest artists in any genre. His are the footsteps the rest of us walk in, the shoulders we stand on, the metaphors we still steal. He was, according to contemporary accounts a modest man, but even so a simple gravestone seems scarcely a sufficient memorial. It was for this reason I determined to create a new portrait bust of him.

My piece is closely modelled on his self-portrait. That portrait demonstrates that Gillray was a skilful and adept miniaturist, detailing the short fringe brushed forward to conceal a receding hairline, and the heavy brow and prominent lower lip noted in contemporary descriptions. So although the miniature also exhibits some stylistic traits common in neoclassical portraiture, we may assume that it is a reasonably true and honest likeness.

At the unveiling at the Cartoon Museum with the finished bronze. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

As well as following the likeness of the miniature, I also researched neoclassical portrait sculpture (particularly the work of Houdon, whose pieces often employed modern dress rather than pseudo-classical attire, and Nollekens, whose subjects included two of Gillray’s famous ‘victims’ Pitt and Fox), and have attempted to reference this, while still producing a contemporary artwork.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown for the Independent after Gillray’s ‘Plumb-Pudding in Danger’

Political satire is an essential correlative to a functioning democracy, so personally I should like to see a Gillray statue in Parliament Square (we could pull down a politician or two to make room for him!). From there he could cast a critical eye over the Lords and Commons, his etching needle poised to prick their pomposity. If someone would care to petition Parliament and raise the funds I’m certainly available to make it, but until then I offer this portrait bust…the father of political cartooning by one of its bastard offspring.

You can read a longer version of this piece in The Independent

 

Quarantoons: Cartoons From the New Normal

November 18, 2021 in General

 

PCO member James Mellor introduces his new book:

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the biggest changes to our society in my lifetime.  The changes have been extreme and have affected all aspects of how we live and work.  Importantly, the new way of living has also proved to be very funny, on occasion.  Has anyone ever experienced a seamless zoom meeting?

Cartoon published in Private Eye © James Mellor

Some of these changes to our lives may remain with us, but many will pass into memory.  Creating a compendium of my favourite cartoons documenting this time seemed like a valuable endeavour.  It’s also true that nothing better reflects my work for the past two years.  Covid-19 has dominated the news and therefore my cartoons.

I have cartooned the pandemic in a variety of different arenas.  My topical, satirical cartoons on appeared in Private Eye Magazine throughout the period.  I was also commissioned by various sectors to help them communicate with cartoons.  Amongst the projects were cartoons introducing new safety measures on public transport and a successful illustrated pitch to manufacture vaccines.  Most importantly however, were all the silly, surreal, and sometimes downright strange cartoons created to make people laugh and keep them entertained during a downright strange time.

Cartoon © James Mellor

Everyone has been through a traumatic event, whether they realise that yet or not.  Human beings are meant to be social animals (yes, even we cartoonists who work alone in studios, bunkers, and crypts).  Even for those who stayed well, the isolation and distancing will have taken its toll.  Without entertainment and light relief, I think a lot of us would have gone mad.  Humour keeps us going through adversity and the cartoons that have raised a smile and raised morale have certainly been the most important.

Cartoon © James Mellor

What’s great about compiling a new book is the opportunity to bring together cartoons from all the different areas I work in.  Hopefully there’s a nice mix of satirical and silly.  Perhaps we’re near the end of the Covid story, or perhaps this is only the end of the beginning.  Either way, this book marks the strange and unexpected ways the world has changed for us and the funny side of the new normal.  Not that the old normal was very normal either.

Cartoon © James Mellor

Quarantoons: Cartoons From A New Normal will be published in softback on 18 November, priced £14.99, and is available at Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwells, etc plus online.

 

Private Eye at 60 – First Cartoons

November 4, 2021 in General

Happy 60th birthday Private Eye! In celebration, cartoonists have been posting their first (or early) cartoons from the mag. Here’s a few of them culled from the twittersphere by PCO members starting with Clive Goddard who set the ball rolling:

© Clive Goddard

© The Surreal McCoy

© Wilbur Dawbarn

© Mike Stokoe

@ Sarah Boyce

© Steve Jones

© Guy Venables

© Royston Robertson

© Zoom Rockman

© Andrew Fraser

© Chris Williams

© Kerina Stevens

© Mark Winter

© Andrew Birch

© Glenn Marshall

© Pete Dredge

The above by Dredge wasn’t mined from social media but too good a first to leave out and from waaaaaaaay back in 1977, Issue 404.

Interesting to see how some of the styles have evolved (the only thing that’s changed with mine is the signature’s got elongated)

Has anyone got any more PE cartoon firsts they want to share with us?

There are some great videos celebrating Private Eye’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on the EyePlayer

See you back here for the 70th birthday by which time most cartoons will be produced by AI as VR holo-toons.

Galway Cartoon Festival report

October 22, 2021 in Events, General

 

Festival poster with drawing by Italian artist © Marinela Nardi

PCO member Dean Patterson (deAn) writes:

I have just about recovered from my trip to the 4th Annual Galway Cartoon Festival that took place from the 1st to 9th of October.

Dean filling some wall space (bonus points to Dean for sporting a PCO badge).

This years theme was ‘At Large’, which asked cartoonists to imagine what life will be like when we emerge from the cocoon of COVID. Also for the second year running they ran the Irish language exhibition, inviting cartoons in the medium of Irish. This exhibition is held on the island of Inis Oirr, the beautiful and smallest island of the Irish speaking Aran Islands. (The sea was calm, the ferry reasonably steady and breakfast thankfully kept down.)

This.has to be one of the most beautiful locations for a cartoon festival. Photo © Dean Patterson.

It is truely an international cartoon festival with cartoons from across the globe. The very talented French illustrator Fabrice Matray came over to do a workshop which gave us a chance to currupt him in a pub by getting him drunk and joining in with our game of turning local, and very talented, artist Margreat Nolan’s rude squiggles into family friendly gags.

photo © Dean Patterson.

There was also a celebration and display of the artist Augustus John complete with a walking tour by Jonathan Hanon to tell more about the man, and Tom Mathews introduced a wonderful exhibition of the very brilliant illustrator Brian O’Tool, whom he knew as a great friend.

We even managed to see some of this when they finally dragged us out of the pub for 20 minutes.

photo © Dean Patterson.

The company Blacknight Solutions very kindly sponsored a prize of 500 euros for the best of each exhibition. Graeme Keyes, who’s work we will all be familiar with, won the prize for the Irish language exhibition and who still hasn’t got round to joining the PCO like he always says he should, despite me nagging him about it.

A cartoon by © Dean Patterson that he has been to modest to mention in his copy, won the prize for ‘Galway Cartoons At Large’.

Anyway a good time was had by all, it really was a terrifically put together festival in times when that is no easy thing. Galway really is one of the greats of the festival calander and goes from strength to strength each year. After sharing a hotel room for 6 days with Tom Mathews I need a year to recover, but already looking forward to thier 5th!!

——————-

Great short trailer for the festival here

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