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by Jonesy

RIP the extraordinary Fred Jefferies

February 19, 2018 in General

Fred Jefferies

Andrew Birch writes:

This is to announce the sad news of the death of PCO member Fred Jefferies, at the grand old age of 89.
Fred was born in Paddington and attended St Martin’s Art College, becoming a freelance cartoonist shortly afterwards. He recently published two books of fun and lively cartoons, Love Bites (2015) and Love is…Small Talk (2016), despite being registered blind in 2001. An extraordinary and inspirational achievement.

Our sympathy goes out to Fred’s family and friends.

© Fred Jefferies Estate

© Fred Jefferies Estate

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Enter the cartoon world of Ed McLachlan at Chris Beetles Gallery

February 12, 2018 in General

© Ed McLachlan

Chris Beetles Gallery presents On the Edge: The Cartoon World of Ed McLachlan

As you can see from the three cartoons presented here, Ed McLachlan can wring laughter from the darkest and bloodiest of scenarios, and the originality of his life enhancing humour is amply matched by the breathtaking brilliance of the craftsmanship he employs to deliver it.

Born in Leicester in 1940, Ed McLachlan studied at Leicester College of Art and began to contribute regularly to Punch from 1961, and to Private Eye from 1967. His cartoons – both political and gag based – have appeared in countless other publications besides, including the Sunday Mirror, Evening Standard, Daily Mirror, Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, The Oldie, The Spectator, New Statesman and Playboy. Also working as an illustrator, he has produced the ‘Simon’ series of children’s books, later animated for television.

© Ed McLachlan

Maintaining this level of inventive excellence over such a lengthy career span requires considerable talent and perseverance, qualities which McLachlan has in abundance. He is rightly, and widely, regarded as one of our greatest living cartoonists, receiving numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cartoon Art Trust in 2011.

A selling exhibition of over 200 cartoons by one of Britain’s finest cartoonists will be preceded by a Champagne Private View, in the presence of the great man himself, on Tuesday 27th February between 6 and 8pm and officially opened by the chair of the Cartoon Museum, Oliver Preston.

Viewing Monday to Saturday from 10am – 5.30pm, the exhibition will run until 31st March 2018.

The exhibition can be viewed here on the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

© Ed McLachlan

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Political cartoonists – where would we be without them?

January 10, 2018 in General

© Martin Rowson


Rupert Besley writes:

It’s now a year since power-sharing fell apart in Northern Ireland and the province was left without government. An enviable state, a cynic might say, to be spared interventions from above and the awful consequences of bad decision-making. Maybe anarchy is the best form of government…

No, of course it’s not. Not if you’re stuck on a hospital trolley or left hours waiting for an ambulance. Not if you’re jobless and homeless. Minimal government is what the well-off always want. They have no need of taxes, regulation or provisions for the needy. They’re ok, thank you.

It’s the hard-up and harried who suffer most when government stalls. Paralysis above is not the way to general improvement. Without top decisions and strategic planning, no progress can be made on things like healthcare reform, education and employment provision, all much wished for in N Ireland.

© Dave Brown

This side of the Irish Sea things aren’t much better and we do have a government, of sorts. Wherever you look – two years of rail strikes, East Line fiasco, Grenfell and aftermath, hospital crises, climate change – there is a sense of inertia above and problems allowed to fester.

Some of the blame must lie with the predominance of Brexit, some with political ideology that wishes to see a rolling back of the State and to wash its hands of difficult issues. But this is not the place for party-politicking. The responsibility goes beyond one party. Where is the Opposition in all this? Why no thunderous voices? Who will speak up for those who can’t?

Two hundred years or so ago this country had in the likes of Gillray and his colleagues some of the finest cartoonists ever. Their clarity of vision, artistic genius and corruscating wit was just what the country needed. Happily, we have the same today – cartoonists of outstanding skill, with fire in their bellies and things to say.

So, rage on, Martin Rowson. More power to your elbows, Messrs Bell, Brookes, Brown (brilliant, all of them) and all the rest, too many to name. At least there’s somebody bothered.

Rupert Besley.

PCO Cartoon Review of 2017

January 1, 2018 in Comment, General, News


Everyone else is doing it so we thought we’d have our own look back at the year…with cartoons by PCO members. The Big Issue drawing above by Andrew Birch manages to fit the whole year into just one cartoon!

© Ralph Steadman

We started the year with Trump’s bigly attended inauguration. Trump was undoubtedly (Mad) Man of the Year although he was closely followed by Kim Jong-Range Missile. This flattering portrait of Trump is by the inimitable Ralph Steadman.

© Steve Bell

At the beginning of the year Theresa May visited Washington to hold hands with The Donald. This cartoon from Steve Bell on the ‘special relationship’. You can see more of Steve Bell’s favourite cartoons of the year on the Guardian website.

© Wilbur Dawbarn

June saw Mrs M making another bad decision in calling a snap election. Who’d of thunk this would turn Jeremy Corbyn into a headline act at Glastonbury! This on the election race by Private Eye regular Wilbur Dawbarn.

© Andy Davey

The election didn’t go too well for Theresa. Here’s Andy Davey on the costly deal she was forced to do with the DUP (from The Indy). Unsurprisingly the figures weren’t heralded on the side of a bus.

© Jeremy Banx

Russian cyber interference in overseas elections has been a big story in 2017. This cartoon by FT cartoonist Banx. (although this could easily be a drawing of The Daily Mail newsroom)

© Martin Rowson

In June we had the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. This is Martin Rowson’s response in The Guardian on the Government hiding from responsibilities.

© Zoom Rockman

…another illustration on Grenville Tower by prodigious talent Zoom Rockman taken from Private Eye. ‘Things That Wouldn’t Happen’. Would the House of Parliament use cheap cladding for the renovation work?

© Ros Asquith

The NHS is still desperately underfunded. This was a very funny cartoon by Ros Asquith after doctors warned in July about Government plans for ‘brutal’ NHS cuts.

© Dave Brown

October started with the awful mass shooting in Las Vegas – one of many atrocities in 2017. This was Dave Brown’s reaction in the Independent.

© Sarah Boyce

In a year where it seems every male in a position of power is a sexual predator an excellent cartoon from Sarah Boyce in Private Eye

© Will McPhail

Workplace equality has also been an issue throughout the year. This perfectly summed up in a Private Eye cartoon by New Yorker regular Will McPhail.

© Steve Bright

We couldn’t review the whole year without mentioning B****t. Here’s a fine summing up of how negotiations are going by Brighty in The Sun.

© Royston Robertson

…we have though restricted ourselves to just two on the ‘B’ word. This corker by Royston published in Private Eye.

© Matthew Buck

Ok, that was an ‘alternative truth’ we now have three ‘B’ word cartoons, this from Matthew Buck for Tribune.

© Guy Venables

…and on the same subject word(s) of the year was ‘Fake News’. This take on it from Guy Venables in the Private Eye 2017 Annual.

© Steve Jones

Trump has recently been denying global warming again because the East Coast has had a bit of a heavy cold spell. Here’s a strip on Trump’s view on climate change by Jonesy (from Resurgence & Ecologist magazine)

© Mike Turner

Finally, on a rather apocalyptic note to end the year, this is from Mike Turner in The Spectator.

Happy New Year from the PCO…although I suspect 2018 will be another year of global calamity and abject misery – at least we’ll have plenty to draw cartoons about. 

Eaten Fish Thanks

December 22, 2017 in General, News

As many will have seen, young Iranian cartoonist Ali Doarani’s (AKA Eaten Fish) ordeal in Papua New Guinea is now over.

He has been moved to a safe country aided by ICORN (The International Cities of Refuge Network) who promote freedom of expression and offer sanctuary around the world to writers and artists under threat.

Ali had been in detention on Manus Island since 2013 living in harsh conditions, which badly affected his health. His cartoon record of his time on the island was widely shared and published. In 2016 CRNI handed Ali the ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’.

PCO and CRNI protest outside the Australian Embassy in London

The PCO has been pleased to help in a small way by launching the #AddAFish digital campaign. We’d like to thank our members and cartoonists from all corners of the world who contributed to the huge digital shoal of fish we created with their drawings.

The poster for the Herne Bay exhibition

Particular thanks to Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival who allowed us to display the banner, and Herne Bay Cartoon Festival who put on an exhibition and workshop in support of the appeal.

The Eaten Fish Tanks

Thanks also to Westminster Reference Library in Central London who displayed an ‘Eaten Fish tank’ as part of the recent ‘Gagged’ Exhibition.

We were honoured to be involved with other organisations and campaigners around the world who also fought for Ali’s cause.

Very good news indeed and we wish Ali well!

However, we do not forget the refugees who remain in Papua New Guinea living in such a perilous environment as well as all the cartoonists around the world who are being persecuted for their work.

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Season’s Greetings

December 21, 2017 in General

@ Banx Cartoons

The PCO committee extend their best wishes to all our members and, indeed, cartoonists and cartoon lovers everywhere.

In a year when many of our fellow cartoonists have been subjected to appalling mistreatment by oppressive regimes, it is pleasing to end 2017 on a high with the wonderful news of Ali (Eaten Fish) being released from the horrors of Manus Island. PCO members should take great pride in the part they played in helping draw the world’s attention to his plight.

Here’s hoping for more good news in the year to come.

Finally, you may notice that one committee member’s festive cartoon is missing from the line up. The Surreal McCoy conveys her felicitations from afar as she is currently returning to the UK following a trek through the Jordanian Desert. (Indicative of the lengths cartoonists have to go to for work these days…)

See you all in 2018!

@ Andrew Birch

@ Bill Stott

@ Glenn Marshall

@ Rupert Besley

@ Jonesy Cartoons

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Clive Goddard on the wonders of DACS

December 19, 2017 in General

The PCO’s very own Clive Goddard, ace cartoonist and spinner of entertaining yarns, takes time to point out the benefits of the artists’ rights management organisation in this interview with DACS.

Clive reveals the name of the artist that led to his obsession with cartoons and, eventually, a successful career as a cartoonist. He also mentions which of his own work pleases him most, offers helpful advice and, last but not least, uses the platform to bang the drum for cartooning in general.

© Clive Goddard

© Clive Goddard

All in all, well worth a few minutes of your time.

You can see more of Clive’s work in his PCO Portfolio here.


Gagged Ungagged Talk

December 18, 2017 in General

Andy Davey writes:

I was honoured to be asked by those nice people at Procartoonists to “host” an evening of interviews and talks to accompany the “Gagged” exhibition of cartoons at Westminster Reference Library on the subject of the oppression, censorship and gagging of political cartoonists around the world. My experience of hosting is limited to the point of zero, so I therefore accepted with trepidation but nevertheless with complete admiration for the cartoonists who have suffered for their art and reportage. As it turned out on the evening, my admiration was justified and afterwards I felt very humbled by the experience.

Martin Rowson shows a blank slide of a cartoon censored by The Independent

The quality of the speakers was excellent. First up was the Guardian’s own superbly scatalogical Martin Rowson, giving us a short history of poo in print and advice on how to successfully offend just about anybody in power.

Cartoon by © Zunar

The evening then turned somewhat digital via Skype interviews and screenings of films of various cartoonists who fight their political systems despite hardship. A poignant dramatic intervention occurred here – we had booked the heroic Malaysian cartoonist Zunar to speak to us via video link but we could not establish connection. It was later revealed that his no-show was due to his arrest and confiscation of his phone and computer. He faces 43 years in jail because of his criticisms of the Malaysian PM but continues to draw because he feels that it is his duty to do so. Against this, it’s impossible not to feel absolutely humbled. The world needs obstinate, moral, courageous people like Zunar.

Cartoon by © Khalid Albaih

Our second cartoonist interviewee was no less impressive. Khalid Albaih, a cartoonist from Sudan (via Romania and the US) who now resides in Denmark in order to freely publish his political cartoons in a democratic environment. His cartoons (usually wordless) were used widely in Arab Spring demonstrations but he would not be able to publish such “seditious” work in those countries. Khalid was very eloquent and passionate about his need to draw political cartoons but has chosen not to associate himself with any media outlet for fear of being censored or corrupted. Consequently, he has a day job and draws at night.

Cartoonist Andy Davey with Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

This was followed by a rearguard action from the estimable Jodie Ginsberg from Index on Censorship, showing the visceral power of angry political cartoons from around the world and how they have been suppressed, sometimes brutally.

Video call with Robert Russell. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Lastly we were privileged to speak to Robert Russell, the founder of Cartoonists Rights Network International – a man who has probably done more than any to help and support dozens of imprisoned, harassed and endangered cartoonists around the world.

All of this must remind us of how lucky we are in western democracies. But it is useful to remember that, even in the UK, the conditions that allow satire to flourish are not fully met. Censorship exists in practical terms because of the severe bias of the traditional media.

The future of cartoons may well be that modelled by Khalid Albaih – radical, delivered via independent social platforms…but unpaid. And the message that emerged from the evening was that cartoons most certainly have a future. Each contributor underlined the importance of political cartoons, particularly in societies with a democratic deficit.

A film of the event will be available to view online in the new year.

Get Colouring

December 7, 2017 in General

Jonathan Cusick writes:

Support the festival this Christmas by giving the cartoon fans in your life a copy of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Colouring Book!

More than 40 black line cartoons from top cartoonists for your shading enjoyment. Relax, be inspired or just have a giggle. Fun for all ages.

Sold to raise funds for the 2018 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

Importantly, last order date for Christmas delivery is the 14th December.

The book can be ordered from the following link; … 6591.html#

The Rupert Besley and Andrew Birch spread

Full list of those in the book; Steve Best, Neil Bennett, Rupert Besley, Andrew Birch, Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Andy Davey, Wilbur Dawbarn, Neil DIshington, Pete Dredge, Robert Duncan, Tim Harries, Chris Madden, Roger Penwill, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, John Roberts, William Rudling, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy.


The Wolf of Baghdad

December 5, 2017 in General

The Finns have a word – kaukokaipuu, which means a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never been to. With funding from Arts Coucil England PCO member The Surreal McCoy is embarking on an audio-visual project called The Wolf of Baghdad. It will tell the story of her family’s lost homeland, a place that she has longed to go to but only has only ever travelled to via their memories.

Originally from Iraq, they fled their country after more than two millennia of continuity and were scattered around the globe. Unable to visit because of regional unrest this project is her way of experiencing life in Baghdad through their collective testimonies and her imagination.

© The Surreal McCoy

 The story will be told as a wordless graphic memoir shown on a screen above a live ensemble of musicians playing Arabic music of the time. Laydeez Do Comics, the monthly graphic novel forum, will be hosting a special night of excerpts from the work in progress with live music on Monday December 11th in central London.

 Ticket details here.

 Read the Wolf Of Baghdad blog here.