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.

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Contemporary illustration exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery

December 4, 2017 in General

© Jonathan Cusick

“The Illustrators Today”

To complement their longstanding annual exhibition, ‘The Illustrators’, the Chris Beetles Gallery is showcasing the best in contemporary illustration and cartooning. Leading and much loved practitioners of picture book, literary and magazine illustration, and also of political and pocket cartoons and caricature are represented in this must see exhibition. Being unashamedly biased, we are particularly delighted to see the wonderful work of PCO member Jonathan Cusick featuring strongly, as always.

The exhibition runs until 6th January 2018 and all the artworks featured are available for purchase.

Click here to view the work on the Chris Beetles Gallery website.

© Peter Brookes

© Helen Oxenbury

© John Burningham

Saturday & Sunday opening

Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 December 2017
10am – 5.30pm

Prosecco (and Gin!) Private View

Tuesday 12 December 2017
6pm – 8pm

To be officially opened at 7pm by writer, illustrator and animator, Nick Butterworth

The exhibition will run until 6 January 2018

© Paul Cox

© Matt (Matthew Pritchett)

© Jonathan Cusick

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Bill Stott’s Christmas ad vent

November 27, 2017 in General

© Bill Stott

PCO Chair, Bill Stott, writes:

Less than a month to go to Christmas. Hmm. I have to admit that Christmas doesn’t have me jumping up and down with excitement. If you’ve only got a small family – I have – and what few there are are spread far and wide, all those cosy candlelit television ads showing a dozen or so folk attacking huge Christmas dinners are a bit annoying. “Scrooge!”, I hear you cry. Not really. I quite like buying presents. And I like some Christmas music. A good choir giving “Hark the Herald Angels” the beans certainly lifts the spirits and reminds me of childhood.
But at this time of year, television ads are relentless – from laptops to foot spas, hand-crafted crisps to incontinence knickers – they’re all at it, and so many of them are very shouty too. What the hell is a hand-crafted crisp ? I don’t think any of us actually like television ads. If they’re not banal, they’re shouty – with a few exceptions like Marks and Spencer or Waitrose. Yes, yes, I know that advertising revenue pays for programmes, but so many of the ads are badly made and deeply irritating.
And I’m fed up with Brexit. Just think, if 3% had voted the other way, we wouldn’t be taking this huge step into the unknown. Three percent ! I bet the Leavers are horrified at the mess we’re in.
Cartooning’s taken a very welcome – if temporary – upswing. It always does at this time of year, with companies and individuals needing Christmas card cartoons. But cartoon publishing generally is still very poor. Looking back over a long career in cartooning, I think my generation’s had the best of it.
Meanwhile, thanks to the excellent PCO Committee, PCO continues to make a difference. For example, on Nov 21st, I went to Westminster Reference Library in London for the Private View of a cartoon exhibition called “Gagged” – in support of cartoonists across the world who are persecuted by repressive governments. Getting a London exhibition at a decent venue is very difficult. But thanks again to the PCO Committee, we managed it.

© Bill Stott
London was a very long [17 hours] day so it was midnight when I finally got home to Maggie the Dog who isn’t very well. She has to take lots of pills for heart and breathing problems and is very clever at finding them buried in food – and spitting them out. But I persevere. Maggie’s elderly and on the last lap now. I can’t imagine life without her.
I heard bits of a debate recently about whether animals have feelings or not. What a stupid, ignorant question. Of course they have. And those who are cruel to animals should be shot, or at least taken round the corner and given a good seeing-to. Whilst I know we can’t do that, lifetime bans and longer spells in jail should be the order of the day for those who are cruel to animals – including fox hunters.
End of rant.
And so – back to Christmas card cartoons – and I’m running out of red.

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PCO “Gagged” exhibition workshop

November 27, 2017 in General

© Rich Johnston

The Surreal McCoy writes:
Last Saturday myself and Jeremy Banx led a cartoon workshop at Westminster Reference Library for an eager group of participants. As part of our “Gagged” exhibition (which closes Friday 1 December) the theme was censorship and repression of free speech. As you can see here a very high quality of work was produced. We hope to do more public workshops like this in the future.

© Ingi Jennsen


© Ala Atar

© Andrea Sweeney

© Stephen Harrington

The “Gagged” exhibition runs until 1st December, all proceeds going to CRNI (Cartoonists Rights Network International)

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PCO’s “Gagged” Cartoon Exhibition

November 26, 2017 in General

Photo © Mika Schick

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Last night saw the private view of our Gagged exhibition at Westminster Reference Library in central London. Thanks to the generosity and imagination of PCO members it was an excellent showing of very different takes on the themes of censorship and freedom of speech. Representatives of Index On Censorship and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) attended, and several sales were made with all profits and donations going to CRNI (Cartoonists Rights Network International) who do important work in defending political cartoonists under threat around the world.

The exhibition runs until Friday 1st December 2017.

There was a very successful free cartoon workshop hosted by Banx and The Surreal McCoy on Saturday 25th November. (More about that to follow in another article.)

Furthermore, a free talk with Andy Davey, Martin Rowson and Jodie Ginsberg from Index On Censorship, joined via video link by Zunar, the Malaysian cartoonist, and Robert Russell, director of CRNI will take place on Tuesday 28th (6-8pm).

Book for the free talk here through Eventbrite.

Unlike the cartoonists supported by CRNI who are featured as individual case studies in the exhibition, we hope it will be able to travel to other venues around the country next year.

Many thanks again to all those who contributed.

Artwork © Glenn Marshall (Photo © Banx Cartoons)

Photo © Banx Cartoons

Westminster Reference Library, 35 St. Martin’s Street, London, WC2H 7HP

Open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm, closed on Sundays.

More about the work of CRNI here.

Eaten Fish Tanks (Photo © Glenn Marshall)

Photo © The Surreal McCoy

2017 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning

November 6, 2017 in General


This year the winner of CRNI’s award is cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé who is currently in detention in Equatorial Guinea. His work has been very critical of the current regime and he was arrested during a visit back to his home country from Paraguay where he currently lives.

The award was made at the annual convention of AAEC (The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists) in New York. In Ramón’s absence the honour was accepted by his wife Eloisa Vaello Marco.

The presentation by CRNI’s Matt Wuerker to Ramón’s wife and daughter.

CRNI together with EJ Justice and other International organisations are launching a hashtag campaign for Ramón on 6th November. Cartoonists and artists around the world are invited to create artwork in support of Ramón and post it with  . Selected work will be shown on the EG Justice website where you can also find more details.

Submission by PCO’s  © Steve Jones

illustration © Ramón Esono Ebalé

Ramón works under the name Jamón y Queso (Ham & Cheese). Some of his work can be seen here.



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Political Cartoon of the Year Awards 2017

November 1, 2017 in General

© Will McPhail

Ellwood Atfield host the awards again, and they will take place at St. John’s Smith Square, Westminster on Thursday 23rd November.

The guest of honour will be George Osborne, once the victim of and now advocate for political cartooning. (In his new role as editor of The Evening Standard he re-introduced the political cartoon to its pages with the appointment of the brilliant Christian Adams. Yes, that’s right; George Osborne gave us something, as opposed to taking it away…)

Tim Benson, founder of the Political Cartoon Gallery, helped organise the awards again this year, and Heineken have been generous in their support of the event, so both deserve our appreciation.

© Lorna Miller

© Nicola Jennings

© Lou McKeever

We’re happy to see a healthy PCO presence too, with Andy Davey, Dave Brown, Will McPhail and the Steve’s Bright and Bell amongst the runners. Another heartening factor is the very strong female representation, as you can see from the superb artworks shown here by Kate Evans, Lorna Miller, Lou McKeever and Nicola Jennings.

© Kate Evans

© Andy Davey

You can vote for the political cartoon of your choice here on the Ellwood Atfield site.

Political Cartoon of the Year Awards 2017

St. John’s Smith Square


Thursday 23rd November

6.15pm onwards

More information available here

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Zoom Rockman goes live at the Apple Store, London

October 29, 2017 in General

© Zoom Rockman

Our newest (and youngest) member, the precociously talented Zoom Rockman, will be bringing the Regent Street store’s celebration of The Big Draw to a close on Tuesday 31st October, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Cartoonist Zoom will be sharing his passion for innovation in the world of comics and talk about publishing work as a young artist. He will also reveal his process from pencil sketches to finished artwork. Those attending will then be given the chance to create their own mini cartoon strip version of Zoom’s ‘Skanky Pigeon’ using iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Procreate.

© Zoom Rockman

Live Art: Comic Book Creative with Zoom Rockman

Apple Store

235 Regent Street

London, W1B 2EL

Tuesday 31st October, 6:30 – 8:00pm

You can find a link to directions on the Apple news site

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Speaking up for those who can’t be heard…

October 26, 2017 in General

© Banx Cartoons
PCO Chair Bill Stott writes:

Repressive governments the world over fear cartoonists. Cartoonists get straight to the point. Images remain in the public eye longer than do acres of type. Whilst we in the UK and Europe generally accept often excoriating depictions of our leaders, this is definitely not the case in the rest of the world. Here, politicians actually applaud critical and often insulting drawings of themselves, sometimes even assembling personal collections thereof. Not so elsewhere. In at least one verified instance, a foreign cartoonist was visited by government agents and had his hands broken. Doubtless there are others. Repressive governments, fearful of the truth, regularly imprison cartoonists.

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation [UK] works with other agencies – in this instance alongside Cartoonists’ Rights Network International and Index on Censorship – to try to bring the plight of persecuted cartoonists to the fore. This exhibition seeks to do that. Whilst it is not easy to highlight a repressive government’s treatment of any given cartoonist because that government will often react by threatening the cartoonist’s family and friends, any and all proceeds from this exhibition will go towards trying to alleviate the conditions many cartoonists the world over have to live with.’


© Pete Dredge

There will be a selling Private View (invitation only) on Tuesday 21st November from 6-8pm with all proceeds going to charity.

As well as the exhibition itself other events include:
A Workshop With Banx & TheSurreal McCoy

This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn from two consummate cartoonists and will take place on Saturday 25th (2-4pm)

A talk hosted political cartoonist Andy Davey with Jodie Ginsberg from Index on Censorship and Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson. They will also be joined via video link with malaysian cartoonist Zunar and Robert Russell, founder of cartoonists Rights Network International. All are experts in disparate fields whose common aim is to throw light on dark places.

This takes place on Tuesday 28th (6-8pm). Please book your free place for this on Eventbrite:

© Andy Davey

The exhibition runs from 21st November – 1st December 2017 at:

Westminster Reference Library

35 St Martin’s Street

London WC2H 7HP

Tel: 020 7641 6200 (press 2)


Opening hours:

Mon – Fri 10am to 8pm

Sat 10am to 5pm

Sun Closed