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The Inking Woman – 250 years of wit and insight

March 19, 2018 in General

© Myriad Editions

“It matters that we remember women’s history. Like so much art, women have taken a backseat. Now they are at the forefront and I am SO proud!”

Sandi Toksvig (Author, TV & Radio presenter and PCO patron)

This timely and welcome book celebrates the massive contribution women have made, and continue to make, to cartooning and comics culture. Many were and are – still! – criminally unsung because, for many years, cartooning has been seen as a male preserve. The Inking Woman rights many of these wrongs, pointing out that women have been drawing and publishing cartoons for longer than most realise.

© Sally Artz

In the early 1760s, Mary Darly illustrated, wrote and published the first book on caricature drawing published in England, A Book of Caricaturas. In the nineteenth century, Britain’s first comic character, a hugely popular “lazy schemer” called Ally Sloper, was developed by the actress and cartoonist Marie Duval (1847–1890). Cartoons were used by suffragettes to promote their cause and, during the Great War, artists such as Flora White and Agnes Richardson produced light-hearted propaganda comic postcards.

The 1920s saw a few women cartoonists appearing in newspapers on a more regular basis. Sadly, they felt it necessary to sign their work with their surname so most readers were unaware of the cartoonist’s gender. During this decade Mary Tourtel created Rupert Bear for the Daily Express. Another immensely popular and successful cartoon strip was born and, nearly a hundred years later, the character is still going strong.

© Kate Charlesworth

Myriad Editions’ website further explains the book’s timeline to the present day:

“From the 1960s, feminism inspired cartoonists to question the roles assigned to them and address subjects such as patriarchy, equal rights, sexuality and child rearing, previously unseen in cartoons. Over the last thirty years, women have come increasingly to the fore in comics, zines and particularly graphic novels.”

The publisher’s website concludes: “This wide-ranging curation of women’s comics work includes prints, caricatures, joke, editorial and strip cartoons, postcards, comics, zines, graphic novels and digital comics, covering all genres and topics. It addresses inclusion of art by women of underrepresented backgrounds.”

We obviously couldn’t let this pass without highlighting the contributions of PCO members Sally Artz, Kate Charlesworth and committee member The Surreal McCoy. There is an honorable mention for the PCO’s Kate Taylor too.

© The Surreal McCoy

Based on an exhibition of the same name, held at the Cartoon Museum in 2017, and published by Myriad Editions, The Inking Woman is editied by Nicola Streeten, co-founder of Laydeez Do Comics, and Cath Tate, founder of Cath Tate Cards.

It is, quite simply, a must buy for cartoon lovers.

Read more about The Inking Woman, £19.99, here on Myriad Editions’ website


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Equatorial Guinea: Artist Freed from Prison

March 7, 2018 in General

Ramón Esono Ebalé, cartoonist

Officer Admits Superiors Ordered Dubious Charges

(Nairobi, March 7, 2018) – An Equatorial Guinean court on March 7, 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his February 27 trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.

“It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place,” said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers-in-Prison Committee. “We urge the authorities to guarantee his safe return to his family, allow him to continue creating his hard-hitting cartoons, and ensure that Equatorial Guinea respects the right to freedom of expression.”
The global #FreeNseRamon coalition, consisting of hundreds of artists, activists, and organizations devoted to protecting artistic freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights, carried out a campaign to direct international attention to his situation.

“Ramon’s release from prison is a testament of the power of collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens, and NGOs,” said Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice, which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea. “But we must not forget that dozens of government opponents who are not as fortunate fill Equatorial Guinea’s jails; thus, the fight against human rights violations and impunity must continue.”
Esono Ebalé, who lives outside of his native Equatorial Guinea, was arrested on September 16, 2017, while visiting the country to request a new passport. Police interrogated him about drawings critical of the government, said two Spanish friends who were arrested and interrogated alongside him and were later released.
But a news report broadcast on a government-owned television channel a few days after the arrest claimed that police had found 1 million Central African francs in the car Esono Ebalé was driving. On December 7, he was formally accused of counterfeiting. The charge sheet alleged that a police officer, acting on a tip, had asked him to exchange large bills and received counterfeit notes in return.
“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramon’s release is an important victory against repression.”
At the trial on February 27 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, it became clear that the police officer who had made the accusations had no personal knowledge of Esono Ebalé’s involvement in the alleged crime, according to his lawyer and another person present at the trial. After offering details that conflicted with the official account, the officer admitted that he had acted on orders of his superiors, they said. The prosecution then withdrew the charges.
“We are delighted that Ramón was acquitted and is finally free,” said Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists. “The fact that the state’s main witness recanted, underscores the point that authorities manufactured the charges in the first place. Ramon should never have spent a single day behind bars and we trust that he will not be subjected to any further reprisal.”
The human rights groups are Amnesty International, Arterial Network, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Asociación Profesional de Ilustradores de Madrid, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Cartooning for Peace, Committee to Protect Journalists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason, Doughty Street Chambers, UK, EG Justice, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Freemuse, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, PEN America, PEN International, Reporters without Borders, Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

“Now that Ramon has been released, the authorities must launch a thorough and effective investigation into whether the charges against him were fabricated, and ensure that the criminal justice system is no longer misused to target and harass human rights defenders,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Equatorial Guinea.

For more information, please contact:
In Chapel Hill, for EG Justice, Tutu Alicante (Spanish, English, French): +1-615-479-0207 (mobile); or @TutuAlicante
In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Saadoun (English): +1-917-502-6694 (mobile); or Twitter: @sarah_saadoun
In Washington, DC, for Cartoonists Rights Network International, Robert Russell (English): +1-703-543-8727; or Twitter: @BroDirector

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Matthew Pritchett (Matt) celebrates 30 years as Telegraph cartoonist

March 3, 2018 in General

The Telegraph’s Matthew Pritchett

Many have lined up to pay tributes to the much loved cartoonist as he chalks up a remarkable thirty years in the job.

Sadly, Jeremy Corbyn was not one of them: his team politely declined, saying none of the Matt cartoons they had seen about Mr Corbyn were funny.

In a world where desperate, short sighted publishers seem to lay off cartoonists every day The Telegraph knows when it’s on to a good thing, recognising the pocket marvel’s work as possibly the main reason for buying the newspaper.

Both cartoons above © Matthew Pritchett (Matt)

The broadsheet may no longer be worthy of its epithet “newspaper of record” but one constant, over the last thirty years at least, has been the outstandingly consistent and gently humorous ribbing of the great and the not so good by its wonderful pocket cartoonist.

Chris Evans, Telegraph editor, said: “In an unpredictable world, our readers know that Matt’s cartoon can be relied on to lift their spirits and make them smile. All of us at The Telegraph are delighted to celebrate 30 incredible years of cartoons with him.”

Reflecting on the last 30 years, Matt Pritchett said: “Time flies when you’re panicking about tomorrow’s cartoon.”

You can read the tributes and see Matt at work on The Telegraph site here

With thanks to Pete Dredge for drawing this to the Blog’s attention.


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Loss of a good friend to cartooning…

March 3, 2018 in General

…and to football, politics, theatre, health and much else besides. Ernest Hecht, whose Guardian obituary can be reached by the link below, has died at 88.

Rupert Besley writes:

In 1951 EH founded The Souvenir Press and remained its managing director and driving force for the next 65 years and more. As an independent publisher with an eye for mischief and a competitive streak, EH relished the thrill of chasing down those he admired across an extraordinarily wide field of interest. He was literary agent to Pelé and then to the whole Brazilian football team. And he was first to get the Beatles in print. Che Guevara was one of his authors, along with Civil Rights campaigners and five Nobel Prize Laureates – and none of that stopped him publishing ‘Le Petomane’ (star farter at the Moulin Rouge) or ‘an absorbing history of toilet paper’. Matt Busby, Albert Einstein, Ken Dodd, The Dalai Lama…the word ‘eclectic’ might have been invented for Ernest Hecht.

Football was an abiding love. He got to nine of the last eleven World Cup championships – and wore his Arsenal scarf and cap to the Palace when he went to collect the OBE presented to the ever-generous Hecht for a lifetime of charitable giving and philanthropy.

Publishing (and culture) in postwar Britain was transformed by a group of remarkable individuals, all of whom had arrived in this country in flight from Nazi persecution of Jews: George Weidenfeld, André Deutsch, Paul Hamlyn… Ernest Hecht was the last of that group. He reached Britain, unaccompanied, on the Kindertransport in 1939. It was the end of a long and difficult journey that began with him and his mother travelling to Prague by rail from their home in Czechoslovakia. (His parents later made it to the UK.) The only other occupant of the compartment was a Gestapo officer. The young Ernest, never good on trains, was promptly sick over the officer’s uniform. By good fortune for Mrs Hecht, petrified in that moment, the officer was himself a parent with some understanding.

A witty man, Ernest Hecht had a real enjoyment of humour and this was reflected in his publication list containing cartoon books by the likes of Hoffnung and Calman. From John Donegan he got three cartoon books, deliciously titled ‘Dog Almighty’, ‘Dog Help Us’ and ‘For Dog’s Sake!’ But the star name was Ronald Searle, five of whose books he published over 30 years. For these alone, cartoon-lovers everywhere will always have good reason for thanks to Ernest Hecht.

You can read The Guardian’s obituary here



The PCO has a new Chairleg

February 26, 2018 in General, News

After a very successful tenure as PCO Chairleg the venerable Bill Stott has decided to step down to spend more time with Joan Baez and his Jaguar XK8 – happily Bill will remain on the committee. Step forward Clive Goddard, who will be fitting into Bill’s Chairleg trousers. Clive needs no introduction but here’s one anyway penned by great man himself:

I was born in Berkshire at the very beginning of the swinging sixties. Unfortunately I managed to miss all the swinging by being at school and, of course, by being in Berkshire. 

As soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon I decided I wanted to be a gag cartoonist. Personally, I blame the late, great Roland Fiddy whose cartoons I grew up with in the otherwise tedious ‘Look & Learn’ magazine. Blessed with generous parents, I was hurriedly furnished with a copy of ‘How to be a Cartoonist’ by Walter T Foster which I studied thoroughly despite it being about 40 years out of date.


Published in Private Eye © Clive Goddard

At 19 I was hired by the Newbury newspaper to produce a strip which could be about any local issue so long as it wasn’t contentious, offensive or funny. A mere thirty years later I finally sold a cartoon to my first national publication, Private Eye. It was a joke about BSE; a dreadful livestock disease but an excellent source of humour and a major breakthrough in my fortunes. 

© Clive Goddard

Since then I have drawn for the likes of Private Eye, New Statesman and Prospect as well as for the likes of Playboy, Zoo and the Sun on Sunday, so I’m evidently not fussy. I have been commissioned by the BBC, OUP, Paperlink, the Metropolitan Police, the RNLI, The NHS, Mars Confectionary and just about everyone inbetween. I’ve also illustrated a huge bunch of ‘Horrible’ books for Scholastic Children’s books and written three comedy adventure novels for kids.


© Clive Goddard

Happily married with approximately four children, numerous cats and a drawer full of Sharpies, some of which still work. 

Jane Mattimoe’s UK Case for Pencils (3): The Surreal McCoy

February 21, 2018 in General

© The Surreal McCoy

Jane Mattimoe of A Case for Pencils latest delive into UK cartoonology. In this instalment Jane turns to:

The Surreal McCoy

Bio: As seen in The New Yorker, Sunday Times, Spectator, Fortean Times and other unlikely places. Also heard making scratching noises on paper for a daily radio show in London as their cartoonist in residence.

Tools of choice: Usually Micron pens or similar (the really fine ones are great for cross-hatching and eye strain) but I am drawing a graphic memoir in digital format for the first time using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop. A friend recently gave me an old box of Gillett 303 nibs to try out with some wonderfully deep black Noodlers ink. It’s great fun but very messy. Will I ever master the art of drawing circles with a dip pen?


© The Surreal McCoy

Tool I wish existed: A dip pen that can draw me a nice circle.

Tricks: command > Z, command > Z, command > Z…

Misc: Currently drawing a graphic memoir The Wolf of Baghdad based on my family’s memories of their lost Iraqi homeland.


© The Surreal McCoy

New Yorker cartoons here.

A short graphic story in the latest Strumpet anthology.

Website, etc:





© The Surreal McCoy

If you enjoy this blog, consider donating to A Case For Pencils at the Patreon! And if you would like more art supplies in your life, you can follow Case on Twitter and Instagram!

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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.