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A Plague Be Upon Us

April 6, 2021 in Events, General, News

 

Glenn Marshall writes:

Martin Rowson, the South London sonnetist who also does a bit of drawing, has just released his poetic lockdown diary ‘Plague Songs’ . Full of customary Rowson bile and twisted humour these ‘rhymes of our times’ address the accursed last year under the dark shadow of Covid.

Tomorrow night sees an online book launch event where Martin will be talking to the comedian and writer Robin Ince and reading from the book. I already have my warm Liebfraumilch and party nibbles ready for the occasion. Limited tickets available here.

Musician & playwright Jon Tregenna has also put Martin’s verses to music. CD available here.

Draw The Coronavirus – The eBook!

December 17, 2020 in Comment, Events, General, News

The ‘Great’ Glenn Marshall (WINNER of Draw The Coronavirus competition) writes:

Many cartoonists, illustrators, artists and fly-by-nights have been taking refuge from the cruel world by joining in Martin Rowson’s regular cartoon challenges. He sets a subject and we all vent spleen (most of us were in lock down and online twiddling our thumbs-up emojis anyway so it gave us something to fill time between Joe Wicks and hitting the cooking sherry)

Cartoon by © Steve Bell

At the end of April, the Museums Association and the BBC launched ‘Museums From Home Day’. Martin, in collaboration with The Cartoon Museum, set the challenge of #DrawTheCoronavirus. The Musuem has now launched a fabulous ebook of the entries, featuring around 200 cartoons by 71 different artistes including Ralph Steadman, Glenn Marshall, Steve Bell, Ben Jennings, Glenn Marshall, Nick Newman, Jeremy Banx, Glenn Marshall, Steve Bright, Zoom Rockman, Grizelda, oh and Glenn Marshall.

Cartoon by © Rob Murray

ALL proceeds from the book are going towards the Cartoon Museum’s fundraising appeal to secure their long-term future after a difficult year with the pandemic. The eBook will be available to buy for a modest £10 from their online store,

Cartoon by © Grizelda

Here are couple of quotes from the press release:

Joe Sullivan, Cartoon Museum Director:

“It has been fantastic to see the creativity and humour of these artists in the face of coronavirus, reflecting issues everyone has been struggling with through lockdown, and using it as fuel to make us laugh. It is a pleasure to work with them all and share their amazing, work with everyone in this e-book. All proceeds from sales of the e-book go directly to helping the museum to secure our future, and we are very thankful to all the artists involved for donating their work to the e-book. Thank you too all our supporters for helping us to survive through the pandemic, and we hope this book brings you as much fun reading it as we had making it!”

Martin Rowson:

“Faced with an invisible enemy, a question should be nagging away at the back of each of our minds: what’s this virusy bastard LOOK like? And, as it’s our job to reimagine our leaders the better to enable us to laugh at them, who’s more qualified to define Corona in all its Pandemic Covidness than cartoonists? Forget electron microscopes – here you’ll find the truest & most accurate depictions of our Common Foe!”

.….and another quote from Martin Rowson:

“Challenge won by the Great @marshallcartoon

Here’s Martin talking about ‘Draw The Coronavirus’ on BBC Radio 4 Today programme back in April:

 

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

Cartoon by © Nick Newman

For anyone wanting to join in with Mr Rowson’s caricature challenges they’re frequently set on his twitter feed @MartinRowson

Cartoon by © Zoom Rockman

By the way, did I mention who won it?

 

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival – The Exhibitions!

October 20, 2020 in Comment, Events, General

Exhibition poster cartoon by festival organiser © Roger Penwill.

Lovely to see a REAL cartoon exhibition on REAL walls! Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival may have been cancelled earlier in the year but the accompanying ’20-20 Vision’ show lives on at the wonderful Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury. It opened this week and features 70 cartoons by 43 cartoonists including Steve Bell, The Surreal McCoy, Pete Dredge, Jonathan Cusick, Tat Effby, Wilbur Dawbarn, Ralph Steadman, Royston Robertson, John Landers, Steve Best, Jeremy Banx, Kathryn Lamb, Sarah Boyce, Tim Harries, Glenn Marshall, Andy Davey, Clive Goddard & Zoom Rockman.

The Bear Steps Gallery, a fifteenth century restored building. Photo © Glenn Marshall.

There is also a bonus exhibition in the upstairs gallery of cartoons responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo of the team hanging the artwork last Sunday © Tony Clarkson.

The PCO blog featured some of the cartoons selected for the ‘Vision’ exhibition earlier in the year and you can see them here.

Another photo of the hang © Tony Clarkson.

Here is a selection from the ‘No One Saw It Coming’ coronavirus cartoons display.

Ralph Steadman did a HUGE painting. A video of him in action as he creates it is displayed next a much smaller print of the work.

Cartoon © Ralph Steadman.

Cartoon © Peter Schrank

Poignant cartoon by Peter Schrank about isolation, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable during lock down.

Cartoon © Steve Bell.

Unsurprisingly Boris featured heavily in the exhibition. This by The Guardian’s Steve Bell…

Cartoon © Andy Davey.

…and another from Andy Davey.

Cartoon © Chris Williams

…and yet another. This by ‘Dink’

Cartoon © Grizelda.

Over-indulgence cartoon from Grizelda…although some of us didn’t drink sensibly even before the pandemic.

Caricature © Jonathan Cusik.

Fine caricature of Chris ‘Now Go Wash Your Hands’ Whitty by Jonathan Cusick.

Cartoon © Pete Dredge.

Back to school with Dredge.

Cartoon © Ken Pyne.

Ken Pyne takes us on holiday….remember those?

Cartoon © Royston Robertston…and Phil.

Pirate material by Rrrrroyston Rrrrrobertson.

Cartoon © Henny Beaumont.

No exhibition on this theme would be complete without a wave to the super-spreader himself. Henny here channeling Hokasai.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy.

Finally as we head into the second wave this cartoon by the Surreal McCoy seems perfectly timed.

Through the exhibition run we’ll be publishing more of the ‘No One Saw it Coming’ exhibits across the vast PCO media empire so keep an eye on our Facebook (@UKProfessionalCartoonists), Twitter (@procartoonists) and Instagram (@procartoonists) feeds.

For more Covid ‘fun’ we published a selection of infectious laughter earlier in the year here.

The exhibition at Bear Steps runs until 31st October and the gallery is open 10.00am – 4.0pm daily. (Covid measures at the gallery: hand sanitiser at the door, 6 visitors at a time with an eye kept on flow, in one door out through another. Face coverings to be worn)

Puppet caricature © Jonathan Cusik.

Here’s a fine video of the cartoon-form Mayor of Shrewsbury Philip Gillam introducing the show.

Congrats to all those involved from Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival and Bear Steps Gallery for putting the shows together in tricky times. Fingers tentatively crossed that the festival can return in all its glory next Spring!

  • Thanks to festival committee member Sarah Knap for extra info in this post.

Oh We Did Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

July 31, 2020 in Events, General, News

In the ‘old normal’ this weekend would have seen cartoonists flocking like seagulls to the wonderful Herne Bay Cartoon Festival. With this year’s event c19ncelled here’s a trip down memory lane with the fabulous posters from previous years and links to the festival holiday snaps.

2013 Poster by © Hunt Emerson

The Herne Bay event started as a bolt-on to the Duchamp In Herne Bay centennial festival and featured much Marcel Duchamp toilet humour including cartoons exhibited in the latrines of local pubs.

2014 ‘Cartoonists Beside The Surrealside’ by © Ian Baker

The following year in 2014 the cartoon festival became a thing of its own, but still keeping it surreal.

2015 ‘Cartoonists Beside The Surrealside II’ by © Jeremy ‘Banx’ Banks

The art theme carried on in 2015 with cartoonists manning easels in the bandstand.

2016 by © Dave Brown

In 2016 once more we stuck our toes in the water and drew seaside postcards..

2017 ‘The End of the Pier Show’ by © Chris Burke

In 2017 the live drawing moved over from the bandstand to the pier.

2018 ‘Turning the Tide’ by © The Surreal McCoy

2018 had the seaside theme ‘Turning The Tide’ with an extra focus on female cartoonists in celebration of the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK.

2019 ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ by © Martha ‘Marf’ Richler

Last year’s 2019 spacey theme was the Apollo moon landings. Little did we know it would be the last time cartoonists landed on Herne Bay pier for some time.

Fingers crossed we’ll be heading back with our buckets and spades, cramming the beaches in 2021!

Not the 2020 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

April 24, 2020 in Events, General, News

Cancelled poster by © Roger Penwill

Glenn Marshall writes:

This weekend would have seen the main events of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival  but sadly, like so much else, it has had to be cancelled. One of the organisers, Roger Penwill, commented a few weeks ago when the postponement was announced “We felt that we had no choice as the nature of the event, encouraging many members of the public to come to an indoor space, ran contrary to the guidance on tackling virus spread. More importantly we did not want to put at risk the health of any member of the cartooning community or their families”

The theme was ‘twenty twenty vision’ so the organising committee should’ve been visionary and seen Covid 19 coming!

In the meantime, here for your edification and delight, is a selection of optical illusionary cartoons selected by Roger that would’ve been part of the the Bear Steps Gallery exhibition. All drawn from/by the PCO fraternity.

In alphabetical order:

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

Cartoon © Rupet Besley

Cartoon © Andy Davey

Cartoon © Ian Baker

Cartoon © Neil Dishington

Cartoon © Pete Dredge

Cartoon © Tat Effby

Cartoon © Clive Goddard

Cartoon © James Griffiths

Cartoon © Jonesy

Cartoon © Kathryn Lamb

Cartoon © Chris Madden

Cartoon © Roger Penwill

Cartoon © Glenn Marshall

Cartoon © Ken Pyne

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

Cartoon © Noel Ford

This final cartoon is by the great Noel Ford (who I should really rechristen Noel Zord to keep alphabetic consistency) Sadly Noel died last year. He had been very involved with the festival since its inception and part of this year’s events was to be a retrospective exhibition of his wonderful work.

Thanks to Roger and all the others who’d put a lot of effort into preparation for this year’s jamboree, including Sarah Knapp, Tim King, Tat Effby, Jonathan Cusick and Jill Wild. Hopefully the Shrewsbury cartoon spectacle will be able to be rescheduled in the near future.

On Saturday I’ll be off to do my self-isolated vision themed big board in the garden….

Offensive Weapon?

March 16, 2020 in Events, General

Glenn Marshall writes:

Procartoonists recently hosted a panel discussion labelled ‘OFFENSIVE WEAPON?’ at the North London Story Festival. The talk centred around the issue of cartoons causing offence and where to draw the line. I was joined by Carol Isaacs AKA The Surreal McCoy and The Guardian’s Martin Rowson.

I opened with a brief look at the history of cartoons causing offence, including this one by Richard Newton in 1798, of John Bull farting in the face of George III – oh how we love a fart gag! Newton had his first cartoon published when he was 13 and went on to be supported by the radical publisher William Holland, producing further attacks not only on the Royals and Napoleon but also the slave trade. His short but prolific career ended when he died of typhus aged just 21.

This cartoon by James Gillray of the then Duke of York could’ve been a recent cartoon about the current Duke of York – it’s regularly pastiched. It was deemed acceptable when drawn 1792, but when it was included in a collection of Gillray’s work in the more puritanical Victorian era – around the 1840s – the books were impounded by the police for being obscene. It was only deemed suitable for the public at large in 2009!

Martin mainly talked about his own experience with offence. The cartoon above from the Guardian was his response to the 2017 van attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque, a comment on how some of the print media can incite hate.

Paul Dacre’s Daily Mail went apoplectic with a front page banner raging ‘Fake news, the fascist left and the REAL purveyors of hate’ and went on to an outraged ‘comment’ page. Clearly Martin was doing something right!

Bernard Verlhac (Tignous), Georges Wolinski; Jean Cabut, (Cabu), Stephane Charbonnier (Charb) Jean Cabut (Cabu).

Martin also talked about the Charlie Hebdo attack, paying tribute to the 12 people murdered including the four cartoonists above.

Carol, who is the PCO’s committee member for overseas, discussed issues around the globe of cartoonists who have been persecuted and censored. This covered many of the people we have campaigned for, along with our friends from Cartoonists’ Rights Network International

This is one of many great drawings Carol showed by the Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat who has had a long history of being attacked and censored by the current regime for his work. He now operates out of Kuwait.

This topical cartoon by Niels Bo Bojesen from Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-posten published in January caused the Chinese embassy in Denmark to demand an apology.

Following our talk, we were fortunate that the next speaker cancelled, as we ran into a prolonged and lively Q&A.

Our travelling GAGGED exhibition on suppression and censorship of cartoonists sound the globe also had an outing over the festival.

Thanks  to the festival organiser from Middlesex University for inviting us along.

The Wolf of Baghdad released

February 27, 2020 in Events, General, News

I’ve just wolfed down in one sitting the wonderful, recently published ‘The Wolf of Baghdad’ by PCO’s Carol Isaacs, AKA The Surreal McCoy, published by Myriad Edition. It follows the story of Carol’s family roots and the everyday life of the Jewish community in Baghdad, where a quarter of the city’s population were Jewish up until the little-known vicious pogram of 1941. Within a decade nearly all 150,000 had been murdered or exiled.

All illustrations © The Surreal MCoy

The wolf in the title originates from the Baghdadi Jews belief that the wolf protects them from harmful demons.

I love the illustrations of the ghostly characters and buildings and the limited, muted colour palette that evolves to segment different parts of the story. The wonderful, clean line drawing reminded me of Marjane Satrapi’s ‘Persepolis’.
Although the novel is wordless it is punctuated by really insightful testimonies.

There is also a superb, evocative soundtrack which Carol performs on along with the band ‘3yin’ which is great to listen to while reading the book for the complete Surround-O-Vison experience!

Some quotes about the book:

The book has some great reviews including this from UK comic shop Page 45. This from The Jewish Cronicle and one from The Morning Star.

Carol and 3yin playing live with visuals from the motion comic at The Phoenix cinema in East Finchley last November.

The Surreal McCoy has recently been talking about the book at the  Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters in Kerala, India and has visited New York for a premier screening of the DVD at The New York Sephardic Film Festival 2020. There are also some shows coming up including Carol and 3yin playing live with moving visuals from the book at JW3 in London on 5th March. Recommended for a unique experience.

The book can be purchased direct from Myriad Edition

For updates on the project follow The Wolf of Baghdad blog.

Political Cartoon Awards 2019 – The Results

December 17, 2019 in Events, General, News

The winners! Peter Schrank standing in for Peter Brookes, Photo © Kasia Kowalska


Clive Goddard writes:

Another year of backslapping and mingling with strangers has been and gone at the glitzy Poltical Cartoon Awards. This time the whole event was forced to decamp from its usual palatial venue due to ‘the impending election’ causing everyone to cram into the offices of the sponsor over the road. The body heat generated by the assembled humans made the free, cold beer even more essential.

Veteran MPs, Kate Hoey and Ken Clarke had been dragged away from their respective sofas and selflessly agreed to miss Emmerdale in order to hand out the gongs, almost all of which went to the younger end of the cartooning spectrum. The winners, featuring a good showing from PCO members, were as follows:

Political Cartoon of the Year, 
Rebecca Hendin, The Guardian.

Runner up Politcal Cartoon of the Year, Ben Jennings, 
The Guardian.

Political Cartoonist of the Year
, Dave Brown, The Independent.

Runner-up
 Political Cartoonist of the Year, Peter Brookes, The Times.

Pocket Cartoon of the YearZoom Rockman, Private Eye.

Pocket Cartoonist of the Year
, Jeremy Banx, Financial Times.

Jeremy Banx says a few words, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Cartoon Glenn Marshall meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Lord Lucan

Zoom Rockman meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Rebecca Hendin meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Brian Adcock meets Ken Clarke Photo © Donna Payne


Send in the Clowns?

December 8, 2019 in Comment, Events

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

Rupert Besley writes:

[a personal viewpoint, not purporting in any way to represent the opinions of the PCO]

For the first time in my life I’m seriously wondering if humour might not be doing more harm than good. That’s a worrying thought and no conclusion I would ever wish to reach. I get to this point down the following route.

The expert analysis of recognised independent think-tanks all seems to agree that Brexit, hard or soft, will leave the country’s economy worse off than before and that those who will suffer most are those already hardest hit and at the bottom of the pile. And yet the parties pursuing this course (Conservative and Brexit) are those that have been riding high in the polls and especially so in the least well-off areas.

I can think of only one explanation for this and it comes in three parts.

Firstly, television has turned politics into a celebrity contest. The two-second conclusions of grassroots opinion foisted on us each day by television news are by their nature superficial and short. Vox pop verdicts may do people a disservice, but from them it seems that large numbers of voters are deciding not on policy or even party but just on the personality of each leader.

Next, no such Johnson-Corbyn dance-off begins on an even footing. The UK press, predominantly in right-wing hands, has seen to that. Boris Johnson, one of their own, is portrayed as loveable chump, accorded the status of national treasure and first-name recognition. The cameras love him, as he does them. For years the most widely read papers in this country have found space each day to vilify Corbyn (surname only), made out to be some kind of crazed communist blend of racist and terrorist. (The shame, perhaps, is that he himself does not do personal attacks on anyone.)

Finally, in any such competition, the guy-in-the-pub, say-it-straight, got-all-the-answers funster image of a Johnson or a Farage will come across to many (or any who don’t know them) as more appealing than the duller, dour, more complicated and apparently humourless mode of a Corbyn.  What else is there to explain the strong personal lead Johnson enjoys in the polls, regardless of his track record? Baffled by the complexities of the political situation and bored with its repetitiveness, people are looking instead for good cheer and light relief.

I accept that we live in an age when a political leader has to have ‘personality’ and be  good on television. They need that to carry the country with them. Things were different in the world I came into. Attlee was a modest man and self-effacing. Of him it was said, ‘An empty taxi drew up in Downing St and Clement Attlee stepped out.’  Stafford Cripps was not known for his laddishness. But, as Chancellor, he is credited with laying the foundations of Britain’s post-war economic prosperity. The Attlee government, which included the likes of Nye Bevan, Hugh Gaitskell and Herbert Morrison, created the NHS and greatly expanded the welfare state. Earnest, high-minded politicians, intent on tackling the ills of the world – but none of them great for a larf.

How might it have been, one wonders, if in those post-war decades the electorate had gone instead for the characters played by the most popular comics of the day? Ken Dodd for Chancellor, perhaps. Or Charlie Drake? Arthur Askey for PM or maybe Bernard Bresslaw. I only arsked.

Bringing Animals to Life cartoon workshop

October 30, 2019 in Events, General

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery have asked Jonathan Cusick to repeat the animal cartoon workshop he ran during this year’s cartoon festival, during the October half term.
‘Bringing Animals to Life’ is on Halloween, 31st October. It’s one of the activities they’ve ran to tie in with a major exhibition by local comic leg-end Charlie Adlard. (‘Drawn of the Dead’, on show at the museum until 3rd November). Fellow PCO’er Tat Effby ran a family zombie portrait workshop in August.
Jonathan shows various key principles for cartoon drawing, then visitors get to apply these directly in a drawing session working from various exhibits from the museum’s taxidermy archive. In April the selection included squirrels, ducks, owls, badgers, crows and an alligator. It’s fun and for artists of all abilities and ages; a perfect half term activity for the family.

Places are limited, the April workshop sold out.
Tickets are £8 and can be booked via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/shrewsburymuseum and include all-day entry to the museum.