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‘Women In History’ Cartoon Exhibition

February 22, 2019 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoon by © The Surreal MCoy

The PCO is putting on an exhibition in collaboration with Idea Store at Canary Wharf to tie in with Women’s History Month. ‘Women In History’ is an exhibition of cartoons and caricatures based loosely around the theme and also looking more widely at issues affecting women.

Our patron Sandi Toksvig writes:

“Cave paintings were really the first cartoons. The latest analysis of them suggest they were done by women. Perfect! Let’s celebrate Women’s History month with cartoons done by female artists following in the footsteps of the very first art.”

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

The show has been curated by PCO committee members The Surreal McCoy and Sarah Boyce (office admin by Glenda Marshall).

Sarah writes:

“We are delighted that Idea Store has given us this space to showcase the work of women cartoonists. It’s been a tough job narrowing down the long list to those that will be on display. We wanted to get a broad range of voices and styles in the exhibition and make sure as many women cartoonists as possible got a chance to participate. Hopefully visitors will enjoy the talent, diversity and humour on display.”

‘Victoria Victorious’ by © Cathy Simpson

Women’s History Month started in schools in California in 1978 to enhance understanding of all women’s contributions to history and society. It centres around International Women’s Day, originally celebrated in 1911 and now a fixture on 8th March. Women’s History Month is now an annual declared month in the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.

Illustration by © Kate Charlesworth

The show has contributions from 20 cartoonists including international submissions from Egypt, Greece and New Zealand.

Isadora Duncan by Athens based cartoonist © Maria Tzaboura 

Those taking part are:

Afraa Alyousef, Sally Artz, Ros Asquith, Sarah Boyce, Kate Charlesworth, Maddie Dai, Tat Effby, Jacky Fleming, Grizelda, Rebecca Hendin, KJ Lamb, Rasha Mahdi, Lorna Miller, Lou McKeever, Danny Noble, Chichi Parish, Martha Richler, Cathy Simpson, The Surreal McCoy and Maria Tzaboura.

Malala Yousafzai with her father by © Rebecca Hendin

The exhibition runs throughout March at:

Idea Store Canary Wharf, Churchill Place, London, E14 5RB.

We’ll be showing many more of the cartoons and drawings from the show on our social media platforms over the next few weeks.

All artwork on display will be available for purchase with 10% of the sales going to Solace Women’s Aid

Cartoon by © Maddie Dai

We’re hoping to put on more exhibitions and events in partnership with Idea Store later in the year.

Tomi Ungerer – ‘Expect the unexpected’

February 13, 2019 in Comment, General, News

Glenn Marshall writes:

I’m easily influenced by all sorts of things around me, as Tomi Ungerer said ‘I’ve always been a sponge, just absorbing whatever I see, whether it’s in daily life or in art’, and Ungerer, who sadly died last week, was particularly inspiring and influencial to me. I love his varied, playful and boundary-pushing work. He was often subversive and outspoken, and he saw himself very much as a satirist. This is a great quote taken from the Tomi Ungerer official website:

‘Satire is the outlet for my revulsion towards a society turned into a pigsty by materialism, consumerism, greed and arrogance. I have particularly aimed my pen at the bourgeoisie and its hypocrisy. I am a satirist to this day though more so in the medium of writing, collage and sculpture. I have been reproached for being obscene in my depictions, but what can I do, society is obscene and my drawings reflect this. And without mercy!’

I also love how he could turn his hand to many disciplines, including painting, collage, print-making, cartoons, graphic design and sculpture, often with a skewed and rebellious humour.

Cover and internal illustration ‘The Party’ 1966 © Tomi Ungerer

Over the years he produced over 140 books. The Tomi Ungerer Museum which opened in 2007 in Strasbourg, his town of birth, has around 11,000 pieces of his work (I’m not even up to treble figures yet!)

‘Business’ brush painting © Tomi Ungerer

I particularly liked the brisk drawings he did with huge paintbrushes and with very limited strokes; you can see him in action in the fantastic 2007 biographical documentary ‘Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story’. The title is lifted from his 1983 illustrated book about his years in Canada. Many of his drawings are wonderfully animated into life in the film too. It’s well worth seeking out. Trailer here

POTTED BIO:

He was born in 1931 in Strasbourg, growing up under the German occupation of Alsace during World War II which greatly affected him. In a very recent interview with The Comics Journal he is quoted as saying: “I was brought up and educated with hate, hatred of the neighbours, hatred of the Germans, hatred of the Catholics. It was nothing but hate, hate, hate.”

Cover for one of his most popular early children’s books ‘TheThree Robbers’ 1961, © Tomi Ungerer

After traveling around Europe he moved to New York with just $60 in his pocket and a case crammed with artwork and manuscripts. He’d always been inspired by Saul Steinberg and other artists in The New Yorker so it seemed natural for hm to move there. He soon picked up illustration and advertising work for publications including the New York Times, Life magazine, The Village Voice and Harper’s Bazaar and started getting his children’s books published.

‘Eat’ poster, 1967.                                                ‘Black Power/White Power’ poster, 1967
 © Tomi Ungerer.                                                © Tomi Ungerer

In the late ’60s he became more political, making posters against the Vietnam War and racial segregation. He believed he was being watched by the FBI for his political views and indeed was taken away and interrogated after a trip to China.

It was at this time he started publishing (very) adult illustrations in his books such as ‘Fornicon’ (don’t look them up on a work computer!). This lead to a backlash particularly as he was mostly known for his writing of children’s books.

For these reasons much of his work became blacklisted with many of his books removed from libraries. In 1970 he escaped to Nova Scotia before moving to Co.Cork in Ireland with his third wife Yvonne Wright in 1976 where he settled until he died aged 87.

The above three drawings are from the book ‘The Underground Sketchbook’ 1964, © Tomi Ungerer

There are two big exhibitions opening in Paris this spring that he’d been working towards. I certainly plan doing a Eurostar mini-pilgrimage to those. I will add the exhibition details when they are available.

To end here’s a clip of Ungerer that was posted on the Tomi Unger website which includes his thoughts on death (Video by Brad Bernstein & Rick Cikowski)

Our commiserations to Tomi’s family and friends.

NB: I’m indebted to the fine obituaries in The Irish Times and The New York Times that I mined for biographical detail. There is also a good interview with Ungerer on Design Boom

 

PCO Cartoon Review of 2018

January 2, 2019 in Comment, General, News

 

Cartoon © Steve Bright

As is tradition, here is our review of the year featuring cartoons by PCO members and when I say tradition I mean we did it for the first time last year.

The Brighty cartoon above was done to introduce last year but is sadly still very true for the end of 2018.

If you can’t bear any more mentions of Brexit or Trump you’re advised to look away now!

Cartoon © Dave Brown

After the terrible Florida school shootings towards the beginning of the year Trump’s well considered proposal was to arm teachers. This was Dave Brown’s response in his ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ drawing for The Independent.

Cartoon © Mike Turner

Salisbury received a tourism boost in March when visited by two Russian holiday makers. Here’s a cartoon of Mike Turner’s on the Novichok nightmare.

Cartoon © Graeme Bandeira

March also saw the relativity sad news of Stephen Hawking’s death. Graeme Bandeira paid cartoon tribute to him in The Yorkshire Post. Our quarks are with Stephen’s family.

Cartoon © Sarah Boyce

In April the Home Office become Rudd-erless after the Windrush scandal erupted. This by Sarah Boyce published in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Nathan Ariss had signalled Amber Rudd’s departure in Private Eye too.

Cartoon © Steve Bell

In June we had the start of the Donald/Kim love-in as they met in Singapore. That moment captured here by Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

Then in July The Donald asked his administration to invite his other love interest Vlad Putin to the White House. The moment foretold here by Martin Rowson also in The Guardian. Of course the person Trump loves more than anyone else is Trump himself.

Cartoon © Steve Jones

The nation went into shock in July when England actually preformed well AND won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup!!! This was a favourite football tournament themed cartoon by Jonesy (used in Private Eye).

Cartoon © Tat Effby

There’s been much in the news this year about climate change and plastic in the oceans. Here’s a fine cartoon I’ve recycled on the subject by Tat Effby.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy also took to the oceans with this message on #MeToo.

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

In August Theresa May started thinking of life after being PM when she put in a ‘Strictly’ application by throwing some shapes, mostly Isosceles triangles, on her tour to South Africa. This from Kipper Williams in The Spectator.

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

In September the Dancing Queen announced at the party conference in Birmingham plans for the ‘Festival of Brexit’. This Jeremy Banx cartoon in the Finacial Times became very popular on social media.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

On the subject of Brexit, and it’s very difficult to get OFF the subject of Brexit, here’s a fine cartoon by Royston Robertson from The New European.

Cartoon © Andy Davey

…and there’s more. Andy Davey’s finely woven tapestry on the Brexit battle within the Conservative party. (Daily Telegpah)

Cartoon © Rob Murray

This Rob Murray Private Eye cartoon perfectly sums up our nation divided.

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s not only the UK that’s been in turmoil, across in France they’ve had gilets jaunes fever. This Gauling cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn.

As the year ended Trump closes down the US government to try and force through funding for his election promise to ‘Build A Hamster Wheel’. This just in from our correspondent Clive Goddard.

Illustration © Rebecca Hendin

This illustration by Rebecca Hendin has NOTHING to do with the year (it was drawn for the BBC Culture series ‘Stories That Shaped The World’) but I think it sums up 2018 perfectly…a sort of contemporary Edvard Munchian existential scream.

Cartoon © Brian Adcock

…and in The Guardian new PCO member Brian Adcock digs out his crystal ball to predict what might happen in 2019…yep, more of the same.

Happy? New Year from the PCO

 

Who pocketed the cartoon awards?

November 30, 2018 in Events, General, News

Clive Goddard writes:

The Political Cartoon Awards have been running for 18 years now, but this year there was something new. The event takes place in a large, swanky hall in central London with subdued coloured lighting, tasty little unidentified canapes being offered by attractive young people and more free booze than anyone has time to drink. The nominated cartoons appear on three enormous screens and, in the very centre of the room, stands a black box surrounded by voting slips. It’s a seriously impressive affair.
At 7pm precisely the voting stops and ballots are counted (probably in a secret room by someone wearing white gloves, I don’t know I couldn’t see that bit) and the winners names are entered into the gold envelopes.

For the last 18 years there have been awards for the country’s best political cartoon and best political cartoonist. These are the fine, upstanding chaps (pretty much exclusively chaps) who draw the editorials for the nation’s newspapers and this year was no exception. Steve Bell, Brighty, Ben Jennings, Mac and other household names were in the running. The ‘new’ element for 2018 was the addition of two awards for pocket cartoons, sponsored by the PCO (Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation – aka: us) to celebrate the work of those other cartoonists not lucky enough to have a regular gig with a national publication.

Once the gold envelopes had been stuffed, the speeches began. The evening’s host, Ben Atfield, managing director of the event’s major sponsor, Ellwood Atfield, kicked everything off and introduced his fellow organiser, Tim Benson of The Political Cartoon Gallery. Dr Benson’s speech was unusually tame compared to his normal performances which have long divided audiences into warring factions, mostly along the lines of those who were born in the fifties and those who were born sometime thereafter. He noted that he had been ‘neutered’ which presumably meant he had been ‘asked to tone it down a bit’ for the sake of everyone’s blood pressure. Some cartoonists who normally appeared at the event, notably the Guardian’s Martin Rowson, were boycotting it this year and a lively Twitter spat was in full … er … spatter so there was an underlying current of controversy in the air but luckily nothing controversial happened. The Doc, however, did find time to plug his new book which is, after all, what it’s all about.

Clive Goddard at the podium.

Then came my turn to take the podium. As chair of the PCO I’d been asked to say a few words about the current state of cartooning in Britain which, inevitably, resulted in a few minutes of moaning about how dire it has become. I had been asked to keep it light and not to mention gender but as the inclusion of the pocket cartoon awards had tipped the gender balance to include more women it would have been churlish of me not to welcome the change. The fact that I already knew the inaugural ‘Pocket Cartoonist of the Year’ award had been won by a woman made it a little hard to conceal my pleasure.

Grizelda receiving her award.

Claire Calman introducing the Mel Calman Award.

Next up was Claire Calman, daughter of the late Mel Calman, a pocket cartoonist’s pocket cartoonist who we sadly lost back in 1994. She was followed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford and wife of some bloke who is famous for dancing on TV. It quickly became clear that Yvette had not received the memo about avoiding the gender issue (or had chosen to ignore it) and gave a strong, impassioned speech about improving the representation of women in the cartooning world. There was much applause and the peasant folk did sing and dance in the streets with joy.

Last to the microphone was one of the twenty seven ex-Brexit ministers in attendance that night, David Davis, who much to his credit then hung around for the rest of the evening chatting to the proles and doing his best to use up the remaining free Heineken.

The winners were as follows:

Political Cartoon of the Year: Peter Brookes
Runner-up: Harry Burton
Political Cartoonist of the Year: Morten Morland
Runner-up: Bob Moran
Pocket Cartoonist of the Year: Grizelda
Pocket Cartoon of the Year: Russel Herneman

 

Cartoon © Peter Brookes

Cartoon © Harry Burton

Cartoon © Russel Herneman

The winners and presenters.

The new awards themselves are a pair of chunky transparent doorstop type things made from the finest hand-crafted Tibetan resin and laser etched with a Calman original and an Osbert Lancaster, both funded by the PCO (Hooray for us). All in all it was a very good evening. No bloodshed, very little vomiting and a lot of love and respect shown for Britain’s cartoonists. The PCO walked a successful line through the controversial bits and established a wider, more inclusive view of what constitutes a political cartoon. (Hooray for us again!). Congrats to all who have pressed for it.

Next year it will all be smooth sailing.

You can see Clive’s full speech here

Most photos © Ellwood Atfield

NOT the National Portrait Gallery

August 21, 2018 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoon by kind permission of © Richard Jolley/ Private Eye magazine.

PCO Chair human Clive Goddard writes:

“No, its ‘Not the National Portrait Gallery’ but it is right on its doorstep in a brand new gallery space at Charing Cross Library. It is an exhibition full of irreverent, funny and, in some cases, downright disrespectful caricatures and cartoons, all poking fun at the singularly human business of having a likeness made.

The show features work by just under 50 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press, whose signed originals and prints will be on sale”

‘The exhibition is on from 10th-23rd September, details of location and opening times here. During the run we have two associated events:

Martin Rowson with hands on a naked Boris. Photo © Zoom Rockman

Panel Talk

Monday 17th September 6-8pm

Discussion hosted by The Guardian cartoonist and author Martin Rowson with Chris Burke (The Times), Andy Davey (The Sun, Evening Standard, The Telegraph), Rebecca Hendin (BBC, Buzzfeed and more) and John Roberts (live event caricaturist) who all work across different fields as cartoonists, caricaturists and illustrators.

Angela Merkel by © Chris Burke

Samuel Beckett by © Andy Davey

Theresa May by © Rebecca Hendin

Amy Winehouse by © John Roberts

The talk is free but we recommend you book one of the limited places on the Westminster Libraries website.

 

Helen Pointer with presenter and comedian Sue Perkins. Photo © Helen Pointer

Caricature Workshop

Sunday 16th September 2-4pm

An ‘Introduction to Caricature’ with Helen Pointer. Helen is a highly experienced and much in-demand caricaturist.

This is suitable for all ages.

Again the event is free but you should book one of the limited spaces via the Westminster Libraries website.

 

with apologies to the real National Portrait GalleryWhy not combine a visit to both!

Contains Male Nudity – The Privates View

August 14, 2018 in Events, General, News

Away from the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival proper was the exhibition improper ‘Contains Male Nudity’ which is still running at One New Street Gallery. PCO’s intrepid senior staff photographer Kasia Kowalska was at the ‘Privates View’ to cover events as they unfolded.

Readers are warned that some of the following content may be of an adult nature.

Cartoonists ‘low five’ outside the gallery. Left to right Royston Robertson, Dave Brown, The Surreal McCoy, Alex Hallet, Alex Hughes and Pete Dredge.

Martin Rowson in the gallery studio creating a late entry to be inserted into the exhibition.

Cartoonists Kathy Lamb & Chris Burke plus Rob Murray with Andrew Birch. All caught visiting the show.

The ‘Room of Filth’ mostly so named because of the Jeremy Banx contributions.

Cathy Simpson pointing at a genuine ancient Greek artefact.

Royston Roberston’s ‘buff envelope’ gag proved very popular (actually framed in a window envelope). Royston priced the cartoon in first class stamps (some tax avoidance scam no doubt)

Zoom Rockman with one of his life drawings. Photo © Zoom Rockman

And some more ‘art’ from the walls:

One of the Danny Noble strips featuring nude Ollie Reed and Alan Bates spending their lives together after their naked wrestling scene in Ken Russell’s ‘Women in Love’.

‘Agent Dale Cooper’ from the mind of Dr Julian Gravy aka Tony Horseradish.

Drawing by illustrator Ian Pollock.

‘Peter’s Penis’ strip by Andrew Birch…naturally in the ‘Room of Filth’

All photos by © Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated.

Thanks to Torin Brown and  The Bouncing Barrel for providing the lovely cask of ale.

The exhibition continues to run at One New Street Gallery until 1st September (open Friday and Saturday or by appointment)

Contains Male Nudity

July 29, 2018 in Events, General, News

 

An exhibition where the nudes splayed on the gallery walls are male for a change!

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx

The show is made up of art and cartoons. For the most part it’s figure painting, sculpture and drawings, but as in previous years’ exhibitions there will be a room given over to theme-related cartoons.

Cartoon by © The Surreal MCoy

Artists and gallery owners Helen Wilde and Terry Sole curate the exhibition with cartoons gathered from PCO members (or cartoon members gathered from the PCO) by Glenn Marshall.

Painting by © Helen Wilde

One New Street is a small, independent  gallery and studio space in Herne Bay.

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

Leonardo cartoon by © Rob Murray

If you have a Leonardo you have to have a Michelangelo. This by © Clive Goddard

The exhibition runs until 1st September. There will be a ‘Privates View’ on the opening weekend.

 

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Sixth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival begins

July 27, 2018 in Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2018

[Poster by The Surreal McCoy]

Exhibitions are now open at the sixth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival and more than 20 of the UK’s top cartoonists will descend on the Kent seaside town next weekend for three days of talks, workshops and live drawing.

The first event is a discussion featuring The Surreal McCoy and Rachael Ball. They will talk about their work-in-progress graphic novels The Wolf of Baghdad and Wolf Man. The event is hosted by Alex Fitch, journalist and critic behind the Panel Borders radio show. It takes place on Friday 3 August at 5.30pm.

Surreal McCoy and Rachael Ball talk
On Saturday 4 August, Alex Hallatt will run a workshop for kids at Beach Creative from 11.30am-1pm. Creator of the syndicated comic strip Arctic Circle, she is British but lives in New Zealand and is visiting the festival while on a trip to the UK.

Arctic Circle by Alex Hallatt
Roger Todd will run a puppet caricature workshop at the same venue from 1.30pm. Political cartoonist and PCO member Martin Rowson will host a caricature workshop at Pettman House from 2.30pm.

The main festival day is the Sunday 5 August. The cartoonists will gather on Herne Bay Pier from midday to draw big-board cartoons, seaside peep boards, caricatures and more. As ever, there will be a chance for the public to get involved with drawing on big boards, plus they can play drawing games with the Guardian cartoonist Ros Asquith.

Cartoon from the Turning then Tide exhibition by Tat Effby

Cartoon from the Turning the Tide exhibition by Tat Effby

The festival exhibition Turning the Tide is now open at Beach Creative and runs until Sunday 12 August. The theme, which is always linked to the seaside location, acknowledges that the past year has been eventful for women. It is 100 years since the first women won the vote, we’ve seen the birth of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the protests over the gender pay gap … and even the first woman Doctor Who.

Of course, the festival always lets cartoonists interpret the theme however they want, so the choppy waters of Brexit are visited once more and there are also Turning the Tide cartoons about plastic in the oceans.

There will be a private view of Turning the Tide on Saturday 4 August, 6.30pm-8.30pm.

Tim Sanders cartoon from Turning the Tide

Tim Sanders cartoon from Turning the Tide

Also open now is Funny Women, an exhibition held jointly at the Seaside Museum and Bay Art Gallery, both on William Street. The show runs until Sunday 19 August.

Funny Women cartoon exhibition

It looks at women cartoonists and illustrators from the past 100 years and includes Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert the Bear, and Tove Jansson of Moomins fame, alongside contemporary cartoonists such as Riana Duncan, Posy Simmonds, Nicola JenningsGrizelda, Martha Richler (Marf) and many more. The exhibition is held in conjunction with the British Cartoon Archive in nearby Canterbury.

There will be a private view of Funny Women on Friday 3 August at the Seaside Museum, then the Bay Art Gallery, 7pm-8.30pm.

Also this year, a group of US women cartoonists were invited to give their perspective on the festival theme, and the work of Isabella Bannerman, Maddie Dai, and Liza Donnelly will feature in both the Turning the Tide and Funny Women exhibitions.

Cartoon by Maddie Dai

Cartoon by Maddie Dai

Alongside the main show at Beach Creative, the festival also hosts the PCO’s Gagged exhibition in the Rossetti Room. It ran at the Westminster Reference Library last year. The Herne Bay version runs until Sunday 12 August.

Gagged cartoon exhibition in Herne Bay

The full list of cartoonists scheduled to attend the festival is as follows: Nathan Ariss, Ros Asquith, Rachael Ball, Andrew Birch, Dave Brown, Des Buckley, Chris Burke, Pete Dredge, Clive Goddard, Grizelda, Alex Hallatt, Tim Harries, Alex Hughes, Kathryn Lamb, Glenn Marshall, Lou McKeever, Rob Murray, Helen Pointer, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Rich Skipworth, The Surreal McCoy and Steve Way.

For updates on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or go to Facebook.com/HBCartoonFest.

The Independent cartoonist Dave Brown at last year's festival

The Independent cartoonist Dave Brown will return this year

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

John Jensen 1930-2018

July 6, 2018 in General, News

John with a ‘selfie’ which he did for an exhibition at the cartoon archive, Kent University. Photo © Pat Jensen

Sadly, it has been reported that John Jensen has passed away at the sprightly age of 88. John was a well respected and fondly thought of member of the cartoon community. He was a supreme and very versatile draughtsman.

 John was born in Sydney in 1930, the son of the cartoonist Jack Gibson (he took his stepfather’s surname in the 40’s)  In 1946 he studied at the Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney. His first cartoon was published in the Sydney Sun in 1946, and he then began contributing cartoons to various Australian publications.

John in Birmingham, 1953, Photo © Pat Jensen

In 1950 John worked his way to England on a cargo ship, and briefly became an actors’ dresser at London’s Piccadilly Theatre, before becoming a cartoonist full-time. From 1951 to 1956 he drew cartoons, caricatures and illustrations for the Birmingham Gazette and then for various publications in Glasgow including Scotnews, The Glasgow Bulletin and daily pocket cartoons for the Glasgow Evening Times.

Illustration of French cellist Paul Tortelier, © John Jensen

John had his first cartoon in Punch magazine in 1953 but became a Punch regular in the 70’s, prolifically drawing cartoons, illustrations and caricatures. He writes here about his memories of Punch.

Caricatures of Samuel Beckett & Joan Collins © John Jensen

He was also the theatre caricaturist for Tatler, and social cartoonist for The Spectator. He drew a strip for the short-lived Now magazine and on top of this he was the political cartoonist for The Sunday Telegraph from 1961-79 (he was one of the very first political cartoonists to work in colour.) Over this long career John has illustrated around 70 books.

From his  ‘Figures of Speech’ collection © John Jensen

John was a founder member and Chairman of the British Cartoonists’ Association, and of the Cartoon Art Trust. In 2002 he was given a ‘Grinny’ Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nottingham Cartoon Festival. During his time as a member of the PCO he regularly wrote for and featured on this blog.

Receiving his ‘Grinny’ award (pictured with Dave Follows), Photo © Pete Dredge

John was a regular at cartoon festivals and on one trip to New York ended up at the celebration dinner where Marylin Monroe sang ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ to JFK. On a visit to Cuba in the 60’s he also endured one of Castro’s extremely long speeches.

Among the many anecdotes circulating about John over the past week I particularly enjoyed this one from the wonderful cartoonist Kevin ‘Kal’ Kallaugher:

‘Back in the 1980’s while I was still living un the UK I had arranged to meet John for a pint one lunchtime. When he arrived to the pub, I noted that he had a brace on one of his wrist which made his hand quite incapacitated. I was immediately concerned that this might be his drawing hand and that the brace might have consequences on his freelance career. When I raised this question with him, he shrugged it off.

“I just draw with the other hand” he said.

When I pursued this further I learned to my astonishment that John used both hands to draw his cartoons. He explained that each hand had a personality. His left hand (as I recall) was the imaginative, loose artistic hand and his right hand was the more technical and exacting hand. He would often do his conceptual sketches with the left and finish off the art with his right. Later he showed me samples of his cartoons that had contrasting styles which he explained was due to the amount of time one hand spent rendering over the other.

Soon afterwards, I wrote an article for a scholarly US cartoon related periodical called Target, where I interviewed John pointed out his amazing bi-manual drafting skills and displayed his work. Throughout the exercise, John was characteristically polite and kind…but still really did not quite see what all the fuss was about. This after all seemed quite ordinary to him.

This may have been ordinary to him, but to me John Jensen and his cartoons will always remain extra-ordinary’.

Mozart cartoon © John Jensen

More of John’s work can be found on his website.

A favourite family memory of John is how he could never resist an ice cream © Pat Jensen

Our sympathies go to John’s wife Pat and his family and friends.

I’m indebted to the British Cartoon Archive for much of the biographical detail.

The Cartoon Museum announces move at ’50 Glorious Shows!’ launch.

April 3, 2018 in Events, News

The Cartoon Museum announced its exciting plans for a relocation to a new space at the launch of the ’50 Glorious Shows!’ exhibition last Wednesday.

The museum Curator Anita O’Brien reveals the plans.                                                   Photo © The Cartoon Museum.

The move has been necessitated by a severe rent rise at the current location.

The new museum will be housed at 55 Wells Street, which is north of Oxford Street in Fitzrovia, close to the BBC and Westminster University.

Artist’s impression of the new building.

It’s a great basement area, which at 4,200 sq ft is the same size as the current museum but it will have a higher ceiling. As part of the new build – by developers by Great Portland Estates – the Museum has secured a 25 year lease at a peppercorn rent (ie. no rent for 25 years) It is scheduled to open early in 2019.

Detailed plans of the new space are on display in the gallery.

The Museum is open to hear ideas and suggestions for the new location.

The varied ‘50 Glorious Shows!’ exhibition showcases what the Cartoon Museum has achieved since being at its current location, 50 being the number of exhibitions it has staged. It features original cartoons and comics from over 170 cartoon creators.

PCO member Kipper Williams with PCO new Chair-human Clive Goddard.           Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Since the museum moved to Little Russell Street twelve years ago its collection has risen from 1,500 cartoons to now over 4,000, these acquisitions mostly coming as donations.

The exhibition runs until 2nd September 2018.

More details on the Cartoon Museum website.