Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2023 Review

Photo © Karol Steele

Photos wrangled by Royston Roberstson, words mangled by Glenn Marshall

This year’s festival turned out to be a resounding success despite the weather and the unavoidable move from Herne Bay Pier to the Beach Creative gallery. Against the forecast the sun came out on the main day for painting boards and after some heavy signposting crowds did seem to find us, estranged as we were from the usual pier performance. Having the actual events at the main festival gallery Beach Creative had the added bonus of increasing sales of cartoons at the exhibition too.

Photo © Gill Wilson

All roads lead to Beach Creative.

Photos © Gill Wilson

On the Friday evening there were private views for the ‘Duchamp And The Cartoonists’ Seaside Museum exhibition and ‘Life’s A Beach’ Beach Creative exhibitions.

These are rare photos of people actually looking at the exhibits at a private view.

© Martin Rowson. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

The ever-in-demand Martin Rowson managed to fit a visit to Herne Bay into his hectic schedule. He completed his big board a day ahead of the rest of us allowing him to leave earlier for other commitments, including three nights on stage at the Edinburgh Festival.

© Martin Rowson. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

I’m guessing if Rishi Sunak saw this he’d wish Martin never made Herne Bay at all.

Photos © The Surreal McCoy/Gill Wilson

The festival also featured an exhibition from Whale & Dolphin Conservation in collaboration with Procartoonists, centring on the #EndCaptivityForever campaign that we jointly launched at The House of Commons two weeks earlier. The Surreal McCoy & I ran a workshop, with some fabulous drawings emerging from the young participants….and me…ahem.

Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Chris Burke and Rob Murray at the Saturday night ‘gala dinner’, and as is tradition at cartoon festivals the world over the meal ends with everyone drawing all over the tablecloths – these dredged up by Pete Dredge.

© Clive Goddard. Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Karol Steele

On Sunday we all took to the boards. Clive’s depiction of an illegal alien proved very popular…”they come over ‘ere in their small flying saucers!”. Background artiste Amy Amani performed as Clive’s chief filler-inner.

© Jeremy Banx. Photos © Kasia Kowalska

Jeremy Banx with a board full of comedic ideas, there was almost a months worth of FT pocket cartoons on there!

© Royston Robertson. Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Karol Steele

Royston too gave the viewers six great gags for the price of one.

© K.J. Lamb. Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Gill Wilson

Kathryn Lamb with a sprinkling of very funnies. The board is about 1000% bigger than the size Kathryn normally draws at, so she was working way out of her comfort zone.

© Rob Murray. Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Karol Steele

Rob Murray’s sunny composition.

© Chris Burke. Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Chris Burke

This is exactly the sort of disgraceful painting that the pier took exception to…so well done Mr Burke. Quite rightly your head is on a stick.

© Des Buckley. Photos © Des Buckley/Karol Steele

A Fawlty creation from Des Buckley.

© Glenn Marshall. Photo © Karol Steele and © James Mellor

I’d asked the festival if I could have a slightly smaller board this year as last time I couldn’t reach the top. Me and the festival organiser obviously have a very different definition of ‘slightly’…as you can see here I was not happy!  On the right, James Mellor’s daughter models my ‘part works’ – she also proved a star at the Whale & Dolphin workshop the previous day.

© James Mellor. Photos © Karol Steele/James Mellor

Excellent from James on the Jenrick fiasco. Jenrick had demanded cartoon characters in a child refugee holding centre be painted over for being too welcoming.

Following an initiative by PCO member Guy Venables and an idea by PCO treasurer Amy Amani we’re now producing a cartoon colouring book for refugee children and later for purchase to the public at large. Keep an eye on our socials for further info.

© Pete Songi. Photos © Pete Songi/Karol Steele

A great job of paint work from festival newbie Pete Songi. Pete normally works digitally but the festival organisers failed to source a 6 ft x 4 ft iPad.

© Ben Chilton. Photos © Gill Wilson/Karol Steele

Another festival first-timer Ben Chilton poured more doo-doo on Rishi Sunak.

© Sarah Boyce. Photo © Sarah Boyce

Sarah Boyce had to leave early to travel the long journey home. Consequently she’d almost finished before most of us had even got started. A wonderful board but you’ll have to imagine Sarah as a ghost presence.

© Rob Murray. Photos © Kasia Kowalska

The Independent’s Dave Brown goes apeshit with his sinking Trump.

© Dean Patterson. Photos © Des Buckley

Loved this from another festival debutante Dean, who was the toast of the cartoonists as he turned up with bags full of Bishops Finger beer to keep us lubricated.

Photos © Karol Steele/Kasia Kowalsk

The Cruel Cartoonist Andrew Birch with the far less cruel cartoonist Pete Dredge.

Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Gill Wilson

Alex Hughes always proves very popular for his caricatures and shirts.

Photos © Kasia Kowalska/Chris Burke

Festival regulars Andy and Karol Steele with their Alex Hughes caricatures , they have been drawn by Alex at each of the ten Herne Bay Cartoon Festivals, and the warning signs on all the boards from Des Buckley. I painted out the ‘Do not’ on mine.

Photo © Kasia Kowalska

The mandatory group photo at the end of the day with the giant card for Birthday boy Buckley.

A huge thanks to all those who have worked so hard getting the anniversary festival off the ground and especially to the festival director Sue Austen.

…and news just in ***BREAKING NEWS***BREAKING NEWS***BREAKING NEWS*** there now is some extra time to see all the fabulous big boards…and hopefully one little one.

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