‘The Square’ © Wilbur Dawbarn
Genteel, historic Shrewsbury is about to be invaded by hordes of cartoonists and cartoon lovers, with both parties looking forward to lots of mayhem and laughter – and not a little learning too, with workshops and talks also being provided.
Now coming up to its 13th year, The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival is an annual event at which professional cartoonists from all over the UK and overseas come together to draw and paint cartoons and caricatures for the general public. You won’t be surprised to learn that cartoonists are an amiable breed and more than happy to engage in conversation – some will even chat as they work, although the question “Where do you get your ideas?” might be best avoided…
‘Melodrawma” © Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation
The event draws a huge audience every year with its centrepiece being the live drawing of about 15 enormous cartoons in Shrewsbury Town Square, along with live caricaturing by some of the UK’s top professionals.
Private Eye cartoonist Andrew Birch takes a break from TV script writing (see previous Blog article) to draw a ‘Big Board’
Here are just a few more examples of what visitors to this year’s festival can see and do:
Aspiring cartoonists can flourish under the expert tutelage of the likes of Tim Harries and Harry Venning.
Cartooning has its serious side too, as Cartoon Rights Network International’s Terry Anderson will clearly demonstrate in a talk about the threats to life and liberty faced by cartoonists the world over. The capacity of cartoonists to lighten the darkest moments without trivialising them will be covered by Tony Husband as he talks about his Dad’s dementia, so movingly rendered in his book, ‘Take Care, Son’.
In addition to the usual ‘themed’ cartoon galleries, visitors can also enjoy exhibitions such as “Dead Ringers – The Unluckiest Birds” – a digital exhibition of the artwork from the quirky birdy book by acclaimed cartoonists Rupert Besley, John Roberts, Noel Ford, Cathy Simpson, Roger Penwill, and Bill Stott.
The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2016 takes place on Saturday 16th April. To find out more visit the website here.