Shrewsbury perspective

April 20, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Shrewsbury festival cartoonist Bill Stott writes:

Amongst all the frenetic cartooning activity at Shrewsbury – the Big Boards, the caricaturing, strolling players in costume, the music, the wonderful weather and the public throng, two tiny incidents serve to underline the public’s liking for good cartoons.

One involved a tiny chap called Pacey who stood with his mum watching me paint my Big Board. Pacey was about five, I’d guess. I’d heard his mum saying things like, ‘‘No, you can’t help.’’ Pacey was undeterred and you could tell he was fascinated as the picture took form. So I asked him if he’d like to write his name on it.

Without hesitation, he wrote, very slowly, with a huge felt tip, ‘‘Pacey’’, all wobbly, in the bottom right hand corner. He was delighted and returned several times to make sure I hadn’t covered it up. Later I found, stuffed in my paint bag, a drawing by him, of his mum and a huge cat. All together – ‘‘Aaaah!’’

Photograph ©Ian Ellery

Later in the day, whilst doing reverse caricaturing – an esoteric activity involving the subject sticking their head through a hole in a big piece of paper and telling the cartoonist how they would like to be portrayed – another short type called Harry, even tinier than Pacey, got a bit tearful when I started to pack up in order to begin another activity. He’d waited with his mum for ages, been pushed in front of by a huge nine-year-old girl and looked very crestfallen. So I hurried things up and got him sorted.

Anyway, he was absolutely delighted with his picture (a footballer), which, when rolled up, was taller than him. So, while adult crowd members were being enthusiastic about all the surrounding huge cartoons and brilliant caricatures, and proving what cartoonists know is true – people love cartoons – so do little people. Quite possibly more so. Publishers take note. Real drawing for real people.

You can catch up with the news from Bloghorn at Shrewsbury 2011 here.

5 responses to Shrewsbury perspective

  1. So that explains the mysterious helper’s signature on your board! I’d been trying to decipher it.
    Let’s hope the art-editoratti of our fair land will quickly get over their po-faced-ness phase and start catering to the humoured majority again.

  2. That’s what we ought to tell these editor johnnies – “keep drawing real – not photoshopy rubbish”!!

  3. Ahem, editor squeaks, photoshoppy rubbish is only as slapdash as the person doing it Mr Roberts. Public shame be upon you.

  4. I think he means Photoshoppy rubbish that doesn’t actually involve any drawing, Matt, and in that case (as a Photoshoppy drawer myself), I’m in 100% agreement with at least 95% of what he means.

    Which means I agree with both of you, although I definitely fall into the ‘double-p’ camp where the word ‘Photoshoppy’ is concerned – but note the capitalisation.

    Lovely observations from Mr Stott, as always, but having spent nearly three decades heavily involved in the creation of children’s comics, I could have confirmed his summation long before little Pacey and Harry had their say. Kids love cartoons – it’s where it all starts.

  5. Well put Steve.
    I think the powers that be in publishing – the media generally in fact – right through from commissioning editors, news editors, features editors et al run a tiny bit scared of humour, seeing it as a loose cannon;something not easily controlled;something which can say in one picture as much and sometimes more than several paragraphs of timeless prose. And as adults they’ve lost the insinctive childish wonder we’re all born with – that of really appreciating the creation of a picture. Hence so much bad photoshopping. They don’t appear to care. Its not that they don’t care. They’ve simply lost the ability to KNOW. And then blame “financial constraints”. Its not always the accountants’ fault.

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