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Young Cartoonist of the Year 2013

October 3, 2013 in Events, General, News


Will McPhail cartoon

© Will McPhail cartoon

We are particularly pleased to say that one of our members has won the annual award although none of our membership were too surprised.

Hearty congratulations go to Will McPhail who secured the under 30 years prize from our friends at the British Cartoonists’ Association and The Cartoon Museum.

Harry McSweeney carried off the under 18 years prize for this natty observation on the human condition.

Cartoon: Harry McSweeney Young cartoonist of the Year 2013

© Harry McSweeney Young cartoonist of the Year 2013

Harry told us:

He was especially chuffed that he had beaten such a lot of entries and the £250 was the icing on the cake. The congratulations letter from Martin Rowson really appealed to Harry’s sense of humour. He was made to feel very special at the awards ceremony and he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. He appreciated the advice he received from the professional cartoonists, mostly  to keep on drawing! He especially took on board the advice from Will McPhaill who having made it as an artist/cartoonist which would be Harry’s dream job. They shared a comedy moment on the podium with a mix up with winners certificates (Harry feeling he had the better deal receiving the Under 30 certificate which will last him another 16 years!)

This whole experience has definitely boosted his confidence and encouraged him to keep on drawing.As one former Punch cartoonist told him getting in to bother at school for doodling, never did him any harm! 

It’s good to see our fine old trade being renewed in this way and so we also tip our hats to the Spectator magazine which has also dipped a toe in the murky waters of running cartoon competitions. This undertaking is supported by John Lobb, the bootmaker which may be handy in the event of an online kicking.

If you would like some evidence about the challenges of running a public competition, you can read all about Cartoon Idol of recent years past or some lively public comment about the Spectator’s latest prize offering over at the public forum of the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain.

A Surreal view of the Reubens

June 29, 2013 in Events, General, News

Reubens Cartoon Awards first timer badge @


The Surreal McCoy reports from the US of A:

To the city of steel, Pittsburgh, for the National Cartoonists Society’s Reubens awards ceremony.

Local artist Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post stoked things up with a seminar on the art of the editorial cartoonist. He was followed by a session on the opportunities for e-publishing and Terri Lieberman who spoke about her Pyjama Diaries comic strip.

Then it was out to the Toonseum for a look at originals from every Reubens awards winner from the last 67 years. The show featuring artists Gary Larson, Sergio Aragones, Charles Schulz, Ronald Searle, Will Eisner and many more. It was amazing to see the original inked pages of all your cartooning heroes in one place. The evening continued next door in a wonderfully seedy bar with the traditional karaoke session and, thanks to the luridly-coloured range of cocktails on offer, there were many takers.

There were more than a few sore heads at breakfast the following day. Our lodgings were at an old hotel (old being nearly 100 years for the Americans but it’s not a patch on Shrewsbury’s Lion which hosts the eponymous annual Cartoon Festival).

The remarkably efficient annual NCS business meeting barely ruffled any braincells but the presentation of our Procartoonists tablecloth, from this year’s Shrewsbury changed all that. Many thanks to Chairleg Nathan Ariss for the idea and to all those who drew on it. It received a great deal of interest and admiring glances, and not the puzzled or bemused looks that I had anticipated, with the Dalek and a caricature of a ghoulish Maggie Thatcher providing the most comments.


There were more seminars featuring Mo Willems (Sesame Street animation) and Drew Friedman (MAD magazine illustrator). Marmaduke’s creator Brad Anderson also stood up to remininisce about his long and illustrious career.

Tom Richmond (NCS President and MAD magazine editor) decided that the tablecloth must be reciprocated. So several sharpies were sourced and a linen cloth, purloined (we would say, “nicked”) from the hotel, was signed by almost all the attendees.

The linen cloth has clearly upped the ante – our tabelcloth was paper. Will we have to send silver candelabras and matching cutlery next year?

After its exhibition at next year’s Reubens weekend the Procartoonists tablecloth will be sent to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Musem in Cleveland where all NCS history and valuables are archived. (This store is the match of our own archive held at the University of Kent).


By Tom Richmond of Mad Magazine on NCS Tablecloth for

The actual awards evening itself was more like the Oscars than our traditional Saturday night Shrewsbury Festival knees-up. There were cartoonists in black tie and dinner jackets, cartoonists in evening gowns, a proper sit-down dinner and a live band. A revelation was Australian cartoonist  Jason Chatfield, (he’s also attended Shrewsbury), who was hosting/singing/dancing, often doing all three at the same time. Here is the list of awards given on the night and the winners. The night continued with an after party and then an after-after party which involved some interesting ghost-busting action down disused hotel corridors.

The next day was the Pittsburgh Cartoon Arts Festival where the public could meet the cartoonists and have things signed or drawn upon. A street downtown was closed off and Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and Popeye roamed free, charming the children. A seminar on Women In Cartooning was hosted by the delightful Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange), featuring Cathy Guisewhite (Cathy), Lynn Johnston (For Better Or For Worse) and Terri Liebenson.

Best quote of the weekend was from Hilary about how to tell the difference between male and female cartoonists – by the boob to nose ratio. Women cartoonists tend to draw big noses and small boobs.

(Opinions on male cartoonists and noses welcome in the comments – Ed).

The Sunday night’s party is by tradition themed and this year it was the Roaring Twenties. Flappers and gangsters milled in the Speakeasy bar with fake cigarette holders and boas, and the floor was soon awash with feathers and sequins. These guys certainly know how to party. Got to meet a bunch of wonderfully talented people and hang out with some of my heroes. What a great weekend. Two countries separated by a common language? Well here’s looking at making closer ties with our North American cartooning cousins. Cheers y’all!

– – –

The NCS, formed in 1946, represents over 400 professional cartoonists in North America. The Reubens, held in a different US city each year, are named after Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and sculptor, famed for his marvellous “inventions“. Next year’s Reubens will be held in San Diego, California.

Thanks to Surreal for her report.

The Big Boards from Shrewsbury Cartoon 2013

April 24, 2013 in Events, General, News

The huge drawings made in the town Square in Shrewsbury on Saturday 20th April at the tenth edition of the cartoon festival.

The huge drawings made in the town Square in Shrewsbury on Saturday 20th April at the tenth edition of the cartoon festival.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2013

April 20, 2013 in Comment, General, News

You will be able to follow some of the events at the festival  by following the stream below.

The members of the UK Professional Cartoonists at the tenth edition of the festival.




Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2013 exhibition opening

March 28, 2013 in Events, General, News

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2013 Poster @

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2013 @

The festival exhibition opens from Tuesday (2 April) at The Market Hall Gallery in the heart of Shrewsbury. The live weekend, as you can see above, is the weekend of 19-21 April.

Springtime for cartoonists in Shrewsbury

February 25, 2013 in Events, General, News


Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival @ Procartoonists

We are very pleased to be able to list the cartoonist attendees at this year’s Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

They are: Huw Aaron, Charlie Adlard, Dean Alston, Nathan ArissIan BakerRupert Besley, Steve Best (Bestie), Andrew Birch, John Clark (Brick), Matthew Buck (Hack), Steve Chadburn, Jonathan CusickWilbur DawbarnPete Dredge, Noel FordClive Goddard, Tim HarriesJohn Landers,  Alexander MatthewsRob Murray, Chichi Parish, Roger Penwill, Helen Pointer, John RobertsRoyston Robertson, Chris Ryder, Bill Stott,  Cathy SimpsonRich Skipworth and The Surreal McCoy. The festival patrons Libby Purves and Alex Lester will also be attending.

We will be publishing details of the itinerary over the next few weeks ahead of the festival’s first events. The main weekend for the live cartooning and other public events is 19-21 April. Get it into your diaries!