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by Royston

Lend a hand to stop the PLR move

May 29, 2012 in News

The Government is seeking the views of writers and illustrators over its plan to transfer the responsibility for managing the Public Lending Right scheme to another body.

PLR, the organisation that currently looks after the payments, which ensure that writers and illustrators receive remuneration for books lent in libraries, is to be abolished.

The Department for Culture is considering transferring responsibility for the payments to the British Library, Arts Council, or even itself. Many say that current body does the job perfectly well and should be allowed to continue.

Clive Goddard, cartoonist and member, who has illustrated many books, including more than 30 for Scholastic’s Horribly Famous, above, the sister series to Horrible Histories, told us: “The PLR system works brilliantly. It has a very simple-to-use online database which I can update myself.

“The whole process involves the minimum amount of fuss and is administered by one small, dedicated office with very few staff. All its recipients, I’m told, like it. Which is probably why the Government wants to change it.

“The result will undoubtedly mean more money spent on admin, redundancy, restructuring, relocation, consulting, retraining, system installation, data-transfer, management, line-management, departmental managers, management co-ordination seminars, office furniture, equipment, motivational artwork and yukka plants. And less money given to illustrators. A perfect vignette of the workings of modern Britain.”

The consultation paper is available on the Department for Culture website here. says: “Give ‘em hell, Clive.”

by Royston

Have publishers lost their Phiz?

January 24, 2012 in Comment

Drawing by Phiz

An article on the Independent website — Where have all the book illustrators gone? — appears to have provoked some rather angry debate.

The piece wonders why we do not see much illustration in books aimed at adults, something that was common in the days of Charles Dickens, who collaborated with illustrators such as Hablot Browne, aka Phiz, above.

Much of the angry reaction is directed at Dan Franklin, of the publisher Jonathan Cape, who claims that “there aren’t that many great illustrators … it’s hard to find someone who can draw the human figure, it seems to be unfashionable now”.

The PCO’s Jonathan Cusick contributes, conceding that it is true that drawing of the human figure is not taught on art courses to the extent it once was. Though, as Jonathan’s work shows, that hardly means accomplished artists are not still out there.

Bloghorn wonders how much cost is a factor. Is the absence of book illustration at least partly due to publishers’ reluctance to pay the proper rates for cartoons and illustrations? We can’t help thinking that many publishers are waiting for the day when Patrick Tresset’s drawing robot, which went on show at the London Art Fair last week, is available for commercial work.

by Royston

Winter show at illustration gallery

December 3, 2009 in General

The 14th Annual Winter exhibition is under way at the Illustration Cupboard Gallery in London. It runs until January 31 and admission is free. For more details, visit the website.

Left: Yorkshire Gothic by Michael Salter of Aardman Animation.

Spotted by Tim Harries.