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Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2019 – Bumper bonus photo album!

August 9, 2019 in Events, General, News

The traditional festival team photo at the start of the day.

Last Sunday saw the annual live drawing event on the Herne Bay pier as part of the Cartoon Festival which this year was themed around the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Our chief PCO paparazzo Kasia Kowalska was dispatched to record that one small step for cartooning kind.

We open with some seaside postcard humour as The Independent’s Dave Brown displays his Boris (ooh err missus)

An effigy of him would be set upon by angry crowds later in the afternoon (Boris, NOT Dave Brown)

Cheeky painting by Martin Rowson.

Christopher Burke resurfaces the moon.

Kathryn Lamb’s big board lift off.

Sarah Boyce embarks on her premier Herne Bay space mission.

James Mellor, another big board debutant, tackles Earthexit.

Guy Venables also dipped his toenails into the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival for the first time.

Festival veteran – but still VERY young – Zoom Rockman drawing Skanky Seagulls.

My only criticism of the festival this year was that some of the boards had HUGE holes in them! I’m impressed by the way Des Buckley got round this by incorporating them into his drawing.

Royston Robertson showing that two heads are better than one in solving a nation divided (Photo trickery by Royston)

Nathan Ariss and Sarah Mann on the moon selfie. Ideally there should’ve been another hole for people to put their camera arms through.

Tim Harries questions the theory of spatial dimensions and relativistic physics.

The Surreal McCoy cunningly saves the moon theme for the final frame..

The FT pocket cartoonist Jeremy Banx doing a VERY large pocket.

PCO Treasurer Amy Amani and our Chair-moon (gerrit?) Clive Goddard proving their business acumen – get your board done and flog stuff.

Steve Way was quick off the launch pad in an attempt to be ready for kick off in the Charity Shield cup final.

Pete Dredge and Alex Hughes filling in their festival expenses forms while pretending to do some caricaturing.

Andrew ‘Dancing’ Shoes’ Birch, about to launch.

The man couldn’t stop dancing. Here he is on set at the fake moon landing location shoot pictured with dance partner local artist Gill Wilson.

Cecil B DeMarshall directing his movie epic (you can tell I haven’t got much real work on at the moment) aided by clapper board intern Ace Rockman and in the background festival organiser and soundtrack penny whistle foley artist Sue Austen.

Martin Rowson summoning the gulls to eat chips out of his balloon filled Boris…the lack of takers proving the seagulls of Herne Bay have their limits.

In scenes resembling Zombie Apocalypse members of the public then set about tearing apart the defenceless Mr Johnson!

In cahoots with festival honcho Steve ‘The Dry Iceman Cometh’ Coombs, Rowson then tried to entice the gulls into eating his Dominic Cummings saveloy.

Cummings was eventually devoured by festival regular Teddy the dog.

The customary end of day cartoonists carousel ride. Dredge, Rockman & Banx (sounds like a local accountancy firm)

Chris Burke, Dave Brown, Alex Hughes and Royston Robertson on their mounts.

That man Birch again plus Steve Coombs and Nathan Ariss in traditional cartoonists stetsons.

An out take from the earlier group shot where we tried to get Señor Birch to stand still for a second.

…not easy.

All photos by and copyright of Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Knokke Heist 2017/8 cartoon festival

June 27, 2019 in Events, General

Des Buckley writes:

“It’s all doves with laurels flying over a tank.CCGB doyenLes Lilley.

The Knokke-Heist Cartoon Festival sets up camp on a Belgium beach promenade each Summer. On display are two major exhibitions including their International Competition. Knokke & Heist are conjoined seaside towns on the sandy channel coast. In recent years Ive dropped by their shiny plastic tent to dawdle & gawp. Last year, perhaps unsurprisingly no Union Jacks adorned the flag poles outside. Indeed in the last two years only two UK Cartoons were on show, both from the same artist. I’m genuinely unsure whether this reflects recent spats with FECO, indifference or nothing in particular. Alas I’ll miss this years 58th show as my annual road trip falls after it closes. A couple of visits to Cartoon Fest does not a critic make, I’m no Brian Sewell, though I do have a red face & talk bollocks…

The Festival features 2 x shows. A selection of Belgian editorial cartoons & the International Gouden Hoed’ (Golden HatCartoon Exhibition. Facsimiles of the cartoons are interned within the fabric of plastic panels in the marquee.

1. Belgian Cartoon Exhibition

The Belgium press cartoons are helpfully translated into English, French & Flemish. Our European pals across the Channel share our liberal sensibilities & disdain for authority. In the wake of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ & outrages in Brussels Belgian Cartoonists seem less ‘sensitive’ in their representations of terrorism, terrorists & sexual politics. I’m aware there are fault lines between Belgium’s French & Walloon populations but lacked the nous to spot evidence of this in this display. The Politico-Social Cartoons were lively & vibrant. The impudent pocket cartoons almost poke you in the eye. Whilst I can’t be sure, my impression is the cartoonists aren’t entirely on the same page. I found this refreshing & imagine them (perhaps unfairly) as dysfunctional hissing cats. The general direction was ‘look at what those prat politicians are doing’ but, there were a couple taking wicked potshots at demented demonstrators. The sexual quotient was more muted than I anticipated but in the shop there were postcards that would have Donald McGill gagging on his little stick of Blackpool rock.

2. Gouden Hoed’ (Golden Hat) Int. Cartoon Exhibition

Linguistic gymnastics are almost superfluous in the larger International show. Most artwork carries no captions and little text. In attempting to reach out to all, artists opt for high visual impact and political caricature.

Cartoon by © Kanar (Belgium)

We in the West seem to be indulging in bouts of self flagellation & unseemly flirtations with shameless snake-oil salesmen. I like Rich Hall (Melty faced US Comedian) but don’t agree with his tirade against Political Cartoons. Much on display at Knokke-Heist is absolutely glorious. But however gorgeous the artwork or compelling the theme, viewing multiple Donald Trumps somewhat dulls approbation.Some International Contributors whilst happy to take a swipe at his Orangenessmay be transmitting more nuanced messagesabout repression. In the UK our ability to lampoon without fear of grim consequence was hard won.

Cartoon by © Josef Parchal (Spain)

It’s foolish to draw conclusions about a show chosen by panel from global Cartoon submissions. One embarrassing anomaly being the Brazilian cartoon that appeared inthe 2017& 201catalogue! It is remarkable however, that so much content comes from countries that might euphemistically be considered to haveauthoritarian regimes.Whilst Mr Putin was another predictable ‘aunt Sally’ other obvious brigands & despots were noticeable by their absence. My prejudice on this was informed by remarks made at a recent PCO hosted event. The fear of giving offence is not just about personal safety but genuine anxiety about the implications for family members, even if that cartoonist is exiled. Cartoonists elsewhere may live with harsher sanctions than an ugly Twitter-storm.

Cartoon by © Nicola Listes (Croatia)

Visiting this exhibition is a rewarding & enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Humour is subjective & was not entirely obligatory. The artworks went from animated squiggles to epilepsy inducing tapestries of colour. There were a sprinkling of earnest graphic statements but most works had humorous intent. Cartoonists from Iran & Turkey were especially numerous with an exquisite variety of work. We all understand that an apparently tossed off doodle can take hours! Some of the carefully crafted Iranian Artwork was Herculean in ambition & execution. I loved the exhibition.

Les Lilley’s quote (above) was made in jest but there is truth in it. Perhaps a lack of embarrassment when illustrating occasionally naive political statements confers gravitas. If a cartoon dares to be serious it may persuade viewers to take cartoons seriously. This could explain why Continental Cartoonists can be afforded respect as artists & why ruthless regimes harass them. Me, I prefer cartoons to be funny too!

Name check: The singular British contributor was Jason McClarnin, top marks to him.

Information

The Knokke-Heist Festival’s event is popular & well resourced. The coastal towns heavily promote it on the web, in their literature & tourist office. Cartoons seems to enjoy a cultural prestige which is absent in the UK. Belgium has surrealism ‘form’ and a fine cartoon legacy from Herge (Tin Tin) through Peyo (Smurfs) to Bob de Groot. For those grumbling about lack of markets, check out the cash prizes & consider entering by December 2019 in time for 2020!

Web: myknokke-heist.be. Address: Strand ter hoogte van het Heldenplein

Exhibition: 29 June – 1 September 2019 

Opening times: 10am to 7pm Entry: Free

Prizes: 1. Gold €10,000 2. Silver €5,000 3. Bronze €1,000.

All photos by © Des Buckley

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival photo album

May 6, 2019 in Comment, Events, General, News

The ‘Plan B’ Shrewsbury Square. Photo © Tat Effby.

Glenn Marshall & Jonathan Cusick write:

With Storm Hannah due to roll in threatening rain and high winds the marquee company wouldn’t put up the festival’s gazebo roofing. Fear of airborne ‘para-boarding’ cartoonists made the festival organisers hastily arrange a Plan B for Saturday, which involved us decamping to the local Darwin Shopping Centre (every third business in Shrewsbury seems to contain the word Darwin)

A distant Steve Bell in front of a crowded audience. Photo © Jonathan Cusick.

Before that, on Friday evening Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell returned to the festival and spoke to a packed and enthusiastic crowd at the University Centre. Surveying his use of animals throughout his career, he picked out highlights including the penguin from his ‘If’ strip and ended with a few live drawings including his toilet-headed Trump. After twenty minutes of audience questions he signed copies of his latest book. A real treat for cartoon fans and definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

Saturday morning at John Cusick’s cartoon animal drawing workshop using exhibits from the Shrewsbury Museum collection. Photo © Jonathan Cusick.

Zoom Rockman cartoons stripped bare teaching how to draw his Skanky Pigeon character. Photo © Kate Lennard.

There were also well attended indoor talks by The Surreal McCoy and TWO by Clive Goddard (above) nothing to do with folk wanting to get out of the bad weather. Photo © Alison Patrick.

Meanwhile in the basement level of Darwin Shopping Centre dry and warm cartoonists began creating. Here Shrewsbury based cartoonist Tat Effby took to the big boards like a duck to water. Photo © Clive Goddard.

Luke Crump with one of his incredible ‘doodle style’ creations. Photo © Clive Goddard.

The Surreal McCoy hot-footed over from her ‘Wolf of Baghdad’ talk to fit in a board before hot-footing off again to join the ‘festival music ensemble’. Photo © Clive Goddard.

Jeremy Banx and Noel Ford mid-boards. Photo © Tat Effby.

Tim Harries & Rich Skipworth colouring in. Photos © Tat Effby.

John Landers’ snakes on a plain surface. Photo © Clive Goddard. 

Pete Dredge caricaturing Pa Marshall plus Jonathan Cusick really going with the animal theme. Photo © Tat Effby.

The 30 second rehearsal before the launch of The Shrewsbury Cartoon Players and Puppeteers inaugural performance of ‘The Animals Went In Two By Two’. Photo © Tat Effby. The Noah’s Ark was ironically moved indoors even though it would’ve been perfectly suited to the biblical weather conditions.

Royston Robertson featuring in the festival write-up in the Shropshire Star.

The festival produced a book of the ‘Drawn To Be Wild’ exhibition cartoons which is still available here price £9.95 + postage.

Thanks to all the organisers and sponsors for another successful festival that went down a storm.

Cartoonists in Conversation

April 30, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick writes:

A Friday evening talk has traditionally opened the public programme of the Shrewsbury cartoon festival. This year ‘Cartoonists in Conversation’ aimed to give the public an insight into the lives of cartoonists, whose work they would probably be familiar with but know little about the people behind them.

The number of cartoonists gathering in the town (this year there were 30) meant we had a stellar line-up to choose from. Jeremy Banx (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Private Eye) resplendent in his beret, The Surreal McCoy (The Spectator, Reader’s Digest, The Sunday Times), Royston Robertson (Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator) and Wilbur Dawbarn (The Beano, Private Eye, The Spectator) were joined by Ken Krimstein (New Yorker, Harvard Business Review) who was over from Chicago and brought an international perspective to the chat. Our host for the evening was BBC radio presenter Alex Lester,  a festival patron and cartoon enthusiast.

Line up: Alex Lester, The Surreal McCoy. Royston Roberston, Ken Krimstein, Wilbur Dawbarn & Jeremy Banx. Photo © Gerard Whyman

The discussion covered various aspects of life as a cartoonist, alongside some superb examples of their work. Topics covered included the creation of the work and their workspace, some ‘greatest hits’ over the years, stories of rejection slips, offence, their influences and inspirations, and of course a mention of Trump. After the main panel discussion came questions direct from the audience.

A silhouetted Banx talks about one of his cartoons. Photo © Gerard Whyman

An abominable Royston Robertson cartoon. Photo © Gerard Whyman

 

 

An influential cartoon by Bernard Kliban.

We were delighted that the event was a sell-out, and indeed extra chairs were added for latecomers.

Photo © Gerard Whyman

Hearty thanks for the success of the evening go to the cartoonists on the panel, and Alex Lester for all being fabulous. The Wightman Theatre set us up wonderfully and Andy McKeown of WildStrawberry.com’s wonderful projection made the evening such a treat visually.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2018

March 25, 2018 in Events, General

Festival poster illustration © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s only a few weeks now until the transport-themed Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival alights and this year it really is international with cartoonists shipped over from Belgium, Germany, Australia, the USA and Ireland.

Drawing in the crowds at last year’s festival.

The main event is the popular live drawing in the town square on Saturday 21st April. Cartoonists will be delivering up big boards and caricatures. There will also be opportunities for visitors to join in.

On Friday 20th, at 7pm there’s ‘Cartoonists in Conversation’ with PCO members Jeremy Banx, Wilbur Dawbarn, The Surreal McCoy and Royston Robertson hosted by BBC radio presenter Alex Lester. They’ll be addressing questions like: Can cartoonists find humour in anything? What’s a typical day? Do the times we live in affect the cartoons we get? Afterwards there’ll be a Q&A where you can put your own esoteric questions to the panel.

Venue: Wightman Theatre, 14a The Square, Shrewsbury. Tickets £5 (+booking fee). You can book here.

There are several workshops running over the weekend including:

© Tim Leatherbarrow

Tim Leatherbarrow on how to get movement and energy into cartoons.

© Helen Pointer

‘Introduction to Caricatures’ with Helen Pointer,

© William Rudling

and the intriguing ‘Make Your Own Giant Paper Plane’ piloted by Will Rudling.

There are also exhibitions a-plenty:

Are We Nearly There Yet?
Over 100 cartoons on the theme of transport.
10th-28th April
Bear Steps Gallery, St Alkmund’s Square

Shipped From Abroad
American cartoonists’ take on our ‘Transport’ theme.
4th April-27th May
Theatre Severn

More Belgium Imports
17th-28th April
VAN Gallery

Irish Cartoonist Wendy Shea (Irish Times)
Participate Gallery, Riverside
32-34 Riverside, Raven Meadows SY1 1PJ
April 7th-28th
11am-5pm

More detailed information on all events can be found on the festival website, Facebook page and twitter.

Get Colouring

December 7, 2017 in General

Jonathan Cusick writes:

Support the festival this Christmas by giving the cartoon fans in your life a copy of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Colouring Book!

More than 40 black line cartoons from top cartoonists for your shading enjoyment. Relax, be inspired or just have a giggle. Fun for all ages.

Sold to raise funds for the 2018 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

Importantly, last order date for Christmas delivery is the 14th December.

The book can be ordered from the following link;
http://www.lulu.com/shop/cartoon-festiv … 6591.html#

The Rupert Besley and Andrew Birch spread

Full list of those in the book; Steve Best, Neil Bennett, Rupert Besley, Andrew Birch, Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Andy Davey, Wilbur Dawbarn, Neil DIshington, Pete Dredge, Robert Duncan, Tim Harries, Chris Madden, Roger Penwill, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, John Roberts, William Rudling, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy.

 

The North-South Divide: Comic festivals this weekend

November 13, 2008 in General


If you’re into comics then you’ll be spoiled for choice this weekend. For northerners there’s Thoughtbubble, the Leeds Sequential Art Festival, running from 13th to the 16th November, which includes a one-day comic convention at Saviles Hall and Alea Casino, both on Royal Armories Square, Leeds.

And, for those down south there’s Comica, the London International Comics Festival, featuring exhibitions along with a symposium on Archetypes v Stereotypes In Comics & Graphic Novels. The symposium is at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 14th November, and there are loads of other exhibitions and events at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from the 14th to the 26th November.

UPDATED: 17th Nov 2008
A report on Thoughtbubble from Shug

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent