You are browsing the archive for cartoonist.

Workshops at Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2010

May 5, 2010 in Events, News

The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival doesn’t actually finish at the end of the weekend.

Exhibitions continue in venues across the town and organisers run workshops for people keen to explore the skills of drawing and communication.


Cartoonist Wilbur Dawbarn ran one of these events and here are photos from his workshops. Bloghorn thanks Shropshire Council’s event development team for passing these along to us.


Some of the work produced will be displayed at the town’s Wakeman School and Arts College at the end of June.

An informant tells Bloghorn that Wilbur let slip he sometimes “meditated” on a subject for a cartoon while having a lie-in in the mornings. One of the older ladies immediately produced a cartoon of him lounging in bed – you can see it below.

"It's nice to finish the day's work before breakfast!"

Bloghorn thinks: If only…

Cartoon secrets revealed

April 7, 2010 in General

News reaches Bloghorn of a couple of British cartoonists revealing the tricks of the trade. Firstly there’s The TimesPeter Brookes explaining how he’ll be caricaturing the party leaders in the upcoming General Election. On drawing the current Prime Minister:

With Gordon Brown I’ll start with the hair, increasingly grey and much more coiffured these days. Then come the heavy, angry eyebrows above creased eyes, one unsighted because that is the unfortunate reality. The nose is short and stubby, with a flat base. The fleshy-lipped mouth is open in that odd gurning movement he makes with his jaw as he speaks. The ears are large, round and red. There are deep marks on the cheekbones that, with the bags under his eyes, give him that knackered, saturnine look, particularly when I add a blue-grey wash for five o’clock shadow. Sometimes I think I’ve just drawn Nixon.

Secondly, from the other end of the British cartooning spectrum we have Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons demonstrating, with video, how he goes about drawing a character digitally using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and Manga Studio software.

Of course, if you would like to see cartoonists demonstrating their skills in the flesh, we would heartily recommend you head to this years Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, 22nd to 24th April 2010. But, if you can’t make it in person, we’ll be providing full coverage here on Bloghorn.

Daily Mail cartoonist retires

December 24, 2009 in General

article-1238107-07B10E52000005DC-78_306x423The Daily Mail has announced that pocket cartoonist Ken Mahood is retiring. Mahood, who next year will celebrate his 80th birthday, has drawn news and sports cartoons for the Mail since 1982. His first cartoon was published in Punch in 1948, a magazine for whom he was later Assistant Art Editor, and in 1966 became the first political cartoonist on The Times.

Matt Lucas to play Gerard Hoffnung

June 17, 2009 in Comment

Actor and comedian Matt Lucas (probably best known for Little Britain) is set to play cartoonist Gerard Hoffnung in a Radio 4 play. The play, titled Hoffnung – Drawn to Music is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the cartoonist and is due to be broadcast in September. Hoffnung, famous for his cartoons of musicians and orchestras also played the tuba and was responsible for organising a number of music festivals at the Royal Festival Hall.

Birmingham Post cartoonist retires

October 17, 2008 in General

Bert Hackett, cartoonist for the Birmingham Post for over 40 years is set to retire.

Bert, 75, has drawn both the pocket front page gag and the main editorial cartoon five days a week since 1966, initially alternating with business partner Graham Gavin. This gave rise to their collective pen-name, Gemini, which Bert continued to use after Gavin stopped drawing in 1974. In his 42 years on the paper he has produced over 10,000 cartoons, the last of which appears in today’s issue.

Birmingham Mail cartoonist (and PCO member) Colin Whittock adds:

He was a crusty old bugger who appeared to be in deep depression when he sat hunched over his board puffing away on his pipe (when such things were allowed). Eventually he always came up with suggestions for roughs which yielded a good gag. Over the years he created many classics that rivalled the best in Fleet Street, but of course being on a Birmingham paper they weren’t seen by those that matter, so he never received an award for work that would certainly have been in the running if he’d been on a national.

He’s a brilliant caricaturist and many of his originals are stunning. Lately he’s been doing more coloured work but always using old-fashioned brush and watercolours, he never embraced Photoshop or the like. A class act for over 40 years, with a huge following of Post readers. He will be missed and I hope the Post will continue with the Birmingham papers’ tradition, (unusual for provincials) of always having an in-house cartoonist.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Celebrity cartoonists

July 17, 2008 in General

As cartoonist-turned-comedian Phill Jupitus prepares to talk of his love of cartoons on the radio, PCOer Royston Robertson looks at some other celebrities who once wielded drawing pens

MEL CALMAN called his autobiography What Else Do You Do?, after the question that is so often put to cartoonists. In fact, there appear to be many cartoonists who not only did something else, but found that that occupation eventually made their name, to the point where the career in cartooning became a largely forgotten footnote.

It was only after the death of the comedian Bob Monkhouse that I heard that he had once been a cartoonist. And quite an accomplished one. He had worked for Beano publisher DC Thomson.


A cartoon by Bob Monkhouse of PCOer Noel Ford, along with a photo of Bob working on that very drawing. Noel, who once worked with Bob at the BBC, assures us that he really did look like that weird in the 1970s

At about the same time, I read an article about the novelist John Updike and how he had been obsessed with cartoons as a child. Updike also tried his hand at being a cartoonist before coming to his senses and deciding that writing was the better path to take. It was certainly the more lucrative.

Another writer who has dabbled with cartooning is Will Self. Some of his work can be seen in a compilation of his newspaper and magazine articles called Junk Mail. The drawing is crude but some of the gags are pretty good.

BBC 6Music presenter Marc Riley, formerly “Lard” of Mark and Lard fame on Radio One, and an ex-bass player with The Fall, is another ex-cartoonist whose drawing was somewhat on the crude side. You may remember his Harry the Head from Oink! Comic. He also appeared in photo strips in Oink! He was the guy with the big nose.

Another former cartoonist is broadcaster Andrew Collins, also an ex-New Musical Express journalist, EastEnders scriptwriter, Radio Times film writer and general overachiever. He chronicled his love of cartoons and half-hearted attempts to make a living drawing owls and wizards for puzzle magazines in Where Did it All Go Right and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, his bestselling memoirs of growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.

Talking of the NME, anyone who used to read the music paper in the early 1990s may remember a cartoon drawn in the style of Gillray called Dr Crawshaft’s World of Pop. But did you know that it was drawn by Arthur Mathews who went on to co-script the sitcom Father Ted?

So I suppose there’s hope for us all if we get disillusioned with the world of cartooning. Right, it’s time to get back to the drawing board/typewriter/record decks …

Comic Love is on BBC Radio Four at 10.30am on Saturday 19 July.

The PCO British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonist questioned

July 9, 2008 in General

Gerald Scarfe at work in his studio. Photograph by Linda Nylind

Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe is the subject of this week’s Portrait of the Artist questionnaire in The Guardian.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Another animated film for grown-ups

May 29, 2008 in General

An unlikely new trend appears to be emerging in the world of film: animated movies for grown-ups. Hot on the heels of the likes of A Scanner Darkly and Persepolis, comes Waltz with Bashir, which was in competition at the recent Cannes Film Festival. See the trailer above.

It’s billed as an “animated documentary”, as the Writer and director Ari Folman uses animation to depict his haunting but vague recollections of the 1982 Israeli Army invasion of Beirut which he took part in, incorporating also the memories of an old friend.

As film writers would no doubt say: Ratatouille, it ain’t! But it’s fascinating to see this medium used in this way.

It’s British cartoon talent

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

The British attitude to words and pictures

April 30, 2008 in General

If you perused the Sunday Times this week, you may have come across a couple of sentences that neatly sum up all that is wrong about the British attitude towards drawings that accompany words.

Cosmo Landesman opens his review of the film Persepolis, which is based on the graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, with this paragraph:

“I must confess that I have always thought graphic novels were just comic books with literary pretensions. I casually dismissed them as a symptom of our culture’s increasing infantilisation; adults read books, children stories with pictures. Well, having seen Persepolis I’m happy to admit I was wrong.”

Perhaps we can take heart from the last sentence – Cosmo has seen the error of his ways! – but it’s a little depressing to think that anyone could have got that far in life with the attitude that words=good, pictures=bad.

Clearly the PCO has a mountain to climb. But, hey, we’re wearing sturdy boots. Thanks to Rod McKie for drawing the article to our attention.

Let these people put pictures alongside your words …

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Standing up for caricature

April 25, 2008 in General

PCOer Adrian Teal (click to enlarge his Daniel Craig drawing, above) discusses the neglected art of the caricaturist:

If press cartoonists are feeling neglected, press caricaturists are feeling doubly so. The PCO is pursuing an admirable policy of singing the praises of the cartoon to anyone who’ll listen. The highly specialized trade of caricature is even more threatened, however, and I humbly submit that this noble profession should be given equal standing in the campaign.

Perhaps it’s the caricaturists’ fault. The standard (and standing) of British caricature has been in steep decline since the press lost interest in it after Spitting Image’s demise, and really good caricature is hard to find these days. Unless we can show the world how potent the art form can be, we will perish, and deservedly so.

When faced with something humorous and visceral, people often overlook the care and thought which has gone into a drawing. To a large extent – and I know I’m treading on a few corns here – cartoons are the fast-food of journalism; enjoyed briefly, and then discarded. But good caricatures have a staying power, which is lacking in pocket cartoons. They usually do not have the luxury of a caption to help them along. And the sheer amount of work which goes into them can be out of all proportion to the attention (and fees) they are given.

It is this kind of attention to detail, and plain hard slog, which marks the caricaturist out as the sturdy, muscular workhorse of cartooning, and I urge the PCO to help the journalistic world recognize his worth.

Thanks to Adrian Teal. Bloghorn says: Click T for Teal

UPDATED 28th April 2008: Some responses to Adrian’s opinion can be found in the comments section immediately under this edit

More British cartoon talent