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PCO Procartoonists – Graphic humour and photomontage

December 5, 2007 in General

Here is the last part of our trilogy of pieces about variety in graphic humour. It is written by Neil Hepburn aka Beau Bo D’Or. You can read parts one and two if you click on the photomontage ‘tag’ in that long list on the right hand side of Bloghorn. There’s also a good response from our own Bill Stott.

One Editor’s note, caution, there is some technical language here.

Over to Neil once more;

In my experience, getting noticed in the digital world means changing websites to blogs, or, in adding a blog to an existing website. While certain cartoonists maintain websites, few use blogs, which you might consider are only of benefit to those reacting to issues of the day. However, because of tagging and search engine technology, blogs can also bring enormous benefits for those who work with specific subject matter or themes.

How to speed – digitally.

If you have created images concerning credit fraud or, say, football, potential customers can discover your work reasonably quickly and efficiently. This doesn’t mean that you give away work for free to those not willing to pay. There are safeguards you can use which, although not perfect, can discourage all but the most determined web-savvy freeloaders. I argue, (somewhat controversially – Ed) in fact, that sometimes, it is worth allowing some sharing (free content), which can bring you to the attention of the paying customer. I appreciate there is a balance but we all have to work out individually what the best is for us.

I’m not claiming I’ve had any great commercial success, but, by promoting your talents using the basic methods which I stumbled upon and still use, you will get much greater exposure for the PCO and, I’m sure, help to shaft me and the photoshop artists in the process. While and its blog are a very good start, the site is, correctly, inward looking. I think you (the PCO) ideally need an additional showcase blog for potential customers, outside the PCO, running independently of blogspot, blogger and the like. It would probably cost less than £150 for the domain and hosting per year. Your own-hosted site will give you much more control over style, promotion and shared input. Possibly something similar to Daryl Cagle’s site but in blog format, allowing for feedback and linked to the main media websites but protected from ‘deep-linking’ and/or RSS feeds by the same, so the ‘resource’ is not used to provide links to illustrations that enhance their product.

One final point on digital promotion. Some websites have blogrolls that are three or four times deeper than the articles on their front page- the 21st century equivalent of the car as a penis extension. In my opinion, this is abuse of the blogroll system purely to drive traffic – some blogs linking to others, regardless of the views held on them. However, there is the case for your outward looking blog to have an extensive blogroll because you are a broad church, holding different views on politics, religion, humour and lifestyle etc. You would be quite correct in linking to a plethora of sites and reaping the benefit of the traffic and custom it generates.

So, that’s about it. There’s a lot more than I thought I was going to write.
I’m not ashamed of what I do as a photomontage artist, I’m probably a bit frustrated about the limitations and envious of the talents of the ‘traditional’ cartoonist.
When I discuss the various points above, I’m not trying to ‘teach my granny to suck eggs’, I’m hopefully, imparting digital knowledge that I’ve been lucky enough to gain over the last couple of years, and also to those whose work I admire.

And it remains only to say, a big thank you to Neil for all the time and effort he put in contributing his thoughts about the world of graphic humour and digital promotion for Bloghorn.

British cartoon talent

PCO Procartoonists – Graphic humour and photomontage

November 28, 2007 in General

Neil Hepburn aka Beau Bo D’Or continues his explanation of the art of digital image making.

I didn’t set out to do what I’m doing now. After many years doing a desk job where the most creative thing I did was my expenses, things went tits up for me and, while unemployed and waiting for letters of rejection to come in, I amused myself messing around with a copy of the poor man’s Photoshop, a program called Paint Shop Pro.

I set up a small website and started to get a bit of unwanted notoriety for what I did. I wanted to ease the process of updating the website, so I decided to use blogging software. This had unforeseen consequences, mostly good. Posting images became simple, hits went up (incredibly) and some media outlets came to visit.
I’ve had a couple of regular paid gigs (for static, mashed-up photographic images) as a result, but I believe the first proper one, for a national newspapers’ website, was offered for all the wrong reasons. Let me explain why I think this was the case.

One, I feel I may have got the job because the newspapers’ competition was also using my images (infrequently).

Two, I think the website wanted to differentiate itself from the newspaper by using digitally created cartoons, assuming that style of content should reflect the medium. I think it is pretty naïve to let the medium dictate style of content, especially when it is used to ‘declare’ that your digital product is different from your newspaper counterpart.

Brian Sewell once universally condemned ‘virals’ (viral joke or marketing emails) making the same related confusion between content and method of delivery (or access) that the former newspaper client made. If Sewell had made the same error when discussing his ‘type’ of art then he’d be slagging off gallery walls.

I’m sure there is a broad range of opinion on the validity of what I do but, as I said in my previous blog post, I kind of fell into this, whatever you may describe it as.

I think there is confusion amongst some cartoonists about what I attempt to do. Perhaps it is thought of as a shitty bit of cut and paste hurriedly done at a newspaper to do you lot out of some much-needed revenue. While some may choose to believe this, I believe this time is wasted, having a pop at the wrong people and failing to improve the situation with those who actually matter.

Even if you work out the correct target, having a pop at them directly, in the pub with friends or in a walled garden of your peers will do bugger all. If you make your work accessible – more accessible and visible to both the public and media – maybe they (the commissioning editors) will start chasing you.

There’ll be one more piece of opinion from Mr Hepburn appearing on Bloghorn soon.
28th November 2007
British cartoon talent