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Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival in the rear-view mirror.

April 25, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick, Pete Dredge, John Roberts and Helen Pointer ‘drawing the crowds’.

Rupert Besley writes:

The sun shone on the righteous – and on the cartoonists in Shrewsbury. It was a bumper gathering in the town this last weekend, with visitors and participants drawn from far and wide. Few more so than festival regular Dean Alston from Down Under, whose ace Big Board, along with a Noel Ford classic, was among the first things to greet arrivals in The Square. Close by worked guest cartoonists from the States, Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein, while further input to the international flavour of the day came from the strong deputation of Belgians, all involved in the European Cartoon Centre at Kruishoutem near Ghent.

Big boards by Australia’s Dean Alston and the UK’s Noel Ford.

US cartoonists Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein with their big boards.

Cartoon by Nikola Hendrickx from Belgium and Nikola in action.

The private view of the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ exhibition at The Bear Steps Gallery.

This was the 15th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival and the theme of Transport was a fertile and perfect choice. The galleries (Bear Steps, Theatre Severn & V.A.N, plus Wendy Shea exhibition at Participate) gave proof, if ever needed, of what can be done from kicking around a good subject and, back in The Square, heads spun towards the reassuring sight of Air Flight Marshall at the check-in desk for budget airline Icarus Air.

The GORGEOUS Glenn Marshall at the Icarus Air check-in desk.

Roger Penwill fronts the Drawma while Noel Ford, Wilbur Dawbarn and Royston Robertson take to the boards accompanied by The Surreal Accordionist. 

You can count on Shrews for good live music from beneath the Market Hall and so it proved throughout. Mid-afternoon came the Drawma, with mellow accordion softening the oohs and aarrghs of those there for quick-drawn gags and terrible puns.

Caricaturists Alex Hughes suitably in tropical attire for the unseasonal heatwave.

Elsewhere in The Square, the line-up of top caricaturists was kept hard at it all day (Hughes, Roberts, Pointer, Cusick, Leatherbarrow, Dredge & Ryder, with Christelle Jones at Bear Steps). Meanwhile, other Big Boards got filled by the likes of (with apologies to anyone inadvertently missed) Clive & Amy Goddard, Steve Best, Royston Robertson, Wil Dawbarn, Ross Thomson, Ger Whyman, Hunt Emerson, Rich Skipworth, John Landers, The Surreal McCoy, Jeremy Banx, Roger Penwill, Nikola Hendrickx & present writer, not forgetting fine graphic contributions too from Zoom Rockman and Patrick Holden.

PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard with PCO’s Treasurer-human Amy Amani-Goddard.

Steve Best applying blue.

Maria Scrivan ‘likes’ Royston Robertson’s twitter cartoon. 

Gerard  Whyman hogs some limelight.

The top of Rich Skipworth.

The Surreal McCoy and her surreal cartoon.

Jeremy Banx creates Noah’s limo.

Semi-big boards by John Landers and Roger Penwill.

Ross Thomson & Hunt Emerson drawing and colouring in.

Dean Alston and Wilbur Dawbarn doing some more drawing and colouring in.

Rupert Besley on a familiar scene from a cartoonists daily life.

Zoom of Crouch End draws Clive of India.

Helen Pointer’s ‘Introduction to Caricature’ workshop.

The cartoon workshops are an important part of the festival – this year tackling caricature, movement in drawings, an automobile barn dance plus Stop Motion animation (Barry the Shrew) and some fun paper planes (from Biggles Rudling). Festival patrons Alex Lester and Martin Wainwright came up trumps in their support of the Festival, the former using his radio interview skills to host the panel of cartoonists in conversation at the Wightman Theatre on the Friday evening. The latter was able to apply some of his editing experience to the list of rules drawn up for the Air Cartooning contest that rounded off the following evening. And, on the Sunday morning, while bikers gathered in their droves on the outskirts of the town, festival participants were treated to a fascinating tour of Historic Shrewsbury.

Rupert Besley wins the inaugural ‘Air Cartooning’ Cartoon Off ® Noel Ford

Thanks and full credit to all responsible, beginning with organisers Sarah Knapp, Bill McCabe, Tim King, Roger Penwill, Noel Ford, and Jonathan Cusick, along with all the volunteer helpers, and not forgetting the many participants (including visitors) who made the whole thing so successful.

Thanks also to Mika Schick for the excellent photographs.

More detail on the festival: Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Reader’s Digest, digested

April 26, 2011 in Events

The Readers Digest stall, manned by Cartoon Editor Steve Way, with some of the winning captions*. Photo copyright and courtesy of PCO member Ger Whyman.

A new addition to this years recent Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival was the presence of a team from the magazine Reader’s Digest. From a stall in the town’s Square, the focus of many of the festival’s activities, the Reader’s Digest team engaged members of the public to try their hand at a popular Digest competition, Beat the Cartoonist.

Thankfully, this didn’t involve any physical violence towards the assembled cartoonists, as entrants were asked to provide their own captions to a series of cartoons from the magazine. With prizes that included the signed and framed original artwork, £100, subscription to the magazine and a goody bag, this was unsurprisingly a successful event, as there were more than 1,000 entries over the course of the weekend.

Bloghorn‘s own Royston Robertson was one of the cartoonists who had a drawing used in the contest. He said: “It was great to hear that people responded to the contest in such great numbers. More proof, as if it was needed, that people love cartoons, and a great interactive element for the festival.”

The Digest also hosted a free talk and advice session at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, titled ‘What makes a good cartoon?’ Cartoon editor Steve Way and design director Martin Colyer, along with the magazine’s editor Gill Hudson, talked a packed room through the submission process and discussed some of the factors that may influence their decision to accept or reject a particular cartoon.

The Digest team took questions from the floor and ran through some of the cartoons that have recently appeared in the magazine, after which there was an opportunity for aspiring cartoonists to show their portfolios and receive targeted advice.

*For those of you squinting to read the winning captions in the photo above, they read as follows (l-r): “Shouldn’t we be squeezing the silly banker instead of stretching him?” – Pete Yearsley; “I told you not to get this sat nav from the 99p store!” – Luke Grint, 11 yrs; “If we find the sixpence we can hire a sunshade too” – Janet Bell. The cartoons are by Simon Meyrick-Jones, Paul Wood and Royston Robertson.

Thanks to Rob Murray and Ger Whyman for help in writing this post.