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The PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2021

January 3, 2022 in Comment, General

Cartoon by © Brian Adcock

To quote the great Benny Andersson ‘Mamma mia, here we go again’ with another PCO members ‘Cartoon Review of The Year’.  For the most part it’s been another %¢º€@$ one (Google Translate it) but once more cartoonists injected some humour into it….apart from the odd cartoonist injecting humour refusenik.

The above transitional cartoon by Brian Adcock for The Independent.

Cartoon by © Dean Patterson

Mystic deAn did warn us what was coming in Phoenix Magazine.

Cartoon by © Len Hawkins

This Len cartoon from The Spectator sums up everyone’s coping strategy for 2021

Caricature by © Jonathan Cusick

In January Trump won the US election despite those commie Democrats who tried to rig it by getting more votes! A fine portrait of high-chair hysterics by Jonathan Cusick.

Cartoon by © Pete Dredge

Early in the year Dredge went viral in The Spectator….

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

…and Clive Goddard addressed one of the vaxxing questions of our times.

Cartoon by © Matt Percival

A Whitty cartoon by Percival for The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Pete Songi

In March the Suez Canal got blocked (cancel culture!). This chuckle raised by Pete Songi.

Cartoon by © Zoom Rockman

Two cultural phenomenons in one in Private Eye from Zoom Rockman, featuring Rishi’s ‘Quids Game’ (see what I did there? I took the ‘s’ off the front of ‘squid’ and put it at the end so it becomes ‘quids’ which is what Rishi is in charge of! I’M A GENIUS!)

Cartoon by © Kathryn Lamb

Guerres de poissons par KJ Lamb pour Détective Privé.

Cartoon by © Ed Naylor

In June GB News launched, riddled with missus takes and on-air coke ups. A Nay cartoon broadcast by Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Henny Beaumont

A cartoon on the closing of schools by Henny Beaumont for the Guardian. In October it was voted a winner in ‘The Political Cartoon of the Year Awards 2021’. You can see Henny’s acceptance speech here.

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

In July Dominic axed his way back into the news headlines. Here’s a Shining example of the caricaturist’s art by Brighty for The Sun.

Cartoon by © Andrew Birch

Our Royal Correspondent Andrew Birch spews forth on a year long media obsession in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman

In travel news we had the very confusing Red, Amber, Green traffic light system…or as us artist types thought of it the Viridian Green, Cadmium Orange, Vermillion Crimson traffic light system. This long haul travel cartoon by Nick Newman was for The Sunday Times.

Cartoon by © Andrew Fraser

More (Gulliver) travel news from Drew in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Tat Effby

In July football came home but then quickly went away again to Italy. This winner by Tat Effby.

Cartoon by © Tames Mellor

In August the new football season started and VAR was maddening crowds. A jewel from James Mellor in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Mark Winter/Chicane

In more sports news Mark ‘Chicane’ Winter social distancing at the Olympics . Published on the cover of Il Vernerdi ‘di Repubblica (Italian news magazine, supplement of La Repubblica) to promote Michael R Payne’s Toon In Olympic book.

Cartoon by © Andy Davey

In August we had the orderly allied withdrawal from Afghanistan in scenes reminiscent of the Dad’s Army titles ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Taliban?’. Andy Davey records events for posterity in The Evening Standard.

Cartoon by © Wilbur Dawbarn

Wilbur on the desperate refugee channel crossings published in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Jonesy cartoons

It seemed this summer that most of the world was aflame or flooded, this take on it by Jonesy taken from Prospect Magazine.

Cartoon by © Royston Robertson

A shortage of HGV drivers was blamed for empty shelves. My local Tesco Metro had completely run out of HGV drivers by the time I tried to buy one. A spikey cartoon by Royston from The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Grizelda

No shortage of shortage cartoons this year. Grizelda emptying shelves in New Statesman.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown

September saw Boris reshuffle his pack of jokers. Dave Brown dealt this up for The Independent.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banks

Also in September Texas voted in new draconian anti-abortion laws. Banx on the pro-life/anti-life contradiction in his Financial Times slot. Jeremy went on to win Pocket Cartoonist of Year at the aforementioned awards for his FT work. His triumphant speech can be seen here

Cartoon by © Guy Venables

More from September where the UK was doing its bit to fight global warming by making fuel scarce. This twist on the new Bond film release by Venables, Guy Venables in his daily Metro cartoon spot.

Dog drawing by © Glenn Marshall

At the beginning of October I drew my parent’s dog Barney chewing a sock.

Cartoon by © Graeme Bandeira

In other October news we had the sewage crisis as Tory MPs voted against the Waste Prevention Bill. Here’s a very clever rendition of our leader by Graeme Bandeira for The Yorkshire Post.

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

At the end of October COP26 started in Glasgow and we all became environmentalists for a fortnight. Here is Sarah Boyce on fast fashion from Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Kipper Williams

In November Boris Johnson peppered his speech with porcine references at the CBI (Cured Bacon Industries?) conference. Here’s Kipper Williams’ take on it for The Spectator.

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

The only bit of snow most of us saw over Christmas was provided by The Surreal McCoy in Fortean Times.

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

In business cheese and wine news Martin Rowson served up some nibbles in The Guardian…

Cartoon by © Steve Bell

…and Steve Bell released secret footage of the Downing Street Tory parties. Watch it here.

Cartoon by © Jonathan Pugh

Pugh put out the empties in his Daily Mail pocket cartoon.

Cartoon by © Chris Williams

A Christmas card by Dink on the introduction of chimney passports.

Cartoon by © Rebecca Hendin

And finally Rebecca Hendin on Christmas regifting in The Guardian.

I’ve just noticed there are eight cartoons featuring BodgeJo and none turned up of Keir Starmer which may reflect that he didn’t turn up much as leader of the opposition – Peppa Pig has featured in our review more!

See you again next January for the Review of 2022 where no doubt we’ll be talking about the Zeta variant and looking forward to Trump being on the campaign trail for the US election 2024….UGH!

A Happy New Year from all at PCO Global Media.

Tune into PCO TV

December 22, 2021 in General, News

Just a reminder to tune in, subscribe and spread the word about our PCO TV Channel over on that Youtube. There are a couple of fresh videos on there:

Firstly the launch of a series cartoonist Q&A videos that have been stitched together for public display by PCO Chair Personage Clive Goddard starring PCO members Jeremy Banx, KJ Lamb, Tat Effby,, Rebecca Hendin, Guy Venables, Chris Burke, Kipper Williams and Clive himself. Watch out for future instalments.

The second Q&A video is up now too asking cartoonists about their materials.

Secondly a video of the award winners from the recent PCO sponsored Pocket Cartoon Awards featuring the the FT’s ubiquitous Mr Banx and Matt ‘Matt’ Pritchett from The Telegraph.

You can see all the winners videos from of The Political Cartoon of The Year Awards 2021 on the site of sponsors Ellwood Anfield

 

Can cartoons be both funny – and diverse?

September 16, 2021 in Comment, General

Cartoon © Nick Newman

By Nick Newman and courtesy of The Spectator. 

Of the many challenges cartoonists face — rejection, money, drink, or lack of — one of the trickiest is the growing pressure to depict diversity. Nowadays readers often write to publications complaining about the dearth of ethnic minorities in our drawings and demand for cartoons to be more inclusive.

It’s like being trapped in a bad political cartoon, walking a tightrope above a minefield. A quick survey of my colleagues in the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation highlighted the following:

  1. Cartoons involve laughing at someone. If that person is black, you risk appearing racist; even including a BAME character in the background of drawing can lead to accusations of tokenism (‘background box-tickers’).
  2. Including any minority character in a cartoon can run the risk of implying that the cartoon is about race and so can inadvertently politicise the cartoon.
  3. At the end of the day, it’s safer to make the pale, male and stale the butt of the joke.

Gag cartoons are about speed and recognition. Stereotypes are a form of visual shorthand designed to get an idea across quickly. The French? Man in stripy shirt. Teacher? Mortarboard. German? Fat man with sausage. Cartoons amplify for comic effect, which runs the risk of promoting race hate when depicting BAME characters. ‘I draw a lot of idiots saying daft things and don’t want any accidental inference that it is because of their race,’ says PCO chairman Clive Goddard. ‘Better to stick to white idiots than be misunderstood.’ British newspaper and magazine cartoonists are predominantly white, which can make any joke about ethnicity feel awkward or patronising. Cartoonists may be cowards, but we are not afraid to admit to our cowardice in avoiding the issue.

Cartoonists’ drawing styles present another problem. Characters with big noses can lead to accusations of anti-Semitism. One political cartoonist has been told to reduce the size of all Middle Eastern noses. Attempts to make cartoon characters more diverse can be tricky. Kathryn Lamb likens ‘inking in’ her cartoon faces to ‘blacking up’.

For caricaturists whose stock-in-trade is exaggeration, the problem is, appropriately enough, exaggerated. Morten Morland, The Spectator’s cover artist, says that whenever he draws Diane Abbott or Priti Patel, someone always complains. ‘It’s usually because they disagree with the cartoon itself,’ he says, ‘and need something to hit back with. So by hinting that the caricature is racist they aim to discredit the whole cartoon.’

In 2018, a caricature of Serena Williams by the Australian cartoonist Mark Knight of the Herald Sun was reported to the Australian Press Council for depicting her with ‘large lips, a broad flat nose… and [being] positioned in an ape-like pose’ while throwing a tantrum on court. The National Association of Black Journalists said the caricature was ‘unnecessarily Sambo-like’ and even J.K. Rowling weighed in, tweeting: ‘Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes.’

Accusations of racism in cartoons stretch back to Gillray and beyond. The Georgian cartoonists depicted Africans as threatening and comical, with grotesque features and appetites. Cruikshank’s ‘The New Union Club’ (1818) is one of the most racist prints of the 19th century, depicting a debauched dinner held at the African Institution and attacking abolitionists such as Wilberforce. Two hundred years later the Commission for Racial Equality called for Hergé’s 1931 comic Tintin in the Congo to be withdrawn from sale because of its depiction of black Africans as simple, childlike and uncivilised. The New York Public Library locked its copy away. ‘Tintin in the Congo is a racist book,’ says the FT’s Jeremy Banx, ‘but Hergé was on a long journey, from King Leopold II to the Beatles, in which he ended up in a very different place to where he started.’ In later life Hergé himself referred to his early books as ‘youthful sins’.

There are lessons to be learned from history. In 1925 a glib cartoon by David Low portrayed England cricket’s run machine Jack Hobbs as a colossus compared with figures from history, including Caesar, Charlie Chaplin and a caricatured Muhammad. It led to rioting in Calcutta. As the staff of Charlie Hebdo found out, these days a cartoon of the Prophet is likely to get you cancelled — permanently.

We live in a sensitive age. Cartoonists agree on the need to promote diversity, but the complications are endless. Diversity itself is becoming a dirty word, suggesting ‘diverging from the white mean’. Meanwhile ‘inclusive’ is said to imply whites doing the including.

As the Sun’s Steve Bright says: ‘You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you don’t, you’re racist on the grounds of exclusion. If you do, unless there’s a perfect balance, you’re accused of tokenism, which is also racist. And if you achieve that mythical perfect balance — you’d have to draw 100 people in every cartoon, and colour them according to percentages of population — you’re obsessive, and quite possibly insane.’

Unfortunately, deconstructing cartoons also sucks all the fun out of them. As the great Barry Cryer says: ‘Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.’

This article first appeared in the 11 Sept 2021 issue of The Spectator

You can see Nick interviewed about this piece by Spectator TV here. Bonus points to Nick for sporting his PCO badge.

A Peer at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2021

September 8, 2021 in Comment, Events, General

A carousel of cartoonists. Photo by © Ray Covey

Apologies for the late running of our usual photo gallery of the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival but pictures were delayed by the HGV lorry driver shortage…so blame Brexit/Covid.

Join me now as we take a not-so virtual tour up the pier…

Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

The start of the traditional cartoonists’ parade, pencil led by Zoom and Ace Rockman who are also carrying the Steve Coombes Memorial Trilby. It was festival co-organiser Steve who instigated the annual musical ‘March of the Cartoonists’. Steve sadly passed away earlier in the year.

Board by © Zoom Rockman. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

Zoom’s was the first board you were greeted by on the pier. A splendid rendition of Boris Johnson’s bottom that you were invited to speak out of.

Board by © Zoom Rockman,

Martin Rowson demonstrating where Boris generally talks from.

Board by © Royston Robertson

I’ve often wondered how Royston constantly produces such a large volume of great gags…here’s your answer, he’s cloned himself!

Board by © Des Buckley. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

We had plenty of Covid at the festival this year, thankfully in the cartoons rather than in the cartoonists.

Here’s Des Buckley’s ‘JABS’ movie poster. Next year we’ll be expecting ‘JABS II – THE BOOSTER’.

Board by © James Mellor. Photo by © Karol Steele

A flotilla of topical cartoons from James Mellor.

Board by © The Surreal McCoy. Photo by © Karol Steele

I’m a huge fan of the absurdist humour of The Surreal McCoy.

Board by © Guy Veneables. Photo by © Karol Steele

Guy Venables – a man preparing himself for post big-board beer ownership.

Beachwear collection by © Glenn Marshall

Andy & Karol Steele before entering the ‘m a r s h a l l interactive plastic wave machine’.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Clive Goddard with his chief colourist Amy Amani.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Procartoonist Chairhuman Clive on the exulted PCO podium.

Board by © Rob Murray, Photo by © Ray Covey

Rob Murray about to launch his dating app for shingles.

Finished board by © Rob Murray

Board by © Chris Burke. Photo by © Ray Covey

A second wave of Boris cartoons. This one brushed up by Chris Burke.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Banx draws a blank.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Jeremy’s board with filling.

Board by © Martin Rowson. Photo by © Ray Covey

More Boris, this time from the venerable Martin Rowson. He’s left the best bit to last.

Board by © Kathryn Lamb. Photo by © Karol Steele

Finally at the end of the pier K J lamb has yet another Boris stranded out at sea in a ‘Lie Boat’. Surely a typo?

Photo by © Karol Steele

Alex Hughes manning (or should that be personing?) caricature corner.

There is also a great film record of the event by Dave Painter of HUTC productions. You can enjoy it here.

Plaudits to Sue Austen and the team for getting the festival together this year under such trying circumstances.

Thanks to festival regulars Karol Steele and Ray Covey plus festival coordinator Jason Hollingsworth for the photos in the absence of usual PCO snapper Kasia Kowalska.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival Sets Sail Again

July 3, 2021 in Comment, Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is back this year. We weren’t able to gather in 2020 for obvious reasons, and when we meet again this summer we will sadly be missing some friends including festival co-organiser Steve Coombes who passed away last December. His tireless enthusiasm and joi de vivre will be missed so much at the festival. Here is a wonderful tribute to Steve that appeared in The Guardian by his partner Sue Austen. Sue ran the festival with Steve since it started in 2013 and she is at the helm this year.

Caricature of Steve Coombes on the Herne Bay Pier carousel by © Dave Brown

This year’s title and theme is Herne Bay Cartoon Festival Takes to the Waves. We are expecting a flood of cartoons about the oceans with the kind of jokes we have come to expect from our cartoonist contributors. (See Royston Robertson‘s fabulous poster for examples)  Our exhibition of new work and old jokes will be open at Beach Creative, Beach Street, Herne Bay, CT6 5PT from 23 July until 19 August.

Des Buckley mid hang at Beach Creative. Photo by Yagmur Coombes.

Cartooning Live will once again be on Herne Bay Pier on Sunday 1 August from 12 noon. Amongst those involved are PCO members Martin Rowson, Rob Murray, Clive Goddard, The Surreal McCoy, Jeremy Banx, Chris Burke, Kathryn Lamb, Alex Hughes, James Mellor, Des Buckley, Guy Venables, poster boy Royston Robertson plus last and least Glenn Marshall.

And there will be an exhibition of the popular Daily Express cartoonist Giles at The Seaside Museum, 12 William Street, Herne Bay, CT6 5EJ open from 10 July to 7 August. In 2020 the Giles Family celebrated its 75thanniversary. We had planned an exhibition last year in collaboration with the The British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent. So, a year later, we are presenting The Giles Family Holiday at Home. From the start the family enjoyed many holidays together and days out. So, in a year when we are all encouraged to take a ‘staycation’ our exhibition explores some of the joys of the British seaside holiday, whatever the weather!

On Saturday 31 July 2.00pm at Beach Creative there will be ‘Raise Three Fingers for Myanmar’. It’ll be a workshop run by The Surreal McCoy for all the family to create a wall of three finger salutes in support of the people of Myanmar.

#threefingers for Myanmar campaign

March 21, 2021 in Comment, General, News

The Surreal McCoy writes:

In collaboration with artists and creatives in Myanmar (formerly Burma), PCO are running #threefingers a social campaign in support of local cartoonists and artists, and in recognition of the deteriorating situation there. A landslide election for the National League for Democracy party was overthrown by a brutal military coup on February 1, 2021, sparking a national Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). 

Cartoon © Steve Bright

PCO members have been drawing a selfie giving the three fingered salute in solidarity with the movement. The three-fingered salute has become a symbol of resistance in protest and in art. Across the milk tea nations, from Myanmar to Thailand to Hong Kong, the gesture represents a global solidarity for democracy, defiance against tyranny, and the fight for freedom.

Cartoon © Dave Brown

The Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) has cracked down hard on protestors, as they have in previous civil uprisings. They have reigned with terror in Myanmar’s border states for generations, leading a vicious campaign to remove the Rohingya minority from the country, in 2017.

Cartoonists protest in Yangon.

Myanmar artists have used their art to project the nation’s voice and call upon artists and allies from all nations to raise three fingers for human rights, freedom and democracy.

Cartoon © Zunar

We are partnering with the Burma Campaign UK and Three Fingers.org, to bring the campaign to a global audience. The artwork will be displayed on the site with a view to selling (with the creator’s permission). All proceeds will be directed to Mutual Aid Myanmar, an organisation assisting civil society in Myanmar.

Cartoon © Kerina Stevens

Please retweet/repost whenever you can with the hashtag #threefingers and these social media handles:

https://twitter.com/Raise3Fingers

https://www.instagram.com/raise3fingers/

https://www.tiktok.com/@raise3fingers

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

Cartoon © Rupert Besley

Cartoon © Steve Jones

Cartoon © Des Buckley

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

The PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2020

December 28, 2020 in General, Links, News

Cartoon by © Andy Davey.

Glenn Marshall wrote:

Once more my friends it’s time for the PCO Cartoon Review of the Year, featuring work from members of the PCO (speech) bubble. It’s been a difficult year to find humour in, although it would be a nightmare for cartoonists if any year was filled with just love, joy and kittens! I ended last year’s review with “So what fresh horrors will 2020 have in store?” – how little did we know!

As we chase off 2020 (envisioned above by Andy Davey for The Telegraph) one story seems to have dominated this year’s review over all others. Just for fun, see if by the end you can spot which one it is?

Cartoon by © Dean Patterson

To start us off the this cartoon by Dean Patterson sums up the year in one image.

Cartoon by © Andrew Fraser

Some family entertainment by Drew in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

This cartoon by Ms McCoy was from Lockdown 1.0 but works equally well now for Lockdown 2.5 (and counting)

Cartoon by © Matt Percival

…and from check-in let’s move on to the baggage area with a Percival cartoon reclaimed from The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman

Nick Newman in the The Sunday Times on the looooong running Dom Com. In a questionnaire in The Sunday Times Nick recently cited this cartoon as a favourite he’d done this year.

Cartoon by © Glenn Marshall 

Some testing times for Cummings back in May.

Cartoon by © Rebecca Hendin

Rebecca Hendin’s very own lockdown guidelines appeared in the New Statesman.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx

Masker vs Anti-masker featuring Batman and Superspreader from Banx in the Financial Times. Jeremy was recently voted ‘Pocket Cartoonist of the Year’. You can see a report on the awards by PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard on the PCO YouTube Channel.

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

…and talking of Clive Goddard.- in other news (was there any other news I hear you ask?) here’s Harry and Meghan doing some extreme social distancing from the family by Clive.

Cartoon by © Steve Bell

Can’t a have a cartoon review of the year without some Donald – hopefully not so much in next year’s! This splendid reworking of the Delacroix painting  ‘Liberty Leading the People’ (more like ‘Liability Bleeding the People’) is by Steve Bell in The Guardian. Steve was voted ‘Political Cartoonist of the Year’ in the afore-mentioned awards.

Cartoon by © Andy Davey

…and in The Daily Telegraph Andy Davey poured ‘Scorn’ (other bleaches are available) on Donald Trump.

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

The Black Lives Matter movement started after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Here is a creative twist on the phrase from Sarah Boyce published in PE.

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

INTERLUDE: As a diversion from relentless bad news stories here’s a lovely, soothing cartoon and drawing from Rupert Besley.

Cartoon by © Chris Williams

School days are supposed to be the haPPEiest of our lives! Here’s Dink on the return to school in September.

Cartoon by © Tat Effby

The taking down of public statues also led on from the birth of Black Lives Matter. Later in the year there was a furore about the Mary Wollstonecraft memorial sculpture by artist Maggi Hambling. Tat Effby successfully clashes the two stories with a nude Clive of India.

Cartoon by © Steve Jones

In lack of live Entertainment News: Jonesy reports for Private Eye on the new rules for theatre goers…

Cartoon by © Kipper Williams

…and Kipper Williams took us to the cinema in The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Royston Robertson

Excellent cartoon from our technology correspondent Royston Robertson. I think we’re all suffering from a bit of this, indeed I’m sure I have ‘Long Zoom Fatigue’

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

Didn’t have to have my arm twisted to use this pretty bullying cartoon by Martin Rowson for Kevin Maguire’s The Mirror column.

Cartoon by © Graeme Bandeira

In sports news Graeme Bandeira puts his hand to a caricature of Maradona for The Yorkshire Post. For some bonus content you can see Graeme’s cartoon that won ‘Political Cartoon of the Year’ in the awards report mentioned earlier,

Cartoon by © James Mellor 

In more sports news James Mellor takes to the fairways. Like many I took up indoor grouse shooting.

Cartoon by © Guy Venables

Back to Trump who, at time of going to press, STILL hasn’t lost the election. This by Guy Venables in his regular slot for The Metro.

Cartoon by © Ed Nay

Clever drawing by Nay. Can you see what is yet?

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

A contender for Man(iac) of the Year, the dyed-hair Trumpublican attorney Rudy Giuliani. I loved this caricature by Brighty.

Cartoon by © Pete Dredge

A substantially funny cartoon from Pete Dredge served up in The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Pete Songi

A fabulous homage to Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ by Pete Songi culled from Martin Rowson’s twittersphere #Draw2020challenge.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown

Talk about Johnson being out of his depth with everything from PPE, Cumming’s eye tests, track and disgrace etc etc etc, You feel Boris just hasn’t got it….well he did get it, but you know what I mean. This from The Independent by Dave Brown really sums up Boris’ year.

Cartoon by © Roger Penwill

Roger Penwill takes to the road for ‘Roadway’ (the magazine from the Road Haulage Association). It’s about the Kent lorry parks post Brexit, but became even more relevant with the closed border before Christmas.

Cartoon by © Wilbur Dawbarn

This BBC balanced offering from Wilbur plucked from The Spectator…

Cartoon by © Zoom Rockmann

…and more Christmas fun. This taking the Santa knee from Zoom Rockman in the Private Eye Christmas special..

Cartoon by © Chris Burke

Let’s end the year with this lovely festive offering from Chris Burke, it’s what we all wanted in our stockings this year.

So a Happy? New Year from all at PCO megacorp.

Now, I wonder what fresh horrors 2021 will have in store?

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson for The Mirror Kevin Maguire column.

 

Cartoonists Rally Round Birthday Boy Carson

August 5, 2020 in General

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

Dean Patterson writes:

Recently a lot of the best cartoonists in the UK, including many PCO members, went out of their way to draw a birthday wish for Carson, who is a very sick little boy with a brain tumour and had to spend his birthday in hospital getting chemotherapy…

Cartoon by © KJ Lamb

The boy’s family really wanted to send their thanks and let the cartoonists know what it meant to them. (They felt the cartoonists went beyond what could have been hoped for!)

Cartoon by © Andrew Fraser

I know everyone who contributed is very busy and their time important and it meant a lot, really, that so many still contributed. When I sent them over to his Dad he was utterly gobsmacked, with tears in eyes. His Grandfather also got in touch to ask me to convey his thanks to all concerned.

Cartoon by © Russel Herneman

So thank you! Not just from me but especially from the boy’s family for helping them celebrate the little lad’s birthday.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banks

Cartoon by © Steve Jones

Cartoon by © Graeme Keyes

Cartoon by © Mike Stokoe

Cartoon by © Harry Burton

Cartoon by © Mumph

Cartoon by © Dean Patterson

Cartoon by © Ron McGeary

Cartoon by © James Mellor

Cartoon by © Glenn Marshall

Why does no one want to be a cartoonist any more? The lack of new blood doesn’t bode well for the industry’s future

July 25, 2020 in Comment, General

Written by Nick Newman for (and courtesy of) The Spectator with bonus cartoon content.

‘Nightmare!’ is how The Spectator’s cartoon editor Michael Heath has been describing cartooning for at least 30 years, but it’s truer now than ever. Eighty years ago, cartoonists were so celebrated that waxworks of Low, Strube and Poy were displayed in Madame Tussauds. Today, all that remains of Low is a pair of waxy hands in Kent University’s British Cartoon Archive. We are a vanishing species.

A © K.J. Lamb cartoon from Cherwell Magazine done during the time Kathryn was still at college.

There is a lack of new blood in the industry that doesn’t bode well for the future. When I was a student, getting published in Punch and Private Eyewas seen as the pinnacle of a career in humour. Many tried —and succeeded — from an early age. K.J. Lamb was selling gags to the Eyewhile still at Oxford. Ken Pyne was published in Punch when just 16 — as was Grizelda in Private Eye. The FT’s Banx was also a Punch stalwart by the time he was 20. That was then. Now we are all middle-aged and there are few youngsters snapping at our heels. The last time six cartoonists met at a Spectator party we had a combined age of over 350. In a recent photo of Eye cartoonists, featuring 45 of the top names, only one was under 30.

Punch cartoon from 1983 by a youthful © Jeremy Banks

Yet there’s every indication that cartoons are as loved by the public as ever. They are tweeted, shared, posted on Instagram; they go viral and get printed out and stuck on fridges. Pocket cartoons, pioneered by Sir Osbert Lancaster in the 1930s, are a particularly British art form and one that is still prized. Editors place topical gags on the front pages of newspapers, a practice rarely seen in France, Germany or America.

So why the dearth of new cartooning talent? The simple answer is that the opportunities have narrowed. Since the death of Punch, the main outlets for freelancers are Private Eye, The Spectator and the Oldie — and competition is fierce. Private Eye receives more than 500 submissions per issue and publishes up to 50. Every newspaper used to have regular pocket cartoonists — now only a handful survive. In straitened times for print media, the cartoons are often the first to go. Many of us lost work when lockdown was announced.

Another problem is financial. Some publications haven’t raised their rates since before the fall of the Berlin Wall, while others pay as little as £50 per cartoon. Compare that with the New Yorker, which is reported to pay between $700 and $1,400 per gag, depending on the artist’s ‘seniority’. One British publisher once asked me: ‘If we pay more, will the jokes be any funnier?’ I wish now I had said yes.

It isn’t just the lack of money that’s deterring new talent. There is also fear of failure. Rejection is a way of life for even seasoned cartoonists and today’s snowflakes can’t cope with it. I recently encouraged a promising young cartoonist to try The Spectator, which he did with immediate success. I still warned him: ‘You will get rejected. Everyone gets rejected.’ After two issues of ‘no thanks’ he has abandoned cartooning.

We veteran cartoonists do try to encourage the next generation, although it’s akin to committing professional suicide. The Cartoon Art Trust’s Young Cartoonist competition — judged by Fleet Street cartoonists — receives 1,000 entries a year. We joke that the objective is to identify the talent and then break their little fingers, but we stupidly don’t, and instead celebrate new stars and extra competition. Former winner Will McPhail is now a New Yorker regular; Rob Murray draws for Private Eye and the Sunday Times; Ella Baron for the TLS. All were in their twenties when they won, which suggests the talent is out there.

© Rob Murray’s first cartoon in Private Eye.

Oliver Preston, chairman of the Cartoon Art Trust, thinks alternative outlets distract comic artists. Graphic novels such as Kingsman, which was turned into a successful Hollywood movie franchise, are a more enticing means of earning aliving. Also, the ability to self-publish online cuts out editors who say, in the words of Heath: ‘You are not funny, Mr So-Called Funnyman.’ Ruby Elliot is a young illustrator better known as ‘rubyetc’ on Instagram, where she has 277,000 followers. Through her website, she sells merchandise, artwork and subscriptions to her cartoons.

Jon Harvey, the creator of Count Binface (who stood against Boris in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat in the last election), is the sort of sharp-minded political gagster who in another era would have drawn up his ideas and sold them to publications. Instead, he puts his jokes on Twitter to boost his online profile. It’s quicker, the response is immediate and, as he quips: ‘The editor of my Twitter page is more likely to take it.’ The theory is that getting noticed online may lead to commissions for radio and TV. He describes the internet as a ‘Wild West’ of opportunities for those who know how to self-promote or nurture a following.

For those of us brought up on dead wood who still find magic in newsprint, it may be too late to grasp these opportunities. So we continue to live the ‘nightmare’. How long the nightmare continues remains to be seen.

With many thanks to The Spectator for allowing us to reproduce this piece.

You can see an item featuring Nick on this story from BBC Newsnight (around 37 mins in)

Not the 2020 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

April 24, 2020 in Events, General, News

Cancelled poster by © Roger Penwill

Glenn Marshall writes:

This weekend would have seen the main events of the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival  but sadly, like so much else, it has had to be cancelled. One of the organisers, Roger Penwill, commented a few weeks ago when the postponement was announced “We felt that we had no choice as the nature of the event, encouraging many members of the public to come to an indoor space, ran contrary to the guidance on tackling virus spread. More importantly we did not want to put at risk the health of any member of the cartooning community or their families”

The theme was ‘twenty twenty vision’ so the organising committee should’ve been visionary and seen Covid 19 coming!

In the meantime, here for your edification and delight, is a selection of optical illusionary cartoons selected by Roger that would’ve been part of the the Bear Steps Gallery exhibition. All drawn from/by the PCO fraternity.

In alphabetical order:

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

Cartoon © Rupet Besley

Cartoon © Andy Davey

Cartoon © Ian Baker

Cartoon © Neil Dishington

Cartoon © Pete Dredge

Cartoon © Tat Effby

Cartoon © Clive Goddard

Cartoon © James Griffiths

Cartoon © Jonesy

Cartoon © Kathryn Lamb

Cartoon © Chris Madden

Cartoon © Roger Penwill

Cartoon © Glenn Marshall

Cartoon © Ken Pyne

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

Cartoon © Noel Ford

This final cartoon is by the great Noel Ford (who I should really rechristen Noel Zord to keep alphabetic consistency) Sadly Noel died last year. He had been very involved with the festival since its inception and part of this year’s events was to be a retrospective exhibition of his wonderful work.

Thanks to Roger and all the others who’d put a lot of effort into preparation for this year’s jamboree, including Sarah Knapp, Tim King, Tat Effby, Jonathan Cusick and Jill Wild. Hopefully the Shrewsbury cartoon spectacle will be able to be rescheduled in the near future.

On Saturday I’ll be off to do my self-isolated vision themed big board in the garden….