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Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival – The Exhibitions!

October 20, 2020 in Comment, Events, General

Exhibition poster cartoon by festival organiser © Roger Penwill.

Lovely to see a REAL cartoon exhibition on REAL walls! Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival may have been cancelled earlier in the year but the accompanying ’20-20 Vision’ show lives on at the wonderful Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury. It opened this week and features 70 cartoons by 43 cartoonists including Steve Bell, The Surreal McCoy, Pete Dredge, Jonathan Cusick, Tat Effby, Wilbur Dawbarn, Ralph Steadman, Royston Robertson, John Landers, Steve Best, Jeremy Banx, Kathryn Lamb, Sarah Boyce, Tim Harries, Glenn Marshall, Andy Davey, Clive Goddard & Zoom Rockman.

The Bear Steps Gallery, a fifteenth century restored building. Photo © Glenn Marshall.

There is also a bonus exhibition in the upstairs gallery of cartoons responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo of the team hanging the artwork last Sunday © Tony Clarkson.

The PCO blog featured some of the cartoons selected for the ‘Vision’ exhibition earlier in the year and you can see them here.

Another photo of the hang © Tony Clarkson.

Here is a selection from the ‘No One Saw It Coming’ coronavirus cartoons display.

Ralph Steadman did a HUGE painting. A video of him in action as he creates it is displayed next a much smaller print of the work.

Cartoon © Ralph Steadman.

Cartoon © Peter Schrank

Poignant cartoon by Peter Schrank about isolation, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable during lock down.

Cartoon © Steve Bell.

Unsurprisingly Boris featured heavily in the exhibition. This by The Guardian’s Steve Bell…

Cartoon © Andy Davey.

…and another from Andy Davey.

Cartoon © Chris Williams

…and yet another. This by ‘Dink’

Cartoon © Grizelda.

Over-indulgence cartoon from Grizelda…although some of us didn’t drink sensibly even before the pandemic.

Caricature © Jonathan Cusik.

Fine caricature of Chris ‘Now Go Wash Your Hands’ Whitty by Jonathan Cusick.

Cartoon © Pete Dredge.

Back to school with Dredge.

Cartoon © Ken Pyne.

Ken Pyne takes us on holiday….remember those?

Cartoon © Royston Robertston…and Phil.

Pirate material by Rrrrroyston Rrrrrobertson.

Cartoon © Henny Beaumont.

No exhibition on this theme would be complete without a wave to the super-spreader himself. Henny here channeling Hokasai.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy.

Finally as we head into the second wave this cartoon by the Surreal McCoy seems perfectly timed.

Through the exhibition run we’ll be publishing more of the ‘No One Saw it Coming’ exhibits across the vast PCO media empire so keep an eye on our Facebook (@UKProfessionalCartoonists), Twitter (@procartoonists) and Instagram (@procartoonists) feeds.

For more Covid ‘fun’ we published a selection of infectious laughter earlier in the year here.

The exhibition at Bear Steps runs until 31st October and the gallery is open 10.00am – 4.0pm daily. (Covid measures at the gallery: hand sanitiser at the door, 6 visitors at a time with an eye kept on flow, in one door out through another. Face coverings to be worn)

Puppet caricature © Jonathan Cusik.

Here’s a fine video of the cartoon-form Mayor of Shrewsbury Philip Gillam introducing the show.

Congrats to all those involved from Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival and Bear Steps Gallery for putting the shows together in tricky times. Fingers tentatively crossed that the festival can return in all its glory next Spring!

  • Thanks to festival committee member Sarah Knap for extra info in this post.

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….

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.

 

by Royston

Remembering the cartoonists’ cartoonist

April 14, 2016 in Events, General, News

Honeysett Roundtable

Royston Robertson writes about taking part in a tribute to the late Martin Honeysett at the Cartoon Museum in London:

Martin Honeysett is described by Bill Stott as “the cartoonists’ cartoonist” in a foreword to the excellent A Taste of Honeysett book that accompanies the current Cartoon Museum exhibition. So it was fitting that a bunch of his fellow inkslingers got together this week to pay tribute to him.

The event was organised to tie in with the last week of exhibition, a career overview of the work of Honeysett, who died very suddenly after a short illness in January 2015.

I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the roundtable discussion along with Ken Pyne, Jeremy Banks and Nick Newman.

Charles Peattie, who draws the Telegraph strip Alex and Celeb for Private Eye, and had come as an audience member, was also persuaded to take part and share his appreciation of Honeysett. The museum was actually spoilt for choice as a sizeable number of the audience at the well-attended event were fellow scribblers, proving the truth of the cartoonists’ cartoonist tag.

Honeysett cartoon

“God knows what they teach them on those Government Retraining schemes.”

For an hour we discussed the unique art of Honeysett, a genuine one-off in the world of cartooning whose work is often seen as cruel or brutal but is, we all agreed, essentially truthful. And very funny, of course.

We also shared memories of Honeysett himself. Ken Pyne told a story involving Martin, the cartoonist Michael ffolkes, and a very large cake. Ffolkes, and the cake, came off worst. Nick Newman shared a cartoon Martin drew of the three Private Eye editors at the magazine’s 50th birthday party, which can be seen here.

The floor was then opened to the audience and many favourite cartoons were discussed.

All in all, a fitting tribute to Honeysett, who is sadly missed not just for his cartoons but for his good company. The cartoonists retired to pub next door, happy in the knowledge that had Martin been there he would have been utterly embarrassed about the whole thing.

A Taste of Honeysett runs until Saturday 16 April

Martin Honeysett at the 2014 Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

The cartoonists’ cartoonist: Martin Honeysett, summer 2014

From the dusty PCO blog archive, here are a couple of articles written by Martin Honeysett:

Teaching cartooning in Japan
If you are Oldie enough …

 

Exhibition: Pastiche, Parody and Piracy

June 12, 2014 in Events, General, News

Steve Bell: "I licence the logo bearers ..."

Steve Bell: “I licence the logo bearers …”

Many PCO members feature in an exhibition that brings together cartoonists and contemporary artists called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy and opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on 20 June.

The exhibition was put together by the the curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster with artist Miriam Elia and cartoonist Jeremy Banx, with the aim of showing the importance of the “appropriation” of images made by others in art and satire.

The team say that they were inspired to “celebrate the historical creative act of pastiche, parody and piracy” after Penguin UK threatened to pulp Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery, a parody of the Ladybird series of children’s books.

Alongside Banx, the PCO members involved are: Nathan Ariss, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Matt Buck, Wilbur Dawbarn, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Steve Jones, Kathryn Lamb, Chris Madden, Glenn Marshall, Alexander Matthews, Jonathan Pugh, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy and Mike Turner.

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Dance by Matisse

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Matisse’s Dance

As well as cartoons, this exhibition will feature projections, photographs, prints and collage that use or pastiche other works of art, characters and logos.

The use of other works – though it has long been a tool in art – can be a controversial issue, particularly as those works are often copyrighted. The exhibition has already stirred up debate within in the PCO, with some members refusing to take part.

The gallery says: “The pieces in this exhibition play with other people’s ideas and pre-existing works to showcase a selection of contemporary appropriation in art that is often mischievous, somewhat humorous, and often unsettling. It plays with what the viewer might be comfortable with and questions ideas of authorship and originality.”

The title for this exhibition was inspired by a proposed exception for parody, satire and pastiche in a government copyright law. If it is passed, the act of subverting and appropriating elements of popular culture will be protected from large companies that often seek to silence artists through the courts.

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

“We believe this is crucial for the future of appropriative art and satire, and although the law has been delayed, we are putting on this exhibition to celebrate artists, satirists and cartoonists who are paving the way,” say the organisers.

Pastiche, Parody and Piracy: Exploring Different Approaches in Contemporary Art Appropriation is at The Cob Gallery, London NW1 from 20 June – 5 July. For more, email info@cobgallery.com or call 020-7209 9110

The Round-up

November 10, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Mike Williams @Procartoonists.org

In the wake of recent disappointing decisions elsewhere in the mainstream press, it’s encouraging to see cartoons being celebrated this week in a major newspaper. The Independent is the latest to provide coverage of Private Eye’s new retrospective cartoon book, and PCO members feature prominently in the article, which includes quotes from Nick Newman and is accompanied by classic gags from Ken Pyne and Mike Williams (above), among others. Read the article here.

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor, reveals the exhaustive lengths he and his staff go to in order to ensure cartoons used by the magazine bear no similarity to ones already used.

The latest Asterix book – and the first without co-creator Albert Uderzo wielding the pen – has launched to strong sales. Meanwhile, on this side of the Channel, Stephen Collins has received a nomination for his graphic novel, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year. Hear from Collins and fellow strip cartoonist Tom Gauld in this video from the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Comic strips, of course, are nothing new – but cartoonists are always finding new ways to approach them.

 

by Royston

Cartoons kick over the statues at V&A

October 19, 2011 in Events

Private Eye: The First 50 Years

After much media hoopla, Private Eye: The First 50 Years opened at the Victoria & Albert museum in South Kensington, London, yesterday. The exhibition will run until January 8.

The free exhibition explores the wealth of artistic talent that the magazine has showcased since 1961 and features original artwork for some of the funniest Private Eye cartoons.

Cartoonist Nathan Ariss attended the private view. He writes:

“According to one insider it was ‘the most fun’ the reverent halls had witnessed in decades. Yes, the PE PV at the V&A was AOK, and deemed a rather fine night indeed.

“A [insert collective noun here] of cartoonists were interspersed with some serious marble statues and seriously well-off people and then somewhat embarrassed by a warm and gracious speech from the Editor, [Is this guy after an OBN? – Ed], Ian Hislop, who paid full tribute to the importance that cartoons have played in the magazine’s success.

“I imagine the exhibition will be equally as enjoyable as all the sparkling repartee and champagne on the night itself, but I’m afraid I became somewhat tired and emoticon as the night wore on. Thankfully the exhibition is still on until the new year.”

National Association of Builders Convention by Ken Pyne

National Association of Builders Convention by Ken Pyne

Many cartoonists started their careers at the magazine, and they can be seen in this show, including Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Willie Rushton, Barry Fantoni, Nick Newman and Michael Heath

There are lots of cartoons in the show by members of the PCO, which runs the Bloghorn, such as Andrew Birch, Wilbur Dawbarn, Neil Dishington, Pete Dredge, Len Hawkins, Martin Honeysett, Tony Husband, Ed McLachlan, Alexander Matthews, Ken Pyne, above, Royston Robertson, Mike Turner, and the PCO patron Bill Tidy.
Private Eye editor's office

The cartoons are in themed sections, on politics, royalty and social observation. There are single-panel cartoons, long-running strips and caricatures.

Hislop has chosen 50 of the best front covers, one from every year the magazine has been published. The exhibition also evokes the atmosphere of the magazine’s Soho office, with a recreation of the Editor’s desk, right, and a messy production table.

Here’s a round-up of some of the many Private Eye: The First 50 Years features you can currently see on the net:

A behind the scenes look at the production of the Eye, including a video of how a Ken Pyne cartoon progresses from idea to page, can be seen on the V&A site.

The Private Eye blog has a piece on putting the exhibition together.

Fifty years of Private Eye as seen by The Wall Street Journal

… and by Creative Review.

Ian Hislop takes the BBC’s Will Gompertz on a tour of the exhibition. The site also has political leaders and pundits giving their views of Private Eye

And finally, to coincide with the 50th celebrations, the Chris Beetles Gallery has an online exhibition selling artwork by Private Eye cartoonists.

by Royston

Exhibition in aid of tsunami victims

October 12, 2011 in News

John Jensen tsunami cartoon
The Kyoto International Cartoonist Congress has organised an exhibition from which proceeds will go to victims of the Japanese tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Kyoto International Cartoon Special Exhibition features 300 cartoons from 127 cartoonists in 41 countries, including, from the UK, Martin Honeysett, John Jensen, Ken Pyne and Ross Thomson.

A detail from John Jensen’s drawing has also been used for the cover of the catalogue, above. The caption: “I’ve found our good luck charm. It’s not even cracked.”

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK’s Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

Show: Messing about in boats

June 30, 2011 in Events, News

Bloghorn: Henley Royal Regatta Cartoon © Ken Pyne from the UK Professional cartoonists' Organisation

Bloghorn cartoon from Henley Royal Regatta © Ken Pyne

One of the displayed cartoons from the membership of the PCO currently exhibiting at Henley-on-Thames.