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by Royston

Performance cartooning in New York

December 6, 2010 in Comment

Live performance cartooning
We have told you many times about the Battle of the Cartoonists, part of the Big Draw and have reported on performance cartooning at the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival.

Now, news reaches us of a performance event in New York, above, featuring three teams of cartoonists from The New Yorker coming up with improvised drawings based on a selection of words.

The New York Observer has the story: Battle of the Sharpies: Cartoonists square off with their pens. The author of the piece, Alice Gregory, explains the appeal of this kind of live cartooning event:

There’s nothing more impressive than good improv. To see spontaneous wit at work may be the most humbling form of entertainment. What, no Google to confirm spelling? No coffee to spur that sparkle? On-the-spot illustration is fun to witness.

The voting system sounds familiar to any cartoonist who has taken part in the Big Draw’s Battle of the Cartoonists:

In lieu of a scientific system—tallied points, say—the victors were determined by subjective shouts. The decibel levels were ambiguous, but an executive decision was made for the sake of efficiency.

We feel the losers’ pain! But, it’s all just for fun, of course, and the greater goal is achieved: reminding people how much fun cartoons can be.

Thanks to The Surreal McCoy for the link.

Footnote: The Big Draw 2011 is looking for help with funding.
Go here: The Big Give

Cartoons and poetry meet on stage

September 9, 2008 in General

PCOer Clive Goddard on a unique cartooning event

It’s not every day you hear of a comedy double-act show featuring a poet and a cartoonist. I recently got a ticket for such an event at the Cornerstone Theatre, Didcot.

The cartoonist in question was Tony Husband, whose work I’ve admired for years, and the poet was TV and radio’s Ian McMillan, (“the Shirley Bassey of performance poetry”) best known for appearances on the likes of Have I Got News For You.

The pair have been touring their show around large chunks of the country for several years now. It was billed as “A Cartoon History of Here” which intrigued me as I imagined these two Lancashire blokes would know very little about Didcot, an Oxfordshire dormitory town with a railway station, a power station and not much else. As it turned out, they did know very little about Didcot – that’s where the audience came in.

Right from the off Ian McMillan was very funny. He did an excellent job of making everyone feel very relaxed, which was just as well considering the audience participation which was to follow. We had to wait a while for Tony’s contribution. For the first half hour or so he sat anonymously behind a desk at the back, like the Pet Shop Boys’ keyboard player.

The idea, it emerged, was for Ian to elicit ideas (preferably silly ones) about the town from the audience, which were turned into an improvised communal poem, acted out by lucky volunteers and illustrated by Tony’s cartoons.

Tony drew on sheets of acetate directly onto an overhead projector so we got to see how fast he drew – and thought (both of which were pretty damn fast). The style was relaxed, confident and instantly recognisable, which is what you’d expect of someone who has been Cartoonist of the Year several times.

At the end of the evening Tony gave away his drawings to an appreciative group of clamouring young fans, which meant I didn’t get one.

All in all, a great idea and great fun. As was the remainder of the evening in the pub where we fearlessly grilled the pair on their intimate lives and learned nothing. Well, nothing printable.

Thanks, Clive. Bloghorn says click G for Goddard.

The PCO: British cartoon talent