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Book Marks exhibition

June 5, 2019 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoons by © Sarah Boyce, The Surreal McCoy & Noel Ford.

Clive Goddard writes:

An exhibition of cartoons on the theme of books, literature and libraries drawn by the UK’s finest and funniest cartoonists. Appropriately enough the show will be taking place at Westminster Reference Library from June 3rd to 22nd and is free to enter.

The show features work by over 30 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press, whose signed originals and prints will be on sale. For a list of exhibitors & price list for the works please email:

info@procartoonists.org

Cartoon by © Chris Madden.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx.

During the exhibition, on Saturday 15th June 2-4 pm, there will be a free drawing workshop run by cartoonist Zoom Rockman, creator of the Zoom comic and the Beano’s Skanky Pigeon strip as well as work in Private Eye magazine. This event is free and suitable for all ages but spaces are limited so booking is highly recommended via the Westminster Libraries website.

Cartoon by The Independent’s © Dave Brown

Cartoon by © Richard Jolley.

Westminster Reference Library can be found at: 35 St. Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP.D

Cartoon by The Guardian cartoonist © Martin Rowson

Private Eye cartoon by © Glenn Marshall

 

 

Laughter as a Political Tool

January 31, 2019 in Events, General

The excellent and courageous Malaysian cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Ulhaque) recently gave a talk entitled ‘Laughter as a Political Tool’ at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London. There was also an accompanying exhibition of his campaigning cartoon work.

Zunar speaking at the event (pictures of him in handcuffs featured heavily as he’s frequently been arrested)

Back in his home country he has faced continued harassment and censorship for standing up against government corruption. His books have been banned and the printers harangued for publishing them. His Kuala Lumpur studio has been raided and thousands of his books confiscated. He’s been arrested on numerous occasions and some of his exhibitions have even been physically attacked. He was charged under the Sedition Act and faced the prospect of 43 years in prison. He was also banned from international travel up until last year.

The discussion was focused on how humour can be used to challenge existing political structures and was part of the IAS Laughter programme of events.

Cartoon by © Zunar

Zunar told the story of how the Head of Police ordered his arrest via Twitter – since then he has playfully tucked a drawing of the police chief using a mobile into many of his drawings (see above cartoon)

Zunar with CRNI’s Terrry Anderson (and a drawing I did of him during the talk)

He also spoke passionately about the need to stand up against political injustice and corruption. He said ‘How can I be neutral? Even my pen has a stand’.

Zunar was presented with the Cartoonists Rights Network International Courage Award in 2011.

Thankfully things have eased up for him since the regime he pilloried has been removed from office (although he joked that he will really miss drawing former Prime Minister Razak and his wife Rosmah who gave him so much material)

Zunar with The Guardian political cartoonist Martin Rowson at the exhibition after the talk. Martin described Zunar as one of the bravest people he’s ever met.

Cartoon by © Zunar

More can be read about Zunar’s long fight in this Guardian article.

He is planning a book about his experiences and will hopefully be visiting the UK again later in the year to talk about it.

PCO Cartoon Review of 2018

January 2, 2019 in Comment, General, News

 

Cartoon © Steve Bright

As is tradition, here is our review of the year featuring cartoons by PCO members and when I say tradition I mean we did it for the first time last year.

The Brighty cartoon above was done to introduce last year but is sadly still very true for the end of 2018.

If you can’t bear any more mentions of Brexit or Trump you’re advised to look away now!

Cartoon © Dave Brown

After the terrible Florida school shootings towards the beginning of the year Trump’s well considered proposal was to arm teachers. This was Dave Brown’s response in his ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ drawing for The Independent.

Cartoon © Mike Turner

Salisbury received a tourism boost in March when visited by two Russian holiday makers. Here’s a cartoon of Mike Turner’s on the Novichok nightmare.

Cartoon © Graeme Bandeira

March also saw the relativity sad news of Stephen Hawking’s death. Graeme Bandeira paid cartoon tribute to him in The Yorkshire Post. Our quarks are with Stephen’s family.

Cartoon © Sarah Boyce

In April the Home Office become Rudd-erless after the Windrush scandal erupted. This by Sarah Boyce published in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Nathan Ariss had signalled Amber Rudd’s departure in Private Eye too.

Cartoon © Steve Bell

In June we had the start of the Donald/Kim love-in as they met in Singapore. That moment captured here by Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

Then in July The Donald asked his administration to invite his other love interest Vlad Putin to the White House. The moment foretold here by Martin Rowson also in The Guardian. Of course the person Trump loves more than anyone else is Trump himself.

Cartoon © Steve Jones

The nation went into shock in July when England actually preformed well AND won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup!!! This was a favourite football tournament themed cartoon by Jonesy (used in Private Eye).

Cartoon © Tat Effby

There’s been much in the news this year about climate change and plastic in the oceans. Here’s a fine cartoon I’ve recycled on the subject by Tat Effby.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy also took to the oceans with this message on #MeToo.

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

In August Theresa May started thinking of life after being PM when she put in a ‘Strictly’ application by throwing some shapes, mostly Isosceles triangles, on her tour to South Africa. This from Kipper Williams in The Spectator.

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

In September the Dancing Queen announced at the party conference in Birmingham plans for the ‘Festival of Brexit’. This Jeremy Banx cartoon in the Finacial Times became very popular on social media.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

On the subject of Brexit, and it’s very difficult to get OFF the subject of Brexit, here’s a fine cartoon by Royston Robertson from The New European.

Cartoon © Andy Davey

…and there’s more. Andy Davey’s finely woven tapestry on the Brexit battle within the Conservative party. (Daily Telegpah)

Cartoon © Rob Murray

This Rob Murray Private Eye cartoon perfectly sums up our nation divided.

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s not only the UK that’s been in turmoil, across in France they’ve had gilets jaunes fever. This Gauling cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn.

As the year ended Trump closes down the US government to try and force through funding for his election promise to ‘Build A Hamster Wheel’. This just in from our correspondent Clive Goddard.

Illustration © Rebecca Hendin

This illustration by Rebecca Hendin has NOTHING to do with the year (it was drawn for the BBC Culture series ‘Stories That Shaped The World’) but I think it sums up 2018 perfectly…a sort of contemporary Edvard Munchian existential scream.

Cartoon © Brian Adcock

…and in The Guardian new PCO member Brian Adcock digs out his crystal ball to predict what might happen in 2019…yep, more of the same.

Happy? New Year from the PCO

 

Who pocketed the cartoon awards?

November 30, 2018 in Events, General, News

Clive Goddard writes:

The Political Cartoon Awards have been running for 18 years now, but this year there was something new. The event takes place in a large, swanky hall in central London with subdued coloured lighting, tasty little unidentified canapes being offered by attractive young people and more free booze than anyone has time to drink. The nominated cartoons appear on three enormous screens and, in the very centre of the room, stands a black box surrounded by voting slips. It’s a seriously impressive affair.
At 7pm precisely the voting stops and ballots are counted (probably in a secret room by someone wearing white gloves, I don’t know I couldn’t see that bit) and the winners names are entered into the gold envelopes.

For the last 18 years there have been awards for the country’s best political cartoon and best political cartoonist. These are the fine, upstanding chaps (pretty much exclusively chaps) who draw the editorials for the nation’s newspapers and this year was no exception. Steve Bell, Brighty, Ben Jennings, Mac and other household names were in the running. The ‘new’ element for 2018 was the addition of two awards for pocket cartoons, sponsored by the PCO (Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation – aka: us) to celebrate the work of those other cartoonists not lucky enough to have a regular gig with a national publication.

Once the gold envelopes had been stuffed, the speeches began. The evening’s host, Ben Atfield, managing director of the event’s major sponsor, Ellwood Atfield, kicked everything off and introduced his fellow organiser, Tim Benson of The Political Cartoon Gallery. Dr Benson’s speech was unusually tame compared to his normal performances which have long divided audiences into warring factions, mostly along the lines of those who were born in the fifties and those who were born sometime thereafter. He noted that he had been ‘neutered’ which presumably meant he had been ‘asked to tone it down a bit’ for the sake of everyone’s blood pressure. Some cartoonists who normally appeared at the event, notably the Guardian’s Martin Rowson, were boycotting it this year and a lively Twitter spat was in full … er … spatter so there was an underlying current of controversy in the air but luckily nothing controversial happened. The Doc, however, did find time to plug his new book which is, after all, what it’s all about.

Clive Goddard at the podium.

Then came my turn to take the podium. As chair of the PCO I’d been asked to say a few words about the current state of cartooning in Britain which, inevitably, resulted in a few minutes of moaning about how dire it has become. I had been asked to keep it light and not to mention gender but as the inclusion of the pocket cartoon awards had tipped the gender balance to include more women it would have been churlish of me not to welcome the change. The fact that I already knew the inaugural ‘Pocket Cartoonist of the Year’ award had been won by a woman made it a little hard to conceal my pleasure.

Grizelda receiving her award.

Claire Calman introducing the Mel Calman Award.

Next up was Claire Calman, daughter of the late Mel Calman, a pocket cartoonist’s pocket cartoonist who we sadly lost back in 1994. She was followed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford and wife of some bloke who is famous for dancing on TV. It quickly became clear that Yvette had not received the memo about avoiding the gender issue (or had chosen to ignore it) and gave a strong, impassioned speech about improving the representation of women in the cartooning world. There was much applause and the peasant folk did sing and dance in the streets with joy.

Last to the microphone was one of the twenty seven ex-Brexit ministers in attendance that night, David Davis, who much to his credit then hung around for the rest of the evening chatting to the proles and doing his best to use up the remaining free Heineken.

The winners were as follows:

Political Cartoon of the Year: Peter Brookes
Runner-up: Harry Burton
Political Cartoonist of the Year: Morten Morland
Runner-up: Bob Moran
Pocket Cartoonist of the Year: Grizelda
Pocket Cartoon of the Year: Russel Herneman

 

Cartoon © Peter Brookes

Cartoon © Harry Burton

Cartoon © Russel Herneman

The winners and presenters.

The new awards themselves are a pair of chunky transparent doorstop type things made from the finest hand-crafted Tibetan resin and laser etched with a Calman original and an Osbert Lancaster, both funded by the PCO (Hooray for us). All in all it was a very good evening. No bloodshed, very little vomiting and a lot of love and respect shown for Britain’s cartoonists. The PCO walked a successful line through the controversial bits and established a wider, more inclusive view of what constitutes a political cartoon. (Hooray for us again!). Congrats to all who have pressed for it.

Next year it will all be smooth sailing.

You can see Clive’s full speech here

Most photos © Ellwood Atfield

Portrait of the Not The National Portrait Gallery exhibition

October 3, 2018 in Events, General

Photo © Glenn Marshall

Clive Goddard writes:

I’m not sure how you measure these things in any meaningful way but I’m going to confidently declare that the PCO’s #NotTheNPG caricature exhibition at Charing Cross library was a complete triumph. For a start, the location was excellent, being in an area of central London visited by art loving tourists and now, thanks to the collective funds and effort of the  membership, kitted out as a proper gallery space with hanging facilities and frames which we can use again.

Poster featuring caricatures by Wilbur Dawbarn, Jonesy, Andy Davey and Simon Ellinas.

We could, I suppose, measure the show’s success in terms of the members’ response to the call for submissions. 47 different people had their work shown which added up to around 130 pieces on the walls (and tables and floor), whittled down in a painfully difficult process from over 300 submissions.


Photo © Jeremy Banx


How else to measure it? Well, people turned up. Not in their thousands, of course because it was a cartoon exhibition not a recording of the X Factor, but in sufficient numbers to make it worth doing and to stop the invigilators from sloping off to the pub. We were plugged in both Private Eye and The Evening Standard which certainly helped raise the show’s profile. And those that visited the show really liked it. The comments book was full of very complimentary things and there were plenty of encouraging words exhanged, too. It was also great to hear a lot of audible laughter coming from the visitors which made a pleasant change in the normally po-faced environment of an art gallery. Tate Modern really frowns upon people chuckling at their exhibits as I once discovered to my cost at a Turner Prize show.

Preview piece in The Evening Standard.

Better still, we sold stuff. Prints and originals on the walls quickly attracted those lovely little red dots which translated into total sales of nearly £3,000. This included a couple of hundred which the invigilators earned by selling more of their own work out of a grubby suitcase beneath the table.

Jeremy Banx, Christopher Burke and Steve Way at the Private View. Photo © Mika Schick.

The events were a great success too. The private view was well attended by many cartoonists, art editors and collectors most of whom behaved impeccably and didn’t get too drunk. Unfortunately Damian Hirst, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and the other caricature victims on display, though cordially invited, were unable to attend due to some pathetic reason or other. I don’t know – they didn’t RSVP. 

Helen Pointer workshop. Photo © The Surreal McCoy

Helen Pointer’s caricaturing workshop went down a storm, attracting a full table of happy punters eager to learn and to try their hand/s at the dark art.

The panel discussion. 

The panel discussion featuring PCO heavyweights* Martin Rowson, Andy Davey, Rebecca Hendin, John Roberts and Chris Burke was a sell out**. Different perspectives on working practices and processes were shared and there was a dialogue between people working in slightly differing, yet overlapping, adjacent fields, ie: portraiture through a lens that included everything from event caricature to political cartooning to illustration gave a welcome broad perspective. And, again, most people behaved very well throughout.

The clash of the hairdos. Photo © Glenn Marshall

So now that it’s all over and Uncle Glenn has de-framed everyone’s work and is trying to find the SAEs they came with, we start thinking about the next one. Today Charing Cross, tomorrow the world!

Major thanks to everyone concerned.

Clive Goddard

PCO Chair-human

* In terms of talent not body mass index.
** In terms of numbers not principles.

NOT the National Portrait Gallery

August 21, 2018 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoon by kind permission of © Richard Jolley/ Private Eye magazine.

PCO Chair human Clive Goddard writes:

“No, its ‘Not the National Portrait Gallery’ but it is right on its doorstep in a brand new gallery space at Charing Cross Library. It is an exhibition full of irreverent, funny and, in some cases, downright disrespectful caricatures and cartoons, all poking fun at the singularly human business of having a likeness made.

The show features work by just under 50 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press, whose signed originals and prints will be on sale”

‘The exhibition is on from 10th-23rd September, details of location and opening times here. During the run we have two associated events:

Martin Rowson with hands on a naked Boris. Photo © Zoom Rockman

Panel Talk

Monday 17th September 6-8pm

Discussion hosted by The Guardian cartoonist and author Martin Rowson with Chris Burke (The Times), Andy Davey (The Sun, Evening Standard, The Telegraph), Rebecca Hendin (BBC, Buzzfeed and more) and John Roberts (live event caricaturist) who all work across different fields as cartoonists, caricaturists and illustrators.

Angela Merkel by © Chris Burke

Samuel Beckett by © Andy Davey

Theresa May by © Rebecca Hendin

Amy Winehouse by © John Roberts

The talk is free but we recommend you book one of the limited places on the Westminster Libraries website.

 

Helen Pointer with presenter and comedian Sue Perkins. Photo © Helen Pointer

Caricature Workshop

Sunday 16th September 2-4pm

An ‘Introduction to Caricature’ with Helen Pointer. Helen is a highly experienced and much in-demand caricaturist.

This is suitable for all ages.

Again the event is free but you should book one of the limited spaces via the Westminster Libraries website.

 

with apologies to the real National Portrait GalleryWhy not combine a visit to both!

Contains Male Nudity – The Privates View

August 14, 2018 in Events, General, News

Away from the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival proper was the exhibition improper ‘Contains Male Nudity’ which is still running at One New Street Gallery. PCO’s intrepid senior staff photographer Kasia Kowalska was at the ‘Privates View’ to cover events as they unfolded.

Readers are warned that some of the following content may be of an adult nature.

Cartoonists ‘low five’ outside the gallery. Left to right Royston Robertson, Dave Brown, The Surreal McCoy, Alex Hallet, Alex Hughes and Pete Dredge.

Martin Rowson in the gallery studio creating a late entry to be inserted into the exhibition.

Cartoonists Kathy Lamb & Chris Burke plus Rob Murray with Andrew Birch. All caught visiting the show.

The ‘Room of Filth’ mostly so named because of the Jeremy Banx contributions.

Cathy Simpson pointing at a genuine ancient Greek artefact.

Royston Roberston’s ‘buff envelope’ gag proved very popular (actually framed in a window envelope). Royston priced the cartoon in first class stamps (some tax avoidance scam no doubt)

Zoom Rockman with one of his life drawings. Photo © Zoom Rockman

And some more ‘art’ from the walls:

One of the Danny Noble strips featuring nude Ollie Reed and Alan Bates spending their lives together after their naked wrestling scene in Ken Russell’s ‘Women in Love’.

‘Agent Dale Cooper’ from the mind of Dr Julian Gravy aka Tony Horseradish.

Drawing by illustrator Ian Pollock.

‘Peter’s Penis’ strip by Andrew Birch…naturally in the ‘Room of Filth’

All photos by © Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated.

Thanks to Torin Brown and  The Bouncing Barrel for providing the lovely cask of ale.

The exhibition continues to run at One New Street Gallery until 1st September (open Friday and Saturday or by appointment)

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Feeling the heat at yet another sunny Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

August 9, 2018 in General

You might argue that in this record summer the sun was always going to shine on the 2018 Herne Bay Cartoon Festival. But at the time of writing it is chucking it down with rain, so the festival still seems to be somewhat blessed. Perhaps the gods of weather are all fans of funny and clever live cartooning.

Photos © Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated

We've arrived: The Herne Bay town crier announces this year's cartoonists

We’ve arrived: The Herne Bay town crier announces this year’s cartoonists

The cartoonists who took part on Sunday (5 August) were: Nathan Ariss, Andrew Birch, Dave Brown, Des Buckley, Chris Burke, Pete Dredge, Clive Goddard, Alex Hallatt, Tim Harries, Alex Hughes, Kathryn Lamb, Glenn Marshall, Lou McKeever, Rob Murray, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Rich Skipworth, The Surreal McCoy and Steve Way.

Watch this space: Alex Hallatt begins work. The cartoonists battled the heat to produce 6ft tall big board and peep board cartoons

Watch this space: Alex Hallatt, visiting from New Zealand, begins. Cartoonists battled the heat to produce 6ft big board and peep board cartoons

Nice day for it: Nathan Ariss at work in his board, left. Martin Rowson seems to be done

Nice day for it: Nathan Ariss at work in his board, left. Martin Rowson’s Brexit board appears to be finished. Photo © Fiona Hayes

Clive and Amy Goddard produced on the #MeToo theme that paid tribute Donald McGill, king of the seaside postcard

Saucy stuff: Clive Goddard and Amy Amani-Goddard paint a board that pays tribute to Donald McGill, king of the seaside postcard

Caricatures are always hugely popular. Alex Hughes and the team worked tirelessly for five hours

Here’s looking at you: Caricatures are always popular, with neverending queues. Alex Hughes and the team worked tirelessly. Photo © Gerard Whyman

Stars of the stage: Cathy Simpson and Pete Dredge caricaturing

Cathy Simpson and Pete Dredge caricaturing on the stage. It was a little cooler there, which may explain the expression on the face of shorts-wearing Pete

Karol Steele and family, who attend every year, are happy customers once more

Karol Steele and family, who attend every year, are happy customers once more

Strike a pose: Cartoonists Alex Hallatt, Kathryn Lamb, Cathy Simpson, The Surreal McCoy and Lou "Bluelou" McKeever

Strike a pose: Cartoonists Alex Hallatt, Kathryn Lamb, Cathy Simpson, The Surreal McCoy and Lou “Bluelou” McKeever

Rich Skipworth's take on plastic in the oceans. Kathryn Lamb drew a compilation of gag cartoons on #MeToo and #TimesUp

Different strokes: Rich Skipworth tackles plastic in the oceans while Kathryn Lamb draws a compilation of gag cartoons on #MeToo and #TimesUp

Andrew Birch adds detail to his Perseus and Medusa big board

Snakes on a pier: Andrew Birch adds detail to his Perseus and Medusa peep board. Photo © Gerard Whyman

Cover up: Tim Harries found the weather a bit much. He's from Wales

Cover up: Tim Harries finds the weather a bit much. He is from South Wales

A different picture: Steve Way produced a peep board on the controversial Video Assistant Referee

A different picture: Steve Way presents his landscape peep board on the controversial World Cup video assistant referee. Photo © Fiona Hayes

The public board, for kids young and old, is also a key part of the event. This year it was run by Lou McKeever

Big draw: The public board, for kids young and old, is also a key part of the festival. This year it was run by Lou McKeever. Photo © Gerard Whyman

Lou brought along her remote control Trump hair, which was a big hit

Lou brought along her remote control Trump hair, which was a big hit

As usual Glenn Marshall painted a backdrop for his own art happening before a swift costume change ...

As usual Glenn Marshall painted a backdrop for his own unique art happening. Photo © Gerard Whyman. Then there was a swift costume change …

... to become Mystic Marshall, reader of minds and fortunes. Possibly.

… to become Mystic Marshall, reader of minds and fortunes. Possibly

Surreal McCoy took a look at some endangered species with her big board

Animal magic: The Surreal McCoy takes a look at some endangered species. Photo © Karol Steele

Royston Robertson'a Judy declared #TimesUp. Des Buckley wilts in the heat.

We two: Royston Robertson’s Judy tells Mr Punch that #TimesUp, while Des Buckley wilts in the heat. Photo right © Gerard Whyman

Chris Burke's King Canute David Attenborough attempts to hold back the wave of plastic

Canute’s you: Chris Burke’s Sir David Attenborough attempts to hold back the wave of plastic in the oceans

... Rob Murray took a collage approach to the same theme

 Rob Murray took a collage approach to the same topical theme, sticking plastic bottles to his cartoon. Photo © Gerard Whyman

Finished board by the Guardian political cartoonist Martin Rowson

Pointed satire: Finished board by Guardian political cartoonist Martin Rowson

It wouldn't be Herne Bay without a big board from the Independent's Dave Brown

Bigly board: It wouldn’t be Herne Bay Cartoon Festival without a cartoon from the Independent’s Dave Brown

As has become traditional, the cartoonists rounded off the day with a carousel ride. Left to right: Nathan Ariss, Steve Way and Des Buckley

What goes round: As has become traditional, the day ended with a carousel ride. Left to right, big kids Nathan Ariss, Steve Way and Des Buckley

You can see more by visiting @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or Facebook.com/ HBCartoonFest.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Sixth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival begins

July 27, 2018 in Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2018

[Poster by The Surreal McCoy]

Exhibitions are now open at the sixth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival and more than 20 of the UK’s top cartoonists will descend on the Kent seaside town next weekend for three days of talks, workshops and live drawing.

The first event is a discussion featuring The Surreal McCoy and Rachael Ball. They will talk about their work-in-progress graphic novels The Wolf of Baghdad and Wolf Man. The event is hosted by Alex Fitch, journalist and critic behind the Panel Borders radio show. It takes place on Friday 3 August at 5.30pm.

Surreal McCoy and Rachael Ball talk
On Saturday 4 August, Alex Hallatt will run a workshop for kids at Beach Creative from 11.30am-1pm. Creator of the syndicated comic strip Arctic Circle, she is British but lives in New Zealand and is visiting the festival while on a trip to the UK.

Arctic Circle by Alex Hallatt
Roger Todd will run a puppet caricature workshop at the same venue from 1.30pm. Political cartoonist and PCO member Martin Rowson will host a caricature workshop at Pettman House from 2.30pm.

The main festival day is the Sunday 5 August. The cartoonists will gather on Herne Bay Pier from midday to draw big-board cartoons, seaside peep boards, caricatures and more. As ever, there will be a chance for the public to get involved with drawing on big boards, plus they can play drawing games with the Guardian cartoonist Ros Asquith.

Cartoon from the Turning then Tide exhibition by Tat Effby

Cartoon from the Turning the Tide exhibition by Tat Effby

The festival exhibition Turning the Tide is now open at Beach Creative and runs until Sunday 12 August. The theme, which is always linked to the seaside location, acknowledges that the past year has been eventful for women. It is 100 years since the first women won the vote, we’ve seen the birth of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the protests over the gender pay gap … and even the first woman Doctor Who.

Of course, the festival always lets cartoonists interpret the theme however they want, so the choppy waters of Brexit are visited once more and there are also Turning the Tide cartoons about plastic in the oceans.

There will be a private view of Turning the Tide on Saturday 4 August, 6.30pm-8.30pm.

Tim Sanders cartoon from Turning the Tide

Tim Sanders cartoon from Turning the Tide

Also open now is Funny Women, an exhibition held jointly at the Seaside Museum and Bay Art Gallery, both on William Street. The show runs until Sunday 19 August.

Funny Women cartoon exhibition

It looks at women cartoonists and illustrators from the past 100 years and includes Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert the Bear, and Tove Jansson of Moomins fame, alongside contemporary cartoonists such as Riana Duncan, Posy Simmonds, Nicola JenningsGrizelda, Martha Richler (Marf) and many more. The exhibition is held in conjunction with the British Cartoon Archive in nearby Canterbury.

There will be a private view of Funny Women on Friday 3 August at the Seaside Museum, then the Bay Art Gallery, 7pm-8.30pm.

Also this year, a group of US women cartoonists were invited to give their perspective on the festival theme, and the work of Isabella Bannerman, Maddie Dai, and Liza Donnelly will feature in both the Turning the Tide and Funny Women exhibitions.

Cartoon by Maddie Dai

Cartoon by Maddie Dai

Alongside the main show at Beach Creative, the festival also hosts the PCO’s Gagged exhibition in the Rossetti Room. It ran at the Westminster Reference Library last year. The Herne Bay version runs until Sunday 12 August.

Gagged cartoon exhibition in Herne Bay

The full list of cartoonists scheduled to attend the festival is as follows: Nathan Ariss, Ros Asquith, Rachael Ball, Andrew Birch, Dave Brown, Des Buckley, Chris Burke, Pete Dredge, Clive Goddard, Grizelda, Alex Hallatt, Tim Harries, Alex Hughes, Kathryn Lamb, Glenn Marshall, Lou McKeever, Rob Murray, Helen Pointer, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Rich Skipworth, The Surreal McCoy and Steve Way.

For updates on the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, follow @HBCartoonFest on Twitter or go to Facebook.com/HBCartoonFest.

The Independent cartoonist Dave Brown at last year's festival

The Independent cartoonist Dave Brown will return this year

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Gagged Ungagged Talk

December 18, 2017 in General

Andy Davey writes:

I was honoured to be asked by those nice people at Procartoonists to “host” an evening of interviews and talks to accompany the “Gagged” exhibition of cartoons at Westminster Reference Library on the subject of the oppression, censorship and gagging of political cartoonists around the world. My experience of hosting is limited to the point of zero, so I therefore accepted with trepidation but nevertheless with complete admiration for the cartoonists who have suffered for their art and reportage. As it turned out on the evening, my admiration was justified and afterwards I felt very humbled by the experience.

Martin Rowson shows a blank slide of a cartoon censored by The Independent

The quality of the speakers was excellent. First up was the Guardian’s own superbly scatalogical Martin Rowson, giving us a short history of poo in print and advice on how to successfully offend just about anybody in power.

Cartoon by © Zunar

The evening then turned somewhat digital via Skype interviews and screenings of films of various cartoonists who fight their political systems despite hardship. A poignant dramatic intervention occurred here – we had booked the heroic Malaysian cartoonist Zunar to speak to us via video link but we could not establish connection. It was later revealed that his no-show was due to his arrest and confiscation of his phone and computer. He faces 43 years in jail because of his criticisms of the Malaysian PM but continues to draw because he feels that it is his duty to do so. Against this, it’s impossible not to feel absolutely humbled. The world needs obstinate, moral, courageous people like Zunar.

Cartoon by © Khalid Albaih

Our second cartoonist interviewee was no less impressive. Khalid Albaih, a cartoonist from Sudan (via Romania and the US) who now resides in Denmark in order to freely publish his political cartoons in a democratic environment. His cartoons (usually wordless) were used widely in Arab Spring demonstrations but he would not be able to publish such “seditious” work in those countries. Khalid was very eloquent and passionate about his need to draw political cartoons but has chosen not to associate himself with any media outlet for fear of being censored or corrupted. Consequently, he has a day job and draws at night.

Cartoonist Andy Davey with Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

This was followed by a rearguard action from the estimable Jodie Ginsberg from Index on Censorship, showing the visceral power of angry political cartoons from around the world and how they have been suppressed, sometimes brutally.

Video call with Robert Russell. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Lastly we were privileged to speak to Robert Russell, the founder of Cartoonists Rights Network International – a man who has probably done more than any to help and support dozens of imprisoned, harassed and endangered cartoonists around the world.

All of this must remind us of how lucky we are in western democracies. But it is useful to remember that, even in the UK, the conditions that allow satire to flourish are not fully met. Censorship exists in practical terms because of the severe bias of the traditional media.

The future of cartoons may well be that modelled by Khalid Albaih – radical, delivered via independent social platforms…but unpaid. And the message that emerged from the evening was that cartoons most certainly have a future. Each contributor underlined the importance of political cartoons, particularly in societies with a democratic deficit.

A film of the event will be available to view online in the new year.