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Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 14, 2011 in Events, News

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival kicks off tonight with a drop-in cartoon workshop at the Bear Steps Gallery at 4.30pm, and a talk by Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive on the cartoons of Carl Giles at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 7pm, tickets £5.

In the meantime, the exhibition Personal Bests opened on Monday (also at the Bear Steps Gallery) and features cartoons on the Festival’s Olympic theme, including these:

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Pete Dredge

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Chichi Parish

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Noel Ford
Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Royston Robertson


Come back to Bloghorn for coverage of the festival as it happens, or follow the hashtag #shrews11 on Twitter.


Say 'I do' to Marriage à la Mode

March 21, 2011 in Events

Pak marriage cartoon
A cartoon exhibition looking at all aspects of married life – for better, for worse – opens at the Cartoon Museum in London this Wednesday (March 23). Cartoon above by Pak

As Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare to tie the knot on April 29, Marriage à la Mode: Royals and Commoners In and Out of Love promises “a bouquet of barbed wit” on the subject of marriage.

It will feature musings on matrimony from cartoonists past and present, including William Hogarth, who created a series of works that give the show its name, James Gillray, H.M. Bateman, Donald McGill, Carl Giles, Mel Calman, Ralph Steadman and Posy Simmonds.

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, is represented with cartoons by Steve Bell, Rupert Besley, Noel Ford, Martin Honeysett, Ken Pyne, below, Royston Robertson, and Bill Stott.

Ken Pyne marriage cartoon
Arnold Roth Diana cartoonDespite being its inspiration, the royal couple are unlikely to give the show their seal of approval. As well as looking at some of the less successful aspects of marriage, some cartoons remind us of a certain royal wedding from 30 years ago that did not go too well, as seen in this 1995 Time magazine cartoon by Arnold Roth, right.

William and Kate may also not want to be associated with the work of Reg Smythe, who features in the exhibition and is famous for creating the less-than-idyllic marriage of Andy Capp and Flo.

Other cartoonists featured include Ros Asquith, Ian Baker, Biff, Nicholas Garland, Grizelda, Peter “Pak” King, David Langdon, Peter Schrank, Geoff Thompson, and Robert Thompson.

For more details visit the museum website. Marriage à la Mode runs until May 22, by which time those commemorative royal wedding tea towels may well be frayed at the edges.

Foghorn magazine – Issue 49

March 4, 2011 in News

Spring has nearly sprung and so has the latest issue of Foghorn, the cartoon magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. In keeping with this issue’s musical theme, the magazine features an operatic cover by PCO’s Chichi Parish and is available to subscribers for the very merry annual price of £20 for six full colour issues.

What’s inside?

Noel Ford reminisces about his time as a guitarist in the Stormbreakers
Fellow guitarist Roger Penwill tells of  his love for the instrument
Tim Harries has a less than relaxing spa break
John Jensen gives us his musical memories
And you’ll find a full page of cartoons by the Surreal McCoy!


…all the regular features – Buildings in the Fog, The Critic, The Foghorn Guide to…, The Potting Shed, Andy Davey‘s ‘Foggy’ strip and many more random acts of humour crammed in wherever we could find room.

You can read older issues of Foghorn online here, right up to our most recent issue.

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'Tis the season to buy cartoons

December 13, 2010 in News

Private Eye Christmas cartoonsNever mind final Christmas posting dates*, the main thing the discerning cartoon lover needs to bear in mind at this festive time of year is when will the Private Eye Christmas cards run out?

The magazine’s website shop has been carrying a “sold out” notice for some days now – proof, if it were needed, of the enduring popularity of cartoons as a way of spreading cheer.

Every year the magazine sells packs of 12 Christmas cards, featuring colour cartoons by 12 different artists. This year four of those were by members of the PCO, which runs The Bloghorn: Noel Ford,
Ed McLachlan, Royston Robertson, and Mike Turner.

*December 21 for First Class, December 18 for Second, since you ask.

New patrons for Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2010

April 2, 2010 in General

Comedian, TV host and and cartoon fan Phill Jupitus has given his public support to this year’s upcoming Shrewsbury cartoon festival by signing up as a patron of the annual event. Phill and broadcaster Libby Purves will also be joined by BBC Radio 2 DJ Alex Lester.

The Festival’s full programme for 22-25 April is now available online and in a downloadable pdf brochure. You will be able to follow coverage of the event here at the Bloghorn and on our Twitter feed.

The festival, now in its seventh year, also enjoys support from long-time patrons Professor Colin Pillinger (the inspiring scientist from the Beagle 2 Mission to Mars) and TV news pundit Andrew Marr.

Bloghorn Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival Magic, Myth and Mystery cartoon 2010

Highlights of this year’s event include an illustrated talk by one of Britain’s finest political cartoonists, Martin Rowson. His talk ‘Giving Offence – the Greatest Gift’ is at the Old Market Hall, 12.30pm on Saturday 24 April. Tickets are £5 from the Box Office which you can contact at 01743 281281.

Libby Purves presents an evening of conversation and cartoons with cartoonist Bill Stott at The Lion on Thursday 22 April at 7.30pm. Tickets are also £5 from Bear Steps Gallery , telephone 01743 356511

Full details of the many other free events, workshops, talks and cartooning activities are in the brochure linked above or from the official festival website.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is organised by Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Civic Society, The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, and Agate Design with support from the Arts Council and many volunteers and private sector sponsors. If you would like details of opportunities around this and future festivals you can make contact using the form below.

[contact-form 1 “Contact form 1”]

by Royston

Caption competition with a difference

November 30, 2009 in General

An informal cartoon caption competition, which began as a one-off on the Cartoonists’ Club public forum in the summer, is now into its 20th week. Matt Buck spoke to Noel Ford, moderator of the forum along with Nigel Sutherland and Ian Ellery, and asked how this is different to any other caption contest.

The competition is similar to the readers’ caption competitions that were once so popular in Punch magazine, but with one major difference: instead of competitors being provided with a cartoon to which they have to think of a caption, it’s the caption that is provided and they must draw a cartoon to suit.


Noel’s entry from week three of the competition – “Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere” – was voted the winner

How did it start?
It was the brainchild of part-time cartoonist Chris Cooper (CLIB) and PCO member Ian Ellery. Chris originally wondered, in July this year, how different cartoonists would interpret a single cartoon scenario, and Ian suggested that, rather than a scenario, we should give the same caption to a group of cartoonists and see what they came up with. The idea was quickly taken up and what was at first intended as a one-off experiment, quickly became the popular competition that it now is.

Who can take part?
Anyone registered on the forum can have a go: full time pros, part-timers and people who aren’t cartoonists at all. We have had cartoons from people whose entry was the first cartoon they had ever drawn. The winners, so far, have come from a wide spectrum of full-time and part-time cartoonists. Apart from the fame and the kudos, the winner has to provide the caption for the next competition.

Tim Harries’ take on “Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere”

When does it take place?
Entries are posted on the forum between 12 noon on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. Voting takes place, using a points system, between 1pm Sunday and 6pm Monday. All entrants can vote and non-entrants can vote, too, subject to certain conditions.

How did you end up managing it?
Cynics might say it was the only way I can guarantee winning (twice!), but the truth is that, as a moderator on the forum, it was a natural progression. And, I’m also a control freak – so my wife tells me!

Why do you think it started?
Cartoonists are natural show-offs. We love drawing cartoons but we crave an audience. For the the new kids on the block it provides an opportunity to have their work viewed by a niche audience and to elicit comments from the more experienced contributors. For all of us it is an opportunity to draw whatever we like without editorial considerations. And, it’s great fun!

by Royston

Noel Ford exhibition packs a Punch

October 6, 2009 in General

noel_ford_punchNoel Ford’s first Punch magazine cartoon

PCO cartoonist Noel Ford has an exhibition of his work at the Museum and Art Gallery in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, until November 8.

The gallery is celebrating the work of the locally born cartoonist to mark the Campaign for Drawing’s Big Draw month. The show features images spanning Noel’s career, including work from the museum’s own collection alongside recent digital illustrations.

Noel Ford’s cartoons have featured in many national publications, notably Punch magazine, as well as the local Nuneaton Tribune newspaper. The exhibition will feature his early entry to Nuneaton Festival of Arts as well as his later original colour cover artwork for Punch.

The cartoonist will be giving a lunchtime talk on Friday 23rd October, 12.30 – 1.30pm. The talk is free, but booking is essential. Contact the museum on 024-7635 0720

Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery is open Tue – Sat 10.30am – 4.30pm and Sun 2pm – 4.30pm

by Royston

Shrewsbury 2009 #4

April 20, 2009 in General


Artist of the Month – Noel Ford

April 17, 2009 in Events

Bloghorn cartoon on second childhood and cars © Noel Ford

Bloghorn cartoon on second childhood and cars © Noel Ford

Bloghorn quizzes our artist of the month for April, Noel Ford.

Which other cartoonists’ work do you admire?

How long have you got? Okay, although it’s not in my nature to have “heroes”, cartoonists or otherwise, I do greatly admire the drawing and humour of many cartoonists, alive, dead and in-between. No names, no pack-drill (Whatever that means) – eclectic is my middle name!

Do you have any tips for wannabe cartoonists?

I started out purely as a gag cartoonist and developed from there. I soon discovered that if you have the necessary cartoon drawing skills and can consistently come up with good ideas, then you have about ten per cent of what is required to succeed. A vital ten per cent, of course, but that’s all. The other ninety per cent comprises, determination, a very thick skin, the ability to accept rejection and use it to spur you on (see “determination”) and a shed-load of good luck. The best advice I can give anyone with aspirations to succeed as a cartoonist is to be reliable. Never miss a deadline.

Artist of the Month – Noel Ford

April 3, 2009 in Events

Bloghorn cartoon about death by dehydration © Noel Ford

Bloghorn cartoon about death by dehydration

Bloghorn Artist of the Month for April is Noel Ford.

Noel was regular contributor to Punch magazine for almost 20 years and is a former editorial cartoonist for the Daily Star. Currently, he is editorial cartoonist for half a dozen national UK publications and he also produces work for calendars, greeting card and book illustration (including the Grumpy Old Men series of books). He has won a number of national and International awards including The United Nations (Cartoonists Against Drug Abuse), The Australian Cartoonists’ Association (The Lindsays Cartoon Awards) and the National Canine Defense League – in association with Bonio dog biscuits (for Dog Cartoonist of the Year :)) Yes, really – Ed.

Noel told Bloghorn how he creates his cartoons:

The first tools-of-my-trade were the traditional ink line and wash media, colours being added with inks and, later, using Edding and Pantone markers. Around 1997, I discovered digital media and soon all my work was being created directly on-screen using a digitising tablet and stylus. The very first digital cartoon in Punch, a full page colour cartoon, was mine (though they may not have realised because I printed it out and sent it in as hard copy).

My current set-up is A4 oversize Wacom Intuos 3 tablet, Dual-core G5 Mac, dual displays (20” for menus and 23” for drawing) and Corel Painter software.