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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

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by Royston

Cartoon exhibitions: Giles and more

October 29, 2008 in General

Giles: One of the Family is at the Cartoon Museum in London from November 5 until February 8, 2009. Click image to enlarge

Whenever there is a show dedicated to a big name in the world of painting, such as Monet or Rothko, the media describes it as a “blockbuster exhibition”. Well, this must be the equivalent in the cartooning world, as it features one of the giants of the artform: Carl Giles (1916-1995).

The exhibition of more than 80 works includes wonderful colour covers as well as drawings never reproduced in the annuals. His studio is recreated complete with desk, drawing board and reference material. Also revealed are less familiar aspects of his career including his time as an animator, his propaganda work for the Ministry of Information and his work as cartooning war correspondent.

The Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street, London, is open: Tues-Sat, 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun 12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £4, Concessions £3, Free to Under 18s and students.

Here are two must-see cartoon exhibitions which are currently running:

Steve Bell’s Drawing Politics and Other Animals is a free exhibition at the Lightbox, in Woking. Re-live the political scandals of the 1980s and 1990s through the drawings and original artwork of Britain’s most renowned political cartoonist.

Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster is at the Wallace Collection in West London. This free exhibition, which marks the centenary of Lancaster’s birth, celebrates his astonishing range as an artist and as a chronicler of style and fashion.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Cartoon books coming out

October 27, 2008 in General

The clocks have fallen back, and subsequently the nights are drawing in, so as we race towards Christmas publishers are putting out books on cartooning. Here’s a selection of recent example that may be filling stockings come December.

First up is The History of the Beano: The Story so Far, a comprehensive round-up of the iconic DC Thompson comic from the last 70 years, here reviewed by the Daily Record and by Danny Baker in The Times. This book also ties in with the recent exhibitions in Dundee and the Cartoon Museum in London.

The History Of The Beano – The Story So Far is published by D.C. Thomson and Waverley Books, priced £25. The Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash continues at the The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH until 2nd November 2008.

Next is Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster on the life and times of the late Daily Express pocket cartoonist Osbert Lancaster, which is reviewed in the New Statesman, the Spectator and by cartoonist Nicholas Garland in the Telegraph. This book also ties into an exhibition at the Wallace Collection (reviewed in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Independent) .

Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster, edited by James Knox, is published by Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd, priced £25. The exhibition continues at The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN until 11th January 2009.

And finally we come to The Best of Punch Cartoon, a collection of cartoons from the legendary satirical magazine spanning over 150 years of humour, the launch of which was attended by the PCO’s own Pete Dredge. Reviewed here by cartoonist Peter Brookes of the Times, by Michael Heath, cartoon editor of the Spectator, and in the Independent.

The Best of Punch Cartoons, by Helen Walasek, is published by Prion Books, priced £30.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

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by Royston

Pocket cartoonists: Endangered but vital

June 30, 2008 in General


The newspaper “pocket” cartoonist is a rare but hardy breed, says PCO Chairman Andy Davey.

Spare a thought for the humble pocket cartoonist, guv? Be warned – you’ll need your field glasses to catch them. The Guardian has not replaced David Austin who died in in 2005. But even though they are a diminishing species due to this loss of habitat, there are several individuals in the field still visible. Pugh (The Times), Banx (Financial Times) and the untouchable Matt (Daily Telegraph) are all still going strong.

Pocket cartoons are still a pretty stout mainstay of British broadsheet front pages. And Matt is the only cartoonist to routinely get a name check during the newspaper round-up on Radio Four’s Today programme.

An Independent Line, a collection of cartoons from The Independent from the last fifteen years, now on show at the Political Cartoon Gallery, shows the work of one of the finest of the current dwindling crop – Tim Sanders.

Purely in terms of wall space and press coverage, Tim is drowned by his brothers-in-ink, Dave Brown and Peter Schrank. But as an observer of current social trends, he’s up there with the best.

Osbert Lancaster is often credited with establishing the format in UK newspapers, and a rich array of talent in the form of Mark Boxer and Mel Calman (whose work can still be seen on greetings cards) and others emerged in his wake.

Pocket gags are a slice of social history; you can gauge the feel of any era by looking at the pocket cartoons. To set the scene, define the characters and make a gag about current social or political trends is no mean feat in a single newspaper column, so hats off all round, please laydeezangennemen.

An Independent Line is at London’s Political Cartoon Gallery until October 18.

The PCO: British cartoon talent