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Galway Cartoon Festival report

October 22, 2021 in Events, General

 

Festival poster with drawing by Italian artist © Marinela Nardi

PCO member Dean Patterson (deAn) writes:

I have just about recovered from my trip to the 4th Annual Galway Cartoon Festival that took place from the 1st to 9th of October.

Dean filling some wall space (bonus points to Dean for sporting a PCO badge).

This years theme was ‘At Large’, which asked cartoonists to imagine what life will be like when we emerge from the cocoon of COVID. Also for the second year running they ran the Irish language exhibition, inviting cartoons in the medium of Irish. This exhibition is held on the island of Inis Oirr, the beautiful and smallest island of the Irish speaking Aran Islands. (The sea was calm, the ferry reasonably steady and breakfast thankfully kept down.)

This.has to be one of the most beautiful locations for a cartoon festival. Photo © Dean Patterson.

It is truely an international cartoon festival with cartoons from across the globe. The very talented French illustrator Fabrice Matray came over to do a workshop which gave us a chance to currupt him in a pub by getting him drunk and joining in with our game of turning local, and very talented, artist Margreat Nolan’s rude squiggles into family friendly gags.

photo © Dean Patterson.

There was also a celebration and display of the artist Augustus John complete with a walking tour by Jonathan Hanon to tell more about the man, and Tom Mathews introduced a wonderful exhibition of the very brilliant illustrator Brian O’Tool, whom he knew as a great friend.

We even managed to see some of this when they finally dragged us out of the pub for 20 minutes.

photo © Dean Patterson.

The company Blacknight Solutions very kindly sponsored a prize of 500 euros for the best of each exhibition. Graeme Keyes, who’s work we will all be familiar with, won the prize for the Irish language exhibition and who still hasn’t got round to joining the PCO like he always says he should, despite me nagging him about it.

A cartoon by © Dean Patterson that he has been to modest to mention in his copy, won the prize for ‘Galway Cartoons At Large’.

Anyway a good time was had by all, it really was a terrifically put together festival in times when that is no easy thing. Galway really is one of the greats of the festival calander and goes from strength to strength each year. After sharing a hotel room for 6 days with Tom Mathews I need a year to recover, but already looking forward to thier 5th!!

——————-

Great short trailer for the festival here

Jane Mattimoe’s UK Case for Pencils (4): Jonesy

September 23, 2021 in General

A selfie by © Jonesy

Another of our occasional dives into the pencil case of a UK cartoonist from Jane Mattimoe’s A Case for Pencils series. In this instalment it’s the turn of PCO’s very own committee compadre:

Jonesy (aka Steve Jones)

Bio: So far I’ve been published in Private Eye, New Statesman, Prospect, Harvard Business Review, The Oldie, Reader’s Digest (UK), The American Bystander, The Phoenix, CAM (Cambridge University Alumni Magazine), Resurgence and Ecologist, London Evening Standard and The Spectator.

Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy

Tools of choice:

Traditional: Pentels, pencils (seldom anything harder than a B), Uni-balls, Sharpies, brush pens and dip pens. Allsorts, really. For instance, you’ll find various other weird and wonderful oddities in my arsenal like Pilot Parallel nib pens and folded brass dip-pens. The Pilots are intended for use by calligraphers but I enjoy drawing with them. As for the dip-pen, a HIRO Leonardt 41 Copperplate is my nib of choice, nib fans.

I use Higgins Black Magic and Daler Rowney FW ink and White Knights (formerly St. Petersburg) watercolour paints plus various makes of brushes. I find a toothbrush comes in handy too. (Not for my teeth, obviously: I’m British.) Oh, and a diffuser.

My favourite paper for ink and watercolour work is Saunders Waterford High White HP 140lb, and Canson Bristol mostly for ink only.

I draft out rough ideas on Daler Rowney layout pads. I also use various sketch and note pads and have been known to scribble ideas on anything to hand including pets, plants and passers by. Anything alliterative, really.

Sometimes when I’m out and about I also recite cartoon ideas into my mobile so I can pick them up off my voicemail when I get home. Saying stuff out loud like “lighthouse with a bowling alley” and giggling can attract strange looks from passers by. Scribbling on them, however, invokes a much stronger reaction.

Digital: I use MacBook Pros (x2), a Wacom Intuos 4 pad and stylus. I started off with Photoshop and Painter Essentials but now use Clip Studio Art and Affinity software. Both are much cheaper and – for my purposes anyway – just as good.

Recently I was considering an iPad but I think my newer Macbook Pro is about to give up the ghost so bang goes that idea for the time being. My 2010 MBP has been hammered day and night without giving me a moment’s complaint: a wonderful workhorse. I wish I could say the same for my 2015 version. In their efforts to make the laptop thinner and lighter, Apple, sadly, seem to have sacrificed build quality and durability. How about u-turning on this skinny/lightweight malarkey and making the upcoming model a bit sturdier, eh, Apple? Go on, you know you want to…

Tools I wish I could use better: All of them.

Tools I wish existed: Scanvision – ie: Just looking at the drawing equals instant scan filed on your computer.

Command z on dip-pens. Failing that, an effective ink eraser.

Tricks: Not so much a trick of the trade as sound advice: join the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. Only if you’re a cartoonist, like. Or a caricaturist. If you’re a shepherd, say, you probably won’t get too much out of it. Anyway, it’s been an enormous help to me.

Don’t spill coffee on your freshly drawn artwork. All other beverages are fine.

Cartoon published in Prospect. © Jonesy

Never throw away ideas. Sometimes I return to cartoons I initially rejected and get a fresh angle on them. Absence can make the thought grow stronger. (Sorry, that last sentence reads like one of those crap motivational posters…)

I find I get the best results by holding the pointy end of my pen to the paper.

Try to avoid cleaning your brushes in your tea/coffee/whatever cup/mug/glass/beaker/whatever. Or, indeed, drinking from your brush water container. (I’ve done both.)

Try to avoid typing sentences with lots of/too many/an excess of options/alternatives/choices/whatever.

Rejection comes with the cartooning territory, I’m afraid. Easier said than done, I know, but try not to let it get you down: use it as motivation to do better. Or try blackmail.

Miscellaneous: Be as helpful as you can to people starting out. I appreciated the kindness of, and learned a great deal from senior pros who took the time to help me with my first steps. (See “Tricks” section above as proof.)

Websites, etc:

My social media empire, such as it is, comprises the following…

Website (I should update this more often)

Instagram (I should update this more often)

Twitter (I should visit this less often)

Here’s a PCO blog bonus Jonesy:

Cartoon published in Private Eye. © Jonesy

You can see previous UK ‘Case for Pencils’ by PCO members:

Ralph Steadman

The Surreal McCoy

Bill Stott

Plus see many more on the following link Case For Pencils

Can cartoons be both funny – and diverse?

September 16, 2021 in Comment, General

Cartoon © Nick Newman

By Nick Newman and courtesy of The Spectator. 

Of the many challenges cartoonists face — rejection, money, drink, or lack of — one of the trickiest is the growing pressure to depict diversity. Nowadays readers often write to publications complaining about the dearth of ethnic minorities in our drawings and demand for cartoons to be more inclusive.

It’s like being trapped in a bad political cartoon, walking a tightrope above a minefield. A quick survey of my colleagues in the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation highlighted the following:

  1. Cartoons involve laughing at someone. If that person is black, you risk appearing racist; even including a BAME character in the background of drawing can lead to accusations of tokenism (‘background box-tickers’).
  2. Including any minority character in a cartoon can run the risk of implying that the cartoon is about race and so can inadvertently politicise the cartoon.
  3. At the end of the day, it’s safer to make the pale, male and stale the butt of the joke.

Gag cartoons are about speed and recognition. Stereotypes are a form of visual shorthand designed to get an idea across quickly. The French? Man in stripy shirt. Teacher? Mortarboard. German? Fat man with sausage. Cartoons amplify for comic effect, which runs the risk of promoting race hate when depicting BAME characters. ‘I draw a lot of idiots saying daft things and don’t want any accidental inference that it is because of their race,’ says PCO chairman Clive Goddard. ‘Better to stick to white idiots than be misunderstood.’ British newspaper and magazine cartoonists are predominantly white, which can make any joke about ethnicity feel awkward or patronising. Cartoonists may be cowards, but we are not afraid to admit to our cowardice in avoiding the issue.

Cartoonists’ drawing styles present another problem. Characters with big noses can lead to accusations of anti-Semitism. One political cartoonist has been told to reduce the size of all Middle Eastern noses. Attempts to make cartoon characters more diverse can be tricky. Kathryn Lamb likens ‘inking in’ her cartoon faces to ‘blacking up’.

For caricaturists whose stock-in-trade is exaggeration, the problem is, appropriately enough, exaggerated. Morten Morland, The Spectator’s cover artist, says that whenever he draws Diane Abbott or Priti Patel, someone always complains. ‘It’s usually because they disagree with the cartoon itself,’ he says, ‘and need something to hit back with. So by hinting that the caricature is racist they aim to discredit the whole cartoon.’

In 2018, a caricature of Serena Williams by the Australian cartoonist Mark Knight of the Herald Sun was reported to the Australian Press Council for depicting her with ‘large lips, a broad flat nose… and [being] positioned in an ape-like pose’ while throwing a tantrum on court. The National Association of Black Journalists said the caricature was ‘unnecessarily Sambo-like’ and even J.K. Rowling weighed in, tweeting: ‘Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes.’

Accusations of racism in cartoons stretch back to Gillray and beyond. The Georgian cartoonists depicted Africans as threatening and comical, with grotesque features and appetites. Cruikshank’s ‘The New Union Club’ (1818) is one of the most racist prints of the 19th century, depicting a debauched dinner held at the African Institution and attacking abolitionists such as Wilberforce. Two hundred years later the Commission for Racial Equality called for Hergé’s 1931 comic Tintin in the Congo to be withdrawn from sale because of its depiction of black Africans as simple, childlike and uncivilised. The New York Public Library locked its copy away. ‘Tintin in the Congo is a racist book,’ says the FT’s Jeremy Banx, ‘but Hergé was on a long journey, from King Leopold II to the Beatles, in which he ended up in a very different place to where he started.’ In later life Hergé himself referred to his early books as ‘youthful sins’.

There are lessons to be learned from history. In 1925 a glib cartoon by David Low portrayed England cricket’s run machine Jack Hobbs as a colossus compared with figures from history, including Caesar, Charlie Chaplin and a caricatured Muhammad. It led to rioting in Calcutta. As the staff of Charlie Hebdo found out, these days a cartoon of the Prophet is likely to get you cancelled — permanently.

We live in a sensitive age. Cartoonists agree on the need to promote diversity, but the complications are endless. Diversity itself is becoming a dirty word, suggesting ‘diverging from the white mean’. Meanwhile ‘inclusive’ is said to imply whites doing the including.

As the Sun’s Steve Bright says: ‘You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you don’t, you’re racist on the grounds of exclusion. If you do, unless there’s a perfect balance, you’re accused of tokenism, which is also racist. And if you achieve that mythical perfect balance — you’d have to draw 100 people in every cartoon, and colour them according to percentages of population — you’re obsessive, and quite possibly insane.’

Unfortunately, deconstructing cartoons also sucks all the fun out of them. As the great Barry Cryer says: ‘Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.’

This article first appeared in the 11 Sept 2021 issue of The Spectator

You can see Nick interviewed about this piece by Spectator TV here. Bonus points to Nick for sporting his PCO badge.

A Peer at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2021

September 8, 2021 in Comment, Events, General

A carousel of cartoonists. Photo by © Ray Covey

Apologies for the late running of our usual photo gallery of the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival but pictures were delayed by the HGV lorry driver shortage…so blame Brexit/Covid.

Join me now as we take a not-so virtual tour up the pier…

Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

The start of the traditional cartoonists’ parade, pencil led by Zoom and Ace Rockman who are also carrying the Steve Coombes Memorial Trilby. It was festival co-organiser Steve who instigated the annual musical ‘March of the Cartoonists’. Steve sadly passed away earlier in the year.

Board by © Zoom Rockman. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

Zoom’s was the first board you were greeted by on the pier. A splendid rendition of Boris Johnson’s bottom that you were invited to speak out of.

Board by © Zoom Rockman,

Martin Rowson demonstrating where Boris generally talks from.

Board by © Royston Robertson

I’ve often wondered how Royston constantly produces such a large volume of great gags…here’s your answer, he’s cloned himself!

Board by © Des Buckley. Photo by © Jason Hollingsworth

We had plenty of Covid at the festival this year, thankfully in the cartoons rather than in the cartoonists.

Here’s Des Buckley’s ‘JABS’ movie poster. Next year we’ll be expecting ‘JABS II – THE BOOSTER’.

Board by © James Mellor. Photo by © Karol Steele

A flotilla of topical cartoons from James Mellor.

Board by © The Surreal McCoy. Photo by © Karol Steele

I’m a huge fan of the absurdist humour of The Surreal McCoy.

Board by © Guy Veneables. Photo by © Karol Steele

Guy Venables – a man preparing himself for post big-board beer ownership.

Beachwear collection by © Glenn Marshall

Andy & Karol Steele before entering the ‘m a r s h a l l interactive plastic wave machine’.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Clive Goddard with his chief colourist Amy Amani.

Board by © Clive Goddard. Photo by © Karol Steele

Procartoonist Chairhuman Clive on the exulted PCO podium.

Board by © Rob Murray, Photo by © Ray Covey

Rob Murray about to launch his dating app for shingles.

Finished board by © Rob Murray

Board by © Chris Burke. Photo by © Ray Covey

A second wave of Boris cartoons. This one brushed up by Chris Burke.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Banx draws a blank.

Board by © Jeremy Banx. Photo by © Karol Steele

Jeremy’s board with filling.

Board by © Martin Rowson. Photo by © Ray Covey

More Boris, this time from the venerable Martin Rowson. He’s left the best bit to last.

Board by © Kathryn Lamb. Photo by © Karol Steele

Finally at the end of the pier K J lamb has yet another Boris stranded out at sea in a ‘Lie Boat’. Surely a typo?

Photo by © Karol Steele

Alex Hughes manning (or should that be personing?) caricature corner.

There is also a great film record of the event by Dave Painter of HUTC productions. You can enjoy it here.

Plaudits to Sue Austen and the team for getting the festival together this year under such trying circumstances.

Thanks to festival regulars Karol Steele and Ray Covey plus festival coordinator Jason Hollingsworth for the photos in the absence of usual PCO snapper Kasia Kowalska.

Eaten Fish nets Norwegian award

September 6, 2021 in Comment, News

Cartoon by © Eaten Fish

Honorary Overseas PCO member Eaten Fish, also known as Ali Durani, has received the prestigious Fritt Ord Foundation award. This scholarship is given to nine cartoonists living in Norway who use the medium of visual satire.

 

Fritt Ord aim to strengthen the position of satire drawing in Norway, because it is an expression at the intersection of art and journalism that enriches written journalism and makes us see political issues with a new perspective.

 

Cartoon by © Eaten Fish

 

“After the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo, many have had their eyes opened to the significance of visual satire. At the same time, it seems that it is disappearing from the newsrooms, perhaps especially for financial reasons. They are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. We would like to give some artists the opportunity to continue working with this genre, of course with a view to publishing opportunities,” said Fritt Ord project manager Joakim M. Lie.

Photo of Ali by © Bengt Sigve Heggebø

 

Among the recipients of the scholarship are both Norwegian and international artists. Iranian Ali Dorani has been living in Stavanger since 2017 when he arrived through ICORN’s program for persecuted artists and writers. Prior to this, he spent five years in a refugee camp on the island of Manus Island, off Papua New Guinea, and his work as a satirist has been about documenting and communicating living conditions in refugee camps based on his own experiences.

“I have been in a difficult place in life without income and work, and this gives me the opportunity to continue drawing and communicating on behalf of refugees around the world”, he said.

 

Each recipient of the work grant receives NOK 100,000. each (about £8,300), which will cover four months’ work during the autumn of 2021. During the same period, guidance, advice and development will be offered by professionals and jury members, and the cartoonists will also have to opportunity to work with newspapers or other media. Fritt Ord will give a further grant of up to NOK 100,000 if any work results in a publication agreement or self-publication during 2022.

 

Many of you will have contributed fish to our #DrawEatenFish digital shoal where we joined the global campaign to get ‘Eaten Fish’ released from internment on Manus island. It’s great to see Ali now thriving in Norway

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival exhibition comes to the High Street

September 6, 2021 in Comment, Events, General, News

Poster illustration by © Jonathan Cusick

Festival Organising team member Sarah Knapp writes:

Delayed by lockdowns, and consequently without it’s usual live events,  Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival exhibition is going ahead this year represented by two exhibitions at the Bear Steps Gallery, Shrewsbury from 6th to 18th September.

The show goes up.

Our theme is ‘The High Street’ as we felt it’s time to show support to the many shops and eateries that have suffered so badly over the last 18 months.

Poster cartoon by © Fawzy Morsy

 

We are also pleased to also announce the return of international cartoons; in the upstairs gallery ‘Over the Shroopshire hills and Pharoah Way’ showcases over 25 cartoons from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabian cartoonists.

Cartoon by © Farouk Mousa

The result of the two exhibitions is a plethora of original cartoons showing different styles and humour gathered together in one place for your delight and amusement. A mixture of originals and prints, they are all for sale.

Started in 2004 by Shropshire based cartoonist Roger Penwill, the town’s Cartoon Festival is now a Shropshire treasure attracting locals plus visitors, artists and collectors of cartoons from further afield.

 

Illustration by © Ralph Steadman

Above is a signed print from Ralph Steadman entitled “Shopping Sisters”.  The cartoon was painted 12 years ago when Ralph was on a wine-tasting trip with Oddbins. Following the exhibition this oak-framed signed cartoon print will be auctioned in the

October Fine Art online timed auction to be held by Halls Fine Art, Shrewsbury. Ralph kindly signed the print for the Cartoon Festival and proceeds of the sale will be donated to the festival.

As in 2020 we would have liked to have brought more of the Festival to the town. However it will return as a full festival in its usual format in April 2022.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival has support from Shropshire Council as well as invaluable sponsorship from the Professional Cartoonists Organisation.

Below are a few shop samples from the show.

.

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

Cartoon by © Ian Baker

Cartoon by © Royston Roberston

Cartoon by © Jason Chatfield

 

Fingers raised

September 1, 2021 in Events, News

The PCO has been proud to be involved with the ‘Raise Three Fingers’ for Myanmar campaign. Members have been drawing the three fingers salute which is a symbol of protest in the region (originally from ‘The Hunger Games’ believe it or not) and donating artwork to be sold for the cause. We also ran a ‘draw three fingers’ workshop at the recent campaign fundraiser creating an instant gallery.

The day featured live music (from the London Mozart Players to Laura Marling), stand up comedy, craft stores and fabulous Burmese food. Plus some very moving speeches from some of the campaigners.

Over £40,000 so far has been raised from the fundraiser.

Here is a short film about the day on the PCO YouTube channel made by the Surreal McCoy.

Thanks to all who contributed, we hope to have a related exhibition later in the year.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival Sets Sail Again

July 3, 2021 in Comment, Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is back this year. We weren’t able to gather in 2020 for obvious reasons, and when we meet again this summer we will sadly be missing some friends including festival co-organiser Steve Coombes who passed away last December. His tireless enthusiasm and joi de vivre will be missed so much at the festival. Here is a wonderful tribute to Steve that appeared in The Guardian by his partner Sue Austen. Sue ran the festival with Steve since it started in 2013 and she is at the helm this year.

Caricature of Steve Coombes on the Herne Bay Pier carousel by © Dave Brown

This year’s title and theme is Herne Bay Cartoon Festival Takes to the Waves. We are expecting a flood of cartoons about the oceans with the kind of jokes we have come to expect from our cartoonist contributors. (See Royston Robertson‘s fabulous poster for examples)  Our exhibition of new work and old jokes will be open at Beach Creative, Beach Street, Herne Bay, CT6 5PT from 23 July until 19 August.

Des Buckley mid hang at Beach Creative. Photo by Yagmur Coombes.

Cartooning Live will once again be on Herne Bay Pier on Sunday 1 August from 12 noon. Amongst those involved are PCO members Martin Rowson, Rob Murray, Clive Goddard, The Surreal McCoy, Jeremy Banx, Chris Burke, Kathryn Lamb, Alex Hughes, James Mellor, Des Buckley, Guy Venables, poster boy Royston Robertson plus last and least Glenn Marshall.

And there will be an exhibition of the popular Daily Express cartoonist Giles at The Seaside Museum, 12 William Street, Herne Bay, CT6 5EJ open from 10 July to 7 August. In 2020 the Giles Family celebrated its 75thanniversary. We had planned an exhibition last year in collaboration with the The British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent. So, a year later, we are presenting The Giles Family Holiday at Home. From the start the family enjoyed many holidays together and days out. So, in a year when we are all encouraged to take a ‘staycation’ our exhibition explores some of the joys of the British seaside holiday, whatever the weather!

On Saturday 31 July 2.00pm at Beach Creative there will be ‘Raise Three Fingers for Myanmar’. It’ll be a workshop run by The Surreal McCoy for all the family to create a wall of three finger salutes in support of the people of Myanmar.

Interview with Myanmar cartoonists

July 1, 2021 in General

A military coup on February 1st of this year has returned the southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) back to full military rule. After the election in November 2020 was won by the National League For Democracy in a landslide victory, the military, known as the Tatmadaw, refused to accept the result citing voter fraud. Peaceful protest against the coup quickly turned deadly as people were killed and wounded by security forces. Anyone in opposition to the government quickly found themselves vulnerable to arrest, detention and torture. 

This is an interview conducted by Carol (The Surreal McCoy) on behalf of the PCO with two prominent members of the Myanmar Cartoonists Association who have had to flee their country for their own safety: Waiyan Taunggyi and Lagoon Eain (their pen names).

PCO members provided the questions and a fuller version of this interview will be available soon as a video on the PCO Youtube channel.

Waiyan Taunggyi

Lagoon Eain

PCO: Please tell us a bit about yourselves.

WT

Mingalarba (‘hello’ in Burmese). I am cartoonist Waiyan Taunggyi. I am from Myanmar and have been a cartoonist for over twenty years. I have been drawing cartoons for local media, NGOs, INGOs the United Nations and I also do commercial cartoons for businesses. Sometimes I teach basic drawing lessons for kids and adults. I especially do political cartoons and illustrations.

LE

Really, I’m an artist. I do painting, animating, sculpting and music. But I draw cartoons, especially political cartoons as a duty of citizenship. So I [have] created a lot of cartoons since 2010. I criticised governments, candidates and military groups. Since 2012, President U Then Sein wanted to arrest me because of [my] cartoons and now the dictator Min Aung Hlaing wants to arrest me in this military coup. So, our family is running from them.

Cartoon by © Waiyan Taunggyi

PCO: Before the coup were you able to draw your thoughts and opinions as freely as you liked or did you have to censor yourself? Were any subjects off-limits?

WT

I got what I deserved. However, there have been cases where the Burmese military has filed lawsuits under Article 66D.* The Burmese military has previously banned freedom of expression. So even if we make fun of the military, we have to [do so] indirectly with pictures of ancient Burmese Commanders.

[*’The Telecommunications Law was introduced in 2013 and since then it has been used repeatedly to restrict freedom of speech and expression. Defamation charges under Section 66 (d) of the law have been brought against reporters, politicians and social media users. Many people have been arrested for criticising the military, the government or merely posting on Facebook.’- The Burma Campaign UK.]

LE

I publish my cartoons on social media such as Facebook, some media websites and some  printed journals. Sometimes, other media are afraid to use my cartoons because of [lack of] freedom of expression. So, I published all of my cartoons on my own Facebook page. I always consider about justice. So, I don’t think about other opinions and censorship.

Cartoon by © Lagoon Eain

PCO: What role do cartoons have in the Myanmar Spring Revolution?

WT

Cartoons played a very important role in the Spring Revolution. My cartoons gave motivation to the people. I comforted sad people with my cartoons. When in the February revolution most protesters used my cartoons as a sign board. When protesting in front of Chinese Embassy, they printed my cartoon and used it. I was so glad when I saw them I even took a photo with them. Editorial cartoons against the Burmese Military Terrorists bothered them a lot. It was effective and they even threatened my life. I’m so proud to draw effectively and I believe editorial cartoons played an important role in Spring Revolution.

LE

I think that cartoons can entertain the civilians who are tired of this coup, can give motivation for fighting this military group. And then can show what is important during this time with a single picture. So I have a duty to draw.

Cartoon by © Waiyan Taunggyi

PCO: How have your cartoons been regarded by the military?

WT

The dictatorship might have thought I was loathsome monster and they use imposters online to criticise my work. I am certain that these coordinated attacks were an attempt to drag me down.  They really are afraid the power of pencils. They thought that cartoons were a propaganda machine used to make people hate them. Also, the military terrorists didn’t have a cartoonist who can draw high quality cartoons in response to our political activism.

LE

How military regard is not my business but I think they really hurt. Because they want to arrest and search me. 

Protesters in Yangon

PCO: Because there is so little free press and internet access is limited, how are artists getting their work out to the public? Is there an underground movement? 

WT

I was in Myanmar until the first week of April. I first hid in my brother’s house. However, after the dictatorship used the military to target and kill civilians who protested peacefully and even targeted people suspected of being against the regime, I thought if I stayed in Myanmar my life was no longer safe. I knew I would have to leave Myanmar to create my art freely. When I began to flee, I was in constant fear of being caught by the police and military and that they would discover my external hard disks /the tablet I draw because there’s a lot of anti-coup pictures.

I can sigh with relief when I arrived in the safe zone. I think I arrived in April second week to the safe zone with cartoonist Lagoon Eain. Then I send my cartoons to the media from the safe zone. Most Cartoonist in Myanmar would not dare to create cartoons anymore because their life is in danger. I feel it is my responsibility to draw anti-coup cartoons on behalf of my partner cartoonists. Now that I am in safety, I can send my cartoons to the journal who will print out weekly and spread it secretly to the people. Some protesters print out my cartoons as a stickers and they quietly stick to the army walls at night.

LE

About February first week, they closed [the] internet. I tried [to get] my cartoons published on fliers. And then I can publish again on social media with [the] help of VPN apps.

Cartoon by © Lagoon Eain

PCO: What materials do you use in your art? Digital or pen and ink?

WT

I draw [in] all mediums, but mostly create digital works. Previously, I used a Huion Tablet with a Windows Platform. However, when I fled from Myanmar, I took only an iPad. I currently draw with my iPad now.

LE

With my iPad and laptop.

PCO: How are you managing at the moment with the practicalities – money, food, shelter?

WT

Currently I’m ok for now, but I am not sure what to do when my savings run out.

LE

For practicalities, I get support from my friends.

Cartoon by © Waiyan Taunggyi

PCO: What is next for you? Do you think you will return to Myanmar?

WT

I want to live a place where I can create my art freely and safely and have human rights. Hopefully, when the revolution is over I can go back to Myanmar.

LE

We are in second county and we have the only choice to go to [a] third county. Really, I want to return [to] my country again. I love Myanmar. I want to live in this country, but now I can’t live in Myanmar. The military group want to kill me.

Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Life in Hong Kong

May 13, 2021 in Events, News

PCO member and award-winning South China Morning Post’s political cartoonist Harry Harrison has just launced his new book ‘Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Life in Hong Kong’,

Recognised for more than 20 years as one of Hong Kong’s top political cartoonists, Harrison’s 329 page book is carefully curated by SCMP’s editors from the daily editorial cartoon ‘Harry’s View’. It illustrates the most gripping events from the last five years while providing a pointed and humorous critique on the city’s many contradictions, satirising global events through a Hong Kong lens, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cartoon © Harry Harrison

Harry writes: “Hongkongers always have a dark sense of humour no matter how difficult things get, and the book is a tribute to the people in the city who inspire me every day,…While my cartoons are not able to make the city’s problems magically disappear, I hope they can provide some relief by encouraging us to laugh at ourselves.”

More info plus you can get hold of a copy here.