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The PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2021

January 3, 2022 in Comment, General

Cartoon by © Brian Adcock

To quote the great Benny Andersson ‘Mamma mia, here we go again’ with another PCO members ‘Cartoon Review of The Year’.  For the most part it’s been another %¢º€@$ one (Google Translate it) but once more cartoonists injected some humour into it….apart from the odd cartoonist injecting humour refusenik.

The above transitional cartoon by Brian Adcock for The Independent.

Cartoon by © Dean Patterson

Mystic deAn did warn us what was coming in Phoenix Magazine.

Cartoon by © Len Hawkins

This Len cartoon from The Spectator sums up everyone’s coping strategy for 2021

Caricature by © Jonathan Cusick

In January Trump won the US election despite those commie Democrats who tried to rig it by getting more votes! A fine portrait of high-chair hysterics by Jonathan Cusick.

Cartoon by © Pete Dredge

Early in the year Dredge went viral in The Spectator….

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

…and Clive Goddard addressed one of the vaxxing questions of our times.

Cartoon by © Matt Percival

A Whitty cartoon by Percival for The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Pete Songi

In March the Suez Canal got blocked (cancel culture!). This chuckle raised by Pete Songi.

Cartoon by © Zoom Rockman

Two cultural phenomenons in one in Private Eye from Zoom Rockman, featuring Rishi’s ‘Quids Game’ (see what I did there? I took the ‘s’ off the front of ‘squid’ and put it at the end so it becomes ‘quids’ which is what Rishi is in charge of! I’M A GENIUS!)

Cartoon by © Kathryn Lamb

Guerres de poissons par KJ Lamb pour Détective Privé.

Cartoon by © Ed Naylor

In June GB News launched, riddled with missus takes and on-air coke ups. A Nay cartoon broadcast by Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Henny Beaumont

A cartoon on the closing of schools by Henny Beaumont for the Guardian. In October it was voted a winner in ‘The Political Cartoon of the Year Awards 2021’. You can see Henny’s acceptance speech here.

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

In July Dominic axed his way back into the news headlines. Here’s a Shining example of the caricaturist’s art by Brighty for The Sun.

Cartoon by © Andrew Birch

Our Royal Correspondent Andrew Birch spews forth on a year long media obsession in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman

In travel news we had the very confusing Red, Amber, Green traffic light system…or as us artist types thought of it the Viridian Green, Cadmium Orange, Vermillion Crimson traffic light system. This long haul travel cartoon by Nick Newman was for The Sunday Times.

Cartoon by © Andrew Fraser

More (Gulliver) travel news from Drew in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Tat Effby

In July football came home but then quickly went away again to Italy. This winner by Tat Effby.

Cartoon by © Tames Mellor

In August the new football season started and VAR was maddening crowds. A jewel from James Mellor in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Mark Winter/Chicane

In more sports news Mark ‘Chicane’ Winter social distancing at the Olympics . Published on the cover of Il Vernerdi ‘di Repubblica (Italian news magazine, supplement of La Repubblica) to promote Michael R Payne’s Toon In Olympic book.

Cartoon by © Andy Davey

In August we had the orderly allied withdrawal from Afghanistan in scenes reminiscent of the Dad’s Army titles ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Taliban?’. Andy Davey records events for posterity in The Evening Standard.

Cartoon by © Wilbur Dawbarn

Wilbur on the desperate refugee channel crossings published in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Jonesy cartoons

It seemed this summer that most of the world was aflame or flooded, this take on it by Jonesy taken from Prospect Magazine.

Cartoon by © Royston Robertson

A shortage of HGV drivers was blamed for empty shelves. My local Tesco Metro had completely run out of HGV drivers by the time I tried to buy one. A spikey cartoon by Royston from The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Grizelda

No shortage of shortage cartoons this year. Grizelda emptying shelves in New Statesman.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown

September saw Boris reshuffle his pack of jokers. Dave Brown dealt this up for The Independent.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banks

Also in September Texas voted in new draconian anti-abortion laws. Banx on the pro-life/anti-life contradiction in his Financial Times slot. Jeremy went on to win Pocket Cartoonist of Year at the aforementioned awards for his FT work. His triumphant speech can be seen here

Cartoon by © Guy Venables

More from September where the UK was doing its bit to fight global warming by making fuel scarce. This twist on the new Bond film release by Venables, Guy Venables in his daily Metro cartoon spot.

Dog drawing by © Glenn Marshall

At the beginning of October I drew my parent’s dog Barney chewing a sock.

Cartoon by © Graeme Bandeira

In other October news we had the sewage crisis as Tory MPs voted against the Waste Prevention Bill. Here’s a very clever rendition of our leader by Graeme Bandeira for The Yorkshire Post.

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

At the end of October COP26 started in Glasgow and we all became environmentalists for a fortnight. Here is Sarah Boyce on fast fashion from Private Eye.

Cartoon by © Kipper Williams

In November Boris Johnson peppered his speech with porcine references at the CBI (Cured Bacon Industries?) conference. Here’s Kipper Williams’ take on it for The Spectator.

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

The only bit of snow most of us saw over Christmas was provided by The Surreal McCoy in Fortean Times.

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

In business cheese and wine news Martin Rowson served up some nibbles in The Guardian…

Cartoon by © Steve Bell

…and Steve Bell released secret footage of the Downing Street Tory parties. Watch it here.

Cartoon by © Jonathan Pugh

Pugh put out the empties in his Daily Mail pocket cartoon.

Cartoon by © Chris Williams

A Christmas card by Dink on the introduction of chimney passports.

Cartoon by © Rebecca Hendin

And finally Rebecca Hendin on Christmas regifting in The Guardian.

I’ve just noticed there are eight cartoons featuring BodgeJo and none turned up of Keir Starmer which may reflect that he didn’t turn up much as leader of the opposition – Peppa Pig has featured in our review more!

See you again next January for the Review of 2022 where no doubt we’ll be talking about the Zeta variant and looking forward to Trump being on the campaign trail for the US election 2024….UGH!

A Happy New Year from all at PCO Global Media.

New Yorker, New Yorker, it’s a wonderful ‘toon

November 27, 2021 in Comment, General

‘I can explain the meaning of life, but not the meaning of New Yorker cartoons.’

Cartoon © Nick Newman

Why do cartoonists struggle to break America?

by Nick Newman and courtesy of The Spectator. 

Cartoons are like gossamer and one doesn’t dissect gossamer.’ So says Mr Elinoff, the fictional cartoon editor of the New Yorkerin an episode of Seinfeld, when trying to explain a cartoon to Elaine. Elaine isn’t satisfied. Mr Elinoff suggests the cartoon is a commentary on contemporary mores, a slice of life or even a pun. ‘You have no idea what this means do you?’ says Elaine. ‘No,’ he concedes.

The scene sums up the problem of understanding the New Yorker’s sometimes oblique sense of humour — and may come as a relief to the many British cartoonists who have tried and failed to break into the Big Apple’s literary bastion. It’s reassuring to think that even Americans as funny as Seinfeld can be baffled by New Yorkerjokes. Yet still the mystique survives, and most British cartoonists have had a stab at getting into the magazine, lured by its great cartoon history (James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams) and the money: it pays more than ten times as much for a cartoon than UK magazines.

Former (real) cartoon editor Bob Mankoff said in a Ted Talk: ‘The New Yorker occupies a very different space. It’s a space that is playful in its own way, and also purposeful, and in that space, the cartoons are different… New Yorker humour is self-reflective.’ Elsewhere, he recalled that when he was finally rewarded with a contract in 1980, the contract referred not to cartoons but to ‘idea drawings’, what Mankoff calls the ‘sine qua non ofNew Yorkercartoons’: a drawing that requires both cartoonist and reader to think. Indeed, there is Sam Gross cartoon of a landscape with a large sign reading ‘STOP AND THINK’ and a man saying: ‘It sort of makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?’

So New Yorker gags are more philosophical than their British counterparts. Here, virtually anything goes — sick jokes, coarse jokes, badly drawn jokes, puns. The New Yorkerhas a metropolitan disdain for crudity and eschews wordplay. We reckon that if bawdy humour and puns were good enough for Shakespeare, they’re good enough for us.

New Yorker cartoons also tend to be more lifestyle-oriented, and inhabit a more whimsical world of middle-class social gatherings, boardrooms, domestic relationships and navel-gazing neuroses. Some recent ones look like architectural drawings, whereas British cartoons tend to inhabit a more traditional cartoon landscape: big noses, goofy expressions, surreal situations.

Humour is, of course, a serious business, and from the outset nobody took it more seriously than the New Yorker. Its legendary founding editor Harold Ross was obsessed with perfection and detail. Thurber recounted how Ross studied a cartoon of a Model T Ford on a dusty road and demanded ‘Better dust!’ He would also scan for hidden phallic symbols and sent a photographer to the UN building to check whether a drawing of its windows was accurate. Cartoons that fell below his standards would receive a ‘Get it out of here!’

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy/ New Yorker

Today, aspiring New Yorker cartoonists just have to endure months of silence once their ideas are submitted. Success is greeted with a restrained ‘Okay’ from cartoon editor Emma Allen. Two British cartoonists who have enjoyed such success — following on the heels of a few UK predecessors such as Ronald Searle, H.M. Bateman, and Heath Robinson — are Will McPhail and Carol Isaacs (who draws under the pseudonym The Surreal McCoy). Both are adamant that the work they submit for the New Yorker is essentially no different from that published in British magazines.

‘My approach is more or less the same for both sides of the pond,’ says Isaacs. ‘Maybe tweaking the grammar and spelling for the Americans. I love Seinfeldand the Marx Brothers as much as I love Spike Milligan and Fawlty Towers. As they say over there, go figure.’

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy/ New Yorker

McPhail thinks the recent trend towards more absurd and bizarre cartoons in the magazine have helped his cause. ‘Those are the cartoons that genuinely make me laugh, the ones where I don’t know why it’s funny. I’ve always seen a lot of the humour in British cartoons like maths equations. They’re perfectly balanced and everything that is set up at the start of the equation works out correctly by the end. But I like cartoons where you can’t see “the strings”, if that makes sense.’

Is familiarity with New York essential to inhabiting the New Yorker mindset? Isaacs thinks not. ‘After all,’ she says, ‘there are many New Yorker cartoonists who’ve never set foot in New York. Their sense of humour is perhaps more about the absurd than anything else — and that knows no borders.’

McPhail confesses that he used to make pilgrimages to the New Yorker offices just to submit in person to Bob Mankoff. ‘I of course pretended that I just happened to be in New York at the time. So I do think there’s a certain amount of them needing to know you’re serious about it before they publish you, like “Wow, he’s come all the way here to get rejected in person!”’

Each week thousands of submissions are boiled down to some 50 acceptances. The closest I’ve come to making the grade is when I saw a cartoon identical to one I once drew for Private Eye(of a drunk ventriloquist in the gutter whose dummy is vomiting) on the cover of a book entitled The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See, in the New Yorker.

This article first appeared in the 20 November 2021 issue of The Spectator

Private Eye at 60 – First Cartoons

November 4, 2021 in General

Happy 60th birthday Private Eye! In celebration, cartoonists have been posting their first (or early) cartoons from the mag. Here’s a few of them culled from the twittersphere by PCO members starting with Clive Goddard who set the ball rolling:

© Clive Goddard

© The Surreal McCoy

© Wilbur Dawbarn

© Mike Stokoe

@ Sarah Boyce

© Steve Jones

© Guy Venables

© Royston Robertson

© Zoom Rockman

© Andrew Fraser

© Chris Williams

© Kerina Stevens

© Mark Winter

© Andrew Birch

© Glenn Marshall

© Pete Dredge

The above by Dredge wasn’t mined from social media but too good a first to leave out and from waaaaaaaay back in 1977, Issue 404.

Interesting to see how some of the styles have evolved (the only thing that’s changed with mine is the signature’s got elongated)

Has anyone got any more PE cartoon firsts they want to share with us?

There are some great videos celebrating Private Eye’s 60th Anniversary Celebration on the EyePlayer

See you back here for the 70th birthday by which time most cartoons will be produced by AI as VR holo-toons.

The PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2020

December 28, 2020 in General, Links, News

Cartoon by © Andy Davey.

Glenn Marshall wrote:

Once more my friends it’s time for the PCO Cartoon Review of the Year, featuring work from members of the PCO (speech) bubble. It’s been a difficult year to find humour in, although it would be a nightmare for cartoonists if any year was filled with just love, joy and kittens! I ended last year’s review with “So what fresh horrors will 2020 have in store?” – how little did we know!

As we chase off 2020 (envisioned above by Andy Davey for The Telegraph) one story seems to have dominated this year’s review over all others. Just for fun, see if by the end you can spot which one it is?

Cartoon by © Dean Patterson

To start us off the this cartoon by Dean Patterson sums up the year in one image.

Cartoon by © Andrew Fraser

Some family entertainment by Drew in Private Eye.

Cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy

This cartoon by Ms McCoy was from Lockdown 1.0 but works equally well now for Lockdown 2.5 (and counting)

Cartoon by © Matt Percival

…and from check-in let’s move on to the baggage area with a Percival cartoon reclaimed from The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman

Nick Newman in the The Sunday Times on the looooong running Dom Com. In a questionnaire in The Sunday Times Nick recently cited this cartoon as a favourite he’d done this year.

Cartoon by © Glenn Marshall 

Some testing times for Cummings back in May.

Cartoon by © Rebecca Hendin

Rebecca Hendin’s very own lockdown guidelines appeared in the New Statesman.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx

Masker vs Anti-masker featuring Batman and Superspreader from Banx in the Financial Times. Jeremy was recently voted ‘Pocket Cartoonist of the Year’. You can see a report on the awards by PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard on the PCO YouTube Channel.

Cartoon by © Clive Goddard

…and talking of Clive Goddard.- in other news (was there any other news I hear you ask?) here’s Harry and Meghan doing some extreme social distancing from the family by Clive.

Cartoon by © Steve Bell

Can’t a have a cartoon review of the year without some Donald – hopefully not so much in next year’s! This splendid reworking of the Delacroix painting  ‘Liberty Leading the People’ (more like ‘Liability Bleeding the People’) is by Steve Bell in The Guardian. Steve was voted ‘Political Cartoonist of the Year’ in the afore-mentioned awards.

Cartoon by © Andy Davey

…and in The Daily Telegraph Andy Davey poured ‘Scorn’ (other bleaches are available) on Donald Trump.

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

The Black Lives Matter movement started after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Here is a creative twist on the phrase from Sarah Boyce published in PE.

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

INTERLUDE: As a diversion from relentless bad news stories here’s a lovely, soothing cartoon and drawing from Rupert Besley.

Cartoon by © Chris Williams

School days are supposed to be the haPPEiest of our lives! Here’s Dink on the return to school in September.

Cartoon by © Tat Effby

The taking down of public statues also led on from the birth of Black Lives Matter. Later in the year there was a furore about the Mary Wollstonecraft memorial sculpture by artist Maggi Hambling. Tat Effby successfully clashes the two stories with a nude Clive of India.

Cartoon by © Steve Jones

In lack of live Entertainment News: Jonesy reports for Private Eye on the new rules for theatre goers…

Cartoon by © Kipper Williams

…and Kipper Williams took us to the cinema in The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Royston Robertson

Excellent cartoon from our technology correspondent Royston Robertson. I think we’re all suffering from a bit of this, indeed I’m sure I have ‘Long Zoom Fatigue’

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

Didn’t have to have my arm twisted to use this pretty bullying cartoon by Martin Rowson for Kevin Maguire’s The Mirror column.

Cartoon by © Graeme Bandeira

In sports news Graeme Bandeira puts his hand to a caricature of Maradona for The Yorkshire Post. For some bonus content you can see Graeme’s cartoon that won ‘Political Cartoon of the Year’ in the awards report mentioned earlier,

Cartoon by © James Mellor 

In more sports news James Mellor takes to the fairways. Like many I took up indoor grouse shooting.

Cartoon by © Guy Venables

Back to Trump who, at time of going to press, STILL hasn’t lost the election. This by Guy Venables in his regular slot for The Metro.

Cartoon by © Ed Nay

Clever drawing by Nay. Can you see what is yet?

Cartoon by © Steve Bright

A contender for Man(iac) of the Year, the dyed-hair Trumpublican attorney Rudy Giuliani. I loved this caricature by Brighty.

Cartoon by © Pete Dredge

A substantially funny cartoon from Pete Dredge served up in The Spectator.

Cartoon by © Pete Songi

A fabulous homage to Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ by Pete Songi culled from Martin Rowson’s twittersphere #Draw2020challenge.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown

Talk about Johnson being out of his depth with everything from PPE, Cumming’s eye tests, track and disgrace etc etc etc, You feel Boris just hasn’t got it….well he did get it, but you know what I mean. This from The Independent by Dave Brown really sums up Boris’ year.

Cartoon by © Roger Penwill

Roger Penwill takes to the road for ‘Roadway’ (the magazine from the Road Haulage Association). It’s about the Kent lorry parks post Brexit, but became even more relevant with the closed border before Christmas.

Cartoon by © Wilbur Dawbarn

This BBC balanced offering from Wilbur plucked from The Spectator…

Cartoon by © Zoom Rockmann

…and more Christmas fun. This taking the Santa knee from Zoom Rockman in the Private Eye Christmas special..

Cartoon by © Chris Burke

Let’s end the year with this lovely festive offering from Chris Burke, it’s what we all wanted in our stockings this year.

So a Happy? New Year from all at PCO megacorp.

Now, I wonder what fresh horrors 2021 will have in store?

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson for The Mirror Kevin Maguire column.

 

The Olden Phrase

September 30, 2020 in General, News

Tat Effby writes:

So, the idea for my cartoon series In The Olden Phrase came to me a while ago. But it seems in these Unprecedented Times™ of mixed messages, sneezing into elbows and talking out of arses, there’s never been a better time to share my guide to contemporary buzz-speak.

Language is ever-evolving and I’m not complaining, I love words and I’m no grammar fascist; less po-tay-toes, fewer po-tah-toes… whatevs.

But when did ‘getting in contact’ become Reaching Out, ‘in the future’ turn into Going Forward, and ‘household hints’ equate to Life Hacks? And when did Platform get ideas above its station?

As the buzz-phrases kept coming, and kept grating, so did the opportunities to take the mick, so I started to compile a phrase book guide to the new vocabulary, the idea growing out of my previous series, Back in My Day, that appeared in Private Eye, back in the day.

The series is launching on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @oldenphrase where you can follow my easy-to-use guide to help sort your Big Dick Energy from your Big Dick Emery or your Pansexuals from your Pan’s Peoples.

Yes, In The Olden Phrase is a means to poke fun at topical verbal guffery, but, if I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s also a Safe Space for me to understand the screaming insanity of the modern world. I hope it may help others too.

You’re welcs.

(So also… when did sentences have to start with So?)

Spectator Article: the future of cartooning

July 30, 2020 in Comment, General

A rare mass-gathering of Private Eye cartoonists in 2013 (Rob Murray standing, 9th from right)

Rob Murray writes in response to Nick Newman’s Spectator piece (see previous post):

Nick Newman, one of the UK’s best and most prolific gag cartoonists, has written an article for this week’s Spectator about the challenges facing our art form. He very kindly gives me a mention.

It makes for sobering reading: the number of open-call outlets for cartoonists has dropped massively in recent years; meanwhile, younger artists seem to be dissuaded by the likelihood of rejection, or simply prefer the perceived glamour and relative accessibility of monetising their work through social media platforms instead.

These are trends I recognise. When I was starting out as a cartoonist in the 2000s, more experienced nib-wielders would often tell me how unlucky I was to have missed out on Punch (which had folded several years earlier) – a magazine that would publish dozens of gags per issue, often phoning cartoonists out of the blue to offer them a double-page spread on which to go crazy.

These days, Private Eye is the undisputed champion of gag cartoons in this country, and I’m delighted to be counted among its regulars. The Spectator and The Oldie also provide a fair few spots – and encouragingly, there are new titles embracing the art form, such as the recently launched Critic magazine.

The issue of young cartoonists coming through is a tricky one to solve – and something of a doubled-edged sword.

One of Rob’s first Spectator cartoons © Rob Murray

I sold my first cartoons to Private Eye and The Spectator when I was 26; I’m now 39 and I’m only aware of two – yes, two – cartoonists younger than me who currently sell to these magazines.

At the risk of falling into fogeyisms, the evidence does seem to suggest that younger artists are dissuaded by the demands of the job: it’s great fun, but can also be hard graft – and it can take many, many rejections before you even sell your first gag. When I started, I was working long hours in a ‘proper’ job – then spending late nights at the drawing board to meet self-imposed deadlines for work that would never be published. But without doing that, I would never have broken through.

At the same time, every cartoonist is fighting for their inch of white space in these magazines – do I really need some young star player rocking up and giving me a run for my money? In a word, yes.

Without new talent coming through and attracting the attention of the editors, even the most cartoon-friendly magazines might eventually run out of decent material, and give up on the gags.

And yet the audience for cartoons remains strong and enthusiastic. They are hugely popular with readers – and people are immediately intrigued when I mention what I do for a living.

A very early © Rob Murray from Private Eye

Like any artist, the cartoonist needs to adapt to the marketplace. It’s true that it can be difficult (if not impossible) to make a living by relying exclusively on the best-known publications. And even with fewer new cartoonists on the scene, competition for space remains fierce.

To some extent, I see these big-name magazines as my shop window – the place I can show off some of my best work, and reach a big audience. I then try and use those credentials to find well-paying jobs elsewhere – often by tempting the editor of a more obscure or niche title to add my work to their pages, when they’ve previously never even thought of using cartoons.

Instead of assuming the art form will become extinct on the printed page, we should all be finding ways to create our own markets and ensure that cartoons are here to stay.

Why does no one want to be a cartoonist any more? The lack of new blood doesn’t bode well for the industry’s future

July 25, 2020 in Comment, General

Written by Nick Newman for (and courtesy of) The Spectator with bonus cartoon content.

‘Nightmare!’ is how The Spectator’s cartoon editor Michael Heath has been describing cartooning for at least 30 years, but it’s truer now than ever. Eighty years ago, cartoonists were so celebrated that waxworks of Low, Strube and Poy were displayed in Madame Tussauds. Today, all that remains of Low is a pair of waxy hands in Kent University’s British Cartoon Archive. We are a vanishing species.

A © K.J. Lamb cartoon from Cherwell Magazine done during the time Kathryn was still at college.

There is a lack of new blood in the industry that doesn’t bode well for the future. When I was a student, getting published in Punch and Private Eyewas seen as the pinnacle of a career in humour. Many tried —and succeeded — from an early age. K.J. Lamb was selling gags to the Eyewhile still at Oxford. Ken Pyne was published in Punch when just 16 — as was Grizelda in Private Eye. The FT’s Banx was also a Punch stalwart by the time he was 20. That was then. Now we are all middle-aged and there are few youngsters snapping at our heels. The last time six cartoonists met at a Spectator party we had a combined age of over 350. In a recent photo of Eye cartoonists, featuring 45 of the top names, only one was under 30.

Punch cartoon from 1983 by a youthful © Jeremy Banks

Yet there’s every indication that cartoons are as loved by the public as ever. They are tweeted, shared, posted on Instagram; they go viral and get printed out and stuck on fridges. Pocket cartoons, pioneered by Sir Osbert Lancaster in the 1930s, are a particularly British art form and one that is still prized. Editors place topical gags on the front pages of newspapers, a practice rarely seen in France, Germany or America.

So why the dearth of new cartooning talent? The simple answer is that the opportunities have narrowed. Since the death of Punch, the main outlets for freelancers are Private Eye, The Spectator and the Oldie — and competition is fierce. Private Eye receives more than 500 submissions per issue and publishes up to 50. Every newspaper used to have regular pocket cartoonists — now only a handful survive. In straitened times for print media, the cartoons are often the first to go. Many of us lost work when lockdown was announced.

Another problem is financial. Some publications haven’t raised their rates since before the fall of the Berlin Wall, while others pay as little as £50 per cartoon. Compare that with the New Yorker, which is reported to pay between $700 and $1,400 per gag, depending on the artist’s ‘seniority’. One British publisher once asked me: ‘If we pay more, will the jokes be any funnier?’ I wish now I had said yes.

It isn’t just the lack of money that’s deterring new talent. There is also fear of failure. Rejection is a way of life for even seasoned cartoonists and today’s snowflakes can’t cope with it. I recently encouraged a promising young cartoonist to try The Spectator, which he did with immediate success. I still warned him: ‘You will get rejected. Everyone gets rejected.’ After two issues of ‘no thanks’ he has abandoned cartooning.

We veteran cartoonists do try to encourage the next generation, although it’s akin to committing professional suicide. The Cartoon Art Trust’s Young Cartoonist competition — judged by Fleet Street cartoonists — receives 1,000 entries a year. We joke that the objective is to identify the talent and then break their little fingers, but we stupidly don’t, and instead celebrate new stars and extra competition. Former winner Will McPhail is now a New Yorker regular; Rob Murray draws for Private Eye and the Sunday Times; Ella Baron for the TLS. All were in their twenties when they won, which suggests the talent is out there.

© Rob Murray’s first cartoon in Private Eye.

Oliver Preston, chairman of the Cartoon Art Trust, thinks alternative outlets distract comic artists. Graphic novels such as Kingsman, which was turned into a successful Hollywood movie franchise, are a more enticing means of earning aliving. Also, the ability to self-publish online cuts out editors who say, in the words of Heath: ‘You are not funny, Mr So-Called Funnyman.’ Ruby Elliot is a young illustrator better known as ‘rubyetc’ on Instagram, where she has 277,000 followers. Through her website, she sells merchandise, artwork and subscriptions to her cartoons.

Jon Harvey, the creator of Count Binface (who stood against Boris in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat in the last election), is the sort of sharp-minded political gagster who in another era would have drawn up his ideas and sold them to publications. Instead, he puts his jokes on Twitter to boost his online profile. It’s quicker, the response is immediate and, as he quips: ‘The editor of my Twitter page is more likely to take it.’ The theory is that getting noticed online may lead to commissions for radio and TV. He describes the internet as a ‘Wild West’ of opportunities for those who know how to self-promote or nurture a following.

For those of us brought up on dead wood who still find magic in newsprint, it may be too late to grasp these opportunities. So we continue to live the ‘nightmare’. How long the nightmare continues remains to be seen.

With many thanks to The Spectator for allowing us to reproduce this piece.

You can see an item featuring Nick on this story from BBC Newsnight (around 37 mins in)

Mike Turner 1942 – 2020

March 17, 2020 in News

Mike and Anita O’Brien at Ayr Cartoon Festival

Pete Dredge writes:

Like many cartoonists of a certain age, I first met Mike in the late 1970’s through membership of the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain. In those days the Club would meet monthly in The Cartoonist Pub in London’s Shoe Lane, as well as regularly arranging various “out of town” weekend, brewery-sponsored jaunts and an annual 5 day convention at Butlins. Mike, being one of the most sociable of chaps you’d ever wish to meet, was in his element. Nothing cliquey about Mike, he would find the time to talk to anyone and everyone in the room. This of course was no mean feat and Mike would usually sustain this time-consuming endeavour with a pint of best bitter and pin-sharp wit to hand.

Mike was a slightly built Mancunian but had the constitution of an ox and would often be found propping up the bar into the wee small hours as others fell pathetically by the wayside. I have only twice gone 24 hours without sleep and both times were in Mike’s wonderful, mischievous company. The first was on the CCGB’s 1979 trip to New York and, more recently, at the Ayr Cartoon Festival in 2001.

Sadly Mike contracted prostate cancer about 7 years ago and this put paid to his legendary imbibing and although his treatment appeared to be successful the cancer returned a few months ago with devastating effect . I last saw Mike about 3 years ago but spoke to him regularly on the phone over the years. Latterly the usual ‘mock bewilderment ‘ conversations about the machinations of cartoon editors was gradually replaced by more serious discussions of a medical nature.

Mike was a great gag cartoonist (Private Eye, The Spectator, The Oldie etc) who should have graced the pages of magazines much more frequently than he did. He served the CCGB well, not only as a lifelong member but as a distinguished chairman and put great store on the importance of the newsletter as a means of keeping distant, more remote members in touch with what was going on. As well as being a member of the PCO, Mike was also a member and regular attendee of BCA dinners.

Mike and joyous laughter (seasoned with a hint of cynicism) were synonymous and I, and all his colleagues will miss him greatly.

 

PCO Cartoon Review of the Year 2019

January 1, 2020 in General, News

Cartoon © Brian Adcock, The Independent

Glenn Marshall reporting from behind the paracetamol bottle:

Once more it is time to look back with the traditional (well, third year running) PCO ‘Cartoon Review of the Year’. It was always going to be a very hard task to not just fill it with cartoons about Trump and BORXIT® so in the end I just gave up and ran with it!

So to set the tone here’s a great drawing from © Chris Burke.

Martin Rowson sums up the plight of cartoonists facing a metaphor shortage in 2019.

I’m having to restock my Brex-mageddon bunker as most of my haul is now well past its sell-by date. I should’ve taken © Andrew Fraser’s Valentine’s Day advice in Private Eye and just bought tinned goods rather than Greggs vegan sausage rolls and doughnuts.

This © Colin Dukelow cartoon from Private Eye sums up what many felt about the ‘B’ word by the end of the year…probably by the beginning of the year too.

In March Brexit was taken off the menu for a few more months. Cartoon served up by © Mike Stokoe in The Spectator.

Moving on to April the heavily redacted Mueller report was released. Loved this cartoon by •••• in the •••••••• •••••

Illustration by © Steve Bright

In Sports News: May saw Liverpool ‘pipped’ (GERIT?) at the post for the Premiership title by the WONDROUS Manchester City. Eat that Klopp (the PCO strenuously denies any bias in their reporters) After coming so close I really can’t see Liverpool ever winning the Premiership! (Nosramarshall)

In June ‘stable genius’ Donald Trump visited the UK. © Royston Robertson shared this cartoon to mark the occasion. Really Royston could post this daily, or even hourly, and it would still be applicable.

In more Trump news: In July Trump told four Democrat congresswomen ‘go back to the places they came from’. This was Steve Jones’ lunar take on it tying in with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. (Private Eye)

I loved this Boris arse-faced Mona in The Guardian by Steve Bell. No idea what the story was, but I’m a Mona Lisa obsessive. I’m writing this review, so I’m putting it in.

A lovely drawing of the Time magazine ‘Person Of The Year’ (cue FUMING Donald) Greta Thunberg by © Andy Davey from The Evening Standard

© Wilbur Dawbarn’s Greta-inspired back to school clothing range, product placed in Private Eye.

Retail News: In October it was announced that, following a spate of high street closures, Debenhams was facing financial difficulty. © Sarah Boyce may have put her finger on why with this Private Eye cartoon.

Back to climate change: © Kathryn Lamb had this seasonally adjusted cartoon published in The Spectator….

… and this inflammable Private Eye cartoon by Clive Goddard. Sadly this could be a current scene from the Australian Met Office.

A cartoon by © The Surreal McCoy from Prospect which could virtually apply to any of 2019’s news stories.

Cartoon by © Nick Newman, The Sunday Times.

In November Prince Andrew pizza expressed his views on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal to Emily Maitlis. I suspect he’s someone else who may shy away from being interviewed by Andrew Neil in the future.

On that subject here was a rather prescient cartoon by © Kipper Williams actually from a June issue of The Spectator!

Also in November Boris visited flood-hit Yorkshire mostly to gargle his campaign message. Illustration by © Rebecca Hendin for The Guardian.

And still on matters aquatic (and to mention someone other than Bojo) here is Dave Brown’s cartoon for The Independent of Jezco and Joswin getting their campaign messages across…or not.

©Zoom Rockman in Private Eye visits the polling station.

As we head into the New Year here’s another excellent cartoon by •••• from the FT showing you can get new life out of a cartoon metaphor Mr Rowson.

© Brian Adcock, bookends the year with this offering from The Independent.

So what fresh horrors will 2020 have in store? I expect A LOT more about him, him, and more him!

Thanks to Procartoonist members for the use of their cartoons.

Happy New Year from the PCO.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2019 launch countdown

July 29, 2019 in Events, General, News

This year’s poster was created for the festival by © Marf.

Sue Austen (Festival Organiser) writes:

The Herne Bay Cartoon Festival has landed for another year. This is the seventh consecutive festival in the lovely Kent seaside town. The theme for this year is Fly Me to the Moon referencing the fiftieth anniversary of the first manned mission to the moon in 1969.

The Fly Me to the Moon exhibition is now open at Beach Creative featuring new work by PCO members including Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Kathryn Lamb, Andrew Birch, Noel Ford, Tim Harries, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Des Buckley, Kipper Williams, Jeremy Banx, Gerard Whyman, The Surreal McCoy, Rob Murray, Sarah Boyce, Glenn Marshall, Chris Burke, Neil Dishington, Jonesy and others.

Poster cartoon by © Steve (Jonesy) Jones.

Also open now is Book Marks at the Bay Art Gallery in William Street. Book Marks is a PCO exhibition on the theme of literature and books which has come to Herne Bay from Westminster Reference Library as the first small step on a planned tour of the solar system. 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.

The festival’s third exhibition is One Giant Leap which will be open from Friday 2nd  August at The Seaside Museum, 12 William Street, CT6 5NR. This show features work on loan from the British Cartoon Archive held at the University of Kent. The exhibition includes original cartoons and artwork from the time of the moon landing in 1969, other Apollo missions and moon related stories.  Artists represented in the show include Giles, Trog, Garland, Jensen, Homer, Emmwood, Langdon, Gary Barker, Rowson and Dave Brown.More than 20 cartoonists and caricaturists will descend on Herne Bay for the weekend of 2nd- 4th August.  On Saturday 3rd Zoom Rockman hosts a cartoon workshop at Beach Creative and later the same day Roger Todd will run a puppet caricature workshop there.

On Sunday 4th the weekend culminates with the annual Cartooning Live event on Herne Bay Pier where the visiting artists create giant cartoons, aunt sallies and peep boards. We are promised a balloon Boris will be attacked by seagulls whilst astronaut ‘John’ Glenn (Marshall) will be attempting Herne Bay’s first moon landing on the town’s iconic pier.

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

With thanks to all our sponsors and supporters including Arts Council England, Canterbury City Council, British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent and the PCO.