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How ya doin’?

January 25, 2014 in Comment, General, News

Jesus and Mo - How ya doin'?

© http://www.jesusandmo.net/

Hey. How ya doin’? can be offensive. Find out how and why might this might be so.

Readers will be unsurprised that we have been around such subjects before and won’t be surprised that the matter is also conflated with the local politics of the UK.

If you wish to offer a view please do, in the comments below.

Updated 29th Jan 2014: An interview on the issue conducted by Channel 4 News.

Tuning up for cartoon festival

January 23, 2014 in Events, General, News

Music cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn

Music cartoon for Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival exhibition by Procartoonists.org member © Wilbur Dawbarn

Planning is under way for the 2014 Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, the eleventh time the event has taken place in the Shropshire market town.

The main cartooning day of the festival, known as Cartoonists Live, will be Saturday 26 April. The festival exhibition of original artwork and prints, all for sale, on this year’s theme of “Music”, will run from 21 April to 17 May.

Inevitably, in these days of cutbacks, the festival is somewhat reduced in size this year as the major funding from Shropshire Council, which has been in place since the festival began in 2004, is no more.

The organisers are keen to point out that the festival has not been singled out by the council as the move is part of a much larger programme of reductions. The authority has had to make £80 million of cuts.

The festival has, however, had some financial support from this organisation, the PCO, and with some new sponsorship, existing funds, and a grant, the show goes on and the organisers say it will be as entertaining as ever.

The live event is one day rather than two, on the 26th, but it has been extended from 10am to 5pm. Most of the activity, such as the Big Boards and caricaturing, will take place in The Square, with workshops in other central venues.

As the festival website says, the event “offers unique opportunities to see artists at work, creating giant cartoons in The Square, drawing caricatures and running cartoon workshops for all ages”.

We’ll have more on the festival in due course. You can also see updates via @procartoonists, our Twitter feed, and follow the hashtag #shrews14

The Round-up

January 13, 2014 in General, Links, News

Robert Crumb cartoon
Kasia Kowalska writes:

It’s clearly not an impossible task to pick your all-time favourite cartoons but Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker has had a go at the advanced level of difficulty.

You can see some of our members tried it once too with Ten Great Cartoonists.

Elsewhere, the admirable Joe Gordon takes on the might of the BBC to get to the bottom of why Leo Baxendale’s name was omitted from a news piece about his famous creation Minnie the Minx.

The January sales are well under way and the Chris Beetles Gallery 2014 sale is now on. Artwork up for grabs includes cartoons by several Procartoonists.org members, including Noel Ford, John Jensen, Nick Newman, Royston Robertson, Ralph Steadman. Bill Stott, Kipper Williams and Mike Williams.

Not be outshone by the boys is Kathryn Lamb, another member currently exhibiting original cartoons, who returns to her Alma Mater with the Lamb’s Tales show, opening on 18 January.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 15.14.31

‘Excuse me, Gentlemen – how would you rate your merriment levels’? © KJ Lamb@ procartoonists.org

A batch of Carl Giles artwork and memorabilia is expected for sale in February and will include contributions from family and friends of the Ipswich cartoonist. This follows the October auction of last year.

Hollywood enfant terrible Shia LaBeouf just cannot stop getting into trouble over allegations of plagiarism, only this time by using other people’s words to justify it. Meanwhile, the cartoonist Jamie Smart used Twitter to poke fun at LaBeouf.

And if protecting your reputation and authorship is important to you, make a note of this date in your diary: 5 February. This is the deadline for the public consultation on EU copyright legislation reforms, which aim to address the impact of digital media on users and authors.

 

Everyone’s a cartoonist nowadays

January 6, 2014 in Comment, General, News

Google_Comic_Strip_Automation_©_Matthew_Buck_Hack_Cartoons_@procartoonists.org

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons @ Procartoonists.org

Regular readers of this blog will be unsurprised to learn that automation has struck once more with Google receiving a patent for the ‘‘self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications’’.

The advertising giant is following in the footsteps of other digital toolmakers such as Bitstrips.

Digital automation of cartoon formats for display is inevitable in a time of growing digital processing power, and it means that now everyone can be a cartoonist.

Procartoonists.org believes that quality will out, however.

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ procartoonists.org

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ Procartoonists.org

Happy Christmas Eve from Procartoonists.org

December 24, 2013 in Events, General

© Stik (Bill Greenhead) at procartoonists.org

© Stik (Bill Greenhead) at procartoonists.org

With the UK labouring under a series of storms or Atlantic depressions, it’s nice to imagine our Australian friends traditional summer celebration.

howsmydingdonging © KJ Lamb @ procartoonists.org

© KJ Lamb @ procartoonists.org

Maybe we can get some traditional cheer in other fashions later on.

 

Mistletoe_app_© Ian baker @ procartoonists.org

© Ian Baker @ procartoonists.org

 

The Round up

December 22, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The Winter Solstice is behind us and the traditional festive fun is in full swing.

Christmas season is upon us © Martin Honeysett @ procartoonists.org

© Martin Honeysett @ procartoonists.org

Also high on the agenda is freedom of speech after the London School of Economics apologised to two students who had been banned from wearing T-shirts featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ.

Twitter was also accused of losing its sense of humour. The microblogging site ran into trouble when it removed tweeted cartoons by the Indian political cartoonist Manjul.

The truth Hits Everybody art by Daniel Clowes :: scanned from 20th Century Eightball :: Fantagraphics Books :: 2002 © procartoonists.org

The truth hits everybody. Art by Daniel Clowes from 20th Century Eightball by Fantagraphics Books 2002 @ Procartoonists.org

The Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf is likely to be crossed off Daniel Clowes’ Christmas card list following accusations that he plagiarised the Ghost World creator’s 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano in his short film HowardCantour.com. Removal of accreditation for cartoonists in this age of digital ubiquity is a not an uncommon experience as a similar story from Rachel Duke illustrates.

Moving from theft to sharing, the CEO of Bitstrips has rebuffed claims that the social-media platform is a flash in the pan. The self-generated storytelling programme was the second most downloaded app in the world during November. Stuart Dredge found out why.

Movie interactives mashups from the Guardian © procartoonists.org

Matt Blease drawing for the Movie Mashups interactive app at The Guardian website @ Procartoonists.org

We note, see above, that other sites are also following this new fad. (Yes, we are looking at you The Guardian).

Seventeen years ago this month one of the founders of Private Eye, Willie Rushton, died. Adam Sonin remembers him as “the greatest satirist of them all” and explains the origins of the eccentric radio game Mornington Crescent.

For all the culture vultures out there, desperate to avoid last-minute Christmas shopping, there is still a chance to see The Age of Glamour at the Cartoon Museum which ends on Christmas Eve. Also, Cartoons and Caricatures at the Bank of England finishes on 31 December and The National Theatre’s Lampoon exhibition will end on 5 January.

Trippin' through the rain @procartoonists.org

Trippin’ through the rain from Toddles’s Comic Almanac 1862 @ Procartoonists.org

If you would rather stay inside than brave the current weather, you can always entertain yourself by trying out different cartoon styles. Which is exactly what Mike Holmes did when he created 100 cartoons of himself and his cat.

A Merry Christmas to us all.

Updated: 24th December with the sad news that political image maker Leon Kuhn has died.

work_pay © Leon Kuhn @ procartoonists.org

© Leon Kuhn @ procartoonists.org

The Round-up

December 12, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Peter Brookes @Procartoonists.org

The death of Nelson Mandela inspired poignant tributes from UK cartoonists, among them Peter Brookes in The Times (above), Peter Schrank in The Independent and Christian Adams in The Telegraph. Elsewhere, the South African cartoonist Zapiro tells the BBC a personal anecdote that demonstrates Mandela’s appreciation of satire.

Congratulations to Len Hawkins, who has been named the first-ever recipient of The Spectator’s Michael Heath Award for Cartooning. Already an established gag cartoonist, Len has won a year’s contract with the magazine, an original drawing by Heath, a bottle of gin, and a hand-made pair of shoes from John Lobb, which sponsored the competition.

Bill Watterson, creator of the much-loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, looks set to be the subject of a feature film from Warner Bros., with Leonardo DiCaprio among its producers.  Visit The Daily Cartoonist for more information. Watterson and his strip were also recently the focus of a documentary film.

According to Forbes, Bitstrips are now being used by French politicians to connect with the electorate. For the PCO‘s view on the popular automated ‘cartoons’, read this previous article.

Restaurant has great taste in cartoons

December 9, 2013 in General, News

Andy Davey gorges on a fine selection of cartoon morsels

There is a rather nice restaurant in a picture-perfect situation, hidden inside a particularly ugly example of Sixties architectural brutalism on the banks of the river in Cambridge. It’s the on the first floor of the University Centre.

Tom Walston © Sir Cam

It’s called the Riverside Restaurant, but don’t tell anyone about it – it’s a local secret. It’s run by a nice chap called Tom Walston (above, photograph © Sir Cam).

We at Procartoonists.org have a particular regard for him because he rather likes cartoons. So much so that he has plastered the walls of the approach to the restaurant with gag cartoons, all on a food and drink theme. We went along to find out how this came to be.

Tom had become bored with the usual watercolours depicting rows of punts or King’s College. So after chortling at a cartoon by Gabriel Alborozo, then drawing as W. Spring, in his copy of Private Eye ten years ago, he phoned the mag to ask if he could buy the original. In those days before data protection, when real people sat at the end of phone lines, he was given the phone number of the cartoonist.

Restaurant cartoon by Alborozo

© Gabriel Alborozo @ Procartoonists.org

After a quick negotiation, the original cartoon was wending its way to Tom. He framed it and hung it on the wall. People commented that it would be nice to have a few more so, with a degree of patience and persistence, a rather excellent collection of cartoons by the great and the good of UK gag cartooning was built up by Tom. Employing a local framer to give the mostly monochrome cartoons more visual presence, a whole wall was covered with the gags.

There are gags by familiar names such as McLachlan, Geoff Thompson, Robert Thompson, A.J. Singleton,  Newman, Ian Baker, Pilbrow, Reeve, Dish, NAF, Honeysett, Pearsall, Larry, Tony Husband, KES, BerniePAK, Parker, Warren and Peattie, and Knife and Packer, among others.

Tom says he likes it because it’s different to most walls in the colleges, which are full of dark portraits of worthy Victorian beards, bursars and beadles.

Punters seem to agree – he often sees a party of diners appreciating the gags before heading in to the restaurant. He has also enjoyed buying direct from the artists concerned as it makes the transaction more interesting.

Ed adds: Phone numbers of cartoonists for purchase of original artwork you say? Try here.

Interview: Dave Brown of the Independent

December 3, 2013 in Events, General, News

Fighting-Portsmouth_©_Dave_Brown_@_procartoonists.org

© Dave Brown @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska reports:

Sitting across the table from me in The Betjeman Arms in St. Pancras, nursing a pint, is the four-time winner of the Political Cartoon of the Year award, The Independent’s Dave Brown.

He will be defending his title against many other cartoonists this evening.

His Rogues’ Gallery cartoon on the Leveson enquiry, The Last, Last, Last Chance Saloon, won the award in 2012, and this year he’s chosen The Fighting Portsmouth, a cartoon on the recent BAE shipyard closure, for his entry. How did he decide on that particular cartoon?

“I think it’s quite difficult picking a cartoon. The trouble with being a political cartoonist is that a lot of what you do is so ephemeral. A few months removed from the story, which may have faded in people’s memory, a lot of cartoons don’t mean very much. One reason why I picked The Fighting Portsmouth was that it’s still current. You’re also always more pleased with what you’ve done most recently. It’s one of the Rogues’ Gallery cartoons so it has an added recognition factor: it’s based on Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, which is, supposedly, the nation’s most-loved painting.”

Brown made his mark as the creator of Rogues’ Gallery, which has, since 2003, appeared on the pages of the Saturday edition of The Independent.

How did he come up with the idea of giving classic paintings a satirical edge?

“Anything that looks familiar, but which you can turn into something unfamiliar and strange, is a gift – all grist to the mill. It’s a reference point to start with and it’s fun for me. I get to play at being Francis Bacon one week and Caravaggio the next. It’s a political cartoon with its own brand. It has a life of its own.”

A political cartoonist’s job is to hold up a mirror to the powerful. Seeing that he is one of the leading political cartoonists in the country, has he become part of the establishment he is supposed to lampoon?

“I hope not,” he says, “I sit at home wearing old jeans and a black T-shirt covered in Indian ink most days, scratching away at a piece of paper. If that’s the establishment, it doesn’t feel much like it. Cartooning tends to be anti-establishment. To an extent you are a licensed jester but you are never quite on the inside.”

According to Brown, cartoons can’t change the world, though it might be their intention. The most they might do is influence people who are already leaning towards one’s point of view. Upon reflection, however, he concedes that cartoonists can be a small part of shaping the way people think. Does he have a favourite among his own cartoons that might have done that?

Hillsborough_cover_up_©_Dave_Brown_@_procartoonists.org

© Dave Brown @ Procartoonists.org

“There was one I did last year when the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report came out. There were a lot of pictures of Thatcher walking around Hillsborough with the police a few days after the tragedy, supposedly being briefed on what had happened – which, of course, we now know was a fiction – and who was very happy to swallow it all and blame the Liverpool fans.

“I did a cartoon of Thatcher down by the corner of the pitch, lifting it up like a carpet as the police swept bodies underneath. I got a lot of favourable responses from people in Liverpool.

“I was worried about offending the families of the Hillsborough fans; they’d gone through a lot. I don’t usually worry about offending people very much; it’s sort of the job to offend. However, a lot of people rang up who liked the cartoon. One guy said, ‘Not many people read The Independent on Merseyside but they’re selling loads of copies today ’cause everyone’s been talking about your cartoon.’ That makes you feel you’ve done your job properly.”

Ed adds: Thanks to Kasia for writing and sharing this content which you can also read at The Independent.

The Round-up

December 2, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Liza Donnelly @Procartoonists.org

Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for The New Yorker, shares with Forbes.com the transcript of a recent speech in which she looks at how cartoonists can use humour as a force for peace.

Huw Aaron, a member of Procartoonists.org, shares some strips from his ongoing North Stand series and asks, ‘Who’d be a rugby fan?’

Patrick Blower, whose editorial cartoons can regularly be seen in the Daily Telegraph, has been spotted drawing live to illustrate BBC political editor Nick Robinson‘s report on the energy industry. Watch the video, embedded in a related blog post by Robinson, here.

Still with the BBC, a report on how comic strips are helping doctors improve their bedside manner. Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, psychologist Neil Cohn attempts to analyse the sophisticated language of cartoons.

And finally, “visual journalist” (or straightforward “comics artist”?) Joe Sacco talks to Salon about his work and how the graphic novel makes it possible to deal with difficult subjects. Read the interview here.