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The Round-up

February 10, 2012 in Links


The big story in cartooning this week unfolded in the US, as a large number of editorial cartoonists took issue with The New York Times for soliciting cartoons on-spec (see No!Spec for useful background on this issue).

Aardman Animations, the studio behind Wallace and Gromit, has denied it is unhappy with comparisons between their hapless inventor character and Labour leader Ed Miliband in cartoons by Times cartoonist Peter Brookes. Responding to press reports that had claimed it was concerned about damage to its brand, Aardman said the cartoons are ‘great fun’. A piece in The Telegraph goes further, suggesting that Miliband should be flattered by the comparison.

When singer-songwriter Ryan Adams banned photography from his latest tour, the St. Louis Riverfront Times sent an illustrator along instead.

In Morocco, an 18-year-old has appeared in court after posting caricatures of King Mohammed VI on Facebook.

Royal Mail has unveiled a new set of Roald Dahl stamps, with illustrations by Quentin Blake.

And there’s more on the Cartoon Museum‘s alternative Jubilee show, Her Maj, as curator Anita O’Brien guides Culture24 though the exhibition.

by Royston

Blake lets them eat cake

December 6, 2011 in Events, News

A selling exhibition of Quentin Blake drawings, called Chocolate Fudge Banana Cake and Other Delicacies, opens at the Chris Beetles Gallery in St James’s, London, on Sunday (December 11).

Blake will be at the gallery on the opening day and there will be music from the Jelly Rollers and, the organisers promise, a “sweet mountain”. Visit the Chris Beetles Gallery website for more details. The exhibition of 120 pictures will be on display until January 7.

by Royston

A feast of beasts for Christmas

December 9, 2010 in General, News

The Chris Beetles Gallery is hosting a new Quentin Blake exhibition alongside its Illustrators 2010 show. Frabjous Beasts and Frumious Birds opens this Sunday (December 12).
Quentin Blake exhibition cartoon

Quentin Blake will be at the gallery between 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm to meet the public and chat about his work. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Jelly Rollers and the gallery promises other treats for all the family.

The exhibition of 75 new works, which runs until January 8, is now online at the Chris Beetles site. All the pictures are available to buy. Accompanying the exhibition is a 48-page fully illustrated catalogue.

House of Illustration

November 25, 2010 in General, News

Illustration from The Very Hungry Caterpiller by Eric Carle

Cartoons and illustrations by some of the biggest names in the business are due to go under the hammer next month in support of the House of Illustration. The Sotheby’s auction, to be held on the 16th December, will feature work by Peter Brookes, Gerald Scarfe, Eric Carle (from children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpiller), Beryl CookeRonald Searle and organiser Quentin Blake, amongst others. Some of the pieces up for grabs can be seen here.

The House of Illustration aiming to be the world’s first centre dedicated to the art of illustration, and has a site earmarked in the Kings Cross regeneration centre in central London.

Big Draw sketched out

September 29, 2010 in Events

The Campaign for Drawing has announced details of the launch event for this year’s Big Draw festival, which is called Make Your Mark on the Future.

The London launch takes place over the weekend of October 22 and 23 on the South Bank, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Highlights will include free cartoon workshops run by the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and the returning Battle of the Cartoonists, featuring a Bloghorn team who will be defending their title following their glorious (and surprising) victory in last year’s cheer-off.

Bloghorn at the Big Draw from the Campaign for Drawing

Other events include talks and workshops by artists in this year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize, Walk and Draw – a sketching tour of nearby memorials and people, an exhibition of Stephen Wiltshire‘s amazing drawings of the City, and a mural by the cartoonist Quentin Blake, the long-time Roald Dahl collaborator.

For more details, go to the Campaign for Drawing’s website or download a PDF with full programme and map.

Make Your Mark on the Future: Big Draw 2010

May 26, 2010 in Events, General, News

Sue Grayson Ford
Director of the Campaign for Drawing launched Big Draw 2010 on Monday. This year – Make Your Mark on the Future – will feature events and activities around the country throughout October.

The event also saw the official launch of the website (as mentioned previously) with a special drawing by Posy Simmonds, Steven Appleby, storyboard artist Nesta Morgan and Bloghorn’s own, Matt Buck. The results were projected on a giant screen in the auditorium as they drew.

Winners of the Drawing Inspiration Awards received a certificate drawn by Quentin Blake and a cheque. These were presented to a variety of organisations and institutions for their work in promoting drawing and it’s use in education and for the public benefit. Winners included the Prema Arts Centre in Gloucestershire, Stockport College and Worcester Porcelain Museum. The Arts Award Prize was presented to 15 year old Phoebe Hill for her Giant’s Garden project at Lyme Regis ArtsFest. The Awards this year also featured the first overseas winners, with the Playeum Play Centre in Singapore being co-winner of the Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust Awards and the Kecskemét Cultural and Conference Centre in Hungary being a runner-up.

Bloghorn should add that the adaptation of Posy’s drawn book Tamara Drewe premiered in Cannes at the film festival and will be out later in the year.

by Royston

A serious discussion of humour

May 24, 2010 in Comment, General, News

Quentin Blake mural, King’s College, Cambridge (Pic: King’s College)

Cartoonist Andy Davey writes:

To the glorious surroundings of Pembroke College, Cambridge, for a learned and earnest discussion of humour in art.

The conference featured two keynote addresses: one by Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal and author of Hogarth, France and British Art, and a second by Quentin Blake on his approach to humour and how it informs his work, especially his recent 70ft mural for Addenbrooke’s Hospital depicting Cambridge University’s
800-year history.

Unfortunately, due to deadlines of the crust-earning variety, your correspondent missed both talks, but there was plenty else to tickle the synapses. It was an interesting departure for a humble practitioner to go back and be enveloped by the warm, crusty embrace of academe; a delightful chance to enjoy in-depth reflection on our art-form. It was a true cartoon nerd’s paradise (in the nicest possible way).

Topics ranged from Shanghai art-deco cartoons to a study of the African woman as muse for Georgian cartoonists like Gillray and Newton. An unexpected bonus was a short talk by the remarkable polymath Loyd Grossman (yes, that one) on Babar the Elephant, the much-loved French cartoon strip, delivered with a liberal sprinkling of wit – a dangerous weapon to use in the groves of academe.

I was keen to explore the reasons for the apparent distaste for the British to embrace the study or appreciation of cartoons as an art-form, wondering whether it was connected to a wider disdain for the art-form here by serious art mavens, while continental Europe holds it high.

Over coffee, I unfairly ear-holed poor Professor Jean Michel Massing of the History of Art deparment to find out. His off-the-cuff explanation was that there was no inherent disdain, it was simply down to lack of money to initiate research projects.

Your correspondent respects the learned professor’s pitch for funding, but reserves judgment, while retiring to scratch his beard and think.

Quentin Blake's Informal Panorama

September 30, 2009 in News

Watch a video of Quentin Blake’s recent work for the University of Cambridge (link from the BBC)

by Royston

Exhibition: The Illustrators 2008

November 19, 2008 in General

The Chris Beetles Gallery in London is currently hosting a show entitled The Illustrators 2008 .

The annual show features work by illustrators and cartoonists, such as Quentin Blake, left, from 1800 to the present day. It runs until January 3.

The gallery says that the exhibition, which features more than 1,000 pictures, is the world’s largest selection of original illustrative artwork for sale. Accompanying the exhibition will be a 140-page catalogue which contains biographies, notes and 342 illustrations. It is priced £15. The Chris Beetles Gallery is at 8 & 10 Ryder St, St James’s, London. Telephone: 020-7839 7551.

The website can be found at

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent