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Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival in the rear-view mirror.

April 25, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick, Pete Dredge, John Roberts and Helen Pointer ‘drawing the crowds’.

Rupert Besley writes:

The sun shone on the righteous – and on the cartoonists in Shrewsbury. It was a bumper gathering in the town this last weekend, with visitors and participants drawn from far and wide. Few more so than festival regular Dean Alston from Down Under, whose ace Big Board, along with a Noel Ford classic, was among the first things to greet arrivals in The Square. Close by worked guest cartoonists from the States, Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein, while further input to the international flavour of the day came from the strong deputation of Belgians, all involved in the European Cartoon Centre at Kruishoutem near Ghent.

Big boards by Australia’s Dean Alston and the UK’s Noel Ford.

US cartoonists Maria Scrivan and Ken Krimstein with their big boards.

Cartoon by Nikola Hendrickx from Belgium and Nikola in action.

The private view of the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ exhibition at The Bear Steps Gallery.

This was the 15th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival and the theme of Transport was a fertile and perfect choice. The galleries (Bear Steps, Theatre Severn & V.A.N, plus Wendy Shea exhibition at Participate) gave proof, if ever needed, of what can be done from kicking around a good subject and, back in The Square, heads spun towards the reassuring sight of Air Flight Marshall at the check-in desk for budget airline Icarus Air.

The GORGEOUS Glenn Marshall at the Icarus Air check-in desk.

Roger Penwill fronts the Drawma while Noel Ford, Wilbur Dawbarn and Royston Robertson take to the boards accompanied by The Surreal Accordionist. 

You can count on Shrews for good live music from beneath the Market Hall and so it proved throughout. Mid-afternoon came the Drawma, with mellow accordion softening the oohs and aarrghs of those there for quick-drawn gags and terrible puns.

Caricaturists Alex Hughes suitably in tropical attire for the unseasonal heatwave.

Elsewhere in The Square, the line-up of top caricaturists was kept hard at it all day (Hughes, Roberts, Pointer, Cusick, Leatherbarrow, Dredge & Ryder, with Christelle Jones at Bear Steps). Meanwhile, other Big Boards got filled by the likes of (with apologies to anyone inadvertently missed) Clive & Amy Goddard, Steve Best, Royston Robertson, Wil Dawbarn, Ross Thomson, Ger Whyman, Hunt Emerson, Rich Skipworth, John Landers, The Surreal McCoy, Jeremy Banx, Roger Penwill, Nikola Hendrickx & present writer, not forgetting fine graphic contributions too from Zoom Rockman and Patrick Holden.

PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard with PCO’s Treasurer-human Amy Amani-Goddard.

Steve Best applying blue.

Maria Scrivan ‘likes’ Royston Robertson’s twitter cartoon. 

Gerard  Whyman hogs some limelight.

The top of Rich Skipworth.

The Surreal McCoy and her surreal cartoon.

Jeremy Banx creates Noah’s limo.

Semi-big boards by John Landers and Roger Penwill.

Ross Thomson & Hunt Emerson drawing and colouring in.

Dean Alston and Wilbur Dawbarn doing some more drawing and colouring in.

Rupert Besley on a familiar scene from a cartoonists daily life.

Zoom of Crouch End draws Clive of India.

Helen Pointer’s ‘Introduction to Caricature’ workshop.

The cartoon workshops are an important part of the festival – this year tackling caricature, movement in drawings, an automobile barn dance plus Stop Motion animation (Barry the Shrew) and some fun paper planes (from Biggles Rudling). Festival patrons Alex Lester and Martin Wainwright came up trumps in their support of the Festival, the former using his radio interview skills to host the panel of cartoonists in conversation at the Wightman Theatre on the Friday evening. The latter was able to apply some of his editing experience to the list of rules drawn up for the Air Cartooning contest that rounded off the following evening. And, on the Sunday morning, while bikers gathered in their droves on the outskirts of the town, festival participants were treated to a fascinating tour of Historic Shrewsbury.

Rupert Besley wins the inaugural ‘Air Cartooning’ Cartoon Off ® Noel Ford

Thanks and full credit to all responsible, beginning with organisers Sarah Knapp, Bill McCabe, Tim King, Roger Penwill, Noel Ford, and Jonathan Cusick, along with all the volunteer helpers, and not forgetting the many participants (including visitors) who made the whole thing so successful.

Thanks also to Mika Schick for the excellent photographs.

More detail on the festival: Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Exhibition in aid of tsunami victims

October 12, 2011 in News

John Jensen tsunami cartoon
The Kyoto International Cartoonist Congress has organised an exhibition from which proceeds will go to victims of the Japanese tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Kyoto International Cartoon Special Exhibition features 300 cartoons from 127 cartoonists in 41 countries, including, from the UK, Martin Honeysett, John Jensen, Ken Pyne and Ross Thomson.

A detail from John Jensen’s drawing has also been used for the cover of the catalogue, above. The caption: “I’ve found our good luck charm. It’s not even cracked.”

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK’s Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

Cartoon contest is no laughing matter

January 25, 2011 in Comment

PCO cartoonist John Jensen takes a look at a Turkish cartoon competition:

Cartoon by Ahmet Ozturklevent

Turkey recently staged its 27th Aydin Dogan International Cartoon Competition and a 255-page catalogue was released, beautifully printed throughout in colour, with text in Turkish and English.

There’s a long list of successful exhibitors – 44 countries are represented – and a much longer list of entrants who did not get past the judges.

There are 127 Turkish cartoonists and a random count reveals that Serbia is represented by 35 entrants, China by 53 and Iran by 122. Four UK cartoonists participated but only Ross Thomson has survived, to exhibit two drawings.

The three UK cartoonists, who did not make it are Houmayon Mahmoudi, Stephen Mumberson and Alexei Talimonov. Maybe they didn’t draw enough brick walls and prison bars, of which there were plenty.

The first-prize winner, by Turkish cartoonist Ahmet Ozturklevent, is pictured above.

There is an overall sense of stifling bureaucracy while the threat of violence, usually implicit, is a common theme. There are few, if any, English-style jokes. Even Ross Thomson succumbed to drawing a couple of tanks, but at least they are not avoiding daisies.

In the exhibition there are messages galore for mankind – which mankind will almost certainly ignore.

The quality of much of the draughtsmanship is undeniable. The contestants can think, they can draw and they can be very witty indeed, but English-style humour, they would claim, is not part of their job description.

Award-winning PCO cartoonists

July 8, 2008 in General


PCOer Martin Honeysett has won the Kyoto International Cartoon Competition for a piece of art on global warming. Fellow member Ross Thomson placed third. You can see a full report on ther work and the stiff competition they faced here. Bloghorn says Click H for Honeysett and T for Thomson.
It’s British cartoon talent

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival – The Big Boarders

April 9, 2008 in General


Kipper Williams of The Guardian is one of this year’s PCO Big Boarders at the festival. Above is one of Kipper’s submissions to the “But is it Art?” exhibition, which is already open in the town.

The full list of cartoonist Big Boarders drawing at this year’s festival, over the weekend of Friday 18th and Saturday 19th April, is:

Steve Bright, Clive Collins, Bill Stott, Ross Thomson, Martin Honeysett, Alex Hughes, Pete Dredge, John Roberts, Matt Buck (Hack), Royston Robertson, Mike Turner, Noel Ford, Steve Best (Bestie), Dave Brown, Ian Baker, Chris Burke, Andy Davey, Neil Dishington, Paul Hardman, and Andy McKay (NAF).

PCOer Pete Dredge will be blogging tomorrow about how it feels to do a big board at Shrewsbury.

British cartoon talent

PCO Procartoonists – Foghorn cartoon magazine

January 21, 2008 in General


Foghorn, the full colour magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is in production right now and is due to land on the desks of some lucky art buyers soon. This all new exciting flood-proof issue will include articles from PCOers Martin Honeysett, Martin Rowson, Roger Penwill and Pete Dredge alongside the usual top jokes and regular features. This edition’s cover cartoon is by Mr Ross Thomson – click T for Thomson.
21st January 2008
British cartoon talent

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