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What’s your favourite cartoon book?

March 2, 2019 in Comment, General

We’ve been talking in the inner sanctums of the PCO forum about favourite books on cartoons/cartoonists. Here I share some of our choices:

Steve Jones (Jonesy)

I could easily have gone with Sempe, Stauber or Ungerer – Steadman, in particular, was a really close call – but Matt Jones’ mighty labour of love blew me away. Ronald Searle should be worshipped as a god.

 Pete Dredge

Apologies for blatant trumpet blowing and self promotion. It was a long time ago (1982). It won’t happen again. When my cartoon career first took off in 1976 I had quite a purple patch (now a long distant memory!) where everything I touched seemed to turn to gold (plate)! Today I’m scratching around (does the Weekly News still take gags??) but I can look back at those early successes with a nostalgic eye and be somewhat grateful that there was a thriving market where a half decent cartoonist could get his/her foot on the ladder.

To be included in that list of Hitler’s favourite (mainly US) cartoonists still gives me a thrill. Whatever happened to those other guys?

Here’s a sample page from that tome:

Rupert Besley

No question which for me. It’s the book I grew up with and where I first discovered the joy of cartoons. Four books actually (Down With Skool!, How to be Topp, Whizz for Atomms & Back in the Jug Agane). My father was a headteacher and a new volume arrived each Christmas, to be fought over by the rest of the family for the rest of the year. The cover below is from a later omnibus edition.

The Willans/Searle collaboration was that rare thing in books, a perfect meeting of brilliant minds, with text and illustrations equally superb, each enhancing the other. And just as funny 60 years on.

Wilbur Dawbarn

A Searle book was the first thing to come to my mind, too. We could probably do a blog post purely on Searle books!

To throw in something different, then, here’s a collection of the also brilliant but considerably underrated Rowland Emett. What I love about Emett is the way he caricatured not just people, but trains and other vehicles, buildings, trees… everything! An absolute master of composition and chaos. Richard Ingrams once told me he didn’t like Emett’s stuff, it was ‘too spidery’, I think he said. The utter heathen.

Cathy Simpson

The Complete Molesworth is a strong contender, but perhaps ‘Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys & Girls’ does it for me. A friend gave me a copy of it when I was 16, and it was the first time I’d come across the work of the sorely-missed Martin Honeysett.

Roger Penwill

Russell Brockbank was a very early influence. He had a cartoon in the back of the weekly The Motor in the 50’s and 60’s. I read that mag every week as I was keen on cars (Dad worked for Ford’s) and loved the weekly dose of Brockbank humour. Over The Line is a typical collection, published in 1955.

Matthew Buck

Always enjoyed Philip Thompson and Mel Calman’s work together over many years.

Guy Venables

This was bought for me on Christmas 1981 and the foreword is by Tom Wolfe. It is a definitive collection of the finest satirical cartoonists from all over the world covering from the 60s to the 80s. Bletchman, Booth, Descloozeaux, Feiffer, Francois, Flora, Gorey, Koren, Bill Lee, Le-Tin, Levine, Mihaesco, Myers, Osbourn, Rauch, Roth, Searle, Steadman, Sempe, Sorel, Ungerer and Wilson. The young cartoonists brain couldn’t want a better introduction to satirical cartooning than this book which explained to me the sheer width of styles and scale of ambition ideas and narratives could have. If you haven’t got it, you should get it. Without it I probably wouldn’t have become a cartoonist.

Glenn Marshall

I could quite easily have plumped for the wonderful ‘Ronald Searle’s America’ book already chosen by Jonesy but instead I’ll pick this one on Timothy Birdsall (who Searle was a fan of) given to me by a friend. Shamefully I didn’t know his work at all, which appeared in Private Eye, The Spectator and The Sunday Times. He was more widely known for his regular appearances drawing live on the BBC show ‘That Was The Week That Was’. Here he is explaining how political cartoons are made.

I love his smudgy and yet detailed style. Sadly he died tragically young aged just 27 in 1963.

There should be a few suggestions here to send you scurrying to eBay but what are your favourites? Let us know in the comments section below.

Rowland Emett – eccentrically whimsical inventor

September 17, 2009 in General

PCOer The Surreal McCoy reports on John Jensen’s illustrated talk on the workings of cartoonist Rowland Emett‘s imagination at the Cartoon Museum in London last night.

Admitting he was ‘genetically propelled to enjoy Emett’s work’ John showed what an accomplished technician Emett had been with drawings of trains and planes (he had worked as a draughtsman for the Air Ministry) as well as his elaborate filigree work for bizarre and outlandish machines which are also on show at the museum until November 1st.

emett2

A suitably surreal slideshow traced Emett’s career, including artists such as Saul Steinberg and Hokusai who influenced him. It also highlighted the many different mediums in which he drew, which ran from scraperboard to watercolour. During the Second World War Emett had provided cartoons for propaganda purposes including an acidly-drawn caricature of Hitler in uncharacteristically lurid colours and with a French tagline.

Bloghorn_Emett_contraption

There will be another talk at the museum on Wednesday 23rd September when Emett’s daughter Claire will share anecdotes and memories of her father’s life. The talk is from 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Entrance is £5, Concessions £4 and Friends of the Museum £3.

The Cartoon Museum, at 35 Little Russell Street, Bloomsbury, is open Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am to 5.30pm and Sundays 12pm to 5.30pm.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

John Jensen talks Rowland Emett

August 10, 2009 in General

emett2
PCOer John Jensen is to give an illustrated talk on the early work of cartoonist Rowland Emett, entitled The Eccentric Whimsicality of Mr. Emett, Inventor at the Cartoon Museum in London.

The talk is a tie-in with the exhibition Engines of Enchantment: The Machines and Cartoons of Rowland Emett which is at the museum until November 1.

John Jensen’s talk takes place on on September 16, from 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Entrance is £5, Concessions £4 and Friends of the Museum £3.

The Cartoon Museum, at 35 Little Russell Street, Bloomsbury, is open Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am to 5.30pm and Sundays 12pm to 5.30pm.