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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)

How to draw a virus: spare a thought for the Covid-19 cartoonists

June 9, 2020 in Comment, General

Written by Guy Venables originally for The Spectator (with a smattering of bonus content cartoons):

While stumbling the 30 yards from bed to work, the freelance gag cartoonist is usually trying to decide which of the hundreds of news stories to draw a hilarious cartoon about that day. It used to be one of the most difficult decisions of the morning. Now, however, that question has been replaced by “are there any new angles to be had from the one, same, monolithically large single news story of the decade?”

My mother, similarly, at the end of the second world war, asked her own mother whether the newspapers would keep going because, obviously, there would be no more news to speak of now the war was over.

Cartoon © Guy Venables

Cartoonists evolve, like finches, on separate islands and rarely meet. That said, in the first week of lockdown each of us imagined we were the only ones to think of the link between the “man on the desert island” visual cliché and social distancing, so much so in fact, that the Private Eye cartoon editor asked us all politely to go back to bed and try to think of something else. So we all switched our attentions to loo rolls and stockpiling.

Then Easter came around and we all individually sent The Spectator “Jesus being told to roll back the stone and get back in the cave.” Then we all drew Joe Wicks. Then baking. A new type of mental filtering process had to be adopted, and cartoonists aren’t good at “new” (although a strangely large proportion of us have been adopted. Some several times). A proportion of us decided to concentrate on non-topical cartoons.

Cartoon © Guy Venables

But as Pete Dredge asked us all: “Do we draw everybody two metres apart even if it’s nothing to do with Coronavirus?” We didn’t know for sure but decided against it, as it would use up too much paper.

As things progressed and the death count rose there was a shift from looking at the situation to looking at the virus itself. Attack the villain of the story as we always say (We don’t always say that but we COULD). But how do you draw a virus? Somebody drew the virus. It was round with knobbly bits on. Right. We all drew gags about round things and added knobbly bits so you could tell it was biting satire. Then Matt from the Telegraph did it better and we all went back to bed again.

In my own personal sphere, it was a problem of pretence that bothered me. Now that my wife was at home all day the withering truth was slowly dawning on her of just how little work I actually do. I spend the afternoon trying to convince her that a hammock is a legitimate workplace.

I think of an idea but realise Nick Newman has already done it in the Times. Then I realise I’d just read the Times.

Long gone are the cocktail parties and trendy gatherings to which the cartoonist is never invited. Now he must rely on his own wits and hard work. Having never done this before we revert to our standard emergency operation of copying old Punch cartoons and hoping nobody notices.

Cartoon © Guy Venables

Another angle is of course to throw withering scorn at whoever’s in charge. This can limit the people to whom one can send the actual cartoon. Politically it’s a good idea to choose a point right in the middle of politics and shoot outwards. That way, come the revolution you can pin your badge on whoever runs the firing squads.

Cartoon © Guy Venables

I draw a gag about Dominic Cummings that gets lots of likes on Facebook and go back to the hammock, blissfully unaware that an hour beforehand, from some distant garret, Banx had sent a similar but much better Cummings gag to the Financial Times.

With thanks to The Spectator for allowing us to reproduce the piece.

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.

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.

PCO Cartoon Review of 2018

January 2, 2019 in Comment, General, News

 

Cartoon © Steve Bright

As is tradition, here is our review of the year featuring cartoons by PCO members and when I say tradition I mean we did it for the first time last year.

The Brighty cartoon above was done to introduce last year but is sadly still very true for the end of 2018.

If you can’t bear any more mentions of Brexit or Trump you’re advised to look away now!

Cartoon © Dave Brown

After the terrible Florida school shootings towards the beginning of the year Trump’s well considered proposal was to arm teachers. This was Dave Brown’s response in his ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ drawing for The Independent.

Cartoon © Mike Turner

Salisbury received a tourism boost in March when visited by two Russian holiday makers. Here’s a cartoon of Mike Turner’s on the Novichok nightmare.

Cartoon © Graeme Bandeira

March also saw the relativity sad news of Stephen Hawking’s death. Graeme Bandeira paid cartoon tribute to him in The Yorkshire Post. Our quarks are with Stephen’s family.

Cartoon © Sarah Boyce

In April the Home Office become Rudd-erless after the Windrush scandal erupted. This by Sarah Boyce published in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Nathan Ariss had signalled Amber Rudd’s departure in Private Eye too.

Cartoon © Steve Bell

In June we had the start of the Donald/Kim love-in as they met in Singapore. That moment captured here by Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

Then in July The Donald asked his administration to invite his other love interest Vlad Putin to the White House. The moment foretold here by Martin Rowson also in The Guardian. Of course the person Trump loves more than anyone else is Trump himself.

Cartoon © Steve Jones

The nation went into shock in July when England actually preformed well AND won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup!!! This was a favourite football tournament themed cartoon by Jonesy (used in Private Eye).

Cartoon © Tat Effby

There’s been much in the news this year about climate change and plastic in the oceans. Here’s a fine cartoon I’ve recycled on the subject by Tat Effby.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy also took to the oceans with this message on #MeToo.

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

In August Theresa May started thinking of life after being PM when she put in a ‘Strictly’ application by throwing some shapes, mostly Isosceles triangles, on her tour to South Africa. This from Kipper Williams in The Spectator.

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

In September the Dancing Queen announced at the party conference in Birmingham plans for the ‘Festival of Brexit’. This Jeremy Banx cartoon in the Finacial Times became very popular on social media.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

On the subject of Brexit, and it’s very difficult to get OFF the subject of Brexit, here’s a fine cartoon by Royston Robertson from The New European.

Cartoon © Andy Davey

…and there’s more. Andy Davey’s finely woven tapestry on the Brexit battle within the Conservative party. (Daily Telegpah)

Cartoon © Rob Murray

This Rob Murray Private Eye cartoon perfectly sums up our nation divided.

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s not only the UK that’s been in turmoil, across in France they’ve had gilets jaunes fever. This Gauling cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn.

As the year ended Trump closes down the US government to try and force through funding for his election promise to ‘Build A Hamster Wheel’. This just in from our correspondent Clive Goddard.

Illustration © Rebecca Hendin

This illustration by Rebecca Hendin has NOTHING to do with the year (it was drawn for the BBC Culture series ‘Stories That Shaped The World’) but I think it sums up 2018 perfectly…a sort of contemporary Edvard Munchian existential scream.

Cartoon © Brian Adcock

…and in The Guardian new PCO member Brian Adcock digs out his crystal ball to predict what might happen in 2019…yep, more of the same.

Happy? New Year from the PCO

 

Cartoonists in Conversation

April 30, 2018 in Events, General

Jonathan Cusick writes:

A Friday evening talk has traditionally opened the public programme of the Shrewsbury cartoon festival. This year ‘Cartoonists in Conversation’ aimed to give the public an insight into the lives of cartoonists, whose work they would probably be familiar with but know little about the people behind them.

The number of cartoonists gathering in the town (this year there were 30) meant we had a stellar line-up to choose from. Jeremy Banx (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Private Eye) resplendent in his beret, The Surreal McCoy (The Spectator, Reader’s Digest, The Sunday Times), Royston Robertson (Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator) and Wilbur Dawbarn (The Beano, Private Eye, The Spectator) were joined by Ken Krimstein (New Yorker, Harvard Business Review) who was over from Chicago and brought an international perspective to the chat. Our host for the evening was BBC radio presenter Alex Lester,  a festival patron and cartoon enthusiast.

Line up: Alex Lester, The Surreal McCoy. Royston Roberston, Ken Krimstein, Wilbur Dawbarn & Jeremy Banx. Photo © Gerard Whyman

The discussion covered various aspects of life as a cartoonist, alongside some superb examples of their work. Topics covered included the creation of the work and their workspace, some ‘greatest hits’ over the years, stories of rejection slips, offence, their influences and inspirations, and of course a mention of Trump. After the main panel discussion came questions direct from the audience.

A silhouetted Banx talks about one of his cartoons. Photo © Gerard Whyman

An abominable Royston Robertson cartoon. Photo © Gerard Whyman

 

 

An influential cartoon by Bernard Kliban.

We were delighted that the event was a sell-out, and indeed extra chairs were added for latecomers.

Photo © Gerard Whyman

Hearty thanks for the success of the evening go to the cartoonists on the panel, and Alex Lester for all being fabulous. The Wightman Theatre set us up wonderfully and Andy McKeown of WildStrawberry.com’s wonderful projection made the evening such a treat visually.

PCO Cartoon Review of 2017

January 1, 2018 in Comment, General, News

 

Everyone else is doing it so we thought we’d have our own look back at the year…with cartoons by PCO members. The Big Issue drawing above by Andrew Birch manages to fit the whole year into just one cartoon!

© Ralph Steadman

We started the year with Trump’s bigly attended inauguration. Trump was undoubtedly (Mad) Man of the Year although he was closely followed by Kim Jong-Range Missile. This flattering portrait of Trump is by the inimitable Ralph Steadman.

© Steve Bell

At the beginning of the year Theresa May visited Washington to hold hands with The Donald. This cartoon from Steve Bell on the ‘special relationship’. You can see more of Steve Bell’s favourite cartoons of the year on the Guardian website.

© Wilbur Dawbarn

June saw Mrs M making another bad decision in calling a snap election. Who’d of thunk this would turn Jeremy Corbyn into a headline act at Glastonbury! This on the election race by Private Eye regular Wilbur Dawbarn.

© Andy Davey

The election didn’t go too well for Theresa. Here’s Andy Davey on the costly deal she was forced to do with the DUP (from The Indy). Unsurprisingly the figures weren’t heralded on the side of a bus.

© Jeremy Banx

Russian cyber interference in overseas elections has been a big story in 2017. This cartoon by FT cartoonist Banx. (although this could easily be a drawing of The Daily Mail newsroom)

© Martin Rowson

In June we had the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. This is Martin Rowson’s response in The Guardian on the Government hiding from responsibilities.

© Zoom Rockman

…another illustration on Grenville Tower by prodigious talent Zoom Rockman taken from Private Eye. ‘Things That Wouldn’t Happen’. Would the House of Parliament use cheap cladding for the renovation work?

© Ros Asquith

The NHS is still desperately underfunded. This was a very funny cartoon by Ros Asquith after doctors warned in July about Government plans for ‘brutal’ NHS cuts.

© Dave Brown

October started with the awful mass shooting in Las Vegas – one of many atrocities in 2017. This was Dave Brown’s reaction in the Independent.

© Sarah Boyce

In a year where it seems every male in a position of power is a sexual predator an excellent cartoon from Sarah Boyce in Private Eye

© Will McPhail

Workplace equality has also been an issue throughout the year. This perfectly summed up in a Private Eye cartoon by New Yorker regular Will McPhail.

© Steve Bright

We couldn’t review the whole year without mentioning B****t. Here’s a fine summing up of how negotiations are going by Brighty in The Sun.

© Royston Robertson

…we have though restricted ourselves to just two on the ‘B’ word. This corker by Royston published in Private Eye.

© Matthew Buck

Ok, that was an ‘alternative truth’ we now have three ‘B’ word cartoons, this from Matthew Buck for Tribune.

© Guy Venables

…and on the same subject word(s) of the year was ‘Fake News’. This take on it from Guy Venables in the Private Eye 2017 Annual.

© Steve Jones

Trump has recently been denying global warming again because the East Coast has had a bit of a heavy cold spell. Here’s a strip on Trump’s view on climate change by Jonesy (from Resurgence & Ecologist magazine)

© Mike Turner

Finally, on a rather apocalyptic note to end the year, this is from Mike Turner in The Spectator.

Happy New Year from the PCO…although I suspect 2018 will be another year of global calamity and abject misery – at least we’ll have plenty to draw cartoons about. 

by Royston

Fifth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival begins

July 27, 2017 in Events, General, News

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2017 poster
[Poster by Chris Burke]

The fifth Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is under way, and this year the event features a change of venue for its main live event and a guest appearance by one of the UK’s top political cartoonists.

After four years at the town’s Bandstand, the live event will be held on the bustling Herne Bay Pier.

More than 20 of the UK’s top cartoonists will be there on Sunday 6 August from midday to draw big-board cartoons, seaside peep boards, caricatures and more. There will also be a few surprises and chances for the public to get involved with drawing.

The change of location has inspired the title of the main festival exhibition, The End of the Pier Show, which opened this week at the Beach Creative gallery and runs until Sunday 13 August.

An exhibition by the political cartoonist Martin Rowson also opened this week at the Bay Art Gallery. It also runs until Sunday 13 August.

Martin Rowson exhibition poster

Fresh from being described by the Daily Mail as “sick and disgusting”, Rowson will appear at the Kings Hall on Saturday 5 August, from 3pm-5pm, where he will be interviewed by Rosie Duffield, the first ever Labour MP for nearby Canterbury, wearing her other hat as a comedy writer and satirist.

Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved at Eventbrite.

Also open now at the Seaside Museum is the exhibition Cartoonists All At Sea, a selection of cartoons from the British Cartoon Archive in Canterbury, which runs until Sunday 10 September.

Cartoonists All at Sea poster

As has happened since the third festival, there will be a “fringe” event organised by Glenn Marshall. This year it is Mona Lisa – Not Happy, which sees the da Vinci painting “reworked, reimagined and regurgitated” by Marshall and other cartoonists and artists. The show opens at the One New Street gallery on Friday 4 August and runs until Saturday 2 September.

Mona Lisa Not Happy poster

Alongside the main show at Beach Creative, the festival also hosts Eaten Fish, an exhibition of work by cartoonists from all over the world supporting the plight of the Iranian cartoonist and political refugee known as Eaten Fish. He has been held at the Australian Detention Centre on Manus Island since 2013. The exhibition is in the gallery’s Rossetti Room until Sunday 13th August.

Eaten Fish poster

A key element of the End of the Pier Show exhibition — which features Steve Bell (Guardian), Dave Brown (Independent) and Jeremy Banx (Financial Times) alongside dozens of cartoonists seen in magazines such as Private Eye and The Spectator — are the “Fake Cartoons”, the festival cartoonists’ take on the fake news phenomenon that has emerged over recent years. Expect more than a few appearances by Donald Trump.

Trump Tweet cartoon by Nathan Ariss

To celebrate its fifth year, the festival is awarding a £250 cash prize, which it has dubbed the Paul Dacre Prize — after the Daily Mail editor who recently railed against a Rowson cartoon about the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, below — to the most provocative, unusual or offensive topical cartoon submitted for the exhibition.

Martin Rowson Firsbury Park Mosque attack cartoon

Workshops for budding cartoonists will also be held as part of the festival. Royston Robertson and Des Buckley host one at Beach Creative this Saturday (29 July) from 2.30pm-4pm.

And on Saturday 5 August, from 12-1.30pm, The Surreal McCoy will host the Eaten Fish Family Cartoon Workshop. Inspired by the Rossetti Room show it will be “a fishy exploration into all things fish”.

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

The cartoonists assemble at last year's Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

The cartoonists assemble at last year’s Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival is sponsored by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

The Round-up

June 4, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Never Again, World War One in Cartoon and Comic Art, will be held at the Cartoon Museum

Never Again, World War One in Cartoon and Comic Art, will be held at the Cartoon Museum

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The next exhibition to at the Cartoon Museum in London is titled Never Again and will be on the subject of cartoons drawn during the First World War. It will run from 11 June to 19 October. Until then, there is still time to catch the Spitting Image 30th anniversary exhibitionwhich ends on 8 June.

Private Eye’s Scene & Heard comic strip, by Procartoonists.org member David Ziggy Greene, is to be published in hardback at the end of the month. The cartoonist is currently choosing the 50 strips that will feature.

The artist/cartoonist David Shrigley talks to The Guardian about how it is difficult in the world of fine art to have a comic voice.

Alex Salmond cartoon © Brian Adcock

Alex Salmond cartoon © Brian Adcock. Click to enlarge

The Norfolk-based cartoonist Brian Adcock is celebrating a hat-trick at the Scottish Press Awards this year. He is best known for his political cartoons for The Scotsman and The Independent.

Meanwhile, another political cartoonist, Christian Adams of the Telegraph, has given behind-the-scenes access to his cartooning process via Instagram. And if you have Sky Atlantic, you probably want to tune in at 9pm tonight (4 June) to see For No Good Reason, the documentary about Ralph Steadman.

© Michael Heath. The cartoonist's first ever cartoon for The Spectator

© Michael Heath. The cartoonist’s first ever gag for The Spectator, from 1960

A new Twitter feed has been set up to showcase cartoons from The Spectator, old and new. It kicked off this week with the magazine’s first ever cartoon by Michael Heath, its cartoon editor, from 1960, above.

If you are a fan of the comics artist Dave McKean, do not miss the UK premiere of 9 Lives at the British Library on 6 June. The collection of songs, images and animation was first shown at Sydney Opera House last October and coincides with the Comics Unmasked exhibitionMeanwhile, it has been announced that the 5th International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference will be hosted at the library in July.

Returning to the centenary of the First World War, two other exhibitions open this month: Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour at the British Library, which is to examine how people coped with life during the conflict, and Charley’s War at Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, which will display artwork by Joe Colquhoun from the acclaimed comic strip.

Finally, this is great fun and very clever: the storyboard artist Marty Cooper takes an animated look at ordinary objects.