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by Royston

The art of revolution

March 27, 2012 in Events, General

Ali Ferzat cartoon

The Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who hit the headlines last year when he was beaten up by security police over cartoons that were critical of the Assad regime, has an exhibition at the Mica Gallery, Sloane Square, London, this week.

He told the BBC: “The uprising has redefined art in Syria. It’s exposed the gulf between real artists and mercenaries in the pay of the state. Most – many of them my colleagues – have failed that test. It’s changed what Syrians see as art.”

Read the full interview here.

Cartoon © Ali Ferzat

The Round-up

March 23, 2012 in General, Links

Nick Newman, the prolific gag cartoonist for Private Eye, The Times, The Spectator and others – and a member of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn – has been named Sports Cartoonist of the Year for 2011 by the Sports Journalists’ Association. Highly commended were Sun cartoonist Andy Davey (also a PCO member and its outgoing chairman) and Kerber & Black of The Sunday Mirror. Congratulations to all. You can see a full write-up of the awards, and a list of all winners and runners-up, here.

Following last week’s controversy surrounding Garry Trudeau‘s Doonesbury, an LA-based musician is rebelling against condemnation of the syndicated strip by launching a Facebook campaign to get Trudeau the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read more here.

Martin Rowson, cartoonist for The Guardian and a PCO member, has produced a foolproof guide to drawing David Cameron.

The Campaign For Drawing, organiser of The Big Draw, is holding a special interactive event at Leighton House in Kensington on Monday 16th April. The Come Draw With Me! event will encourage amateurs to get involved and draw alongside four established artists. Click here for more details. The Campaign hopes members of the public will also put on their own versions of the event at home – see this beginner’s guide to setting up your own drawing event.

by Royston

By George! It’s almost exhibition time

March 22, 2012 in Comment, General

The main Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival exhibition, Flights of Fancy, opens on April 4. Here is another cartoon submitted for exhibition by a member.

This is by Alex Hughes and seems appropriate on this post-Budget day. The exhibition will be held at the VAN Gallery, Shrewsbury Market Hall, and will visit other venues after the festival, including RAF Museum Cosford.

As mentioned previously here, a group of cartoonists from France will be attending the main festival weekend, April 19-22, this year. They are: Roger Thisselin (Roth), Jean-Michel Renault, Antoine Darmatoff (Jepida), Phil Umbdenstock and Emmanuel Maillard (Manu). Their exhibition French Flies (geddit?!) will be held at Theatre Severn


Tools for displaying drawing

March 21, 2012 in Comment, General

Bloghorn enjoyed this video from member Alex Matthews on his working processes. We asked him about it and he told us.

I always draw in Photoshop with a Wacom pad. I prefer to use paper, lightbox and a dip-pen and ink, but I find this is a massive time-saver and I can get results that are practically as good without having huge piles of paper around the house. The Dandy asked me to contribute to their series of how-to-draw videos. They paid me for it! You can also see videos on their YouTube channel by Wilbur Dawbarn, Jamie Smart, Wayne Thompson and others. I used a simple, free web-based program called Screencast-O-Matic which enables you to record the portion of the screen you want rather than the whole thing, as most programs do, like Quicktime. Then I edited it a bit in Adobe After Effects. is the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation.

by Royston

Stamp of approval for British comics

March 20, 2012 in General, News

To mark 75 years of The Dandy, Britain’s oldest comic, the Royal Mail is issuing a set of commemorative stamps today (March 20)

As well as The Dandy, the set of ten stamps features characters and covers from the country’s best-loved comics including, above, The Beano, Bunty and Buster. The set also includes The Eagle, 2000AD, The Topper, Tiger, Valiant and Twinkle. The BBC has more on the story.

It’s an indication of how huge the British comics industry once was that millions of people who read about these stamps will think, What no Beezer? Whizzer & Chips? Krazy? Cheeky? Victor? Hotspur? Nutty? Sparky? Whoopee? …

The Round-up

March 16, 2012 in General, Links

Doonesbury, the syndicated satirical comic strip  by Garry Trudeau, has again become the subject of controversy in the US over a series of strips criticising proposed abortion legislation. Some papers have dropped this week’s strips, while others moved them from the comics pages to the op-ed section. The situation is neatly summarised in this video. Responses have generally been divided along expected partisan lines, with one left-leaning commentator describing the papers’ decision as “cowardly”. A more irreverent response can be found here. The strips themselves can be read at the official Doonesbury site.

The comics artist Moebius has died at the age of 73. The Guardian has a detailed obituary here. You can read a shorter tribute, accompanied by some fine examples of his work, over at Forbidden Planet.

A collection of 80 First World War cartoons by the German artist Albert Heim are set to be auctioned next month.

And finally, the Chennai-based cartoonist Biswajit Balasubramanian tells The Times of India about the challenges and effort involved in creating cartoons, and about the difficulty of selling cartoon art via the gallery system. Read it here.

Taking aim for Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2012

March 14, 2012 in Comment, General

You won’t want to miss the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2012 either. There is just one month to go.

Bloghorn_Shrewsbury_2012_Cartoon © Andy Davey at

Cartoon submitted for festival exhibition on the theme of Flying © Andy Davey

Cartoonists invited for the show weekend, April 19-22, are:

Angela Martin, Steve Way, Paul Hardman, Tim Harries, Cathy Simpson, Alex Hughes, Chris Ryder, John Roberts, Jonathan Cusick, Steve Bright, Tim Leatherbarrow, Bill Stott, Pete Dredge, The Surreal McCoy, Rupert Besley, Andy Davey, Steve Best, Denis Dowland, Ian Baker, Rob Murray, Rich Skipworth, Robert Duncan, Huw Aaron, Hunt Emerson, Wilbur Dawbarn, Noel Ford, Steve Bell and Roger Penwill.

You will find many of their portfolios here.

Our neighbours just over the Channel are also sending a company of cartoonists and we will be featuring them on Bloghorn soon. And there is always a lively fringe of not-on-the-list-this-time-artists so there’s always a great atmosphere to enjoy between events.

Alex Lester, one of the patrons of the festival will also be there and Bloghorn will be trying to keep on top of the news from the show weekend.

If you are planning to attend Shrewsbury this year please tell us in the comments or by using an @ message on twitter.

by Royston

Art comes face to face with science

March 11, 2012 in General, News

Material World, the BBC Radio 4 science programme, has launched a challenge to the find the amateur scientist with the most interesting idea – and the cartoonist William Rudling is in the running.

William, a member, is one of four finalists in the So You Want to be a Scientist? challenge.

The cartoonist, 69, from Leeds, believes that having studied faces as a caricaturist for many years, he can tell what people look like from hearing their voices.

He told us the idea behind his experiment: “My discovery came from caricature events – finding that two people with similar features often have a similar pitch of voice. This has nothing to do with dialect or how you shape your mouth, it’s something inherent. Dame Judi Dench and Samantha Bond [below] are a good example.

“We are designing a website for the experiment and asking people to match voice and faces. The photographs and recordings will be provided by Leeds University students and personnel. I am putting the images I’ve drawn to illustrate my theory on a Facebook page.”

William, who has always had an interest in science, particularly the environment and astronomy, was keen to get involved when he heard about the challenge.

“All four finalists will have a mentor, a scientist, who will advise and organise a suitable platform on which the experiment will take place. The mentor is a partner in the whole experience.”

The other finalists are Dara Djavan Khoshdel, who wants to find out if the price of art correlates to our emotional response to it; Val Watham, who is investigating whether horizontal or vertical stripes are more flattering to wear; and Izzy Thomlinson who wants to know how sounds that annoy us change with age.

The amateur scientists will present their results at Cheltenham Science Festival in June, when the judges will choose a winner.

The Round-up

March 8, 2012 in General, Links

Franklin McMahon, an American visual journalist who began as a cartoonist and went on to depict major events as detailed line drawings for magazines, has died aged 90. The New York Times looks at his life and workSheldon Moldoff, uncredited ghost artist on Batman in the 1950s and 1960s, has also passed away.

Continuing a series of blog posts in which New Yorker cartoonists look back at their first contributions to the magazine, Michael Maslin has provided his recollections. Maslin also considers how his work has changed since. Read it here.

In the UK, Christian Adams of The Telegraph explains how to read a cartoon and Martin Rowson of The Guardian has a video accompanying his new adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

And finally, Steven Gerrard, Rebecca Adlington and Tom Daley are among the sports stars making an appearance in a special Sport Relief edition of BeanoMAX.

Sat-Nav’ing our way to Shrewsbury cartoon 2012

March 7, 2012 in Comment, General

Procartoonists at Shrewsbury Cartoon 2012 © Rupert Besley

Exhibition submission cartoon © and courtesy of Rupert Besley

We know all routes lead to Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2012 at this time of the year. See you there.

The UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation