Monday, December 31, 2007

The PCO in 2008

The PCO's Bloghorn will be doing its best to keep you up to date with the news from Britain's cartoon community in 2008. We will be taking part in a large number of events during the year as well as promoting the work and activities of our individual members here on the Bloghorn. The list on the right hand side of this diary, under 'Interests' allows you to search through all that we did in 2007, or at least since our portfolio site was launched last July. (Just click on the term, or name, that takes your interest. A click on the headline at the top of this page will always get you home.) Of course, the new year brings with it the promise of the UK's annual international cartoon festival which is held in the medieval market town of Shrewsbury. Festival dates are 18th-20th April this year and there will be plenty of information about the event coming up throughout the spring.
British cartoon talent

Great New Year’s Eve joke: 31 December 2007

The Hayward Gallery on London's south bank is to host a exhibition of art about 'laughing.' You may read about it here. Bloghorn loves this sort of thing, but does find as a rule, laughter in art is best left to the professionals. The Hayward Gallery show runs from Friday 25 January to Sunday 13 April 2008. It includes;

the whole spectrum of humour, from jokes, gags and slapstick to irony, wit and satire. The exhibition brings together more than 70 videos, photographs and interactive installation works by more than 30 artists from all around the world.

But nothing as humble as a drawing it seems.
31st December 2007
British cartoon talent

Friday, December 28, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Clive Collins

Our last installment of Mr Clive Collins as the PCO Artist of the Month for December 2008. Next week, Bloghorn will reveal our first featured professional cartoon image maker for the new year of 2008.
British cartoon talent

Friday, December 21, 2007

PCO Christmas card

May your holidays be bright. Cartoon from Bill Stott.
21st December 2007
British cartoon talent

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Clive Collins

Our Cartoonist of the month for December 2007 is Clive Collins. If you click on the phrase 'Clive Collins' underneath this cartoon, through the magic of technology, you will find more of Clive's work - or you can click C for Collins from here.
20th December
British cartoon talent

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BBC man Andrew Marr is new PCO patron

News of an early christmas present for the PCO as Bloghorn can report that TV's Andrew Marr has signed up as one of our patrons. We don't hand these honours out lightly and as he's got to follow the late great Alan Coren, perhaps we should be extending sympathy to the poor man too. But, welcome aboard Mr Marr, we and our other patron, Libby Purves, are most pleased to have you.
19th December 2007
British cartoon talent

Friday, December 14, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Clive Collins

Our PCO artist of the month for December 2007 is Clive Collins (click C from here to see more). Clive is our fifth choice as artist of the month, following on from Martin Honeysett, Pete Dredge, Colin Whittock and Chris Madden. You can find all of these artists and their equally talented contemporaries in our portfolio site.

British cartoon talent

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Drawing for the stage

PCOer Noel Ford writes:

One of the things I love about being a freelance cartoonist is that, apart from my regular editorial slots, I never know what might be just around the corner. In more than 30 years of cartooning, I’ve had my fair share of weird, wonderful and bizarre commissions, but one that stands out in recent times is the one commissioned by the Welsh Opera singer Buddug Verona James. (Non-welsh readers should know that in Wales, a “u” is pronounced “i” and a double “d” is pronounced “th”).

The job comprised, partly, the artwork for the programmes and posters for Buddug’s one-woman show, A Knife at the Opera, a very funny tale – with singing – about a serial killer who is knocking off theatre critics. Buddug plays the detective and the six divas who are the suspects. The best part of the job was drawing the characters of the suspects which were to be blown up life-size on to door-sized panels. These panels, behind each of which Buddug would disappear to make her quick changes and reappear as the character on the panel, were to be arranged in a shallow semi-circle on the open stage so that when the audience came to take their seats they would be confronted with six of my life-size cartoons.

I have to confess that when I went to see the show, earlier this year, I felt a buzz when I sat looking at my characters, looking back at me from the stage, and hearing the packed house chuckling even before the show had started. For that reason in particular, this was one of my favourite recent jobs.

You can find out more about the show here: A Knife at the Opera

British cartoon talent

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

James Gillray: father of the political cartoon

An exhibition entitled Gillray’s Legacy: A Contemporary Perspective is at the Political Cartoon Gallery in London from January 16 until February 23.

The exhibition combines a selection of some of the Georgian caricaturist's best-known works, side by side with reworkings of these “after Gillray” by modern political cartoonists, including Steve Bell, Peter Brookes, Martin Rowson, Vicky, Dave Brown and Nicholas Garland.

These later cartoons offer both a contemporary twist and a full-blooded testimony to James Gillray’s achievements as “the father of the political cartoon”, while also showing how his powerful images of our follies and misdemeanours have continued to influence subsequent generations of artists.

The Political Cartoon Gallery is at 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS, and is open Monday to Friday 9.30am –5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am–5.30pm.

British cartoon talent

Thursday, December 6, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Clive Collins

Clive Collins is the PCO's Artist of the Month for December 2007. A full list of all Clive's clients would fill a large portion of the internet, so Bloghorn won't go there, but instead will let Clive describe his work in his own words (mostly).

I've worked in most areas of the profession from newspapers to book illustration to TV to magazines. The client I've been with the longest is Playboy (US) - since 1972 - and the most recent and ongoing is Metro, with many loyal, happy clients in between. I've also won awards in Europe, Canada and Japan.

Having spent most of my life working with pens and papers and inks, I now find myself having to use computer technology, simply because these days there simply isn't the time to use 'old tech'.

However, I don't believe that a computer makes a lousy drawing any better, so the old skills are still put to good use.

Bloghorn would like to commend Clive's admirably pragmatic view about technology, it's useful as long as it's useful.
7th December 2007
British cartoon talent

PCO’s Foghorn cartoon magazine - new issue

The latest issue of the professional cartoonists’ cartoon magazine is out. Joy.
British cartoon talent

The Award-winning PCO

Congratulations to PCO member Martin Rowson, who last night won the single cartoon of the year at the annual Political Cartoon Awards.
6th December 2007
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Graphic humour and photomontage

Here is the last part of our trilogy of pieces about variety in graphic humour. It is written by Neil Hepburn aka Beau Bo D’Or. You can read parts one and two if you click on the photomontage 'tag' in that long list on the right hand side of Bloghorn. There's also a good response from our own Bill Stott.

One Editor's note, caution, there is some technical language here.

Over to Neil once more;

In my experience, getting noticed in the digital world means changing websites to blogs, or, in adding a blog to an existing website. While certain cartoonists maintain websites, few use blogs, which you might consider are only of benefit to those reacting to issues of the day. However, because of tagging and search engine technology, blogs can also bring enormous benefits for those who work with specific subject matter or themes.

How to speed - digitally.

If you have created images concerning credit fraud or, say, football, potential customers can discover your work reasonably quickly and efficiently. This doesn’t mean that you give away work for free to those not willing to pay. There are safeguards you can use which, although not perfect, can discourage all but the most determined web-savvy freeloaders. I argue, (somewhat controversially - Ed) in fact, that sometimes, it is worth allowing some sharing (free content), which can bring you to the attention of the paying customer. I appreciate there is a balance but we all have to work out individually what the best is for us.

I’m not claiming I’ve had any great commercial success, but, by promoting your talents using the basic methods which I stumbled upon and still use, you will get much greater exposure for the PCO and, I’m sure, help to shaft me and the photoshop artists in the process. While and its blog are a very good start, the site is, correctly, inward looking. I think you (the PCO) ideally need an additional showcase blog for potential customers, outside the PCO, running independently of blogspot, blogger and the like. It would probably cost less than £150 for the domain and hosting per year. Your own-hosted site will give you much more control over style, promotion and shared input. Possibly something similar to Daryl Cagle’s site but in blog format, allowing for feedback and linked to the main media websites but protected from ‘deep-linking’ and/or RSS feeds by the same, so the ‘resource’ is not used to provide links to illustrations that enhance their product.

One final point on digital promotion. Some websites have blogrolls that are three or four times deeper than the articles on their front page- the 21st century equivalent of the car as a penis extension. In my opinion, this is abuse of the blogroll system purely to drive traffic - some blogs linking to others, regardless of the views held on them. However, there is the case for your outward looking blog to have an extensive blogroll because you are a broad church, holding different views on politics, religion, humour and lifestyle etc. You would be quite correct in linking to a plethora of sites and reaping the benefit of the traffic and custom it generates.

So, that’s about it. There's a lot more than I thought I was going to write.
I’m not ashamed of what I do as a photomontage artist, I'm probably a bit frustrated about the limitations and envious of the talents of the ‘traditional’ cartoonist.
When I discuss the various points above, I’m not trying to ‘teach my granny to suck eggs’, I’m hopefully, imparting digital knowledge that I’ve been lucky enough to gain over the last couple of years, and also to those whose work I admire.

And it remains only to say, a big thank you to Neil for all the time and effort he put in contributing his thoughts about the world of graphic humour and digital promotion for Bloghorn.

British cartoon talent

Monday, December 3, 2007

James Kemsley 1948-2007

The PCO would like to send its condolences to the family and friends of James Kemsley, who has died. James lived and worked in Australia drawing a famous cartoon strip called Ginger Meggs, which has been a major part of Australian society for many decades. But more than this, he has been a friend and an inspiration to many other people who make their living from their skill at drawing. He was a long-time member, and President, of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association and this battled for attention with his other obsession, stuffing England at any form of cricket. He was a regular visitor to the UK, invariably timing his visits to chime with the annual cartoon festivals we organise and at which he was a powerful and charming visitor. He will be much missed.
The skill which made James Kemsley a successful professional cartoonist is best summed up with a joke. Bill Stott tells Bloghorn, the Kemsley family dog is called "Mike Outside!
British cartoon talent

Friday, November 30, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Graphic humour and photomontage - a response

PCOer Bill Stott writes in response to our recent guest blogger Neil Hepburn. Matt Buck who edits Bloghorn agrees with very nearly all of it.

In cartooning, whether you use a steel nib and blackberry juice on vellum, or a wall full of Apple Macs, the main thing is to be graphically funny and have something to say. I think terms which divide, like "traditionalist" cartoonist are misleading.

I like jazz. Not, "I like traditional jazz", or "I like modern jazz." I like jazz. I don't like all jazz, traditional or modern.

I like graphic humour. All graphic humour, if it does what it's supposed to do.

I don't like graphic humour which isn't funny or is badly drawn or made. I know the subjectivity argument is impossible to avoid here.

Phenomenally successful pap like Scooby Doo left me bored stiff, whilst Fat Freddy's Cat I could die laughing at, but, this doesn't make Scooby Doo a bad cartoon.

Take Fat Freddy's Cat. What makes it original, and for me, very funny, is a combination of the traditional and the new. Traditional is the panel story format which Gilbert Shelton used. New is (was, really, its 1970s) the bad language. And the cat's constant camera mugging, usually with a morsel of feline philosophy. FFC reflected the age it sprang from - US West Coast drug use, sex and rock and roll - all neatly observed by an ugly tomcat who sported a decent pair of balls.

In talking about what Neil Hepburn has written for Bloghorn, 'I'm going to use the term "photomontage" because its traditional. Ha! Its more or less what Photoshop is anyway, and is no more or less acceptable than stuff drawn with a pen on 220gsm paper, if it is good. How the art was produced doesn't dictate its funniness. Photographs, manipulated or not, can be very funny. "Have I Got News for You" uses stills with an inappropriate voice - over to great effect.

However - I love that word - my real argument is with the fickle media; the bandwagon leapers who are so very easily seduced by newness; by iPods which are puffed by ads recommending them if you want to record BBC news and listen to/watch it later. Come on ! Get real. Technerds like them not for what they can do, but for the mere fact that they CAN. Once, "Turbo" written on the back of a Saab meant something. Now, my vacuum cleaner's a turbo.

Editors tend to think they discovered photomontage, because getting a PC let them. What that PC didn't do was invest them with visual discrimination. They've always had eyes, and it has always been a struggle being a freelance traditional cartoonist. Then, along came Photoshop, and Hey ! Look what I can do ! Who needs Steve Bell, Martin Rowson, Dave Brown? Bill Tidy, Mike Williams, where are you?

It matters not a jot how the gag was, or is, made. What matters, economically, is who judges it in the first place. Can the editor tell a good gag from a dying wildebeeste? Is the editor so narrow that he/she sees only Photoshop? The PCO has tried to make a start by searching for a level of quality work, judged by a jury of their peers. Applicants get vetted. They are accepted on a majority vote. Photomontage has (as yet - Bloghorn) no such system. Neil Hepburn is good. He makes me laugh; take notice. Lots of other manipulators aren't and don't. Just like some 'traditional' cartoonists.

Maybe, years down the line (that's a thing you draw with a pen), when all the traditionalists are dead and gone and heirless, editors will suddenly discover hologramtoons - eye activated - all singing, all dancing little bods in 3D - right there on the page, and Mr Hepburn will feel the same sense of ignorant waste PCO founder members felt a short while ago.

Before then though, PCO could, and in my opinion should, keep this debate going. What matters most is the quality of graphic humour, not the manner of its making.

And to move Bill's thoughts on, there will be one further piece from Neil coming up on Bloghorn early next week.
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Graphic humour and photomontage

Neil Hepburn aka Beau Bo D’Or continues his explanation of the art of digital image making.

I didn’t set out to do what I’m doing now. After many years doing a desk job where the most creative thing I did was my expenses, things went tits up for me and, while unemployed and waiting for letters of rejection to come in, I amused myself messing around with a copy of the poor man’s Photoshop, a program called Paint Shop Pro.

I set up a small website and started to get a bit of unwanted notoriety for what I did. I wanted to ease the process of updating the website, so I decided to use blogging software. This had unforeseen consequences, mostly good. Posting images became simple, hits went up (incredibly) and some media outlets came to visit.
I’ve had a couple of regular paid gigs (for static, mashed-up photographic images) as a result, but I believe the first proper one, for a national newspapers’ website, was offered for all the wrong reasons. Let me explain why I think this was the case.

One, I feel I may have got the job because the newspapers’ competition was also using my images (infrequently).

Two, I think the website wanted to differentiate itself from the newspaper by using digitally created cartoons, assuming that style of content should reflect the medium. I think it is pretty naïve to let the medium dictate style of content, especially when it is used to ‘declare’ that your digital product is different from your newspaper counterpart.

Brian Sewell once universally condemned ‘virals’ (viral joke or marketing emails) making the same related confusion between content and method of delivery (or access) that the former newspaper client made. If Sewell had made the same error when discussing his ‘type’ of art then he’d be slagging off gallery walls.

I’m sure there is a broad range of opinion on the validity of what I do but, as I said in my previous blog post, I kind of fell into this, whatever you may describe it as.

I think there is confusion amongst some cartoonists about what I attempt to do. Perhaps it is thought of as a shitty bit of cut and paste hurriedly done at a newspaper to do you lot out of some much-needed revenue. While some may choose to believe this, I believe this time is wasted, having a pop at the wrong people and failing to improve the situation with those who actually matter.

Even if you work out the correct target, having a pop at them directly, in the pub with friends or in a walled garden of your peers will do bugger all. If you make your work accessible – more accessible and visible to both the public and media – maybe they (the commissioning editors) will start chasing you.

There’ll be one more piece of opinion from Mr Hepburn appearing on Bloghorn soon.
28th November 2007
British cartoon talent

Sunday, November 25, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Graphic humour and photomontage

Following on from the start of our adventures into the broadest definitions of graphic humour, Bloghorn has asked Neil Hepburn, or Beau Bo D’or, one of the best exponents of photoshop jokes in the country to write for us and very kindly, he has agreed. This is the first of a number of pieces we are going to publish here examining the crossover between drawn and mechanical imagery and how the two can combine and conflict. Over to Neil and his thoughts on what exactly it is a photomontage artist does...

I‘m both intrigued and concerned to be asked to write a few lines for the Bloghorn and give my views on image manipulation, the media and promotion – even though I was just asked to discuss image manipulation (IM).The other topics are, however, inextricably linked to IM, or, some anticipated responses to what I have to say about it, so please bear with me.

First of all, I don’t consider myself a cartoonist.

I believe this term implies all or at least the greatest part of an image is created by hand and from scratch. I obviously don’t do that. If I could turn back the clock and regain some of the skills I had when I was a kid, then I would and I would be attempting to do what you guys do, maybe with the odd photographic twist. Maybe, with a little more patience, I could get my eye back in but I see that as a remote possibility. So, I cut up and piece together, mostly, photographic imagery but sometimes include my own ‘artwork’.

This 'mashing up' of existing images has its benefits but many more drawbacks. You are limited in what you can create and to get anything near to what you initially saw in your mind’s eye, you have to compromise on composition, accuracy, quality and frequently abandon any reasonable attempts at caricaturing. An audience (and some editors) may like the concept of photo-realism in a ‘cartoon’ but when you use photographic sources, your editing/manipulation must be of a sufficient standard to manage the expectation of a degree of photo-realism, which is both time-consuming and sometimes just too bloody difficult.(There are of course some IM styles, the screen/halftone tear and paste which can be quite valid which do not require skintone matching, proportion etc.)

Many may think IM is a quick process. It isn’t. Some images take a considerable amount of time and, if you do cut corners, it is painfully obvious. The sarcastic comments of ‘seamless’ can be deafening.

Talented artists do not have these constraints. You create from scratch, stretch, shrink and caricature but most of all, simplify while creating recognisable figures, scenes and faces, each of which can either be an integral part of the humour or so simple (yet so difficult to create well) that it does not distract from the humour or the message of your cartoon. Simplification is much more difficult when you work with a medium that is supposed to convey minute detail. So, what I do is compromise when I create an image like the one published here.

Bloghorn says there will be more from the talented Mr Hepburn coming up, so loosen up that creative thinking muscle.

25th November 2007
British cartoon talent

Friday, November 23, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Chris Madden

Our PCO artist of the month for November 2007 is Chris Madden (click M from here to see more). Chris is been our fourth choice as artist of the month, following on from Martin Honeysett, Pete Dredge and Colin Whittock. You can find all of these artists and many other of their equally talented contemporaries in our portfolio site. There will be a new artist of the month for December announced at the end of next week.
23rd November 2007

British cartoon talent

Sunday, November 18, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw 2007 - Anonymous writes...

Bloghorn has received some anonymous feedback to our activities at the recent Big Draw in Covent Garden. Thanks to the middle person concerned for passing it on. Bloghorn is most grateful.

Team PCO hard at work - from the left, Alex Hughes, Neil Dishington, Bill Stott(c) and Roger Penwill

The task the teams were given in the Battle of the cartoonists was to ’create the most sensational banner’ to a theme of High-Life, Low-life.

Select (publishable) and verbatim quotation from our anonymous correspondent follows;

The PCOs initially lacked the studies panache of Martin Rowson's colouring and the sharp wit of Private Eye. Their drawings appeared in a vague and piecemeal way but there was much interaction between the evident team leader and his team, which definitely paid off. The skillful use of colour enhanced the drawings and gave the different styles of drawing a coherence, which added to the banner's effectiveness. The layout and style was that of a comic which gave it integrity and a strong identity. I think this was the best!

Anonymous concludes;

A banner, by its very nature has a function as a standard or ensign denoting identity aand this is where the PCO and Private Eye romp ahead [of The Guardian and the Independent]. Their banners reflected the identities of their organisations very clearly. Of the two, the PCO banner had the greater visual coherence and presence. I would have marched under it and it should have won.

The finished PCO banner hung up, or out, to dry.

Thankyou, Mr or Mrs or Ms, anonymous.

British cartoon talent

Friday, November 16, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Chris Madden

Our featured artist of the month for November, Chris Madden, takes us on one of those gentle lurches into the bizarre which good cartoonists make look very easy. Bloghorn says enjoy - and click M for more Madden.
British cartoon talent

Monday, November 12, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - What we do

The profession and craft of cartooning (from gag drawings and pocket-sized newspaper jokes to comics strips and magazines, from editorial drawings and commercial advertising to digital monitors and billboards) has suffered some economic blows over the past decade. These have often been connected to the decline in the fortunes of the print industry.
But, despite this, the PCO is sure that - though undervalued by some in the UK - intelligent drawing remains an art-form which people continue to love to see and read. The map below, bears this knowledge out, as it shows you the locations of some of our many digital visitors this week.

We want to put our art in front of those people in a more direct way than we have previously done and we are, as an organisation, set up to promote and advertise the best of the active UK cartoon art world.
We seek to reach the three major constituencies which support our art form - editors of media outlets, both traditional and digital, art buyers in commercial companies and the reading public. We are doing this through three channels - the internet, our own printed magazine, The Foghorn, and at large public events like the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival and The Big Draw. We also help to make and run bespoke, or single-issue, cartoon exhibitions like this one, which are often on tour and shown in major cities in the UK and Europe.
As you'd expect, we have excellent connections in the world of art and business and work closely with the national Cartoon Museum, the Cartoon Hub at the University of Kent, the Political Cartoon Gallery and other interested galleries and arts bodies, including the cartoonists’ social clubs, the British Cartoonists’ Association and the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain. We,in our own way, cover the UK. We also have excellent links abroad through our collaboration with European cartooning organisations inside Feco. If you are curious about our work and what it can do for you, you can contact us from our main portfolio site which lives here.

Andy Davey – Chairman of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

British cartoon talent

Friday, November 9, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Chris Madden

An elegant black and white line episode of Chris Madden-ism. Chris is our featured artist of the month for November 2007. Bloghorn says click M for Madden
British cartoon talent

Thursday, November 8, 2007

PCOProcartoonists on graphic humour

Well, this wasn't the graphic humour controversy BLOGHORN was planning to publish, but this set of jokes, below, was so good, we thought we thought we had better go with it anyway. The creator is called Cyriak Harris.

8th November 2007
British cartoon talent

Monday, November 5, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - on cartoon art auctions

Is there a cartoonist in the house?
Well, very often, yes, there is. Last week, PCOers Pete Dredge and Mike Turner added themselves to the throng of medical types, trustees and the odd HRH(apologies to the Duke of Kent) at the plush, modern atrium of The Royal Society of Medicine for a charity cartoon auction. It was in aid of RESTORE Burn and Wound Research. Knowledgeable and charismatic auctioneer, Nick Bonham fired up the well-heeled audience. His instruction that it was the done thing on these occasions to double the catalogue estimate price of the cartoons was readily taken up by the eager bidders and the 50 cartoon lots were soon dispatched to new, loving owners with the charity £10,000 to the good. The cartoon above is one of Ken Pyne's, taken from the auction catalogue. Thanks to Pete and Mike for the report - a blogging first for both Mr Dredge and Mr Turner.
British cartoon talent

Friday, November 2, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Chris Madden

Chris Madden is the PCO Artist of the Month for November 2007.
Chris has been drawing cartoons and illustrations since around 1980, before which he worked for the scientific civil service on the development stage of the Thames Barrier. During the 1980s he worked extensively for the Guardian newspaper, as an in-house illustrator, cartoonist and graphic artist.
Now, freelance, his work includes greetings cards (one series of which won the trade's award as best new card series in the year of their launch), newspaper and magazine cartoons, and illustrations and cartoons for educational and corporate clients. While his cartoons cover any issue that's called for, his specialist subjects include: the environment (cartoons from his book, The Beast That Ate The Earth, are reproduced regularly by environmental organisations around the world); gardening (including a weekly cartoon in the Irish Sunday Independent newspaper); the sciences (including a monthly cartoon in the BBC's Focus magazine); philosophy (regular cartoons and cover designs for Philosophy Now magazine); the art world (about which he's currently producing a book of cartoons).
Bloghorn says click M for Madden
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - on photomontage

There's a thoughtful piece on the art of photoshop and photomontage here. It's written by Morten Morland who draws for the Times, and it's worth a read.

Speaking about photomontage, or photoshop, artists, Morland says;

Traditional cartoonists look at their work with a mix of fascination, trepidation and bewilderment. What many don’t know, however, is that famous ink-cartoonists like Low and Vicky also had contemporary satirists who used manipulated photographs to lampoon the political players at the time.

Well, do we?

Bloghorn thinks that Morten is right about there being some ignorance about photomontage as a form of image-making. A lot of this may be tied up with the technology brand name, Photoshop, which can raise the hackles of many cartoonists as it implies a mechanical technique, rather than the more natural human process of drawing.

There are many links to great examples of photomontage, both past and present. Great names of the past would include Helmut Herzfelde aka John Heartfield, who arguably, invented the form in the inter-war years. Good present British exponents would include Beau Bo D’Or, Leon Kuhn and The Spine.

We cartoonists cannot stop change in art and developments in the tools with which it is made, and published. But, perhaps we could explore and think about the past and future of making images-with-a-point, a bit more too. It might help put the economic changes, of which photoshop is a part, and which are challenging the ways in which we have made a living, into a brighter perspective.
31st October 2007
British cartoon talent

Sunday, October 28, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - October 2007

October was a mixed month for the PCO, we received an official vote of thanks for our work at The Big Draw which we attended during October - and also some anonymous comment. The official feedback ran something like this;

"We’ve received nothing but praise from our partners, sponsors and the public. Our hosts reported that this was by far and away their best event of the year." And as the hosts were the management company who run Covent Garden in central London, we were quite pleased about it. Bloghorn is still digesting the anonymous comment but promises to post something about it soon.

Much less happily, we also had to hear about the death and burial of Alan Coren, one of our founding patrons and a man who had always enjoyed and promoted the art of visual joke-making.

Caricature by John Roberts.

You can listen to a News Quiz tribute to Alan here and PCOer Ken Pyne is also quoted in the local Cricklewood news coverage of Coren's passing - alongside an obituary cartoon.

British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 25, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the Month - Colin Whittock

Here is our last episode from our artist of the month for October, Colin Whittock. If you'd like to click through the other three examples of Colin's work we have showcased on Bloghorn this month, just click the underlined term - PCO Artist of the Month - which you'll find underneath this text, or in the PCO Interests cloud which is on the right hand side of the site. Bloghorn says click W for Whittock
26th October 2007
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Cartoon Century

Bloghorn asked author, Tim Benson, owner of London's Political Cartoon Gallery, all about his new book, The Cartoon Century.

How long has it taken to write and collate the Cartoon Century?
I asked the publishers for three years, but I was given just over a year. It's amazing what you can do when push comes to shove!

Why did you want to define a cartoon century in the first place? And how did you go about this?
The publishers originally wanted a complete history of Britain but I thought that ridiculous. It would offer no more than a snapshot and would have to miss a great deal. How can one cover a thousand years of history in just one book? This one covers 100 years of history and has 650 cartoons in it. Now that's comprehensive and thus, I hope, meaningful. The 20th century was the age of the editorial cartoon. Today, Newspapers are in the decline due to fierce competition from the internet and 24-hour TV. Therefore, I argue, in the 21st century the political cartoon will never reach the heights they did during the last one. Fifty or sixty years ago, cartoonists were major celebrities. They were the highest paid men in Fleet Street. Sidney Strube and David Low even made it into Madame Tussards! Has anyone seen Steve Bell, Peter Brookes or Gerald Scarfe in there?

Did your ideas about what you were doing, change while you were writing the book?
It was, as they say an open book, and a lot of it was out of my hands. It all depended on the material I could find. Some events I wanted to cover were either ignored by the cartoonist, or, the paper, presumably, because they believed the subject of the cartoon was not suitable for publication.

Do you have any particular favourites - or high and low points in what you found while you researched?
I tried to include as many cartoons as possible that had not been republished in other anthologies. I love the prophetic ones where the cartoonist seems to have a crystal ball in front of him, such as one about mobile phones in 1922, and another from 1966 suggesting it was time for the Tories to have a woman as leader of the Party. I also enjoyed rediscovering cartoonists from provincial newspapers. Some of them were just as good, if not better, than many working as national newspaper cartoonists.

What's the follow-up publication going to be?
Well, if I plan to do a direct sequel I’ll probably be just a bit past it at 148 when the time comes, so, instead I'm planning a prequel; a history of the 19th century through cartoons. It should be out by the end of next year.

Thanks to Tim for answering our questions. The exhibition show opens to the public at the Political Cartoon Gallery, on Store Street in London from Friday October 26th. Nearest tube is Goodge Street on the Northern Line.

Sky News have a slideshow of some of the art in the book here

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Graphic Novels

The resuts of The Observer's graphic novel competition are out - and you can download the winning pdfs from this link.
UPDATE:24th October 2007
The Guardian Media Group generally, appear to be getting interested in drawn narrative...
British cartoon talent
23rd October 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Alan Coren cartoon caricature: 22 Oct 2007

Alan Coren was one of the PCO's patrons. Caricature by John Roberts.
British cartoon talent

Friday, October 19, 2007

Alan Coren is dead: 19 October 2007

All hands in PCO were stunned to learn of Alan Coren's passing. We've looked in our cliche box, found lots he would have taken the proverbial out of, but absolutely nothing which comes close to marking our regard for him. The understatement department has been ransacked, too, unsuccessfully, save one. There won't be another big time editor, humourist, and consistently funny bloke quite like him. Hats off. We'll miss him.

The BBC tribute is posted here - and includes a link to an audio file, which features Wally Fawkes (TROG) talking about Alan's decade as editor at Punch.

From the Times

Aggregated news coverage from Google on Alan Coren's death

Memories of Punch

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the month - Colin Whittock

More fine Colin Whittock-ism for October of 2007.

British cartoon talent

Graham Fowell book launch

PCO member Graham Fowell writes with news of a book launch;

Vince Eager, the 1950's Rock and Roller, launched 'The Rock 'n Roll Files' on October 12th. Graham made the cartoons and caricatures for the book and accompanied Vince at a signing at 'Buy The Book' in Nottingham, this, in between caricaturing every buyer, on the inside front cover of every sold copy.
The book is a anecdotal collection of memories from Vince's long career in music, which spans six decades. Graham says there was no shortage of material for cartoon illustration with tales about Billy Fury, Lonnie Donegan, Freddie Starr and the unlikely beat combo of Bob Mugabe and the Wailers.

Bob Mugabe and the Wailers by Graham Fowell

The book is published by VIPRO and is also available direct from Vince Eager's website. Bloghorn says click F for Fowell.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Big Draw 2007 - Cartoon workshop world

The PCO ran a lot of workshops at the Big Draw and Tim Harries, who was bravely in the heart of the action, on both Saturday and Sunday, has this report;

Bigging it up with Mr Blake; Quentin advertises the art while the PCO did the serious PR

I'd seriously under-prepared for this year's Big Draw. The marquee where our workshops were taking place displayed admirable tardis-like properties, with seating for what appeared to be about 60 people, but actually managing to contain around twelve thousand scribbling children and parents at any given moment.
I'd optimistically brought along 50 worksheets which were used in the first thirty seconds. I briefly contemplated hiding behind the flipchart, but luckily someone somewhere found a photocopier, which I suspect had a nervous breakdown before the weekend was over, such was the sheer amount of paper we went through.
Tim Harries reveals his inner torment while Royston Robertson just laughs at him
The workshops went brilliantly for all involved, and tended to run over into each other, with several things going on at the same time. It felt organised and wonderfully chaotic at the same time. At any given time, I could see caricatures being drawn, the huge chalkboard being used for a spot of reverse caricaturing, and comic strips, cartoons and funny faces being produced on any available workspace.
Anne and Andy Gilbert hard at work enlightening the tiny masses in one of their Saturday workshops
As the day(s) went on, the whole marquee became a gallery with the finished art hanging from the walls and frame. It just needed the music from Vision On to make it perfect. Thanks to all the cartoonists, helpers, and of course enthusiastic public who attended the cartooning marquee. Same time next year...

British cartoon talent

The Big Draw 2007 - pictures

Team PCO at work-the picture gives some idea of the up and down nature of the artist-watcher relationship inside Covent Garden’s covered market.

Eventual winners - Team Guardian at work. From left from right, Steve Bell, Tim Pond, Andy Davey and Martin Rowson.

Three-quarters of team Independent. From left to right, Tim Sanders, Lucy Rogers and Matt Buck, regrettably, the multi-skilled Dave Brown has managed to get himself off camera.

Private Eye worked in a lot of detail
Many thanks to PCOer Chichi Parrish for the further photographs.

British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw 2007

A news entry in which we learn how to coordinate a team of four cartoonists, all with different ideas, into making a 12 feet long banner in under two hours.

Team skipper, Bill Stott, reports thus;

The finished PCO banner hung up, or out, to dry.

The PCO Big Draw banner team, Roger Penwill, Alex Hughes, Neil Dishington and Bill Stott, arrived on time, splendidly turned out in new PCO T shirts (trousers were their own choice), at Covent Garden on Sunday 14th. The place was awash with sophisticates, and, in the Private Eye team area at least, best bitter.
The Big Draw event fairly hummed when at full scribble ; cartoonists everywhere, helping and hinting, and the public generally proving yet again that they love cartoons.

Using military precision and forty seven swear words, your team dealt swiftly with the first problem – that being the banner’s actual length – NOT 12 metres, as we’d been told, but 12 FEET. That meant the jettisoning of several good gags including Dish’s one which features the entire cast of Wagner’s Ring cycle. Undeterred, and calling on all their Shrewsbury Big Board experience, Team PCO produced a cracker. Compere for the event, Andrew Marr, confided that he liked ours the best. So there!

Sadly we’d reckoned without localised skullduggery. The Guardian and Private Eye teams had brought with them hordes of rowdy troops, doubtless bribed with free tube tickets and promises of double helpings of tiny post- drawing canapés, and as the banners were judged on volume of applause... erm...PCO didn’t win. But then, moral victories are sweeter. (Quite so says BLOGHORN - and we thank you Mr Marr.)

Competition compere, judge and cartoon fan, Andrew Marr, gives the result to the Covent Garden crowds.

The whole Big Draw event was a vibrant advert for our job, a sartorial triumph for the PCO team, the ingenuity and skill of the Independent, Guardian and PCO teams (but not the Private Eye team who cheated and had FIVE drawings on their banner and not four – you know who you are, Steve Way), and not least for the organisers who all did very well, but who should perhaps take an Imperial/Metric conversion course.

So – bring it on for 2008 ! When Team PCO plans to be supported by 250 recently ASBOed Tranmere Rovers football fans.

BLOGHORN would like to add something to Bill’s report - the PCO actually had members in all four of the teams - ourselves, Private Eye (hello to Ken Pyne), The Guardian (congratulations to Andy Davey) and the Independent (hard cheese to Matt Buck) so, some part of the PCO won anyway.

The best British cartoon talent
Thanks to Ger Whyman for the photographs

Monday, October 15, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw 2007

Apart from the Big Draw workshops, which we helped to provide for the general public, there were also some feature events in which our members took part.
One of these was the Battle of the Cartoonists in which four teams of artists had to make a huge piece of banner artwork in under two hours. The theme, which was given by the Campaign for Drawing, who organised the festival, was High life and Low Life.
Cunningly, the organisers and the Covent Garden management, Capital and Counties, arranged for the four teams from the PCO, the Guardian The Independent and Private Eye to do this in the sunken courtyard of the indoor Market. This meant that while the teams drew away down below, hundreds of spectators could watch it all happen from above. And for evidence of life down below, here's a picture of the PCO team hard at work. from left to right Alex Hughes, Neil Dishington, Bill Stott and Roger Penwill.

Bloghorn will be publishing Bill's full story of the day tomorrow. Bloghorn should also thank Ger Whyman for his usual excellent array of photographic imagery, the foghorn is duely grateful.

The best British cartoon talent

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw 2007

The PCO put itself on show at the weekend at the Big Draw. A big thank you to all the members who helped run the workshops that filled large parts of Covent Garden market over last weekend. Particular hat-tips to Anne and Andy Gilbert and Tim and Nikki Harries who man and womanfully worked the crowds and encouraged our future readers to develop their natural love of drawing and jokes. Other names and faces of PCOers fighting the good fight were Chichi Parrish (who also ran a workshop), Ger Whyman, Royston Robertson, Andy Davey, Terry Christien and Matt Buck.*
Our big banner team fought their corner in the gladiatorial battle of the cartoonists and there will be a full report from Team Captain Bill Stott following this message. They also crossed swords with the Beeb’s former political editor, Andrew Marr, but more of that anon.

Bloghorn says watch this space...

The best British cartoon talent

* Please tell me if I lost anyone in the crush!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw

Today and tomorrow PCO Procartoonists will be out in force working at London's Big Draw. Get the details here and here.

The best British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 11, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - applaud a cat joke

A lovely piece of simple observation brought to you anonymously via You Tube. Whoever did it, really should have signed it.
The best British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - show work in London

This terrific photograph of Margaret Thatcher by Roger Bamber* is a part of an excellent show on political imagery at the Design and Copyright Society in London. PCO members Ken Pyne, Mark Nesbitt, Andy Davey, Terry Christien and Matt Buck all have work in the show. The Kowalsky gallery is at 33 Great Sutton Street, London and the show is on until the end of January. Full details are on the gallery page at their website.

* Maggie Gets Her Hands Dirty, May 1983 by Roger Bamber.© Roger Bamber 2007.

Interestingly, the photo never saw the light of day after Roger took it, as Mrs T was campaigning in the 1983 election campaign at the time, and the image of her holding a pile of crap was thought rather too unfortunate to be publishable. Clearly, spin did not begin in 1997.

While we are talking exhibitions, the PCO is also going to be well represented at the annual Big Draw in Covent Garden this weekend, on October 13th and 14th. There is a massive amount of drawing and joke related activity going on, over both days, and the PCO is heavily involved. Do come along and enjoy yourselves.

The best British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Art or wot?

The graphic novel wave has reached the shores of the Daily Telegraph. Here is an excellent interview with the great Alan Moore.

The best British cartoon talent

PCO Procartoonists - 68% more jokes!

Please visit our portfolio site and click on the new frontpage, refresh the page and let the Meanwhile feature show you any number of wonderful jokes and drawings all from members of the PCO. A hat-tip to Chris Madden for this marvellous image. Bloghorn says click M for Madden...
The best British cartooning talent

Friday, October 5, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - Artist of the month - Colin Whittock

Colin Whittock is the PCO’s Artist of the Month for October 2007. Colin's career is so varied that it's hard to write a short summary which would do him any sort of justice. So, Bloghorn is not going to try. Instead, we would like to refer you to a comprehensive and excellent Q&A at the fine Toonhound website which managed to ask Colin nearly all of the things you could possibly want to know about his work. And, Colin was kind enough to answer them.

Bloghorn says click W for Whittock
The best British cartooning talent

Thursday, October 4, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The art business by Ken Pyne

PCO member Ken Pyne writes:

I went to a recent exhibition and overheard a cartoonist humbly thanking one of the organisers for lowering themselves to include cartoonists with 'proper' artists.

It is this Uriah Heep attitude I have heard over the years from cartoonists that keeps us down, and while it exists among us, we cannot easily complain about how badly we are treated as a profession, if we are going to do this sort of thing ourselves.

For God's sake we need to show some bloody self worth now and again instead of just whingeing in pub corners!

Bloghorn says click P for Pyne and a fine selection of to-the-point cartoons.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PCO Procartoonists - The Big Draw

Coming soon PCO Procartoonists at London's Big Draw. Get the details here and here.