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

British cartoon talent

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.
British cartoon talent

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.