Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paying for cartoon content

American cartoonist Mike Lynch tells it like it is with a blog post that states its point clearly in its title:

If You Give Away Your Cartoons for Free, You Won't Make a Living as a Cartoonist

"It's wrong if a publication (print or web) thinks they can just grab a cartoon for free content ... This isn't posturing, this isn't being unrealistic. This is me making a living."

British cartoon talent

Monday, January 28, 2008

PCO Procartoonists - Where creativity comes from - part 1

PCOer John Roberts writes;

I was telephoned before Christmas by a very enthusiastic young lady telling me that she worked for a television production company. She told me she thought a caricaturist was something that they were looking for.

A caricature of Nicole Kidman by PCO member John Roberts

Her company had been commissioned to set up a series of programmes to be transmitted on a new BBC reality-TV talent show called Upstaged where participants “should try to entertain the public for up to 8 hours.” Excuse me, I said, did you say “entertain the public for up to 8 hours?” Yes, that’s right” she said “very exciting idea isn’t it? The public will look at the various ‘acts’ day by day and vote on which ones will be put into a head-to-head playoff in two large glass studios in the centre of Bristol at the end of each week. And all to see which act is the more entertaining.”

It is possible I may have turned down a great opportunity but I feel I’ve retained what’s left of my dignity.

Bloghorn says click R for Roberts.

British cartoon talent

Friday, January 25, 2008

Humour exhibition: Where are the cartoons?

The Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank is hosting an exhibition of art called Laughing in a Foreign Language until April 13. It brings together more than 70 videos, photographs and interactive installation works by more than 30 artists from all around the world. They're all artworks designed to make you laugh, so it's baffling that the show does not include any cartoons.

PCOer Bill Stott nearly choked on his cornflakes when he saw an item about it on breakfast TV today:

“Mainstream TV news is usually out of its depth when dealing with contemporary art, especially the difficult stuff where you can’t tell what it is, or when it's not Constable. Coverage is usually jokey and heads are shaken in disbelief. Emin, Hirst and others have become national treasures through it – not because of the quality of their work but because Joe Public wants to see what they get away with.

"The Hayward's current show, involving funny work by serious artists, featured on TV this morning. No punters were seen laughing. Or smiling. Some were sitting quietly (and seriously) contemplating a video showing a clown struggling through the jungle. Others were failing to don a joke head which the curator giggled at. But then she giggled at all the deeply unfunny exhibits.

"The brief glimpse – and it was brief, so I may be doing the Hayward powers-that-be a disservice here – was depressing. Here, apparently, was serious money being lavished on a well-presented show of distinct, serious failures. Gags were laboured and clunky, and all heads seemed firmly shoved up bottoms. It reeked of that preciousness often found in serious tomes about humour.

"Even more depressing is the suspicion that the giggling curator wouldn’t understand a good cartoon. Is that because cartoons aren’t serious? The show will be well attended by art wannabes and those cocooned in the unreality of an art bubble, people who don’t get jokes, and innocents who think the exhibits will make them laugh. Pity the poor innocents.”

Bloghorn says click S for Stott.

British cartoon talent

PCO Artist of the Month - John Landers

Here is the last offering from the PCO's Artist of the month for January 2008, John Landers. Next Friday, we will have a new featured portfolio to enjoy, but in the meantime, click L for Landers.
British cartoon talent

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Race in cartoons and drawing

News reaches Bloghorn from the USA where a group of African-American cartoonists are making a "comic crossover" about how their work is treated and published.

The group believe that "many editors and readers consider different 'black comics' to be interchangeable". This, they say, is among the reasons why many papers run only one or two comics by African-Americans and other creators of colour - no matter how many strips and panels are in their comics sections. And of course, the size of the drawn sections of US newspapers are vastly larger than any published here in the UK.

Speaking to Bloghorn, cartoonist and organiser of the "crossover" Darrin Bell said:

"It's natural to limit the number of themes or genres on the comics page. Two boy-and-his-dog strips is enough of that theme. Two soap opera strips are enough of that genre. But 'black strip' is no more a theme or a genre than 'white strip'."

Full details of the event, which is scheduled for February 10th, can be read here, courtesy of Dave Astor at Editor and Publisher or at Darrin's website.

British cartoon talent

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cartoon film sans CGI animals nominated

Something a bit different is competing alongside the usual anthropomorphic antics in the Best Animated Film category at this year’s Oscars.

Persepolis, a black and white adaptation of two graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, will be competing alongside the CGI-animated blockbusters Ratatouille and Surf’s Up, it was announced yesterday.

Which means that a French film about a girl who comes of age during the Islamic revolution in Iran is up against a story about a rat who becomes a chef, and a bunch of surfing penguins.

Persepolis is released in the UK in April, and judging from the above trailer it certainly looks like a pretty unique piece of work.

British cartoon talent

Monday, January 21, 2008

PCO Procartoonists - Foghorn cartoon magazine

Foghorn, the full colour magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is in production right now and is due to land on the desks of some lucky art buyers soon. This all new exciting flood-proof issue will include articles from PCOers Martin Honeysett, Martin Rowson, Roger Penwill and Pete Dredge alongside the usual top jokes and regular features. This edition’s cover cartoon is by Mr Ross Thomson - click T for Thomson.
21st January 2008
British cartoon talent

Friday, January 18, 2008

PCO Artist of the Month- John Landers

If you would like to see more of John's work click on the phrase John Landers in the long list you can find on the right hand side of this diary, or click below and follow L for Landers.
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Early animated cartoons screened

While you're waiting for the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, here's another event to consider. Slapstick 2008 must surely be one of the first festivals of the year, of any variety, as it takes place from January 17-20. If you’ve not heard much about it, that's possibly because it’s a festival of silent comedy.

Now in its fourth year, the Bristol festival will feature “Pencil and Plasticine” a look at early silent cartoons hosted by the Aardman Animation co-founder Peter Lord. Extracts screened will include early Disney, work by Willis O’Brien and the unforgettable Jerry the Troublesome Tyke (above).

For more information visit the Slapstick 2008 website

British cartoon talent

Monday, January 14, 2008

PCO Procartoonists - forthcoming event

Bloghorn can reveal final preparations for the UK’s annual cartoon festival are now well underway. Cartoonists are primed to perform in public, the festival theme has been set and exhibitions are being collated and collected from at least two continents. Deadlines for the supply of original artwork are drawing near across several countries and all in all, there's quite a bit going on. Festival dates are 18th-20th April this year and there will be plenty of information about the event coming up throughout the spring. Put it in your diary.
14th January 2008
British cartoon talent
British cartoon talent

Sunday, January 13, 2008

PCO Procartoonists on waiting for the phone to ring

PCOer Alex Hughes writes and draws;
Overjoyed as I was at the receipt of my DACS payment from the UK Design and Copyright Society just before Christmas, I was slightly miffed to read an article in the Studio DACS newsletter which dropped on my doormat this morning entitled 'My short life as a political cartoonist' by Simon Stern. Now, I'll admit I'm not aware of Simon Stern's work as an illustrator, and I can only applaud his work as a member of the DACS' Board of Directors , but I was somewhat put out by the opening paragraph:

One day out of the blue I got a call from the Times Saturday Review, asking how I would feel about doing a weekly colour cartoon for the magazine? It wasn't an offer I was about to refuse, so after gaining admission to the Times Newspaper's armed encampment in Wapping, I found my way through a series of shabby looking buildings to the Saturday Review offices.

I understand Mr Stern‘s story to have actually taken place some years ago. I am writing as someone who has been trying to get my foot in the door drawing newspaper political cartoons, and this statement rankled. If an illustrator can be called up unsolicited to take up a position that many of us professional cartoonists would be clamouring to get, it suggests to me that certain editors don't know where to look for cartoonists. My own experience leads me to conclude the situation has got worse in the intervening years, and how much we need the activities of the PCO to help get news out there into the world and bang the drum for our skills.
You can see some of Alex's visual arguments if you click H from here.

British cartoon talent

Friday, January 11, 2008

PCO Artist of the month - John Landers

A marvellous joke from the PCOs Artist of the month, John Landers. Bloghorn says click L for Landers.
11th January 2008
British cartoon talent

Thursday, January 10, 2008

PCO Procartoonists on the benefit of cartoons

Hallelujah, someone has seen the light. The entry for Thursday, January 10, 2008 is most enlightened - or get it from the horses mouth here. Shame it's in America, but it may spread...
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cartoon exhibition: Robert Dighton

An exhibition entitled Robert Dighton: Georgian Caricaturist, Actor and Thief is at The Cartoon Museum in London from January 23 to April 20.

Dighton (1751-1814) was a colourful character who for a time combined a career as an actor in the West End with that of artist and printseller, producing caricatures of the London celebrities of the day.

This exhibition of 80 of his original caricatures of celebrities and nonentities, the rich and the poor, provides an insight into the life of Georgian London. They range from Bill Richmond the famous black boxer, sportsman, innkeeper and promoter, to Martha Gunn who supplied bathing machines and prostitutes to the upper classes on their visits to fashionable Brighton. Dighton also drew the tailors, actors, academics and down-at-heel types who could be found on any street.

At the turn of the century he achieved notoriety for stealing and selling prints which he had quietly stolen from the British Museum.

The exhibition will also include some examples by his sons and grandsons who carried on the tradition of caricature.

The museum is at at 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH and is open Tue-Sat, 10.30am-5.30pm, Sun 12pm-5.30. Admission £4/ £3. Free to Students and under 18s.

British cartoon talent

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

PCO Procartoonists on the vacant Trafalgar Square plinth

Bloghorn defies anyone to argue convincingly that the entries for the 'art' slot in Trafalgar Square from both Tracey Emin and Yinka Shonibare aren't really cartoons on a grand scale. This link to the shortlisted lineup comes courtesy of The Guardian newspaper.
8th January 2007
British cartoon talent

Sunday, January 6, 2008

PCO and a well-travelled cartoon (ist)

Glad tidings from North Eastern Kent in the UK from whence PCOer Royston Robertson has successfully dispatched one of his cartoons all the way to the Antarctic. A distance of 10,602 miles or thereabouts. The South African National Antarctic Expedition asked if they could use a cartoon of his, which first appeared in Reader’s Digest magazine, on their team T-shirt for this year’s trip to Antarctica.

Who could turn down an offer like that? And there is more good news concerning Mr Robertson who has happily signed up to help write and look after The Bloghorn. Lapsing into third-person diary speak, Bloghorn is most delighted about this. Click R from here to see more of Royston's work. British cartoon talent

Friday, January 4, 2008

PCO Artist of the Month - John Landers

Londoner John Landers has been drawing gag cartoons and funny pictures since he was a boy. He attended Middlesex University in London where he studied Graphic Design and although cartoons and funny drawings featured in much of his early design work, he didn't turn to selling his cartoon gags directly to newspapers and magazines until the early nineties. He produces corporate greetings cards, cartoon book illustration, strip cartoons, induction booklets and corporate logos. John's cartoon work is published in many UK newspapers and magazines which include Private Eye, The Spectator, Reader's Digest, The Times, The Sun, and The New Statesman. He is also resident cartoonist for Digital Photo magazine. His jokes have been published in many countries around the world including U.S.A. Italy, Sweden, & Germany. Bloghorn says click L for Landers.
4th January 2008
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The sex appeal of the creative mind

PCOer Neil Dishington, spots, paraphrases and even quotes from an item from The Times newspaper, as follows;

"The sex appeal of the creative thinker was in part because the possession of a lively creative mind is considered an attractive feature in either sex."

"These lucky people started with the advantage of being considered attractive before they had begun their chat-up line."

"Even being in a regular relationship doesn’t stop their tally rising, for they are usually forgiven any infidelity as this is expected of a creative person."

Neil summarises, cartoonists are creative thinkers...aren’t they?

Bloghorn can only applaud the wisdom of this last observation, the vigilant eye of Mr Dishington, and agree wholeheartedly with parts of the claims made by the research and original words. Although, it ought to be pointed out that the journalist responsible for reporting the original piece, which you may find here, is known by Private Eye as Dr Thomas Utterfraud.

Belief might also be shaken by personal field research, certainly the sound of female cackling chez Bloghorn, has not ceased since the subject was raised.

The last word (and picture) to Mr Dishington.

He’s ’oozing’ something but it’s not sex appeal
3rd January 2008
British cartoon talent