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