Monday, June 30, 2008

Pocket cartoonists: Endangered but vital

The newspaper "pocket" cartoonist is a rare but hardy breed, says PCO Chairman Andy Davey.

Spare a thought for the humble pocket cartoonist, guv? Be warned – you’ll need your field glasses to catch them. The Guardian has not replaced David Austin who died in in 2005. But even though they are a diminishing species due to this loss of habitat, there are several individuals in the field still visible. Pugh (The Times), Banx (Financial Times) and the untouchable Matt (Daily Telegraph) are all still going strong.

Pocket cartoons are still a pretty stout mainstay of British broadsheet front pages. And Matt is the only cartoonist to routinely get a name check during the newspaper round-up on Radio Four's Today programme.

An Independent Line, a collection of cartoons from The Independent from the last fifteen years, now on show at the Political Cartoon Gallery, shows the work of one of the finest of the current dwindling crop – Tim Sanders.

Purely in terms of wall space and press coverage, Tim is drowned by his brothers-in-ink, Dave Brown and Peter Schrank. But as an observer of current social trends, he’s up there with the best.

Osbert Lancaster is often credited with establishing the format in UK newspapers, and a rich array of talent in the form of Mark Boxer and Mel Calman (whose work can still be seen on greetings cards) and others emerged in his wake.

Pocket gags are a slice of social history; you can gauge the feel of any era by looking at the pocket cartoons. To set the scene, define the characters and make a gag about current social or political trends is no mean feat in a single newspaper column, so hats off all round, please laydeezangennemen.

An Independent Line is at London's Political Cartoon Gallery until October 18.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Friday, June 27, 2008

PCO Artist of the Month - Rupert Besley

Cartoonist Rupert Besley is the PCO artist for June. Click the image to enlarge. You can see Rupert's other Artist of the Month images by clicking his name, under "Labels" below. And don't forget to click B for Besley.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cartoon exhibition: The Art of Dr. Seuss

A free exhibition called The Art of Dr. Seuss is at the Croydon Clocktower, Croydon, South London, from June 28 until September 20.

The books of Dr. Seuss, such as The Cat in the Hat, have been popular for more than 50 years with their combination of zany pictures and rhymes. However, few of us are aware of the “secret art” that Dr Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel, rarely exhibited during his lifetime.

As well as cartoons, the show at the Croydon Clocktower, part of the Museum of Croydon, features prints, poetry, advertisements, magazine cover designs and even “unorthodox taxidermy” sculpture.

There will also be a range of activities for all fans of Dr. Seuss’s literary gymnastics, both young and old, inclusing storytelling sessions and an opportunity to meet the Cat in the Hat! The Croydon Clocktower is in Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1ET. Opening hours Monday to Saturday 11am-5pm.

Entrance to most workshops is free but will be ticketed on a first come, first served basis as places are limited. For more information, go to the Croydon Clocktower website.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Monday, June 23, 2008

Problems in drawing - image copyright and theft

One of the problems in being able to express yourself through drawing is having your work "borrowed" or "passed off" as the product of someone else.

This is an occupational hazard if you draw to make your living, but it is irritating. Actually this is theft because traditionally, full-time, commercial artists and cartoonists sell the rights to publication of their work. This business model is destroyed by free and easy copying.

The Bloghorn is going to highlight particularly bad examples of this as and when they turn up. To illustrate this intent, here is a link to an example of image theft from early in 2007. It comes from the blog of Matt Buck and concerns the work of fellow member Andy Davey. There was some interesting follow-up to the actual theft of Andy's images and fellow PCOer Morten Morland blogged about that.

The PCO: Full-time, professional British cartoon talent

Friday, June 20, 2008

PCO Artist of the Month - Rupert Besley

Cartoonist Rupert Besley, the PCO artist for June has a history of producing large colourful cartoons on travel and tourism. Bloghorn says click B for Besley. Click to enlarge the image.
Get away and find British cartoon talent

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The art of drawing tennis

An exhibition of Gerald Scarfe tennis cartoons and caricatures of former Wimbledon champions has opened in time for the 2008 championships. Scarfe and the drawings get a look in about 2 minutes into the report which is from Channel 4 News.
Competitors available here

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Graphic novel serialised in The Times

"Unlikely Events: The Times starts a comic strip" by Arthur Watts (click to enlarge)

This 1930s Punch cartoon will make current Times readers chuckle, as a full-colour comic strip now appears in the paper every Monday.

Excerpt from "The Trial of the Sober Dog" by Nick Abadzis

The Trial of the Sober Dog by Nick Abadzis, a serialised graphic novel, is now in its third week. It appears in the T2 section of the paper. It doesn't appear to be on the Times website yet, but you can catch up at Nick Abadzis's blog.

You can see more work by Arthur Watts here, though the above cartoon was found at the Comics, Cartoons, Caricature section of a fascinating online resource called The Culture Archive

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Friday, June 13, 2008

PCO Artist of the month - Rupert Besley

Our second offering from the PCO Artist of the month for June, PCOer Rupert Besley.
It's British cartoon talent

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cartoons and culture

A Giles cartoon published in the Sunday Express in 1967.
From the Culture Cartooned exhibition, courtesy of the British Cartoon Archive

The question "What is culture?" was raised recently in a high-profile promo campaign for the BBC's re-launched Culture Show. An exhibition of cartoons from the 20th Century that takes a light-hearted look at culture may provide the answer. Or it might just be a good laugh.

Culture Cartooned is at the Royal Museum and Art Gallery in Canterbury until Saturday 26 July and includes original artwork and prints across a range of cultural themes, from the visual arts, ballet and cinema to sport and the Olympics. This is the broad variety of activity that comes under the government’s definition of "culture".

Exhibition highlights include cartoons by Giles about Arts Council grants and sporting prowess; perceptive observations of museum and gallery visitors by WK Haselden and Keith Waite; Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp commenting on films; and the pocket cartoons of Mel Calman and David Austin. Some of the cartoons question what we mean by heritage, while others show our ambivalent attitudes to sport and sportsmen, or art and artists.

The show is at the Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Beaney Institute (first floor), 18 High Street, Canterbury. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4.45pm. Admission is free. Culture Cartooned is organised by Canterbury City Council in partnership with the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent.

On the subject of the Culture Show, the extended version, screened on Friday night, included a great animated film by Johnny Kelly which will be of interest to cartoonists and anyone involved in any creative endeavour, as it's called Procrastination.

Canterbury Royal Museum & Art Gallery

The Culture Show

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Monday, June 9, 2008

The curve of a cartoonist-part 2

Following our recent post about the variety of lines and ways to make a joke you can find inside the PCO cartoonist portfolios, here's a classic piece of linear observation by the great American director, Chuck Jones. The dot and the line was adapted from a book by US architect, Norton Juster. The original illustrations for Juster's book were made by New York cartoonist, Jules Feiffer.
It's British cartoon talent

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cartoon football for Euro 08

The BBC has embraced the talent of Aardman animation, makers of Wallace and Gromit among many others, to make the titles for their coverage of the European football championships, which are starting this weeeknd. If you watch the video from the Beeb here, you'll see what a key role traditional drawing and cartoon skills can play in making the moving image. Strangely enough, no one seems to have felt the need to draw former England manager Steve McLaren.
More than qualified British cartoon talent

Friday, June 6, 2008

PCO Artist of the Month - Rupert Besley

PCOer Rupert Besley is our artist of the month for June 2008.

Besley has been widely published for over 20 years. Most of his detailed watercolour work has been in providing illustrations for schoolbooks, educational publishers and business presentations in need of charm and direct communication. But he has also supplied gag cartoons for many books of cartoon jokes, often focusing on travel and holidays inside Britain.

His postcard art is notorious, especially if you’ve had an experience of the weather in Wales, or the midges in Scotland. He has also been published in a large number of magazines including Country Talk, The Oldie and Country Life. Resident on the Isle of Wight, he is, naturally, a chronicler of all life there and had a one-man exhibition - Island Fling - recently.

Bloghorn says click B for Besley.
British cartoon talent

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cartoon exhibition: An Independent Line

An Independent Line – an exhibition of cartoons from The Independent newspaper, by Dave Brown, Peter Schrank and Tim Sanders, is at the Political Cartoon Gallery in London from June 18 until October 18.

The exhibition promises to be a treat for lovers of satire, as it features a wealth of work from the Indie's three political cartoonists. Drawing on the best of more than 12 years of material, it features cartoons from the John Major years to the present day.

The show will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated hardback book with a foreword by comedian Mark Steel.

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.

It's British cartoon talent

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Foghorn cartoon magazine out now

A new Foghorn cartoon magazine from the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is out now. If you would like to subscribe to the six issues a year please click the big blue button to your right, now.
Click to enlarge the picture
Showcasing British cartoon talent

Monday, June 2, 2008

The curve of a cartoonist-part one

To many people, one drawing can look much like another, but to a professional practitioner of the art, little could be further from the truth.

The simple dictionary definition of drawing* is the art of representing by line, but behind this statement the variety can seem infinite.

Expression and communication in drawn line and the way it is used to make a joke or a point is the unique thing in developing an original, visual sense of humour. And that goes towards making the cartoonist.

The picture here shows a small variety of the lines which are used to make jokes. You can find all of them - and their creators - in our PCO cartoon portfolios.

The curve of different PCO cartoonists from
Click to enlarge the picture.

* Concise Oxford Dictionary.
British cartoon talent