Monday, September 29, 2008

Campaign cartooning: Discussing how the art of satire shapes the political landscape

Kal (Kevin Kallaugher), cartoonist for the Economist for the past 30 years, will be discussing political cartooning with Henry Naylor (former head writer for Spitting Image). The debate will be chaired by Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murthy and will be followed by Kal conducting a hands-on interactive cartooning demonstration.

Campaign cartooning: Discussing how the art of satire shapes the political landscape is on at the Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS on Thursday 2nd October 2008, 7-8.15pm. The event is free, but to register for the event email

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cartooning on television

PCOer Will “Wilbur” Dawbarn is to appear on football show Off The Bar on Sky Sports 3 tonight, as an on-the-spot cartoonist.

Newton's sportier brother: a Private Eye cartoon by Wilbur

Talking about yesterday’s recording of the show, Will told the Bloghorn: “It was a really fun afternoon, I loved it. I got a bit of abuse from the host for being a Liverpool fan, but I managed to put my topical knowledge of Stoke City’s lethal throw-in secret weapon to some use on the show.

“My knowledge of the game wasn’t put to too taxing a test, most of the chat was left to the pundits. It was a tricky gig – I only had about 20 minutes to think up and draw gags about what they were saying, so I had to listen, brainstorm, and draw, all at the same time. Quite a challenge, but one I’m glad I took up.

“I’m certainly not the new Bill Tidy, but the cartoons I produced went down quite well and I got away without completely humiliating myself.”

Bloghorn says: the boy done good. Off The Bar is on Sky Sports 3 tonight at 9pm, with repeats at various times.

The PCO: As seen on TV

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week...

One: Mike Williams in Private Eye on something feline

Two: Colin Whittock in the Birmingham Mail: "All the best spots have been nicked by bankers ..."

Three: Tim Sanders in The Independent: Just say cheese!

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frequently answered questions

"I have a great idea for a cartoon! Want to hear it?"

... US political cartoonist Daryl Cagle takes on the questions that people always ask cartoonists. Some of it is very specific to Cagle's site, but much of it is universal and very funny. Here's another favourite:

"When are you going to stop bashing President Bush?"
"Be patient. It won't be long."

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Mike Lynch for spotting this one.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Big Draw 2008

The National Campaign for Drawing's annual event, The Big Draw, is upon us again.

And PCO members will be working at this weekend's opening events for the month-long festival. Much of this weekend's activity will be taking place at University College in central London (UCL). There is an enormous range of activity for the opening weekend. You can find details on how to get there here.

PCO member Patrick Blower explains more about Saturday's digital cartoon masterclass:

The event cartoonists be drawing cartoons on digital tablets and projecting the resulting film of their work onto walls and large screens. We will be running hourly cartoon master classes – on the hour – from 11am. And when the cartoonists aren't talking, or drawing, we will be encouraging visitors, of all ages, to have a go too. In fact, we will be encouraging visitors to help invent a monster each. These will be turned into an ongoing slide show through the day as the gallery develops.

Simon Gould, UCL's curator of Drawing on Life, the national launch for The Big Draw added;

We are really looking forward to a jam packed day of all kinds of drawing and are thrilled that cartoonist Patrick Blower, one of UCL's illustrious alumni, will be taking such a prominent position. His cartooning master classes will definitely be a real highlight for children and adults alike.

There are many hundreds of local events in towns across the country too. There will be one going on near you and you can find it on this page. London will also host another large set-piece event at London's St Pancras station during mid-October – it's called Transports of Delight.

There will be further PCO participation in the battle of the cartoonists on Saturday October 18th. We will be writing more about that event in the next few weeks.

The Big Draw

PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Monday, September 22, 2008

Comic Timing at Harrods

Harrods is hosting Comic Timing, an exhibition of original British comic art encompassing a comprehensive slice through the British comic scene, from early Dennis the Menace and Oor Willie through to the likes of Watchmen and Viz.

The show features artwork from comics as diverse as Jackie, Commando and 2000AD and by artists including Jamie Hewlett, Raymond Briggs and Posy Simmonds.

Bloghorn understands you'll be able to find drawing and story-telling from the following:

Watchmen, Judge Dredd, The Bash Street Kids, Dennis The Menace (1950s) Korky The Kat (1930s), Oor Wullie (1940s), Batman: The Killing Joke, V For Vendetta, From Hell, Tamara Drewe, Petra Etcetera, Commando, Finbar Saunders And His Double Entendres, Tank Girl, Tale Of One Bad Rat, Mauretania, Captain Britain, Phonogram, Breakfast After Noon, Slaine, Robusters, Summer Of Love, Four Feet From A Rat, Rhapsody Of Love, All Star Superman, The Filth, Hellblazer, Nellyphant, Face Ache, Jackie, Commando, Gentleman Jim, Look-In, Cherubs, Judge Death, Jack Staff, Books Of Magic, Superfly, Goddess, Wired World, and Charley’s War.

The Harrods website, sadly, lacks any information about the exhibition – although it does manage to mention a talk by V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd on September 29 at the Harrods Theatre.

Comic Timing is located at Harrods [map], 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, in the Lower Ground Floor and is directly down the stairs from Door Five, by the Knightsbridge Tube exit. It runs until October 31 and is free!

Further details are here

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week...

One: Matt in the Telegraph on trouble at the banks

Two: Martin Rowson in the Guardian on challenging Brown

And finally, the funny animal one ... Three: Robert Thompson in The Spectator: "OK kids, bedtime!"

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An evening with cartoonist Gerald Scarfe

PCOers John Roberts and Steve Bright attended a recent illustrated talk given by the caricaturist at Shrewsbury. John reports for Bloghorn:

What struck me almost immediately about him is how charming and mild mannered this notoriously vicious caricaturist is . He admitted during his talk that he uses drawing as a therapy. He says he feels positively ill unless he draws everyday – much like Quentin Blake. He obviously loses his anger and frustrations during the process.

As a cartoonist, I found it fascinating that he claims that he cares little about the finished piece when he starts i.e. he feels that he HAS to get the idea down on paper as fast as possible or else he’ll succumb to some great disaster. He doesn’t really think “Gosh, this is a great idea and I must get it drawn and sold!”

He outlined the drawing process he uses – he never pre-draws in pencil (to keep the artwork "alive" and as fresh as possible) and pointed out with a great flourish of his outstretched arm, that he doesn’t draw with a constrained hand or by using his wrist but with fast and furious arm movements – he “draws from the shoulder”.

He outlined all the various illustration fields he has ploughed over the last 30 years from his famous caricature work (Sunday Times, New Yorker etc), opera designs for both scenery and costumes, animation work for Pink Floyd and his character designs for the animated Walt Disney film Hercules. I also found it very interesting that Scarfe has always been fascinated with animation claiming that it is still a greatly underrated art form which he would love to spend more time working with and developing.

One image stayed with me afterwards and that was of one of his cartoons for the Sunday Times which shows George W Bush, dressed as Superman, flying over the chokingly black smoke and flames of totally destroyed Iraq, with the caption “Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No it’s a F***ing Disaster!” Brilliant.

Further appearances at:
Sunday 21st September: Charleston Literary Festival, East Sussex: 4pm.
Friday 3rd October: Warwick Words Festival - illustrated talk and book signing: 3pm.
Saturday 11th October: illustrated talk at British Museum, London (The Big Draw): 1.30pm.
Saturday 18th October: Cheltenham Book Festival: 10am.
Monday 20th October: illustrated talk, Guildford Festival: 7.30pm. (contact venue for ticket details).
Monday 27th October: illustrated talk at British Library, London: 7pm. (contact venue for ticket details).


The BBC has an illustrated interview with Scarfe here.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cartoon Exhibition: Who's Laughing Now?

Cartoon by Andy "Gilby" Gilbert. Click to enlarge

PCOer Andy Gilbert has been invited by Derby Museum and Art Gallery to exhibit his new collection of worked entitled "Who's Laughing Now?"

Andy produces artwork for Rainbow Cards and much of this exhibition will highlight the gentle humour that he produces for their range. The exhibition is at the Silk Mill Museum, Derby Museum and Art gallery, from September 20 until November 2, 2008.

It coincides with the Big Draw campaign which runs throughout October. Andy will be appearing at the exhibition on Saturday 4th October from 10am to 4pm where he will be running his cartooning workshops.

Entrance to the exhibition and cartooning workshops is free. The opening times are: Monday 11am-5pm; Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-4pm. For further information, you can contact the Silk Mill on 01332-255 308.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beano is too PC, says former editor

Beano characters in action (Copyright DC Thomson)

Euan Kerr, former editor of The Beano, tells the Daily Telegraph today that he was asked to tone down many characters during his time at the head of the comic.

Political correctness, he says, is ruining the Beano and the Dandy. Amazingly, he had to stop Dennis the Menace's attacks on Walter the Softy in the 1980s amid fears that they encouraged "gay bashing".

You can read the Telegraph interview here.

A hat-tip for this link goes to the Forbidden Planet bog.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bloghorn’s cartoon pick of the week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week. Quite a lot of it appeared to be bashing the Prime Minister ...

One: Dave Brown in the Independent on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

Two: Noel Ford in the Church Times on Fairtrade clergymen

Three: Mac (Stan McMurtry) in the Daily Mail on life's little problems. "Maybe it's someone to see the house"

Week ending 12th September 2008

It's British cartoon talent

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cartoons and poetry meet on stage

PCOer Clive Goddard on a unique cartooning event

It’s not every day you hear of a comedy double-act show featuring a poet and a cartoonist. I recently got a ticket for such an event at the Cornerstone Theatre, Didcot.

The cartoonist in question was Tony Husband, whose work I’ve admired for years, and the poet was TV and radio’s Ian McMillan, ("the Shirley Bassey of performance poetry") best known for appearances on the likes of Have I Got News For You.

The pair have been touring their show around large chunks of the country for several years now. It was billed as "A Cartoon History of Here" which intrigued me as I imagined these two Lancashire blokes would know very little about Didcot, an Oxfordshire dormitory town with a railway station, a power station and not much else. As it turned out, they did know very little about Didcot – that’s where the audience came in.

Right from the off Ian McMillan was very funny. He did an excellent job of making everyone feel very relaxed, which was just as well considering the audience participation which was to follow. We had to wait a while for Tony’s contribution. For the first half hour or so he sat anonymously behind a desk at the back, like the Pet Shop Boys' keyboard player.

The idea, it emerged, was for Ian to elicit ideas (preferably silly ones) about the town from the audience, which were turned into an improvised communal poem, acted out by lucky volunteers and illustrated by Tony’s cartoons.

Tony drew on sheets of acetate directly onto an overhead projector so we got to see how fast he drew - and thought (both of which were pretty damn fast). The style was relaxed, confident and instantly recognisable, which is what you’d expect of someone who has been Cartoonist of the Year several times.

At the end of the evening Tony gave away his drawings to an appreciative group of clamouring young fans, which meant I didn’t get one.

All in all, a great idea and great fun. As was the remainder of the evening in the pub where we fearlessly grilled the pair on their intimate lives and learned nothing. Well, nothing printable.

Thanks, Clive. Bloghorn says click G for Goddard.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cartoonists and the party political convention - Part 2: The Republicans

With Hurricane Gustav battering the Gulf Coast many of the cartoonists covering the DNC last week crossed the country to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis Saint Paul, including Rob Rogers (who had to cut short his visit to the convention due to his father's death), Walt Handelsman and's JD Crowe.

Other cartoonists covering the convention from home include Rob Tornoe (sketchbook), and Ron Rogers. The British media was again represented by Kal (sketchbook day 1, day 2, day 3 ) and Steve Bell (sketchbook days 4-8, day 9, day 10, day 11).

It's British cartoon talent

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week...

One: Peter Brookes in The Times on gunning for Sarah Palin

Two: Clay Bennett at on Barack Obama: a tough act to follow

But enough US elections, already ... Three: Wilbur Dawbarn in Private Eye looks at the the gravity of the situation

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Getting your message across using cartoons

The IT giant Google is clearly aware of the power of cartoons in putting across information in an accessible way. The company hired cartoonist Scott McCloud to produce a 38-page comic book to promote its new Chrome web browser. You can see the comic online here: Google Chrome.

While we're on the subject of cartoons online, the PCO has written a guest post on the influential Online Journalism Blog about how news organisations treat cartoons online.

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cartoonists and the party political convention

Party political conference season is nearly upon us here in Britain, but in the US the Democratic Party have already finished their turn. The cartoonists were out in force both drawing and blogging in Denver, Colorado.

Cartoon blogs from the convention include Rob Rogers from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (convention blog), convention first-timer Walt Handelsman from Newsday, Jen Sorenson from the Charlottesville C-Ville and Denver local Ed Stein from the Rocky Mountain News.

Interesting to note that a number of US cartoonists have chosen not to attend the Convention in person, such as Dan Wasserman from the Boston Globe, Rob Tornoe from (sketchbook), Matt Davies from the Journal News, David Horsey from the Seattle Post-Intelligencier and Ron Rogers from the South Bend Tribune (sketchbook), instead chosing to work from their studios, well away from the media crush.

In the meantime from the British press we had Steve Bell from the Guardian (sketchbook day 1, day 2, day 3)and Kal from the Economist (sketchbook day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4) actually in attendance.

It's British cartoon talent