Friday, October 31, 2008

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week ...

One: Nick Newman in the Spectator on Ross and Brand

Two: Christian Adams in the Telegraph: Peter Mandelson - three strikes ...

Three: Royston Robertson in Reader's Digest: No man is an island

Week ending 31st October 2008

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The cartoonist and the rebounding, rubber artwork

PCOer Chris Burke sends a visual report on the phenomenon of rubber, or, rebounding artwork.

Clients always want artwork as soon as possible but, strangely, there is always time for it to come back for changes.
We offer here an example of Chris's work with before and after images showing the changes requested in a complex piece of caricaturing he did recently. First, here is the original and approved piece of art.

Secondly, the unexpected changes which were subsequently requested - in this case, it was a question of different people being asked for. We've marked them here to help.

And at last, the final version.

It is hard work being a professional cartoonist.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cartoon exhibitions: Giles and more

Giles: One of the Family is at the Cartoon Museum in London from November 5 until February 8, 2009. Click image to enlarge

Whenever there is a show dedicated to a big name in the world of painting, such as Monet or Rothko, the media describes it as a "blockbuster exhibition". Well, this must be the equivalent in the cartooning world, as it features one of the giants of the artform: Carl Giles (1916-1995).

The exhibition of more than 80 works includes wonderful colour covers as well as drawings never reproduced in the annuals. His studio is recreated complete with desk, drawing board and reference material. Also revealed are less familiar aspects of his career including his time as an animator, his propaganda work for the Ministry of Information and his work as cartooning war correspondent.

The Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street, London, is open: Tues-Sat, 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun 12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £4, Concessions £3, Free to Under 18s and students.

Here are two must-see cartoon exhibitions which are currently running:

Steve Bell's Drawing Politics and Other Animals is a free exhibition at the Lightbox, in Woking. Re-live the political scandals of the 1980s and 1990s through the drawings and original artwork of Britain's most renowned political cartoonist.

Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster is at the Wallace Collection in West London. This free exhibition, which marks the centenary of Lancaster's birth, celebrates his astonishing range as an artist and as a chronicler of style and fashion.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A cartoonist's farewell to Dubya

Whoever wins the US election, he is probably unlikely to be as much of a gift to cartoonists as the guy who is currently putting his feet up in the Oval Office.

US editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich tells us "What I'll Miss About George W."

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cartoon books coming out

The clocks have fallen back, and subsequently the nights are drawing in, so as we race towards Christmas publishers are putting out books on cartooning. Here's a selection of recent example that may be filling stockings come December.

First up is The History of the Beano: The Story so Far, a comprehensive round-up of the iconic DC Thompson comic from the last 70 years, here reviewed by the Daily Record and by Danny Baker in The Times. This book also ties in with the recent exhibitions in Dundee and the Cartoon Museum in London.

The History Of The Beano - The Story So Far is published by D.C. Thomson and Waverley Books, priced £25. The Beano and Dandy Birthday Bash continues at the The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH until 2nd November 2008.

Next is Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster on the life and times of the late Daily Express pocket cartoonist Osbert Lancaster, which is reviewed in the New Statesman, the Spectator and by cartoonist Nicholas Garland in the Telegraph. This book also ties into an exhibition at the Wallace Collection (reviewed in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Independent) .

Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster, edited by James Knox, is published by Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd, priced £25. The exhibition continues at The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN until 11th January 2009.

And finally we come to The Best of Punch Cartoon, a collection of cartoons from the legendary satirical magazine spanning over 150 years of humour, the launch of which was attended by the PCO's own Pete Dredge. Reviewed here by cartoonist Peter Brookes of the Times, by Michael Heath, cartoon editor of the Spectator, and in the Independent.

The Best of Punch Cartoons, by Helen Walasek, is published by Prion Books, priced £30.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week ...

One: Steve Bell in the Guardian on Sarah Palin's wardrobe allowance.

Two: Nick Newman in the Times on the Madonna/Guy Ritchie divorce.

Three: Dave Brown from the Independent on George Osborne and Peter Mandelson's boat trip.

Week ending 24th October 2008

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 23, 2008

John Jensen goes jellybeans over Stardust

There are cartoon fossickers who dig and delve among old comics – I'm talking American comics, circa late 1930s and early 1940s, looking for, and still finding, strange treasures and curios. Like, for example, Stardust, Fantomah, Buzz Crandall of the Space Patrol and, finally, Big Red McLane of the Northwoods. The link between them is the late Fletcher Hanks, cartoonist, strip artist and, according to R. Crumb, "a twisted dude". He should know.
The comic Stardust features in the Collected works of Fletcher Hanks reviewed here by PCOer John Jensen.

Gary Panter, an American illustrator and a former denizen of the psychedelic era but now a hugely successful graphics person wrote the following for the jacket blurb of the collection I am about to review for you.

"Fletcher Hanks was this old guy back in the old days who made magic jellybeans. The magic jellybeans looked like comics, but they were magic jellybeans."
If you ever see the strips you'll know that a hammer has smacked a nail firmly on its head. Stardust is the biggest jellybean of them all. One more quotation, this from one of the strips, written just prior to Germany starting off on World War Two:
"Stardust [he lives on his own asteroid] whose vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lived, devotes his abilities to crime-busting ..."
In one story, our super-sized, booming voiced hero uses a boomerang ray; a fusing ray, his reducing ray and, finally, his transporting ray. In other strips he makes himself invisible, travels faster than the speed of light and has an active anti-gravity ray, a magnetic ray, a suspending ray and a disintegrating ray – the ray doesn't disintegrate but other things do!

His mental power stops thugs from shooting at him while, also under his belt – you should see his belt! – there is an attractor beam and an agitator ray. The villains, always grotesque and quite mad, are invariably captured after which they meet their hideous eternal variegated dooms. No doubt Stardust celebrates victory with his very own Hip Hip Hoo Ray.

Fantomah, the Mystery Woman of the Jungle, had many edgy, disconcerting powers of her own, including the ability when cross, of turning her face into a skull. Very useful in a supermarket queue I would guess.

Another curious point about the anthology is that the Afterword is a strip written and drawn by Paul Karasik, who met and was slightly shocked by the artist's son who apparently hated his Dad. Hanks was allegedly a drunkard, a liar and, to cap it all a deadbeat who froze to death on a park bench. He also painted ducks in a pond.

The Comics of Fletcher Hanks "I SHALL DESTROY ALL CIVILIZED PLANETS!" was recently published by Fantagraphic Books. If you're a Knockout or Beano fan you might not care for, or about, this extraordinary gathering of super surreals but if, like me, you grew up with American comics you'll be full of beans. Jellybeans.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cartoonist Les Barton dies

Les Barton, a fine cartoonist who worked in both the gag cartoons and the comics markets, has died. He was as well known for cartoons in magazines such as Punch as for his comic work, including the much-loved "I Spy" in Sparky.

Born in 1923, he began selling cartoons in the 1940s and was a long-standing member of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain, attending its inaugural meeting in 1960.

Cartoonist and blogger Lew Stringer has more on the comics work of Les Barton.
UPDATED: 26th November 2008. Full obituary written by Dr Mark Bryant from The Independent newspaper.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Professional cartoonist workshops at the Big Draw

The PCO provided the all-day cartoon and drawing workshops at The Big Draw. Here, two of our members report on what they did there. Click the images to enlarge

Paul Hardman writes:

The title of the workshop I ran was "Who Do You Think You Are?" It involved a very long roll of paper on which I had drawn about twenty train carriages. Participants were invited to draw a self portrait in each window and then put their names and where they were from underneath. After a slow start (10am) the activity grew and proved to be a great success, continuing throughout the day until we had run out of carriages and children were left asking for more!

An interesting metamorphosis developed as several windows became visual puns on the word "coach". We had the football coach and the stage coach for example. The results were pasted to the side wall of the "Battle Arena" and made a very effective display.

Tim Harries
Judging by the of amount paper and sponsored pencils we went through, this year's workshops were thoroughly enjoyed by cartoonists and public alike. Any available large space (blank walls, concourse pillars, some of the heavier cartoonists) was turned into a gallery to proudly display the transport-themed cartoons, comic strips and characters produced. Next door's Starbucks aided flagging artists and parents as the kids kept us busy from 10am til 5pm, with quite a few families staying the entire day and taking part in each of the five workshops.

My "Creating First Class Comic Strips" workshop was fun to do, as always, and produced some quality work from quite a few attendees who, thanks to the microphone provided, could actually hear my instructions (including the slightly loud and embarrassing "How do you switch this thing off?")

Other participating PCO cartoonists were Terry Christien, Chichi Parish, Robert Duncan and John Landers. Photos by Gerard Whyman and Royston Robertson.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cartoon exhibition: Tory Blues

An exhibition called Tory Blues: A Cartoon History of the Conservative Party opens today (October 21) at the Political Cartoon Gallery in London and runs until January 7, 2009.

It features original political cartoons charting the history of the Conservative Party from Benjamin Disraeli, through the likes of Balfour, Baldwin, Churchill, Thatcher and Major, to today’s Party Leader, David Cameron.

Included, for the very first time on display, are original cartoons covering both the Party’s election victories and defeats as well as important events in the history of Britain’s most successful political party.

The exhibition consists of 60 original cartoons by leading cartoonists both past and present including work by Sir John Tenniel, Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, Sidney Strube, Sir David Low, Leslie Illingworth, Trog, JAK, Michael Cummings, Nick Garland, Ronald Searle, Steve Bell, Chris Riddell, Paul Thomas Dave Brown, Peter Schrank, Martin Rowson and Peter Brookes among many others.

The exhibition is to be opened by the former Conservative MP Mathew Parris. A book by Alan Mumford entitled Tory Blues will accompany the show.

The Political Cartoon Gallery, at 32 Store Street, London, is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm.

UPDATED: 22nd October 2008.
Telegraph cartoonist Christian Adams has a write-up on the exhibition opening night here

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Big Draw: match report

A stylish performance in North London yielded nothing but glory for Team Foghorn as the PCOers narrowly failed to carry off the much-coveted Battle of the Cartoonists cheer-off trophy.

The squad of Pete Dredge, Robert Duncan, Kipper Williams and Royston Robertson delivered a fine performance on the competition theme – Transports of Delight – which we are republishing here. Scroll down to see all of the "First Class Gags". Here are some pictures of the team in action (click to enlarge):

Wounded artistic pride was however much salved by the excellent surround sound as legions of keen children got stuck into the all-day cartoon and drawing workshops provided by the PCO. There was heroic work from Terry Christien, Paul Hardman, Chichi Parish, Lou McKeever, Robert Duncan, John Landers and the indefatigable Tim Harries, who in his spare time, also puts together large parts of our regular cartoon magazine – Foghorn.

The PCO had representatives in all of the competing teams in the Battle of the Cartoonists and as such can report exclusively from inside all of the competitions efforts.

Correspondent Ken Pyne, who played for Private Eye, said: "It's like Rorke's Drift with all these crowds."

PCOer Martin Rowson moonlighted for The Guardian newspaper alongside Andy Davey. We paraphrase slightly: "We were robbed."

Chris Burke played a blinder as a late substitute for the eventually victorious Independent team. Bloghorn's Matt Buck, who played here too, said: "What a pleasant surprise."

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation would like to thank the organisers and supporters of the Campaign for Drawing who organise the annual Big Draw events.

Here are the PCO's "First Class Gags". Click to enlarge. Images are copyright the various cartoonists. Photos by Royston Robertson.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation at the Big Draw in London

The PCO will be working at the Big Draw event held in the Eurostar terminal of St Pancras Station in central London today - Saturday 18th October 2008.
The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Friday, October 17, 2008

Birmingham Post cartoonist retires

Bert Hackett, cartoonist for the Birmingham Post for over 40 years is set to retire.

Bert, 75, has drawn both the pocket front page gag and the main editorial cartoon five days a week since 1966, initially alternating with business partner Graham Gavin. This gave rise to their collective pen-name, Gemini, which Bert continued to use after Gavin stopped drawing in 1974. In his 42 years on the paper he has produced over 10,000 cartoons, the last of which appears in today's issue.

Birmingham Mail cartoonist (and PCO member) Colin Whittock adds:

He was a crusty old bugger who appeared to be in deep depression when he sat hunched over his board puffing away on his pipe (when such things were allowed). Eventually he always came up with suggestions for roughs which yielded a good gag. Over the years he created many classics that rivalled the best in Fleet Street, but of course being on a Birmingham paper they weren't seen by those that matter, so he never received an award for work that would certainly have been in the running if he'd been on a national.

He's a brilliant caricaturist and many of his originals are stunning. Lately he's been doing more coloured work but always using old-fashioned brush and watercolours, he never embraced Photoshop or the like. A class act for over 40 years, with a huge following of Post readers. He will be missed and I hope the Post will continue with the Birmingham papers' tradition, (unusual for provincials) of always having an in-house cartoonist.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week ...

One: Kipper Williams on the US banking system.

Two: Matt Pritchett in the Telegraph on recapitalising the banks in the UK

Three: a treat. Chris Burke from GQ on where politicians like to go for their lunch.

Week ending 17th October 2008

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cartoonist Ray Lowry has died

Cartoonist Ray Lowry has died. Report from the BBC

UPDATED: 17th October
Lasting Tribute has a piece on Ray Lowry here

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

The PCO at the Big Draw: update

The PCO is running workshops for all ages at the Big Draw event at St Pancras International Station in London on Saturday (October 18). If you’re interested in cartooning and fancy having a go, come along and get involved.

PCO cartoon workshops at the 2007 Big Draw

The workshop timetable is as follows: Paul Hardman – Who Do You Think You Are? 10am-11.25am; Chichi Parish – Time Travel, 11.30am-12.55pm; Robert Duncan – Drawing Near the Station, 1pm-1.55pm; Tim Harries – Creating First Class Comic Strips, 2pm-3.25pm; Terry Christien – On Track for Drawing Cartoon Characters, 3.30pm-5pm.

The PCO is strongly represented in the Battle of the Cartoonists (3-5pm) where four teams slug it out to produce the best cartoon banner, because not only does it have its own team but there are PCO members on each of the other three teams.

They are: Martin Rowson and Andy Davey (Guardian team), Ken Pyne (Private Eye) and Matt Buck (the Independent).

The Big Draw: Get involved

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cartoonists for e-paper!

Report on electronic paper from the BBC

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

The PCO at the Big Draw

PCO members will be taking part in “Transports of Delight” at St Pancras International Station in London on Saturday (October 18). The event is part of the annual, month-long Big Draw campaign, which is designed to get the nation drawing.

The PCO will be running cartoon workshops at the event and taking part in the ever-popular Battle of the Cartoonists. Under the expert stewardship of the PCO’s Festival and Exhibition Co-ordinator, Pete Dredge, a crack team of volunteers has been assembled for the day’s activities.

Workshops by members Paul Hardman, Chichi Parish, Robert Duncan, Tim Harries and Terry Christien (plus guests) will take place between 10am and 5pm. Come along if you want to learn how to draw cartoons, caricatures and comic strips.

The Battle of the Cartoonists kicks off at 3pm and runs for two hours. The PCO team, featuring Robert Duncan, Kipper Williams and Royston Robertson, and captained by Pete Dredge, will take on Private Eye, The Guardian and the Independent.

The PCO's 2007 Battle of the Cartoonists team in action

Previous Big Draw attendees will know that the winning team is decided via extremely vocal public approval, so please come along and do bring any loudhailers and male voice choirs you have lying around. And how will you know who the PCOers are at the Big Draw? Oh, we've thought of that ...
Yes, red is most definitely the new black. This is the Team PCO T-shirt to be worn by workshoppers and the Battle of the Cartoonists team. Team captain Pete Dredge told the Bloghorn: "Some unscrupulous attempts at 'tapping up' team members by other team leaders have been firmly stamped on, and I'm confident my lads will deliver on the day."

Activities will take place in The Circle – 2nd side entrance on St Pancras Rd and opposite the German Gymnasium. The dedicated area will be marked out with artificial grass and picket fencing for that summery October feeling. Hope to see you there.

The Big Draw: Get involved

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New FOGHORN cartoon magazine published

You can subscribe to our six-editions a year organ by clicking the big blue button to your right hand side.
14th October 2008
The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Monday, October 13, 2008

Evidence for the value of cartoons in the digital world

Here is an experiment in online imagery using the work of PCOer Alex Hughes who helps write this blog for the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation. Link via Paul Bradshaw.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week ...

One: Patrick Blower for LiveDraw on Sir Ian Blair's resignation (note: Flash file)

Two: Paul Wood in the Spectator on preparations for the 2012 Olympics

Three: Christian Adams in the Telegraph on Mandelson's return

Week ending 10th October 2008

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cartoon news in brief

PCOer Tayo Fatunla reports on his participation in Black History month at the Damilola Taylor Centre in Southwark, London. More details are here.

The BBC has a short video of Gerald Scarfe opening an exhibition of his political drawings at the Houses of Parliament.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to publish a cartoon book

PCOer Gerard Whyman on how cartoonists can use the internet to bypass traditional publishers

This month sees my publishing debut: a 112-page cartoon compilation book entitled Oddly Distracted – a collection of nearly 190 cartoons of my best published and unpublished work. The book was edited, designed, produced and published entirely by myself using a PC and, the world’s largest self-publishing website.

Gerard Whyman's new book. Click the image to enlarge

I hadn’t realised until recently that next year marks my 15th year in the cartooning business – being first published in 1994 – and so this book is a timely marker of that fact. Not that it was the prime motivator – I was inspired by seeing Tim Harries’ excellent self-published cartoon books last year and decided to have a go myself. Another factor was that Tim gave me free copies of his book with the promise that I give him one of mine when it was done. Twelve months on and I’ve managed to keep my side of the bargain.

Lulu is a “print-on-demand” service which means that books are only printed when ordered. The beauty of this system is that there is no minimum print run – you can just have one copy of book if you wish. So, with no storage costs, the process is cheap; there are no set up costs and the only investment is your time and energy. You must, however, be computer literate to be able to produce a printable book. I bought an optional distribution deal with Lulu for £79.95 which gave me an ISBN number and the availability of my book to online stores like Amazon which opens up a huge market.

The process of creating the book turned out to be a bit tricky and frustrating at times. Figuring out the software to lay out the pages was one thing – it took a while to master the Page Plus package – but using Lulu’s rather complex website was quite another. It doesn’t help if you’re like me and wade straight in without reading the small print closely. One error was to initially make the book 7.5”x 7.5” square, a size ineligible for the distribution deal I had bought with them. So I had to start from scratch and redesigned the book to a crown quarto format.

Financial Adviser, from Gerard Whyman's book. Click to enlarge

The cartoon pages are loosely themed – there are ones on couples with troubles, business, and entertainment, among many other topics. There is work that has been published in The Spectator, The Oldie and Reader’s Digest and there are several full page cartoons that were originally printed in Punch. There is also a large contingent of my favourite unpublished gags.

I’m very pleased with the way has book has finally turned out. The print quality is first class and really does justice to the original drawings. Of course, the hardest part now is to convince the buying public to part with their hard-earned cash for my product – not easy in these difficult times.

Oddly Distracted is priced £7.95. You can see a preview of Gerard’s book and order copies by clicking this link

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The funny side of global financial meltdown

A short film on how the creators of the Daily Telegraph's "Alex" have reacted to the credit crunch, by the BBC's Wendy Urquhart:
Cartoon takes on markets woe

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Friday, October 3, 2008

A cartoonist’s memories of Punch magazine

PCO cartoonist Martin Honeysett writes:

I was a Punch man. I started in the 1970s when Bill Davis was editor and continued until its final demise. It took a year of weekly submissions before I got accepted and once that happened I felt I'd arrived. For a freelance gag cartoonist Punch was the business, and a great shop window for our craft. Its closure marked the beginning of a decline for this particular avenue of cartooning.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Cartoon Pick of the Week

Bloghorn spotted this great work this week ...

One: Mike Turner in Private Eye on things financial

Two: Morten Morland in The Times: "Going down"

Three: Paul Thomas in The Express: On resigning

Week ending 3rd October 2008

The PCO: British cartoon talent

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Best of Punch Cartoons – book launch

A book launch for The Best of Punch Cartoons took place at Harrods in West London last night. PCOer Pete Dredge reports

There was a healthy turnout of cartoonists with many PCO members on show; Clive Collins, Martin Honeysett, Ken Pyne, Geoff Thompson, John Jensen, Nick Newman, Chris Burke, Steve Way, Stan McMurtry, Arthur Reid, Mike Turner, Adam Singleton, Martin Rowson, Royston Robertson and Colin Earle were all there.

It was "just like the old Punch do's" according to the Daily Mail's Mac (McMurtry), but it felt more like a long postponed wake in many ways – Punch went under in 2002. However, the pile of heavy book product in the corner soon made it clear that this was a sale.

There was no sign of Mr Fayed last night so it was left to one of the publishers to get the proceedings under way. The book's editor, Helen Walesek from the Punch Library, gave a knowledgeable, academic but somewhat backward-looking speech on how uncannily relevant the old Punch cartoon stock was to today's social maladies. Sadly, there was no hint of regret that this continuous stream of creativity had been allowed to run dry.

After the speeches (discount book plugging!) the cartoonists were invited up on to the stage for a photo opportunity. It reminded me of those occasions when an old football manager dies and the club invite a host of former players from a bygone era to hobble on to the pitch to take the applause.

No complimentary books for the contributors. I'll have to get mine from Amazon.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Memories of Punch magazine

PCO cartoonist Pete Dredge writes:

What saddens me most about the demise of Punch, apart from the purely selfish loss of what was once a regular market for me, is that thousands of jokes which would have graced its pages on a weekly basis have never had the chance to be made by the amazingly talented bunch of cartoonists this nation possesses. They would have helped to cast a little light in these dark days. We all laughed at those "Prepare to meet thy doom" gags ... erm, and we'd probably still laugh at them now.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Punch magazine recalled

PCO member John Jensen offers a memory of things at Punch magazine. This article was originally published in the Foghorn magazine, which the PCO publishes.

Punch died in 1992. Towards the end of its life the atmosphere in the art department was bright, lively and smiling. I thought such camaraderie was inspiring amid all the rumours of imminent collapse. Until, that is, I realised the entire art-department was working with opened tins of Cow gum on the desks and tables.

Cow gum was an essential item for pasting down the pages in those pre-software days when these things were done by hand. Cow gum was necessary but Cow gum was glue. Tins of it were always open in the art room. Whether the art room knew it or not they were glue-sniffing all day long. Happy daze.

The atmosphere had been quieter, more sedate – less Cow gum – except for occasional brief outbursts of either rage or pleasure when Bill Hewison, was Art Editor. A bearded man of fiercely held beliefs constrained within a polite, conservative manner contrasted nicely with his sidekick, Geoffrey Dickinson, a quietly funny guy who heralded the Swinging Sixties with a cover for Time magazine, the payment for which allowed him to buy his home. Punch payments never matched that.

A third party, sitting hatted, hunched and shirt-sleeved in the office, personally saturnine and professionally ubiquitous: Michael Heath, looking, as always, younger than his experience. Physically, Bill and Geoffrey reminded me of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, but the imagined similarity ended there. Bill's humour, when it surfaced, was so dry it crackled like tinder.

Punch had its institutions: its weekly lunches and its outings. At the lunches the editor would sit at the head of the famous Punch table overseeing guests and Punch regulars. As a general rule, although there were exceptions, cartoonists would sit below the salt leaving the writers to do most of the talking, at which they were very good and very practised. The pen-and-ink boys tended to mutter and snigger among themselves.

The late and truly missed Alan Coren, more jovial, bouncy even, bursting with words and ideas had to get the chat rolling, along with the coffee and cigars. Billy Connolly – the Big Yin – a welcome guest, was heard to assert that sexual fantasies were fine until you turned them into reality when they were, unfortunately, found to be disappointing. A silence followed this pronouncement. No one had the bottle to ask what those fantasies were. And how did he know? These days he would have been pounded with questions and answers would have been demanded.

The outings were different: sometimes a trip up-and-down the Thames with Wally Fawkes gigging it for the evening. Or maybe a visit to France, or maybe a plush hotel in the country, the name of which I can't remember – I don't keep a diary and I have no memory for names or details: useless, really! Pat, my wife, on seeing a coach filling up with elderly ladies and gents, stooping and making serious use of walking sticks said jokingly, "I expect that'll be the Punch outing." It was.

However, not everybody was old, just some. (If Punch hadn't died I'd now be one of those old geezers.) Among the now deceased is the "Matisse of cartooning", Michael ffolkes. Michael was fond of his booze but, what was not then realised , and which tragically was discovered too late, was that he was also allergic to alcohol. Not a good combination.

Unsurprisingly, Michael was given to unsettling mood changes. He could be, and often was, charming and amusing, yet both virtues were too often overwhelmed by a scathing acerbic wit and an aggressiveness which was not threatening but certainly irritating. Invariably forgiven for his lapses (by me, if by no one else) Mike was, in spite of himself, a nice bloke and, on a good day, a wonderful companion. At the lunches he was expansive, cigar-smoking, brandy drinking and serene and secure in his talent. Most of the cartoonists around the table were like that.

You should see them now!

I've exceeded my 600 words. The jog down memory lane ends here.

Bloghorn says click J for Jensen.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

The legacy of Punch – and the professional cartoonists

Evidence for the existence of a predecessor publication to our own Foghorn cartoon magazine has been revealed on a national media outlet. You may listen again to the wireless segment here.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent