Posts from — February 2010
In the first of a three-part series on wit and wisdom, PCOer John Jensen looks at the international language of cartoon competitions
I have just received through the post a beautifully printed catalogue of cartoons. It contains the results of the annual Turkish Aydin Dogan International Competition, with seven Brits vigorously waving the Union Jack, among them PCOer Ross Thomson who picked up a ‘Success Award’. Iran contributed 162 cartoonists.
The catalogue lists the judges and shows their work. It lists the competitors and shows their work, spread throughout 220 glossily printed pages. The quality of the draughtsmanship is, as always, varied but there is a mass of genuine talent there too.
Where once I would have been delighted by the catalogue, however, today the elation is just not there. Grumpy old man? Of course. Complaining about the new, fresh talents? Not at all. Draughtsmanship is not the problem. Ideas are.
Back to square one for just for a moment – don’t run away now, this is important. When Freud, way back when, revealed the workings of the unconscious mind there was a feeling that a new world of endless vistas had been opened up: sex, horror, fantasy, cans of worms (lots of those). Surrealism was born, but before long it died, because it became boring. There was only so much the unconscious mind can offer up. This seems to hold with some forms of cartooning.
If you are young and fresh to the game there is a thrill and great pleasure in discovering what’s going on in the rest of the cartoon world, of submitting your work to great international exhibitions.
But if you have followed the exhibitions for more than four or five decades, you realise that there are limits to the cartoon imagination too, particularly in international exhibitions.
What do you think about what John is saying? Please jump into the comments below. There will be more thinking about the end of ideas from Jensen on Bloghorn next week.
February 11, 2010 4 Comments
One for our American readers, Steve Bell exhibits work at Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature which opens at Duke University in Durham North Carolina this week. You can read about the show and see a larger selection of work from the artists taking part. Bloghorn thanks Wendy Hower Livingston who kindly provided us with these tasters below.
February 10, 2010 No Comments
Coming soon: John Jensen writes for Bloghorn about ideas, wit versus humour, and the international language of cartoon competitions. Watch this space.
John Jensen rugby illustration © Punch Ltd
February 8, 2010 7 Comments
Bloghorn’s featured Artist of the Month for February 2010 is cartoonist Robert Duncan. He specialises in cartoons for advertising and his client list includes many well-known companies. He was one-fifth of the recent winning team of cartoonists on the Eggheads TV quiz and hs comedy play Cluedo holds the all-time box office record at the Theatre Royal Windsor. His book, A Rum Do is a bestseller in Barbados (but nowhere else). He estimates he has produced over 3000 greetings card designs in a long and varied career.
But what caused him to take up the noble art of cartooning in the first place?
I became a cartoonist because I was hopeless at sport at school, and funny drawings kept me out of trouble. I was always fascinated by the fact that you could draw a single frame and tell an entire story. It struck me as a great way to earn a living, because you would get better at it all the time, and retirement would not be an option…
This is the first of four posts from Robert during the next month. You can check out our artist of the month archives here.
February 5, 2010 1 Comment
February 4, 2010 No Comments
Entries are being sought for the 2010 International Political Cartoon Competition. The biennial competition is run by the Ken Sprague Fund, which was set up to commemorate the life and work of Ken Sprague, who died in 2004.
John Green, organiser of the competition told Bloghorn:
This year’s biennial Ken Sprague International Political Cartoon Competition is titled, ironically, Money Makes the World go Round. We are asking cartoonists to respond to this assertion in the way cartoonists can do best: mock it, take it apart, undermine it, sabotage it, question it and deflate it with their pens and brushes. We had such an enormous response to the last competition on Climate change and global warming, revealing an astounding quality of ideas and cartooning panache. We hope this year will see a similar high standard on a subject that affects us all. This year’s competition is co-sponsored by the North Devon Appledore Arts Festival and a selection of the best cartoons will be exhibited there.
Prizes wll be awarded for first, second and third, along with a special ‘emerging artist’ award for 16-22 year olds. The deadline for submissions is the 1st May 2010.
February 3, 2010 No Comments
It looks as if a criminal legal case will be brought against the artist who made the ‘Hope’ poster of Barack Obama (below). The New York Times reports Shepherd Fairey is now facing both a civil and a criminal case for his representation of, or from, an original Associated Press photograph which became famous during Obama’s successful presidential campaign. Shepard’s response to the news of the likely criminal case is here.
February 2, 2010 4 Comments
Traditional animation: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog
You may have read about the new Disney film The Princess and the Frog, which is out this week. What you may also have read is that it is “a return to hand-drawn animation”.
Bloghorn would like to dispute this by pointing out a simple fact: cartoons drawn digitally are still hand drawn.
The tools may have changed, but it takes as much creativity and drawing skill to create a cartoon digitally as it does using pen and paper. Pixar Animation Studios did not create such awe-inspiring digital films as Toy Story and Up by hitting a key or clicking a mouse.
The Princess and the Frog is, rather, a return to traditional methods of animation, and it’s good too see that these can co-exist alongside digital.
What’s notable is that Disney’s first 2D animated film in five years appears now that Walt Disney Animation Studios is being run by John Lasseter, the creative force behind Pixar and a man who knows that it’s not the tools you use that matter, it’s the ideas and creativity.
Or, as Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker, once put it: “It’s not the ink, it’s the think.”
February 1, 2010 9 Comments