Posts from — April 2011
While parts of the country are reeling under the weight of Royal Wedding merchandise (see here) the UK is also having its traditional May elections.
Cartoonist and new Bloghorn contributor Rob Murray, writes:
Candidate Dafydd Trystan Davies is campaigning with something a bit different from the traditional manifesto, instead commissioning a cartoon strip that outlines his ambitions for the constituency he hopes to represent.
The strip, by artist Dai Owen, shows Davies travelling through Cynon Valley in South Wales and touches on his goals for public transport, employment, housing and the local health service.
Davies, the Plaid Cymru candidate for the seat, told the Western Mail that the cartoon has already gone down well with the public. “They’ve laughed and they’ve read it – two important things,” he said, adding: “It’s a fun way to get a message across to people who are by and large disengaged with politics.”
Bloghorn would like to see more cartoons being used in publicity campaigns, be they political, commercial or charitable.
April 28, 2011 1 Comment
Bloghorn has noted that there is not as much overt anti- monarchist feeling in the UK as we might have expected in the run-up to the royal wedding. Instead, the attitude seems to be a particularly British one: let them get on with it but we reserve our right to take the royal pee out of the whole thing.
This “official engagement portrait”, above, by David O’Connell, is a perfect example. He has also produced a wickedly non-reverent comic called Kate Middleton: In Her Own Words, which in less-enlightened times may have seen him locked up in the Tower .
What has been particularly notable is that unlike the 1980s, when Chas and Di got hitched, people now have access to all kinds of digital media production. As a result, rather than accepting the chintzy tea towels and mugs thrown at them in the past, they are able to create their own alternative wedding merchandise and market it via the web.
The most prominent and successful item has probably been Lydia Leith’s royal wedding sick bags, but there are many others. There’s the commemorative plate that declares “Thanks for the free day off” and describes the occasion as a “4 day bender”. Those of a sartorial bent can don a “Celebrate, peasants!” T-shirt. There are some cartoon coasters, above, available at Scary Go Round, to stick your royal wedding mug on, and for those who are, er, overcome by the whole occasion, you can buy a pack of Crown Jewels condoms.
Some bigger names have jumped on the bandwagon. Foulmouthed satirists Modern Toss have produced a commemorative mug which admits that it will probably end up “dumped in the shed filled up with old screws ‘n’ s***” . And the Guardian’s Steve Bell talks about creating his own mug in this video.
If you do make it to London to see the royal nuptials, you could pop to the South Bank where you will see Kate and Wills rendered by the graffiti artist Rich Simmons as Sid and Nancy. Respect.
April 27, 2011 2 Comments
A new addition to this years recent Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival was the presence of a team from the magazine Reader’s Digest. From a stall in the town’s Square, the focus of many of the festival’s activities, the Reader’s Digest team engaged members of the public to try their hand at a popular Digest competition, Beat the Cartoonist.
Thankfully, this didn’t involve any physical violence towards the assembled cartoonists, as entrants were asked to provide their own captions to a series of cartoons from the magazine. With prizes that included the signed and framed original artwork, £100, subscription to the magazine and a goody bag, this was unsurprisingly a successful event, as there were more than 1,000 entries over the course of the weekend.
Bloghorn‘s own Royston Robertson was one of the cartoonists who had a drawing used in the contest. He said: “It was great to hear that people responded to the contest in such great numbers. More proof, as if it was needed, that people love cartoons, and a great interactive element for the festival.”
The Digest also hosted a free talk and advice session at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, titled ‘What makes a good cartoon?’ Cartoon editor Steve Way and design director Martin Colyer, along with the magazine’s editor Gill Hudson, talked a packed room through the submission process and discussed some of the factors that may influence their decision to accept or reject a particular cartoon.
The Digest team took questions from the floor and ran through some of the cartoons that have recently appeared in the magazine, after which there was an opportunity for aspiring cartoonists to show their portfolios and receive targeted advice.
*For those of you squinting to read the winning captions in the photo above, they read as follows (l-r): “Shouldn’t we be squeezing the silly banker instead of stretching him?” – Pete Yearsley; “I told you not to get this sat nav from the 99p store!” – Luke Grint, 11 yrs; “If we find the sixpence we can hire a sunshade too” – Janet Bell. The cartoons are by Simon Meyrick-Jones, Paul Wood and Royston Robertson.
Thanks to Rob Murray and Ger Whyman for help in writing this post.
April 26, 2011 No Comments
Shrewsbury festival cartoonist Bill Stott writes:
Amongst all the frenetic cartooning activity at Shrewsbury – the Big Boards, the caricaturing, strolling players in costume, the music, the wonderful weather and the public throng, two tiny incidents serve to underline the public’s liking for good cartoons.
One involved a tiny chap called Pacey who stood with his mum watching me paint my Big Board. Pacey was about five, I’d guess. I’d heard his mum saying things like, ‘‘No, you can’t help.’’ Pacey was undeterred and you could tell he was fascinated as the picture took form. So I asked him if he’d like to write his name on it.
Without hesitation, he wrote, very slowly, with a huge felt tip, ‘‘Pacey’’, all wobbly, in the bottom right hand corner. He was delighted and returned several times to make sure I hadn’t covered it up. Later I found, stuffed in my paint bag, a drawing by him, of his mum and a huge cat. All together – ‘‘Aaaah!’’
Later in the day, whilst doing reverse caricaturing – an esoteric activity involving the subject sticking their head through a hole in a big piece of paper and telling the cartoonist how they would like to be portrayed – another short type called Harry, even tinier than Pacey, got a bit tearful when I started to pack up in order to begin another activity. He’d waited with his mum for ages, been pushed in front of by a huge nine-year-old girl and looked very crestfallen. So I hurried things up and got him sorted.
Anyway, he was absolutely delighted with his picture (a footballer), which, when rolled up, was taller than him. So, while adult crowd members were being enthusiastic about all the surrounding huge cartoons and brilliant caricatures, and proving what cartoonists know is true – people love cartoons – so do little people. Quite possibly more so. Publishers take note. Real drawing for real people.
April 20, 2011 5 Comments
The time-lapse film is a fascinating watch, as it shows the different approaches taken by the cartoonists to the daunting task of filling a 6ft by 8ft board with something funny.
April 19, 2011 No Comments
April 19, 2011 No Comments
April 15, 2011 No Comments
April 14, 2011 No Comments
Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival kicks off tonight with a drop-in cartoon workshop at the Bear Steps Gallery at 4.30pm, and a talk by Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive on the cartoons of Carl Giles at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 7pm, tickets £5.
In the meantime, the exhibition Personal Bests opened on Monday (also at the Bear Steps Gallery) and features cartoons on the Festival’s Olympic theme, including these:
Come back to Bloghorn for coverage of the festival as it happens, or follow the hashtag #shrews11 on Twitter.
April 14, 2011 No Comments
Joking for Gold an exhibition of cartoons about the Olympics from Carl Giles is one of the key events at this year’s cartoon festival.
The special one-off exhibit of work from to 1948 to 1998 is made possible by the support of the national Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent and following tradition, the museum worked with an individual cartoonist to develop the show.
Cartoonist Noel Ford, who had the honour, said;
This exhibition provides that very special experience of being able to see the hand-drawn work of a master cartoonist, which is a revelation especially when you have only previously seen the work in the smaller scale of newspaper reproduction.
Giles used his loveable, if dysfunctional family as a cartoon vehicle for his insightful and sometimes acidic wit. I’m sure it was this along with his sublime skills which helped people identify more closely with the events on which he was commenting.
April 13, 2011 No Comments