If you have been following this story you will be unsurprised that Bloghorn thinks comics, and cartooning in all its forms, are all too readily undervalued in the UK.
It is more acceptable in the cultures of Japan, the US and across Europe to consider the narrative techniques and visual artistry employed by commercial artists as a powerful form for business and personal communication as well as entertainment and teaching.
The best single piece of evidence we offer is the attitude of the UK arts funding body – The Arts Council – towards the national Cartoon Museum* which despite its popularity, and the long history of the form in the UK , receives no central funding. We wrote about this here.
Of course, there are some exceptions in this country – political cartooning, for example, tends to receive grudging respect for its obviously satirical and “real-world” relevance. But all too often, the “cartoon” and “comic” are used here as catch-all terms for anything that is unsophisticated, childish or tacky.
Tom Harris speaking about the establishment of a one-year Postgraduate degre in study of Visual Communication at the University of Dundee. – The home of publishers DC Thomson
Another political figure, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, did exactly that last week. Criticising the Daily Mail, he described the paper as a “sexist, racist, bigoted comic cartoon strip”(Bloghorn is only interested in the second half of that assertion, which we feel is a little unfair).
Academic appreciation of cartooning is, in fact, not new: since 1973, the University of Kent has hosted the British Cartoon Archive, a collection of more than 150,000 pieces intended to encourage the study and appreciation of cartoon art, including comic strips. The Cartoon Archive is freely open to those wishing to carry out research, and is actively involved in promoting the art form – often in collaboration with the national Cartoon Museum, the PCO and its fellow cartoonists organisations, the BCA and the CCGB.
Bloghorn is made by Matthew Buck, Royston Robertson, Alex Hughes and Rob Murray on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation
* We say please consider becoming a member to help fund them
June 17, 2011 4 Comments
Things the Foghorn saw this month…
- Musical comedian and sometime Oink! cartoonist Frank Sidebottom’s creator Chris Sievey has died.
- New museum for cartoon illustrator Heath Robinson has opened in Pinner, North London.
- The US comic strip Little Orphan Annie (probably better known over here for the musical version, Annie) has finally come to the end of it’s 86 year print run.
- Cartoonist Rolf Harris opened the Glastonbury Festival whilst cartoon band Gorillaz headlined over the weekend.
June 30, 2010 No Comments
News reaches Bloghorn of a couple of British cartoonists revealing the tricks of the trade. Firstly there’s The Times‘ Peter Brookes explaining how he’ll be caricaturing the party leaders in the upcoming General Election. On drawing the current Prime Minister:
With Gordon Brown I’ll start with the hair, increasingly grey and much more coiffured these days. Then come the heavy, angry eyebrows above creased eyes, one unsighted because that is the unfortunate reality. The nose is short and stubby, with a flat base. The fleshy-lipped mouth is open in that odd gurning movement he makes with his jaw as he speaks. The ears are large, round and red. There are deep marks on the cheekbones that, with the bags under his eyes, give him that knackered, saturnine look, particularly when I add a blue-grey wash for five o’clock shadow. Sometimes I think I’ve just drawn Nixon.
Secondly, from the other end of the British cartooning spectrum we have Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons demonstrating, with video, how he goes about drawing a character digitally using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and Manga Studio software.
Of course, if you would like to see cartoonists demonstrating their skills in the flesh, we would heartily recommend you head to this years Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, 22nd to 24th April 2010. But, if you can’t make it in person, we’ll be providing full coverage here on Bloghorn.
April 7, 2010 1 Comment
The US Postal Service is to honour cartoonist Bill Mauldin with a postage stamp, due to be released in March 2010. Mauldin, who served with the 44th Infantry Division during World War II drew cartoons about ordinary soldiers for Stars and Stripes, the US Army’s newspaper. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and died in 2003 aged 81.
Also released this year is a series of stamps featuring characters from US comic strips, including Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield and Beetle Bailey. The set, titled Sunday Funnies is due to go on sale in July.
Bloghorn asks: What cartoonists or comic characters would you like to see on British postage stamps?
January 6, 2010 1 Comment
Comic artist David Lloyd (of V for Vendetta fame), cartoon historian Paul Gravett and teacher Steve Marchant (author of The Cartoonists’ Workshop) have created cartoonclassroom.co.uk. They plan to to centralize all information relating to the study of cartoon and comic strip creation in the UK.
The website launches officially in early October and the trio are currently looking for cartoonists who teach or who would be interested in sharing their skills to register interest at www.cartoonclassroom.co.uk. Alternatively, you can contact them direct here.
September 23, 2009 1 Comment
Cartoonist Tim Harries demonstrates how to draw a Big Board cartoon from start to finish, at this year’s Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival
April 30, 2009 No Comments
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
June 7, 2008 No Comments
This morning, a BBC Radio5Live feature ran a feature on child pornographers using drawings to avoid the law on the distribution and viewing of obscene photography.
The presenter described such images as ‘cartoons’. Perhaps he meant drawings or simple visual communication, or even art, but to be honest, the feature was so badly constructed it was difficult to know exactly what was meant.
However, the casual use of the term cartoon felt like the denigration of a trade; cartoon equals grubby, worthless, evil.
Clip available – 2hrs 22 minutes into Radio5Live for Wednesday morning – 28th May 2008 available on the BBC’s IPlayer.
May 28, 2008 No Comments
March 14, 2008 No Comments
The New Yorker magazine recently launched a blog called Cartoonist of the Month.
As you might expect, each month a different cartoonist takes the reins and talks about cartooning, their influences, how they work, and so on – while providing lots of cartoons and sketches of course.
This month’s contributor is Barbara Smaller and if you click on the archive section you can see the first two, Mick Stevens and Michael Maslin.
March 6, 2008 No Comments