Thursday, August 24, 2017

Brexit and fake news at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

Pic: Kerry Riley

Here's me -- suppressing that moment of panic when faced by a huge blank board -- at the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival, which I helped organise, on Sunday 6 August.

I filled the board with Brexit-based gags as seen in Private Eye and New Statesman. Here's a few of them.

Bearing in mind the result of the EU referendum, I assume my efforts were only appreciated by 48 per cent of the audience (probably less as Herne Bay is a bit Ukippy). Some people certainly remained stony-faced.

But it wasn't all biting political satire. As the event was held on the Pier for the first time all the cartoonists got to go on the merry-go-round at the same time. Here's me blowing my own trumpet* with Rich Skipworth and Des Buckley.

Pic: Zoom Rockman

*It's not mine it's Des's. And it's a bugle.

I co-curated the main festival exhibition at Beach Creative gallery, which was full of top-notch stuff, as ever. Lots of cartoons on fake news and Donald Trump. Here's a couple of mine.

Cartoonist Glenn Marshall put together a "fringe" show Mona Lisa: Not Happy, consisting of parodies of the famous painting in cartoons and other art forms. Here's one of my contributions, a foray into Photoshop art.

There was the usual stuff you get at a festival: cartoonists drinking, playing ukulele etc. but I'll spare you the pics. All in all, another cracking  Herne Bay festival.

I wrote a fuller report, with lots of pictures, for the Procartoonists blog which you can read here.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Humorous illustration: No punchline required

Humorous illustration is slightly different to joke, or gag, cartoons: you use a funny or odd scenario, usually to illustrate an article in a magazine, newspaper or website, without necessarily having a punchline, as you would in a joke cartoon.

Sometimes these are wordless or they may have words within them as part of the drawing, but they generally don't have a caption or speech bubble.

Here are some examples from the Law Society Gazette.

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Life imitating cartoons (yet again)

This is my sixth entry on this blog where something I drew in a cartoon has happened in real life (you can see one from last year here and links to the others here) but I think this is my favourite because it was deliberate.

It made my day when I saw it on Twitter! Thanks to Darren Smith. The original Private Eye cartoon is below. It's one of the most popular cartoons I've done.

Darren's clocks featured at a festival he holds at his home. I've suggested that next time he should recreate this old Reader's Digest cartoon. Might need to carry out a risk assessment first though ...

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cartoons from The Spectator and Private Eye

"I knew I shouldn't have bothered with this internet of things nonsense ..."

Here's a bumper selection of recent gags from The Spectator and Private Eye, to make up for the fact that a whole month went by without me posting anything here.

"Stay! Sit! Be mindful!"

"Yeah, I'm pretty old school."

"We've liberated the city at last! I'm sure it's around here somewhere ..."

"D-minus? No way! This is fake news."

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Prospect cartoon: The blind date

"Darren's mate is a real catch, he's a barrister."

Cartoon from the current issue of Prospect magazine. This came from an overheard conversation about someone who had somehow confused these two occupations. Cue furious scribbling in notebook. Watch what you say around cartoonists. 

Bearded hipsters are one of my favourite things to draw right now. Here's another in a coffeeshop cartoon from Private Eye a few months back.
"You say lar-tay, I say latt-ay, let's call the whole thing off."

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Re-live the joy that was 2016 via topical cartoons

It's time for my traditional look back at the past 12 months via the medium of topical cartoons. And it's 2016 ... what a year to look back on! 

We begin in space, where British astronaut Tim Peake started the year. But he seemed to spend rather a lot of time on his phone, tweeting ...

There were new "nanny state" guidelines on alcohol limits ...

Over-sensitive university students continued to baffle and annoy in equal measure ...

The crime trial of the year could become a film, we were told ...

The EU referendum dominated the news ...

Then came the shock result ...

Amid all this, there was only really one "silly season" story, Pokemon Go ...

And a little good news with the Olympics...

But there were problems amid the Opposition (again) ...

And I've not even mentioned the endless parade of high-profile deaths in this year ...

And then, as if all that wasn't bad enough ...

2016 was a year in which how terrible and relentless the news was became news itself ...

Who knows what 2017 will bring? Have a happy new year, but remember ...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Brexmas and a Trumpy new year!

Here are a couple of cartoons on what have undeniably been the biggest stories of the year: Brexit and Trump. The Brexit gag features in the Christmas issue of Private Eye and the Trump one was drawn for a company Christmas card.

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, all!
"He's a loose cannon online, but I don't think he's going to DO all this stuff ..."

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Monday, December 5, 2016

The pros and cons of "going viral"

Every now and then a published cartoon goes beyond the boundaries of the printed page and gets a lot of coverage online, as happened last week with this Private Eye gag.

I'm not sure exactly how many tweets/retweets you have to get for it to be classed as "going viral" but the phrase was used by The Poke.

Of course, as all cartoonists know, you can die of exposure (a phrase often used when people offer little or zero money for a cartoon but claim "it'll be good exposure for you") and you don't see any extra financial benefits from a cartoon going viral.

It can increase followers quite a bit though, which can mean more work in the long term. However, that can only happen if you credit the cartoonist when sharing work online, and, if possible, include their Twitter name (or Facebook page, web link, whatever is appropriate).

The Poke post, above, did not do so originally but they redressed the balance when I asked them to in a tweet. Tom Kilroy who posted the version that got the most retweets did likewise.

I balk at approving of websites that make money from adverts using such shared cartoons as free clickbait content, but generally I try to see online sharing, by individuals at least, as a positive thing.
You don't get a lot of direct feedback as a freelance cartoonist, so when this does occur (other cartoons such as "Votey McVoteface" have been shared a lot online) it's nice to know that a cartoon has struck a chord. But please, don't forget to credit the cartoonist.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Better get used to drawing Trump

Cartoon drawn for the cover of the November issue of The Jester, magazine of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain, which had "clowns" as its theme. To think, when I drew it in October I was worried that it may soon go out of date! I think I'll be drawing him some more ...

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Monday, October 31, 2016

At the new Hastings Cartoon Festival

I took part in the first Hastings & 1066 Country Cartoon Festival on the weekend of October 15 and 16, which was held to coincide with the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Above is my big board cartoon (click to enlarge) created on the Sunday, the Big Festival Day, in a marquee on The Stade, on the seafront. It was fun to draw parallels between events in 1066 and 2016.

On the Saturday I took part in a cartoonists’ panel discussion and Q&A with The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall. We showed our cartoons on a big screen and talked about influences, generating ideas, feedback and, inevitably, rejection.

There was also a festival exhibition in The Stade Hall, with lots of gags on a historical theme. The top one here was recently published in The Spectator.
I designed the festival logo, seen below on a T-shirt. They wanted something about King Harold with the arrow in his eye, so a dip pen seemed the obvious substitute for a cartoon festival. Don't try this at home, kids.

All in all, a great debut for this festival. Let's hope we can do it all again next year.

I wrote a longer report at the PCO blog. And you can visit the festival website at:


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