Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival: The countdown begins

It's April Fools' Day! And rather appropriately I'm taking the afternoon off for the AGM of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain. For AGM read "large number of beers with cartooning pals". Hurrah for that.

April also brings with it the 5th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, a long weekend of diverse cartooning activity, which runs from April 18-20.

I've mentioned the festival here before and will do so again! If you can get along to it you won't be sorry. This will be my third one and I'm looking forward to another hugely enjoyable weekend.

Around 40 professional cartoonists and caricaturists from the UK and overseas will converge on Shrewsbury to cartoon and caricature for the public.

The theme of the 2008 festival is “Art” and one of the highlights will be an exhibition of new work by festival cartoonists entitled “But is it Art?” which has already opened at the town’s Bear Steps Gallery and runs until April 26. Here's one of the cartoons I submitted for the show.

The festival offers opportunities to see artists at work, with 20, including myself, drawing on huge boards in The Square, others drawing caricatures and some running cartoon workshops.

Other highlights: The Guardian's Steve Bell will again deliver an illustrated talk. I saw his talk two years ago and it was hilarious. He really brings the "If" strips to life. Not to be missed. "Rogues Gallery", a one-man exhibition by Dave Brown, political cartoonist for The Independent, has already opened at Bear Steps and will run until April 26.

Other exhibitions include: “Stars, Strips and Yankee Doodles” – a collection of cartoons from the USA including gags and comic strips from Mad magazine and Archie comics; an exhibition of cartoons on a climate change theme; and a collection of uncaptioned visual cartoons by Belgian artists.

And of course, original artwork, prints and other cartoon merchandise will be available. All in all, an essential weekend for anyone interested in cartoons.

In the meantime, I'm going to warm up at The Cartoonist pub, off Fleet Street. So I've got a train to catch ...

Some Shrewsbury links:

The Official Site

More "But is it Art?" cartoons by PCO members

What I got up to at Shrewsbury last year