As every magazine and newspaper you open at the moment seems to have a review of the year, from every possible angle, I thought I’d do a cartooning review year, as seen through this blog.
So, here are my personal 2008 highlights. If you think that it reads more like one of those round robin letters you get with Christmas cards, feel free to crumple it up and throw it in the bin.
The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival was definitely a major highlight of 2008. This year’s was the best one yet in terms of the quality of the exhibitions. Plus, as ever, it was a great social gathering. Here's my "big board":
I really enjoyed being part of the Professional Cartoonists Organisation team at the Big Draw. We didn’t win but we did produce a striking banner. I got a kick from having cartoons exhibited at the Chris Beetles Gallery for the first time. I sold most of them, too. Which was nice.
Talking of exhibitions, they've had some superb ones at the Cartoon Museum this year. The most recent I attended was the Giles show, complete with a reconstruction of his studio. Then there was the Beano and Dandy one, which I reviewed for the PCO blog. But I think my favourite was the show of cartoons by the Punch cartoonist Pont, back in May, which I also reviewed.
This year I drew a strip for indie heroes The Wedding Present … but the best part was being name-checked on their new album as a result! Rock 'n' roll. I was chuffed to get a desert island cartoon published for the first time and I also got a kick out of the fact that one of my cartoons went to the Antarctic. I got a lot of great feedback from one gag more than any other this year, though – the one below, which was in Private Eye.
It just proves that everyone loves a cat cartoon! There are several other highlights I could mention, mainly social gatherings with other cartoonists. I tend not to blog about these at length, as they’re private occasions, but they're always great fun. And it never ceases to amaze me that cartoonists, who are all very much in direct competition with each other, tend to get on so well!
One gathering that I will single out, though, took place just last week ... a team of us from the PCO took part in an audition for the TV quiz show Eggheads. We don’t know yet if we’re gong to get on the show, but even if we don’t we had such a laugh doing it that it was worth it just for the experience. And, of course, we all ended up down the pub afterwards. Wish us luck!
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