In 2016 there was a gift for everyone.
Confession: I am a lover of black humour.
In 2016 there was a gift for everyone.
I was delighted to be asked back to draw at the wonderful and fast-growing Herne Bay Cartoon Festival this year.
I hope you enjoy the following photographs from event photographer Kasia Kowalska which are the better ones in comparison with mine.
That’s me starting work on a big upright board! It’s all very REACH FOR THE SKIES!
The event theme was Postcards from the Beach following the genereally inspiring example of Donald McGill – don’t miss Saucyseasidepostcards.com to find out more about him.
McGill’s postcards were famously a target of the UK censors back in the 1950s probably because of their MASSIVE (geddit?) public popularity. There’s a great link to some of the censored pieces at the McGill Museum (which actually lives on the Isle of Wight – not so far from me in Hampshire.
The town of Herne Bay benefits from a fantastic venue for the event – the Bandstand – as the picture above shows. Every year the promenade gets busier and busier and the crowds in this year, the event’s fourth, were as big as they have ever been. There’s easy access to ice cream, chips and beer and all the other necessities of seaside life so nearly everyone is happy – even when they are being caricatured.
That’s my colleague Rob Murray to the right, enduring the addition of a Glenn Marshall nose at one of the many exhibition opening shows scattered around the town.
Below, you can se the finished Herne Bay board from the first picture in this blog post – and being used by myself and The Surreal McCoy.
Sorry about the hat.
I’ll draw up another post with what I drew and why on another day.
The UK national parliament has a useful aggregation of information about what may happen now with a ‘Brexit’.
Some of the first tangible signs of the economic shock about which the unsuccessful Remain campaign spoke have become obvious in the decline in value of pound sterling against, the US Dollar, the Euro and other currencies.
2016 is also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme from World War One and hence the cartoon at the top of this post.
You can read about the national experience of the Somme at the UK archives. Personally, I think the euphemisms of the letter sent on July 2nd 1916 by General Sir Douglas Haig are applicable to our own ongoing disaster of ‘Brexit’.
There are only ten days to go in the prolonged campaign about the UK’s membership of the European Union.
I’ve been a remainer for a long time for both practical economic and emotional reasons. I’ve found the campaign depressing for its negativity and focus on fear – both being sides guilty.
Intellectually, I understand that this behaviour is about motivating voters with the strongest emotion known to humans – fight or flight.
I think we should stay in the European Union to fight through negotiation for our interests.
The attempted manipulation of behaviour through psychology isn’t unusual in elections and referenda and I recommend a very good read here about the particular challenges of referenda and ‘direct democracy’.
As a country, we will all have to take what we get on June 24th.
The cartoon above owes something to this – and the lack of any sane plan for leave that I can see or hear.
This – not stupid but ignorant – is also worth a read. The legacy of years of poor public information (and outright lies – thanks Boris) may lead to a disastrous outcome, in my view.
If I get time, I will post a few drawings I made of some other participants I made in between sets of songs.
For the first time in more years than I care to remember I won’t be attending the annual Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. Personal regrets aside, the event looks set to be a cracker running as it does this year, a theme of Luck.
A subject closer to the heart of professional mickey takers could hardly be found. the laughing, the exhibitions and the live drawing should be spectacular altogether.
You can download the full guide to the weekend long live event from here (PDF). or, if you cannot get there do follow the event in real–time using Twitter and the @ShrewstoonFest account – https://twitter.com/ShrewsToonFest.
Who could resist an offer like that?
And better yet, the exhibitions from which the cartoon at the top is taken are on for several weeks after the event too!
Sometimes in this age of real-time social media I get asked for opinions about controversial cartoons which have been published. Today, I am too busy to offer a long one.
Often, after considering the rights and wrongs of the act of publication, the subject, the level of social media outrage and the likely intent of the cartoonist who put his or her name to the image*, I come back to this statement.
A cartoon cannot say ‘on the other hand,’ and it cannot be defended with logic. It is a frontal assault, a slam dunk, a cluster bomb. Journalism is about fairness, objectivity, factuality; cartoons use unfairness, subjectivity and the distortion of facts to get at truths that are greater than the sum of the facts.
This quotation belongs to the late, lamented American cartoonist Doug Marlette who, for what it is worth, has been a significant influence upon me. Here’s another one from my colleague, Dave Brown.
If you would like to add your wisdom, please do in the comments. I should also say that comments are moderated, at need.
- A tip: If a cartoonist hasn’t done this, the image isn’t worth its name as a cartoon because the opinion within it isn’t owned.
This cartoon is posted with sympathy to the people who have suffered directly in #ParisAttacks of 13th November 2015 and more widely across the world.
The cartoon was drawn following The Charlie Hebdo murders early in 2015. It appears in Draw the Line Here – a fundraising book for the families of the bereaved, organised by the UK Professional Cartoonists Organisation, Crowdshed and The English PEN for Writers in Public.
The sentiments at both times are well expressed here.
— Agnes MONFRET (@AgnesMONFRET) November 14, 2015
Updated: 3rd January 2016: The one year anniversary of the murders is imminent. This is as good a piece reflecting on the events and the ways the event was reported as I have seen.