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2016 – A Christmas Gift for everyone!

A Christmas Gift for everyone! © Matthew Buck at Hack cartoons

© Matthew Buck at Hack Cartoons

In 2016 there was a gift for everyone.
Confession: I am a lover of black humour.

Event: Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2016


Cartoonist and Illustrator Chris Burke gets down to some painting beside the seaside Photograph © Kasia Kowalska

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.


Eight feet high is a struggle for tiny tot like me Photograph © Kasia Kowalska

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.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2016 at the Bandstand © Kasia Kowalska

Inside the Herne Bay town bandstand. Photograph © Kasia Kowalska

Rob Murray gets caricatured at the 2016 Herne Bay Cartoon festival. Nose by Glenn Marshall - © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

Livingcartoon. Photograph: © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

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.

Wish you were beer - cartoonists The Surreal McCoya nd Hack cartoons at Herne Bay Cartoon festival 2016 © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

Journey’s end. Photograph: © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

I’ll draw up another post with what I drew and why on another day.

Cartoon – Brexit is going over the top


On 23rd June 2016 The inhabitants of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

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’.

Cartoon – EU referendum – Brexit is over the top

Cartoon_Brexit_is_Over_The_Top_says_General_Melchett_ wibble_Blackadder_Parody_©_Matt Buck_Hack_Cartoons

© Matthew Buck_Hack_cartoons

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.


Winchester Ukulele Festival 2016

Winchester Ukelele Festival 2016

Light relief from the cares of drawing for your living

See Facebook for details of the lineup of performing artists and the Battle of the Bands. There’s also a report from the local paper here and, if interested, find out more about plans for 2017 here.

Winchester Ukulele festival 2016 - Winchester Uke Jam at play

Winchester Uke Jam at play

If I get time, I will post a few drawings I made of some other participants I made in between sets of songs.

Audio and Video cartoons


Good Luck at Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2016


Luck © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

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.

Shrewsbury Cartoon festival 2016 - the theme this year is LUCK

The theme this year is LUCK.

Who could resist an offer like that?

If you can get there, do and enjoy mixing with the cream of the UK’s professional cartooning talent in the wonderful venue of the Shropshire market town.

And better yet, the exhibitions from which the cartoon at the top is taken are on for several weeks after the event too!


Cartoon: Laboured metaphor

Laboured metaphor_Drawnalism_Ltd

Where do controversial cartoons come from?

What about those controversial cartoons? A cartoonist writes, briefly, at Matt Buck Hack Cartoons

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.

Cartoon: The #ParisAttacks of November 2015

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.

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.

This site and all content upon it is © Matthew Buck at Hack Cartoons and Multimedia unless otherwise stated.