www.abwac.org.au Number 49. Winter 2006
Official blowtorch of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association
ALAN MOIR CENSORSHIP JOANNE BROOKER IRAN SHREWSBURY CARTOON FESTIVAL COPYRIGHT LAW & ORDER WILL DYSON REVIEW KEMSLEY PLUS MORE PULLS STUMPS
Ballarat, Victoria, November 3,4 & 5, 2006 www.cartoonists.org.au
president’sparlay Number 49 Winter 2006 www.cartoonists.org.au 1300 658 581 --- ACA Board --Patron Vane Lindesay (03) 9523 8635 President (Acting) Brett Bower (02) 9589 4717 email@example.com Secretary Steve Panozzo (02) 8920 9996 firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Mick Horne (08) 9527 3000 email@example.com Vice Presidents Steve Panozzo (NSW/ACT - Acting) (02) 9589 4717 firstname.lastname@example.org Rolf Heimann (Vic/Tas) (03) 9699 4858 email@example.com Sean Leahy (Qld) (07) 3325 2822 firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Allen (SA/NT) (08) 8370 9010 email@example.com Greg Smith (WA) (08) 9409 5026 firstname.lastname@example.org ABN 19 140 290 841 Inkspot is produced four times a year by the Australian Cartoonists’ Association.
PO Box 318 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
ACA AFFILIATED ORGANISATIONS National Cartoonists Society President: Rick Stromoski Secretary: Rick Kirkman
Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain President: Terry Christien Secretary: Richard Tomes
President-General: Marlene Pohle Secretary-General: Peter Nieuwendijk
Australia Post Registration PP 533798/0015
Inkspot Editor: Peter Broelman Stinkspot Prufrooder: Steve Panozzo Many thanks to Inkspot contributors:
Lindsay Foyle, Joanne Brooker, Vane Lindesay, Mark Guthrie, Alex Hallatt, Brett Bower, Christophe Granet, Steve Gunnell, Sinann Cheah, Peter McAdam, Jack Edmunds, Dave Allen, Rolf Heimann, James Kemsley, Alan Moir, Ian C Thomas.
n 2003 James Kemsley stepped into the presidency of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association in troubled times. Rod Emmerson had done a good job in bringing the club together nationally, but with duty calling on the other side of the Tasman Sea, he had to depart before he could see the benefit of his hard work. For a multitude of reasons there was doubt about the future of the Stanley Awards. Kemsley had been involved in establishing the Stanley Awards in 1984 and had been president for three years from 1988 to 1990. So he knew what he was in for. With that experience to fallback on, he pulled together a team of both willing and unwilling helpers to make the 2003 Stanley Awards a reality. Since then things have improved every year and it would be hard to argue the club has ever been in better shape. The Stanleys are a financial success and the ACA’s bottom line has never been higher. James has now had to resign as President of the ACA for health reasons. All of you would know of James’ role in the ACA, most would know of his enduring enthusiasm, while some would know of his 20+ years of involvement. That was validated by the MEAA awarding the ACA the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism last November, much to James’ personal and professional satisfaction. As both a Life Member and Gold Stanley recipient, his passion has been second to none. But now he has to tackle matters more important. Our thoughts are with him and his family. Lindsay Foyle ACA Life Member
part from his success with Ginger Meggs in a global market, James Kemsley has done a great deal for Australian cartooning over the years, more than anybody I know. James still does more than his fair share with the annual Stanley Awards and in the production of Inkspot. Where ever there has been a gap in organising events over the years, James has filled it. He has always been there to talk to the young kid who wants to be a cartoonist, he even has time for the big kids who just want to see him draw Meggs. So thank you James for your efforts and we wish you, Helen and the boys well for the future. You have left me with some big boots to fill. The board travelled to Ballarat Lodge recently for what I hope is the first of a series of annual planning meetings. We covered a great deal of ground at the meeting and many good ideas were raised. One suggestion we all agreed on was to form sub-committees in each State to assist the local VP in arranging social events, training and other local activities. So contact your State VP today and tell him you want to be involved. It is great to see our membership base grow. If you have not renewed, you better be quick as Stanley nominations have kicked off! We are also looking at bringing back corporate and junior membership categories in the near future - more info will be available shortly. Again thank you to the Board for asking me to fill the position of ACA President until the AGM in November. I look forward to a huge Stanley awards in November. Brett Bower ACA President (Acting) email@example.com Caricature by ZEG
ACA Board at Ballarat
Peter Broelman from the bottom of a gold mine reports on the Planning Meeting of May 27.
he venue for the 2006 Stanley Awards in November was an ideal location for the ACA Board’s Planning Meeting to map out the ACA’s agenda for future years. Incoming President Brett Bower’s objective was to ensure the ACA was on track with its stated aims and objectives and to look at ways the ACA can grow, promote and develop our industry. “In 2006 we find the ACA to be strong, vibrant and with a good bank balance”, Brett said. “The year ahead will present some challenges as the Board’s personnel change”. Brett was joined by Vice Presidents Greg Smith (WA), Dave Allen (SA), Rolf Heimann (Vic.), Secretary Steve Panozzo, Treasurer Mick Horne, Membership Secretary Peter Broelman and outgoing President James Kemsley. ACA members Grant and Kerry Anne Brown were invited to assist while QLD VP Sean Leahy was an apology. The morning started with a regular ACA Board meeting where the Board was heartened by so many members (60) renewing their memberships early. The Board is also pleased with its healthy financial status thanks to prudent budgeting and hard work over the past 5 years. Hardworking Treasurer Mick Horne has signalled his intent to vacate his post after eight years of making sense out of figures, three and a half years as State VicePresident and the additonal work he did behind the scenes. Mick was recognized by James Kemsley in his last duty as President and awarded Life Membership of the ACA for his service to your association. ACA stalwart Steve Panozzo also announced his intention to vacate the position of Secretary. Thankfully, like Mick, Noz will remain involved with the ACA as Inkspot Editor-In-Chief (and to check speling misteaks). ACA legend James Kemsley
Just a bunch of gold diggers at Ballarat: (from left) Brett Bower, Greg Smith, Mick Horne (our 16th Life Member), James Kemsley, Dave Allen (who avoids looking at cameras because he reckons they’ll steal his sense of humour), Grant Brown, Rolf Heimann, Peter Broelman and Steve Panozzo.
then handed over the Presidency to an unsuspecting Brett Bower who huddled in the corner and cried ;) The Planning Meeting had a full agenda that reviewed the inner-workings of the association, its strengths, its weaknesses and what future direction to take for its members. Issues discussed included: The role of the ACA The role of Board members Membership growth Membership in New Zealand Membership for children Communication Education Sponsors Affiliation with other groups Stanleys 2006 and 2007 Inkspot ACA web site and branding It was only a few years ago that the old ABWAC was a financial basketcase. It’s reinvention as the ACA and subsequent healthy bottom line augers well for the world’s oldest cartoonist organisation in the years ahead. The Board’s current two-year term comes to an end later this year with general elections to be held. The Board encourages you to consider taking an active part, official or otherwise, to ensure the good work of the past will continue.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE OLDER
After much pondering the ACA has a new logo based on the original logo drawn by the late Doug Albion in the 1950’s. Last year the ACA called for members to submit their ideas for a logo with an open brief. The ACA received 12 responses. All of them worthy of thought and discussion. The Board realised that the ink bottle design was favoured by many members. One member suggested utilising the original ink bottle design (the incumbent logo being altered over the years). It decided to go one step further and reintroduce the original ink bottle design designed by Doug and recognise the history of the ACA that dates back to 1924 (as the Black And White Artists Club). The new logo has that retro quality about it and honours our past as well as looking slick and modern. We hope you like the logo as we do. Many thanks to the ACA members who submitted ideas: Vane Lindesay, Don Hatcher, Roger McAuliffe, Marc Morrow, Steve Panozzo, Dave Emerson, Adam Long, Nancy Beiman, Peter McAdam, Richard Newcombe and Tom Vogel. Peter Broelman Logo co-ordinator www.cartoonists.org.au
CENSORSHIP AND THE ‘I do not agree with Low. I have rarely done so. I do not interfere with Low. I have never done so.’
o said Lord Beaverbrook, owner of London’s Evening Standard. David Low had joined the Standard in 1927 and had secured a famous ‘complete freedom’ clause in his contract, claiming it freed him from both editorial and proprietorial control. The reality was a little different, according to Dr Timothy Benson, a highly respected UK researcher who based his doctorate on the issue. Low was allowed to come up with whatever cartoon he liked, but Beaverbrook gave himself the right to refuse it. Thus several cartoons didn’t make it to the second edition of the paper. Nevertheless Low still had won far more ‘freedom’ than any cartoonist had had before on Fleet St, where they were expected to toe the paper’s editorial line, the cartoon often being dictated by the editor. Low stayed with Beaverbrook for 23 years, during the 1930s and 40s, his greatest period, and during that time grew to sense what Beaverbrook may and may not approve of, so avoiding the embarrassment of having to admit to being ‘censored’. And this is generally the situation that has been gradually adopted in Australia, where, generally, on the metropolitan papers the cartoonist has the right to his own opinion even if it contradicts the editorial line, so long as it stays within the notional lines of defamation law and of ‘taste’. And here, in the latter, lies a quiet censorship in Australia. Open political censorship seldom arises (I speak here of the major Editorial Cartoon in the metropolitan papers), though it sometimes appears under the cloak of ‘taste’. After several years the cartoonist grows to understand what the editor at the time may accept. The newspapers generally allow a totally open opinion, often in direct contradiction to the paper’s Editorial, in the interest of diversity. Diversity of opinion is important in Australian newspapers as, in order to survive, they must straddle a wide cross-section of the city in which they’re based, unlike their UK or US
Sydney Morning Herald editorial cartoonist Alan Moir treads through the censorship minefield. counterparts which have enormous ‘catchments’ and can focus on particular social strata. So editors become very wary of unnecessarily offending wide tracts of readers, either in cartoons or written articles. They have the problem of balancing an interesting diversity of opinion, often provocative, with not losing readers because of offence. Politics is held as fair game, and nearly any cartoon expressing a ‘fair opinion’ based on events can be published in any major paper. An editor may complain if a cartoonist keeps banging on about the same subject for weeks on end, but that complaint is more about keeping the paper interesting. There are sometimes attempts through the back door to stifle cartoonists by politicians or members of the non-editorial executive, both examples of these have happened to me, and I know of a couple of other cartoonists who have come under similar pressures. But I will only relate my own examples as I know them accurately. Some time ago I was working in Qld for the Courier-Mail during the Bjelke-Petersen era, and the paper and I were threatened, by the then DeputyPremier LLew Edwards in a letter drawn up by the Qld Solicitor-General, with legal action because some cartoons of mine suggested the Qld Govt might be dishonest. But also, and more importantly, Mr Edwards was claiming defamation because I ridiculed his personal features. They demanded a published apology. Fortunately the then Editor-inChief, Harry Gordon, backed me and our legal advisors faced them down and the issue fizzled away. But it raised a potential danger for cartoonists, not for the opinion of the Govt, as that could be argued as ‘fair comment’, but for the caricaturing of Edwards by ridiculing his features, which under law, throughout Australia, could be deemed as ‘malicious’ and not containing any ‘fair comment’. If won, via court or apology, it could have set a
crippling precedent for the profession, a potential ‘censorship on caricature’. At about the same time, a major board member of Qld Newspapers, who was also an ex Editor-in-Chief, sent a letter to the Editor complaining that my cartoons ridiculing the Govt could lead to ‘anarchy in Qld” and could the Editor do something to “tone Moir down”. The letter was leaked to me, but nothing was ever said. I’m not sure if the leaking was a roundabout way of warning me or if it was sent to me knowing I’d be amused. But the attempt to censor failed. Later, soon after joining the Sydney Morning Herald, I had a cartoon about the then NSW Premier Wran dropped from the 2nd and 3rd editions of the paper and replaced by a US cartoon. I was told next day it was defamatory. But I knew this could not be, and requested the SMH legal advisor, (who had not stopped the cartoon,) to explain to me for my future reference the areas in which it was defamatory. He found it was not defamatory in any way. The Premier around that time had been threatening to withdraw Govt advertising from the paper and it seemed an editor, or someone more senior, had blinked. Since then though, in twenty years I’ve never had a cartoon knocked back for political reasons. Australian cartoonists, and their editors (often forgotten), are notable for their audacity towards politicians. Comments on business leaders, though, is another matter, not only for cartoonists but also for writing journalists. Stories or cartoons on people like Kerry Packer, Malcolm Turnbull or James Hardie Ltd , are thoroughly examined by legal advisors before publication, lest they may be claimed to be ‘malicious persecution’. This is the censorship by threat of legal action which is the most common type of censorship of any working cartoonist. The most famous case against a cartoonist was when the architect Harry Seidler sued the National Times in the
mid 80s over a cartoon by Patrick Cook, which compared a design for a retirement village to a chook-farm. It was a drawn out case which Seidler eventually lost, looking very foolish at the end, and giving the cartoon, which otherwise would have disappeared without note, endless coverage. Most leaders prefer to play along with the ridicule rather than to fight it, and this has a significant precedent in 19th century France which led to the relative expressive freedom that cartoonists now have in the free-press of the western democracies. In 1832 the French cartoonist and publisher Charles Philipon was imprisoned for caricaturing the then French King, Louis-Philippe, as a pear (above). ”La poire” (French for ‘pear’), also at that time referred to someone or something that was stupid. (It has it’s remnants in our language when we refer to something ‘going pear-shaped’) But that court case was also drawn out, and the charge was for “Going Too Far”, what we would call ‘bad taste’. “No harm in a bit of fun,” the authorities have argued in these cases, “but overstep the mark and the caricature becomes subversion.” The case drew publicity throughout France and the rest of Europe gained great glee from reporting the proceedings in detail. So the king won a pyrrhic victory, being subjected to much more ridicule that would have been the case if he had ignored the cartoons. After that it became a convention in France, and in most of Europe, to tolerate satirical cartoons, and this convention became a major foundation in the building of the free press of the west.
But the charge of ‘going too far’, or ‘bad taste’ still lingers as a silent censor when approaching social groups. This leads to a certain amount of self-censorship in the profession, much of it unconscious. In some ways the cartoonists of the early “Bulletin” had more ‘freedom’ to cartoon their prejudices than we do today. This led to the ‘free’, but what we would now see as abhorrent, anti-Chinese, anti-Semitic, and anti-women cartoons that appeared in the years between 1880 and the WW I. Any cartoonist regularly attacking particular social groups would now receive short shrift from editors, though those groups with special agendas, such as feminists, or pro-male groups, anti or pro-abortionists, pro or anti euthanasia groups would be seen as fair game. Particular religious beliefs are generally a ‘no-go’ area, though Church rulings that cut into society beliefs in general, such as same-sex marriage, ordination for women, contraception etc are open, the editorial attitude being that these are areas that become within ‘public-debate’. A cartoonist is more likely to be limited, or ‘censored’, by his or her own prejudices than by any formal censoring, or censuring. Left or right- wing ‘political correctness’ can limit the choosing of subject matter by the cartoonist. His or her bias may limit the way in which the chosen subject is approached, the characters and the extent, or viciousness, of their depiction. Thus the editorial cartoonists’ quandary ; be subjective and emotive, but in danger of lacking perspective; or attempt to be objective, but perhaps on the way losing the passion that makes a strong cartoon. The other lasting timidity in daily ‘family’ newspapers is sexual prudence. Every cartoonist would have had difficulties in this area. While I was a on the Courier Mail I was asked to illustrate an article about topless bathing at Surfers Paradise. In a very light-hearted cartoon I put in little dots for the nipples. The dots were painted out when it was published. Editorial cartooning and censorship is a work in progress.
NCS 60th Reuben Awards
he National Cartoonists Society’s 2006 Reuben Awards were presented during the 60th Annual Reuben Awards Weekend, May 26-28, in Chicago, Illinois. The Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year in 2005 is Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Milton Caniff Award for Lifetime Achievement went to legendary British illustrator Ralph Steadman. The Silver T-Square, and award for individuals who have supported the art form of cartooning, was given to Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Dick Locher, the current writer and artist for Dick Tracy. CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR: Mike Luckovich DIVISION WINNERS: COMIC STRIP: Brooke McEldowney, “9 Chickweed Lane” NEWSPAPER PANEL: Jerry Van Amerongen, “Ballard Street” FEATURE ANIMATION: “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” Nick Park MAGAZINE FEATURE/MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATION: C.F. Payne EDITORIAL CARTOON: Jim Borgman BOOK ILLUSTRATION: Ralph Steadman NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATION: Bob Rich GAG CARTOONS: Glenn McCoy ADVERTISING ILLUSTRATION: Roy Doty GREETING CARDS: Gary McCoy COMIC BOOKS: Paul Chadwick, “CONCRETE: THE HUMAN DILEMMA” TELEVISION ANIMATION: David Silverman, “The Simpsons” MILT CANIFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Ralph Steadman SILVER T-SQUARE: Dick Locher, “Dick Tracy”
SHREWSBURY CARTOON FESTIVAL
What do 40 British cartoonists do when they’re joined by a few Aussies and flock to Shrewsbury? Beats me. That’s why Steve Panozzo and Roger Penwill wrote this bit. www.cartoonshrewsbury.com
he very worst thing about going away is unpacking when you get home. Not only do you have to put back everything you took with you, but you have to find a home for all the stuff you brought back. For a cartoonist, it means reams of paper (and the odd book), most of them with cartoons and caricatures on them by the cartoonists you met. The longer you stay away, the more paper you acquire. I was away for 18 days. For six of them, I was in Shrewsbury, England. A bit to the left on the map from Birmingham, and not far from the Welsh border and surrounded by the River Severn. Charles Darwin’s pretty big there - he was born, and went to school, in Shrewsbury. Curiously, so did Michael Palin. It is home to the world’s tallest Town Crier and the world’s first ironframe building. It’s also home to the third Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival. I arrived at the Lion Hotel 29 hours after taking off from Sydney, drenched (the heavens opened just as I stepped off the train from London). The town is full of preserved Tudor buildings and cobbled roads. I don’t know how many of you have been inside a Tudor building, but the hotel is around 300 years old and every single floorboard in the place creaked alarmingly (very funny at 2am). I had the honour of staying in the Dickens Suite (after famous hotel guest Charles Dickens) - everything was bent, crooked or just alarmingly jaunty, and every surface displayed a certain noticeable incline. Shrewsbury was, to be honest, a strange experience. Both James Kemsley and Dean Alston had arrived, as had Dave Gaskill who I had met in Perth in 1986, when I was just starting out in newspapers. My friend Petrina flew from Dublin to join me and one of the organisers of the Festival was the incomparable Bill Stott. Another welcome face was Adrian Sinnott who I had met at the Guinness Cartoon Festival in Ireland in 1997. So, with all these faces around me, it felt like I was on familiar soil. There just happened to be an awful lot of Poms in town!
Steve Panozzo with his “Shrewsbury Goes Large” large cartoon obviously inspired by a ladder (above) while young Seb Kemsley pushes his weight around with Shrewsbury’s resident Osama bin Laden impersonator (left).
The weekend kicked off on Thursday evening with an illustrated talk by architectural cartoonist (!) Louis Hellman MBE which was fascinating, but left us looking for a drink afterwards. Friday saw the start of the Festival proper, with a series of “how to” workshops for the general public. I got stuck into some on-the-spot caricaturing in the town square where I was joined by CCGB Chairman Terry Christien and the svelte Helen Martin. At the same time, Bill Stott, Noel Ford and Roger Penwill (among others) were getting started on their big cartoons - painting on giant boards in the square. You see, the theme for the weekend was “Shrewsbury Goes Large”. It was at this point that I started panicking about the cartoon I had to do.
The opening of “Degrees of Magnitude”, followed by supper, ended the day. Saturday was my day to get started on my big board, which ended up being a work of desperation. Not knowing what to expect, I was forced to steal paint from Bill Stott and ideas from Terry Christien. Kemsley “helped” by drawing Ginger Meggs on my board, but was content to play the tourist. The general public had a touch of weird about them. One chap came and stood quite close to me and pronounced, to noone in particular, “it’s not that funny up close”. He was probably right. The Saturday night buffet dinner featured Roger and Noel as “Beard”, a guitar duo specialising in Shadows tunes with a bit of Jimi Hendrix thrown in. They were later joined by air-guitar virtuoso Terry Christien. In the meantime, we all busied ourselves with drawing caricatures, as cartoonists do Petrina was a popular subject and ended up with a dozen or so caricatures to take home. Aha - more paper. Sunday featured a fascinating exhibition at the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery by German cartoonist Peter Ruge, who makes his cartoons
Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2006
With the demise of the Ayr Cartoon Festival three years ago and the hopefully temporary disappearance of the festival in Nottingham, Shrewsbury is the UK’s only annual cartoon festival. It is organised by a team comprising the Council’s Tourist Department, the Civic Society, the Art Gallery and Museum and four cartoonists. Forty four cartoonists attended the Festival weekend on 20th -23rd April. This year’s event was the third held in this attractive English medieval town, close to the border with Wales. The international element was provided by visiting cartoonists from Germany, Australia and the US. Germany was the featured country with Marlene Pohle (FECO President General) providing an exhibition by her compatriots on the theme of Size and Peter Ruge bringing over a stunning exhibition of his fabric cartoons. In addition they donated 100 litres of beer and half a tonne of pretzels. Bill Stott (top) looks for his legs after completing his mall mural. Later that night Noel Ford had a crack at “Shrewsbury Idol” (above) only to be outclassed by Aussie Dave Gaskill’s nasal eucalyptus leaf rendition of “Khae Sanh” (left).
out of fabric, sewing it all together to brilliant effect. An exhibition of political cartoons, “Europe - the Big Idea”, and another featuring the best of German cartoonists rounded off the weekend. Kemsley took off for London. As for Alston (aka the Scarlet Pimpernel) - catching a glimpse of him was nigh impossible. I flew to Dublin to re-acquaint myself with Ireland, see some relatives and attend the Punchestown Derby with Irish Times cartoonist Martyn Turner. Needless to say, none of my horses came in, but we had a fun day regardless. Martyn is about 27 feet tall and one needs to stand on a step-ladder in order to have a decent conversation. His studio is in what used to be the stables on his property, which is guarded by six noisy Red Setters, one with a bucket on its head. It
is, somewhat reassuringly, an eccentric mess. He confessed that he probably has no idea who the Times’ editor is these days - he has a “lifetime” contract and never visits the newspaper’s offices in Dublin. He presented me with a copy of his latest book and a few magazines. Adrian Sinnott met up with us in Dublin for dinner after leaving Kemsley in London. He gave us a few of his books, which was very nice of him, although I was becoming concerned about how heavy my luggage was going to be. I had also acquired a few newspapers, clippings, notes and sketches along the way. I plan to attend Shrewsbury again in 2007, as does Kemsley and Alston and (hopefully) a decent contingent of Aussies. But pack light - you’ll need souvenir room.
The other exhibitions were “Degrees of Magnitude (Size is everything)” - 120 cartoons by participating and invited cartoonists , a new exhibiton of political cartoons on the theme “Europe -the BIG idea” (brought together by FECO UK President Andy Davey) and a showing of architectural cartoons by Louis Hellman. “Size” was the theme of the whole Festival. This was reinforced by cartoonists drawing 20 large cartoons on 8ft by 6ft boards in the Market Square and an instant exhbition of forty 2ft 6in square cartoons in a gallery in a shopping mall. All this was accompanied by talks and workshops. It was a hectic time but good fun. It was great to have folks from downunder and we hope to welcome more of you in future years. Roger Penwill Festival Chairman www.cartoonists.org.au
JESTING WITH THE JESTER by Royston Robertson from the CCGB
he CCGB column is brought to you this month by Royston Robertson – I’m editor of The Jester, the club newsletter. It’s kind of like Inkspot but with more complaining in it (well, you wouldn’t expect anything else from a whinging poms’ magazine would you?). It’s also less glossy and has fewer pages, but then it does come out every month except January – which gives me cause for more whinging than most. Recently many of us British cartoonists have been recovering from excesses of the marvellous Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. And I mean recovering literally as many, myself included, came down with a particularly virulent bug after the event which put us in our sick beds for several days (cue yet more whinging). It has been dubbed the Shrew Flu, though there’s no talk just yet of a compulsory cull of cartoonists. The Australian contingent were all healthy chaps clearly, as the bug did not strike any of them! The new Cartoon Museum in London is currently holding an excellent exhibition called Mars in Their Eyes, which tells the story of Mars exploration and discovery throughout the years, as seen by cartoonists. The cartoons, by artists from all over the world, were collected by Professor Colin Pillinger, who is something of a national treasure here in Britain. He’s the guy that sent a probe called Beagle 2 to Mars which resembled several dustbin lids welded together, like something from Wallace and Gromit. Sadly, the newspapers were denied their “Beagle Has Landed” headlines as it got lost. Prof Pillinger sums up the plucky British spirit we love so much, otherwise known as “not quite succeeding but bloody well having a go”. The good Professor, who gave well-received talks at Shrewsbury and the museum, doesn’t mind the gentle mickey-taking about Beagle as he has a good sense of humour
– this is clear from the fact that he enthusiastically collects cartoons and from his sideburns, which were last seen being worn by glam rocker Noddy Holder circa 1973. Finally, as I write everyone’s going football crazy (OK soccer, if you must) over here, because of the World Cup Finals. I imagine it’s the same in Australia as I gather you guys are taking part for a change this year. I say “I gather” because actually I know nothing about football and had to go on to the internet to find that out! But in the spirit of international competition I offer up one of my very few football cartoons to illustrate this column. Good luck to our/your boys (if it’s not too late!) Royston Robertson Editor, The Jester www.ccgb.org.uk
Royston Robertson is a freelance cartoonist based in Broadstairs, Kent, England. His gag cartoons have appeared in publications such as Reader’s Digest, Private Eye, Prospect and The Oldie. has illustrated booksof forthe hit RickHe Kirkman is the children’s artist partner Scholastic Publishing and has been commissioned by the US strip Baby Blues, which now runs in over BBC and Oxford University Press among many others. 1000 papers. He is also secretary of the NCS. www.roystonrobertson.co.uk
State Of The Art in the USA Cartooning is one of the hardest nuts to crack for Australians and New Zealanders alike. While cartoon furores make world headlines, just how healthy is cartooning in the real world? RC Harvey gauges the trend in the US. It is one we’re bound to follow?
artoonists were in the news more in the last twelve months than in any year in history. The fury of the Muslim world at twelve Danish cartoons would seem to have asserted the power of hand-wrought imagery like nothing else has before. It would appear that comics - cartoons - are a serious and powerful grown-up artform, not mere entertainment for children and the rest of the feeble-minded. The West is secular; Islamic countries tend to be sectarian, passionately. Cartoonists, presumably, are both, depending where they reside, but geopolitics are of no use in assessing the state of the art in the United States. But even if the Danish Dozen does not signal a new maturity for cartooning, we can find ample evidence for the enhanced cultural status of the medium in US bookstores. Comics have at last made serious inroads into these bastions of the literati. In Borders and Barnes & Noble chain bookstores, graphic novels fill at least a full bank of bookshelves. Most is devoted to manga, which Borders reportedly stocks at 2,500 titles. Sales of this curiously alien artform have rocketed in this country: recent estimates claim $124 million in sales, up spectacularly from $55 million just four years ago. But the more conventional graphic novel - the domestic long form comic book - has enjoyed greater visibility and sales as a result of manga’s popularity: sales rose 18 percent last year to $250 million. By purely aesthetic measures today’s newsstand comics are much better than ever. Most comic books these days incorporate the best drawing techniques anywhere on the market. Stories, even in superhero titles, are much more sophisticated than of yore. Direct sales marketing and more sophisticated distribution mechanisms have made possible a great flowering of independent publishing enterprise. While many titles are jejune in both story and art, 10 www.cartoonists.org.au
the quantity, enthusiasm and dedication of its authors proclaim the over-all health of the medium. Some of its practitioners may not be ready for prime time just yet, but the artform is more vital for their presence for the variety of their approaches and their often highly personal vision. Amid some awful stuff we sometimes find the awesome and it’s often worth the wait. Elsewhere comics aren’t doing quite as well. The newspaper comic strip is supported by a commercial ethos that preserves the old and familiar at the
expense of the new and novel. Mary Worth survives, but The Norm and Liberty Meadows wither on the vine, choked to death by the proliferation of so-called “legacy strips,” those that are continued by nearly anonymous hands after the death or retirement of their originators. But in this arena where commerce confronts art, art doesn’t always lose. New comic strips are being concocted at the rate of several thousand a year and submitted to syndicates willy nilly. Only a few are picked up. Seemingly against all odds, several of these survive and even thrive, despite the inhospitable milieu. Get Fuzzy, Frazz, and Candorville are emerging successes. Before them came Zits and Baby Blues, both of which quickly ran up healthy numbers of client papers. Many of the newer strips deploy a somewhat edgier sense of humor than the genre has historically tolerated. The old taboos have eroded, and bathroom humor as well as political commentary can be found where no one dared commit either
for decades. Newspaper editors struggle with this new conundrum: they hope with edgier strips to attract the young adult readers who are not buying newspapers, but these strips offend readers who are stalwart subscribers—generally, a generation older than the most desired demographic. Political cartoons still flag newspaper editorial pages, distinguishing serious opinion mongering from objective news reporting. Artistically speaking, editorial cartooning is more vital now than ever: a great variety of graphic styles flourish, and many of the nation’s editoonists express their opinions in vivid pictorial metaphors. Still, the number of full-time staff political cartoonists is steadily dwindling, leading many observers to dub the profession an endangered species. Magazine cartooning is virtually extinct except for Playboy and The New Yorker, both of which continue to value gag cartoons. The haiku of the medium, gag cartoons achieve their jokes by delicately balancing words against pictures, neither of which makes sense alone without the other. The most conspicuous display of this essential quality can be found in The New Yorker’s back page cartoon captioning contest where the incongruity of a captionless picture is explained only by a caption. The cartoonist’s medium may be flagging on editorial pages and in magazines, but cartooning is achieving an apotheosis in the long form, paginated cartoon strip - comic books and graphic novels - where there’s space enough to perform impressive dramatic feats. Here, the art of cartooning has found a new vitality as well as a respectable visibility.
R.C. Harvey is a reformed magazine and editorial cartoonist who now writes about comics and cartooning at his website, www.RCHarvey.com.
Cartoonists infringing copyright Most of us cartoonist types are all too familiar with our cartoons being ripped off by dodgy magazines, second-rate newsletters and websites . But what happens when another artist copies your work and passes it off as their own? Joanne Brooker tells us her story...
had a boss that liked to pat me on the shoulder and tell me how nice it was that I got to draw pictures all day. The fact that my artwork was created to make him money and to pay my minimum wages didn’t occur to him. When I worked as an editorial illustrator for a newspaper I created artwork to a brief and deadline. It was a fast turnover art process. I have never been very “arty” or precious about my work; it is what I do for a living. Working for a hardnosed newspaper editor knocks any pretensions out of an editorial artist pretty quickly! Now, as a freelance artist, I create artwork to make money to live. My art is my product and I treat my product the same as any business person. In October 2005 I received a postcard from Ireland. The postcard was a copy of my artwork. The original artwork had been commissioned and printed in The Courier-Mail some years before. The copied artwork had been changed on a computer using a tion and what value professional artists’ associations put on graphics program to the detriment of my original artwork. My their members work. signature was removed and the copiers signature inserted. This Interestingly the IGI’s Code of Practice can be promotional postcard was printed by the Illustrators Guild of Ireviewed online at www.illustratorsireland.com where it clearly land to which he was a member. says: “All members must ensure that their work is original.” I had a friend email the artist offering to buy the artwork. Either this means something or it does not. If not, The artist said that he had the artwork and it was available for sale. remove all suggestions that members work is valued and I then contacted the artist who admitted that he downloaded the protected, and that all the members are on their own on this artwork from an electronic document and had “put his own spin isue. on it”. At this point a new collecting society IVARO (Irish At first I didn’t concern myself about this too much. Such Visual Artists’ Rights Organisation) came on the scene. This things have happened to me before and I have always been told to was their response;“It should be noted that IVARO will be shrug it off. But it started to rankle me. Why do we always have taking a strong line in relation to into accept this treatment of our work? It fringements of copyright in the works is hard enough to take from a client but of its members.” from a fellow artist?! “All members must ensure It is good to know that somebody Out of interest I put the original does! The IGI has now taken the issue and copied artwork online to the ACA their work is original” far more seriously. forum for comment. This created a lively Viscopy’s Chad Corley followed debate in which sides were taken regard- Illustrators Guild of Ireland up every email and every point of ining how seriously this type of infringeterest in the issue to which I am very ment should be taken. grateful. It is important for artists to This made me wonder how we know where they can turn to when this happens to them. actually protect our work and why many of us artists still don’t If you make a living creating artwork it is in your seem to value our work. It doesn’t matter if the work is a fine art interests to make sure that you and your clients are aware painting or a cartoon; it is still an original piece of work and has of what artwork is a valuable product and that all involved copyright protection for a reason. understand what copyright means. I contacted Viscopy and explained the situation. The If your work is copied, plagerised, defaced or used Illustrators Guild of Ireland, the postcards printer, were contacted without permission, take it seriously! by Viscopy about the situation. I also contacted Peter Broelman The Australian Copyright Council, ArtsLaw and and James Kemsley about the situation for advice. They agreed NAVA, has information sheets that can be downloaded from that it was an issue of interest and offered their support. their respective web sites. Check ou the links on The ACA emailed the IGI to inform them that the situwww.cartoonists.org.au. ation was known to them and that the ACA had an interest in the Talk to Viscopy, ArtsLaw and NAVA and the many Guild’s response. art associations that exist to work with artists worldwide. The IGI reply to the ACA mentioned that they were These associations are there to support artists; it is now up to aware that the artist had copied the artwork and as he had apoliartists to care enough to let them. gised to me they saw no reason to pursue the matter. It is also good to have the feisty Chad Corley fight I felt that this was not acceptable. This was not a personal ing in our corner at Viscopy! situation between two artists, this was an issue of artistic protecwww.cartoonists.org.au
MY JOURNEY THROUG I
n March 2006 the headlines screamed riots, protests, deaths, cartoons. Which of these words do not belong here? Cartoons are inoffensive little space fillers created by naughty childlike artists. Right? Every day for ten years I would walk into a newspaper art department, sit down at my desk and sort the day’s jobs. Every day I illustrated editorial, feature or sports stories using my skills in cartooning, realistic, symbolic or caricature. By the time I left in 2001 I had years of media art experience, a collection of awards and a determined idea that I would go and see the world from the other side of the newspaper. In September 2005 the Danish Newspaper, Jyllands-Posten printed twelve cartoons of Muhammad. In retaliation for this insult the Danish Embassy in Tehran was petrol bombed by a rioting mob. Over forty five people reportedly died over the three months of violent protests throughout the Islamic world. So here I was - Tehran airport - scarf tightly in place, all bundled up in my hijab as demanded by Iranian government law and a tight knot of fear as supplied by Australia. I had been invited to exhibit my caricature artwork in Iran by Kianoosh Ramezani, the President of the Iranian chapter of Witty World, a world-wide cartoonists association. After two years of negotiations I was going. The Danish cartoon uproar erupted just as my plans were confirmed. Good timing! My first hurdle was discovering that credit cards are unusable in Iran and all hotels were to be paid in US dollars. I looked at my limited funds and started to panic. I called the Australian Embassy who suggested the first plane out. Not useful. Fortunately for me my contact with Iran TV, Ouday, saved the day. “Many things are not allowed in Iran but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done” he said. My plans were then arranged. I would travel to Esfahan by coach and then fly to Shiraz and then back to Tehran.. When I arrived in Esfahan I was met at my hotel by two young men. The Iranian grapevine had let them know where I was and that I was to be taken to The Museum of Contemporary Art to see the Tehran International Cartoon Biennial Exhibition. When I arrived at the gallery I was thrilled to see a banner welcoming me to the exhibition. The quality of the artwork was
Brisbane-based cartoonist Joanne Brooker travelled to Iran amid the Denmark cartoon uproar and discovered that Iranian cartoonists also like The Doors. She tells her story...
Joanne’s fan club welcome her to the Iranian city of Esfahan.
superb. As this is an international competition I was asked why there have never been any Australian entries. “Because we think you are all crazy terrorists”, I said to their great amusement. At a gorgeous teahouse overlooking the shimmering Eman mosque we chatted about cartooning, music and movies. They knew so much about Australia. They even watch Skippy! After several days exploring Esfahan I headed off to Shiraz where I visited the Mausoleum of Shah-e-Cheragh, a Shiite place of pilgrimage. At first I was told I could not enter as I was not a Muslim. A guard took pity on this foreigner and fetched me a chador and said I could go in if I wore it. I admired women that can wear the chador so gracefully. Mine was wrapped around me with as much style as an old bed sheet. Inside the mosque I was literally dazzled by the walls and ceiling which are covered in thousands of tiny glittering mirrors. From Shiraz I went to Persipolis. The historic ruins I had read about for so long were finally within reach. Persia conjures images of proud rulers, fine art, cats and carpets. Persipolis is a symbol of ancient Persia the antithesis to the Iran we hear about on the news. Too soon I had to head back to Tehran. I was invited to meet more artists and cartoonists at the Saale Gallery. When I arrived back Kianoosh was keen to talk to me privately about the position
of cartoonists in Iran. He explained it this way. “We have dangerous elements here in Iran. We call them “Gorillas”. They are like the mafia, above the law. Some of the cartoon clubs I asked you to stay away from are involved with these groups. They are responsible for many of the protests about the Danish cartoons”. The people he was referring to are the Ansar-eHezbollah, a group organised by the government to incite riots. It was reported that a student group called the Basiji were involved in the Danish Embassy attack. Protests are well orchestrated for full media effect in Tehran. Kianoosh is involved with the Cartoonists Rights Network. They support cartoonists in countries where freedom of expression is at risk and abuses of cartoonists are common. I met the founding father of Iranian cartooning, Kambiz Derambakhsh. He has taken the art of cartoon and caricature art to the respected heights of fine art. Kambiz drew me a charming cartoon as a gift. Kambiz’s cartoon style is deceptively simple. I asked him to explain some of his illustrations in a calendar of his. He said it was difficult to explain the meanings in English as they are related to Persian culture. This symbolic style was often used in cartooning to work around censorship. Where were the women cartoonists? I had been in contact with Bahar, one of Iran’s best female caricature artists. The women I spoke to in Iran only spoke to me when we were alone. As in Australia there are very few female cartoonists in Iran. Add to this the limits that Iranian women have then they have to be even more determined to take on a male dominated profession. Bahar had an excellent caricature in the International Biennial exhibition. As I sat in the gallery surrounded by film directors, artists, actors,
The (from Ram mas
GH THE CARTOON WAR
These blokes (above) are not cartoonists but they wish they were. The Eman Mosque (left) on Melbourne Cup Day.
The Iranian chapter of The Doors Fan Club, from left) Golmohammad, Arash Azma, Kianoosh Ramezani and Joanne, play with a weapon of mass destruction.
students and musicians, sipping my cappuccino and listening to Archie Roach on the stereo, I had to remind myself I was in Iran and not Melbourne. They even pulled out a didgeridoo to play, badly, to peals of laughter in my honor. Later that evening I was invited with a group to one of the artist’s apart-
ment. I was introduced to Golmohammad, a Sufi and one of Iran’s top illustrators. He had just gone back from meditating in the mountains. One illustration of his took my interest. It was of a TV camera trained on a group of rioters. The protesters were framed within the camera screen while the surrounding streets were empty. “Is this what you think the cartoon riots were like?” I asked? “Yes”, he said, “They focus on a small group so that it looks so much bigger”. I remembered the coverage of the Cronulla riots. They were broadcast on overseas television creating the impression that Australians are violent racists. Could this be a similar situation? My new friends talked animatedly to me about their aspirations. One of the artists owns land in the mountains with which he wants to start an artist’s colony. I had so many questions as to how that could possible be safe to do under the present government but before I could ask I noticed Golmohammad was staring at me intently. Then he turned to Majid who interpreted for him. I was expecting some profound statement but instead he asked “Did you know Jim Morrison?” I was so taken back I burst out laughing. “Of course”, I said, “The Doors!” Golmohammad flung back his head laughing and we were suddenly best mates. Soon we were all just a bunch of cartoonists sharing stories and drawing each other. Then to my delight, Golmohammad started to play his sitar. We all joined
in playing the Iranian drum, a daf, Nepali singing bowls and bells. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed music in very unusual venues around the world, but this was certainly the most spontaneous and joyful. What was I to make of all of this? This was too far removed from the images I had been seeing on the television of Iran, the dangerous country hellbent on nuclear destruction and the seat of all terrorist evil. As I travelled about Iran I spoke to artists, taxi drivers, shop keepers, hotel workers. I wandered the streets watching people working, begging, street sellers, Mullahs chatting, people praying in glittering mosques, shoppers, soldiers, policemen, groups of teenage boys and teenage girls peeping at each other. I ate hamburgers next to soldiers, bought bread on the streets of Shiraz, rode in taxis through mad traffic of Tehran, had an Iranian feast in the Alborz mountains, drank tea with hotel workers, shopped with a Tunesian newsreader, talked politics with a news editor from Iran TV and talked all night to a elderly lady who lectures on Persian poetry. I barely scratched the surface. I have far more questions than answers. I am a cartoonist. I make my comments using this art form and I am learning all the time. We are facing a world crisis between the West and the East. Let’s take this art seriously for a change. If you are going to draw a terrorist, here’s the thing; make it look like one. “Oh, but a terrorists could look like you or me, Jo”. Fine, draw a leprechaun as an IRA bomber and a bullfighter as a Basque separatist. Work it out - this is important; One turban does not a terrorist make. Many times in Iran I was moved to tears. If Iran was bombed by the US it would be just another news story. Maybe we would watch it on TV as we attacked Iraq and then turn the channel to find something more entertaining. I know I did, but I know I wouldn’t again. Joanne Brooker is a Stanley-award winning cartoonist based in Brisbane. Check out her blog on: purplespiderstudio.artsblogs.com
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FEDERAL GOVERMENT REVIEWS COPYRIGHT LAWS
PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR PERFORMING CARTOONISTS
The Federal Government’s sedition laws have dominated legal issues for the media and cartoonists. Slipping under the radar is the government’s review of copyright law with a bill expected to be put forward later this year. The review includes new exceptions to copyright infringements and new anti-piracy measures. The current copyright act allows authors, publishers and artists to have exclusive rights to control how their works can be used. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. Exceptions created by the Government mean that some uses of the works do not have to be paid for. Current exceptions include, research and study, providing legal advice, reporting the news and criticism and review. When users reproduce a work as part of these tasks they do not have to pay the creator a fee. Statutory licenses allow Government and educational users to copy work subject to payment to the creators. Viscopy is embarking on a campaign with other copyright agencies to investigate the ramifications of the draft legislation. Of most concern is the “free use” exception. Cartoonists who currently receive royalty payments could see their incomes slashed or abolished. Details will be made available to ACA members when possible. In the meantime check out www.copyright.org.au for details.
Drawing live caricatures is as much a business as it’s a bit of fun. Live caricaturists Brett Bower and Jason Chatfield explain why public liability insurance is as important as the paper you draw on and the pen you use.
R O T A R Y A W A R D S The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour City is calling for entries for the 18th Rotary Cartoon Awards. With prizes totalling over $10,000 the Rotary Cartoon Awards is Australia’s richest cartoon competition. The National Awards have seven categories: Open Theme, Political Theme, Sports Theme, Best Cartoon: Aussie Media, Best Comic Strip: Family Life and Best Caricature of a well known person. The International Award theme is: Celebration. The deadline is July 31, 2006. Check out details and download the entry form from www.rotarycartoonawards.com.au
Every time I mention public liability insurance to a cartoonist, their eyes glaze over or I get told how ridiculous the concept is. “What could possibility happen for God’s sake?” I am asked.... I look at it this way: companies engage me to represent them in public venues by drawing caricatures. The relationship is a business to business relationship, there is an expectation that I am set up in such a way that I can do business with them. Exhibition centres, shopping centres and public venues require anybody doing business on their premises to be covered by public liability insurance. Don’t kid yourself about it, if you do live functions or appearances in Australia as a cartoonist, get some coverage now! My small store-front at Luna Park in Sydney requires me to have a minimum $20,000,000 public liability policy. The policy costs almost $3K and it covers me anywhere in the world with the exception of North America. It costs a lot, but it is better than losing my house if a subcontractor goes postal or a customer trips on our front step. My point is a simple one – you may be a cartoonist working from home, but you are also in a business operating in an industry of performing artists. No matter if you are a freelance cartoonist, a sole trader or have a company structure, you can could be sued if somebody trips over your foot or slips on some paper. With a little research on the web you can find some pretty good deals on insurance - www.duckforcover.com.au has a basic annual policy for $200 on their website. It is also a nice way to differentiate yourself from the 650 other cartoonists in the yellow pages who are not insured. I am sure your clients will respect that you are a professional. Brett Bower www.brettbower.com.au I’ll just say first and foremost that I’ve never had to use public liability insurance. I sincerely hope that I never have to. However I’ve never had to worry if anything did happen because I know I have a policy that covers me for AU$20,000,000 through Duck For Cover. I do lots of live gigs at all sorts of venues - from offices, convention/ exhibition centres and casinos to the more risky venues like boats, corporate footy boxes and restaurant balconies. Having the public liability insurance is essential when you’re dealing with any kind of business. It gives me piece of mind and it gives the client piece of mind enough to hire me instead of the hobbyist down the road who doesn’t bother with PLI. Jason Chatfield www.jasonchatfield.com
Reviews Will Dyson; Australia’s radical genius By Ross McMullin Scribe 2006, 474 pp, $59.95 Reviews by Lindsay Foyle and Vane Lindesay.
UICK QUIZ: Who knows who Will Dyson was? If you answered an Australian cartoonist you’d be right. If you answered Australia’s first war artist you would be right. If you answered a friend of Norman Lindsay who married his sister Ruby you would be right. You could also say an Australian cartoonist who came to prominence in London before The Great War you would also be right. If you couldn’t come up with those answers you might want to spend some time in Ross McMullin’s new biography of Dyson. All those who did know who Dyson was might also like to spend some time reading McMullin’s book, as it is the best book on Dyson yet to be published. There have only been two and McMullin wrote both (the former titled “Will Dyson: Cartoonist, Etcher And Australia’s Finest War Artist”, Angus & Robertson, 1984).This is a better book than the first, because it has more information about him, but it’s a shame we don’t get two different views. William Henry Dyson was born on 3 September 1880 in Alfredton, a small town near Ballarat. The family moved to Melbourne where Will was less than a model pupil. After leaving school he drifted into journalism, the art world, a bohemian lifestyle and mixed with the Lindsay brothers. He spent most of the next decade trying to establish himself as a newspaper artist with little success. One reason could have been he was inclined to be a little forthright in his opinions. He just might have miffed one or two editors, who would have preferred to stay unmiffed. Frustrated he and Ruby sailed to London in 1910 where he hadn’t miffed anyone. On 23 September 1912 he started contributing to The Herald and soon became a staff cartoonist where his cartoons miffed many who needed miffing. The paper had only started in 1911 and its bright, socialist style fitted well with Dyson who was given total freedom to fill a whole page - and five pounds a week - by the editor Charles Lapworth. McMullin writes, “His success was rapid, stunning and quite unforeseen.” 16 www.cartoonists.org.au
A collection of his cartoons was published in 1913 and the 10,000 copies of the first edition sold out in three days. One reviewer stating, “In this book the unfortunate capitalist is not merely drawn - he is quartered!” It’s disappointing the impact of Dyson’s fullpage cartoons are a little lost in the McMullin books, being reproduced at only a fraction of the size they would have been originally. Dyson was on top of the world, but Lapworth departed and George Lansbury took over as editor and soon exerted a restraining influence on Dyson. It didn’t go over well and Dyson said “The Herald is dead now - it has cold feet.” He had given serious thought to leaving when the Great War started and fighting the enemy seemed more important than fighting with his editor. Propaganda cartoons soon ran in The Herald and in 1915 resulted in the publication of Kultur Cartoons that became another bestseller for him. In August 1916 Dyson applied to cross to France and draw Australian soldiers. It took bureaucrats three months to grant him an honorary commission in the AIF and it took Lieutenant Dyson, Australian War Artist, two days to be on his way to France. He was wounded three times and the Australian War memorial received over 270 drawings from his involvement. McMullin has considerable detail about Dyson’s involvement in the war and his friendship with Keith Murdoch and Charles Bean who said, “No other official artist, British or Australian, in the Great War saw a tenth part as much of the real Western Front as did Will Dyson.” After the war Dyson returned to The Herald. Soon after on 12 March 1919 Ruby died of influenza, a victim of the pandemic that swept across the world killing between 20 and 30 million people. Dyson never really recovered from her death. Dyson resigned in July 1921 and worked on several ventures before accepting an offer from Murdoch to return to Melbourne in 1925 and work for The Herald and Weekly Times and Melbourne Punch. He’d been offered 2000 pounds a year for one cartoon a week. When Melbourne Punch folded he was transferred to Table Talk, a weekly social gossip magazine - a silly move
professionally. He was hired because he was one of the best cartoonists in the world, and then told how to cartoon by people who couldn’t see the joke. McMullin follows Dyson back to London via New York in 1930 with him saying, “I am sufficient of a Londoner to realize that to be out of London is to be technically dead.” Restabilised on The Herald he gave Hitler and Mussolini the same treatment he’d given capitalists before the war. It went over well in London, but not in Berlin and Rome where the word miffed would have been an understatement. On 20 January 1938 Dyson drew two vultures watching a bombardment of Barcelona by dive-bombers with one of them saying, “Once we were the most loathsome things that flew!” McMullin says, “By editorial direction it was amended before publication.” It was Dyson’s last professional act, the following afternoon seated comfortably in his favourite armchair he dropped off to sleep, which deepened into death. Dyson was a radical genius, social gadfly, a committed war artist, a great cartoonist and for his time one of the bestknown Australians in the world. There’s lots more to the Dyson quick quiz but to get the answers you’ll have to read the book. Lindsay Foyle is a past president of the ACA who knows more about Ginger Meggs than Bancks and Kemsley combined. His work appears on the letters page of The Australian. Contrary to popular belief he does have a sense of humour.
ll that should be said about Australia’s finest, once most famous, satirical cartoonist Will Dyson, has been said in recent reviews of Ross McMullin’s superbly researched biography ‘Will Dyson, Australia’s Radical Genius’. The depth of McMullin’s research is most admirable exploring Dyson’s formative years in Australia and later fame in England. In a most praiseworthy book, but, not sufficiently recognized are the very symbolic images that brought Dyson such adoration and fame. For, Will Dyson was among the last cartoonists to comment on affairs with drawings in the since vanished ‘allegorical’ or ‘grand manner’. Early in the nineteenth century during a period of great military rivalry and the pursuit of nationalism, the assertion by the countries of Europe, and later America, that a country of any significance should have its own voice and identity, was helped enormously by the tangible image of a national symbol. With this symbolic device England, France, Germany Russia – nations everywhere – were instantly recognized in cartoons published in the satirical magazines and other publications. Among the many symbolic images created by cartoonists – ‘Health’, ‘Wealth’, ‘Prosperity’, even ‘Death’, depicted as ‘The Grim Reaper’ – a corpulent figure ‘Fat’ wearing a top hat, spats, and swallow–tail coat appeared originally in Australian cartoons drawn for the radical press. ‘Fat’ then, variously symbolized ‘The Banks’, the ‘Trusts’, ‘Profiteers’ and ‘Big Business’, to become widely established in Australian, later English cartoons where Will Dyson was to introduce his image of ‘Fat’ to the readers of London’s Daily Herald to serve in both instances the anti-Tory and the Socialist cause. A public spirited but conservative New South Wales parliamentarian ‘a man of weight’, James Lucas, was the inspiration and model for ‘Fat’. The first cartoon appearance of ‘Fat’ the symbol, not the person, was drawn by Phil May then cartooning for The Bulletin. From Dyson’s pen, ‘Fat’ was a gross, cigarsmoking, large paunch image of a bully in a world of ignoble advantages seen sitting on huge heaps of bagged money. Perhaps hackneyed today, the symbol was original and a notable, successful and justified creation in its day. Another ‘grand manner’ symbol created by Dyson and perhaps his most telling of all cartoon images , Satan, or the Devil, a gross cloven-hoofed beast with pitch fork symbolizing the cruel
excesses of the Kaiser and Prussianism to the ultimate evil. A powerful image, that was borrowed by Norman Lindsay among other cartoonists of the past. Prior to Australia’s involvement in the Sudan conflict, the need for a symbol representing the Australian colonies arose. Initial attempts to reach a solution were confused. ‘Australia’ was variously symbolized in political cartoons as a classically robed matron, sandalled one end and halo-ed with Southern Cross stars; the other: as a Bo Peep figure complete with a sheep-crook; as a bowyanged, bearded farmer, and of course, the tobecome-familiar Dickensian-looking boy created in 1885 by Livingston Hopkins for The Bulletin, ‘The Little Boy at Manly’. ‘The Boy’ as he was sometimes labelled, served cartoonists to at least 1937 depicted by Alex Gurney in the Melbourne Herald newspaper. With one exception, no notable symbols representing Australia superseded ‘The Boy’. In 1908, one year before he sailed to England, Will Dyson created a new national symbol - ‘Little Bill’. He was depicted in a colour cartoon on the cover of Randolph Bedford’s The Clarion as a young lad dressed in jodhpurs, high riding-boots, large-brimmed hat and a
coiled stockwhip hitched to his belt. To make no mistake as to his nationality he is holding in his left hand an Australian flag. Dyson, in creating this representation, was aware that Australia then was essentially a rural economy not yet industrialised, but had at least grown up. The modern editorial cartoonist has of course no call for national symbols – the ‘grand manner’ cartoon has had its time. As ‘Wep’ William Edwin Pidgeon, put the situation of the contemporary cartoonist: “The daily life of the people is today reflected back to them in terms of gentle, even inane satire. Jocularity is wearing out a million pencils, and the straight cartoon is as rare as a bonus. On such stately and portentous occasions as the cessation of war, the birth of a princess, or the death of a prime minister, the modern cartoonist groans and trembles and produces a funnier drawing than ever” - Vane Lindesay. Vane Lindesay is the Patron of the ACA, former Victorian Vice President, recipient of the Jim Russell Award for services to black and white art and author of a number of books on Australian cartoonists. He’s a lovely chap too. www.cartoonists.org.au
Reviews Happy Birthday, Anyway
‘4F for Freaks’
Matt Huynh 52pg A5 B&W $5 (Sept. 2005) Review by Ian C. Thomas
by Leigh Hobbs Published by Allan & Unwin, $12.95 Review by Vane Lindesay
att Huynh (AKA STiKMAN), has been producing complete comics across a range of genres for a few years now, including ‘Little Sally, Domino Joe and Bloom’ (reviewed in Inkspot #42), along with numerous contributions to other comics and magazines. He’s a true local comics artist, using a highly individual combination of image and word to tell meaningful stories in a variety of genres. I hesitate to call ‘Happy Birthday, Anyway’ a comic, as it’s closer to a minigraphic novel in its concerns, maturity and captivating approach. The story is a realistic, believable slice-of-life tale, following the daily life of a group of teenagers, focusing on two girls as the central characters. Essentially, the book is broken into two parts, showing a day in the life of first Lucy, and then Jamie. The beginning opens with “voiceover” boxes recounting a dream, as we watch Lucy get ready to catch a train to university. Midway through, Lucy effectively hands the narrative over to Jamie - the birthday girl of the title - who we then follow into her sadly diminishing relationship with her boyfriend, Rob. The crossover allows Huynh to parallel Lucy’s superficial exchange with her father with a similar one between Jamie and Rob. This device – while a deft move in narrative terms - is also a source of possible confusion, as Lucy and Jamie are fairly similar in appearance. A cursory reading might appear somewhat rambling (as life often is), but closer attention reveals Huynh to be clearly in
f you regard St.Trinians as, how shall we put it, unruly, a teacher’s nightmare, a terror to all, and a place of mayhem, Leigh Hobbs presents too a scary 4F school classroom of characters, the ‘F’ standing for FREAKS!
control of his material - what he chooses to include, and how it is arranged. The artwork throughout is executed in a vigorous manner, with dynamic brushwork sketching the scenery, and fine detail generally limited to the expressions of the characters. Technical perfection is unimportant to the feel of the work, with realism breathed into the characters and situations by the integrity of image and word - fleeting black and white impressions of an unquestionably real world. As with Huynh’s other work, there is a perfect combination of style and substance.
This then, can lead us to consider in the case of ‘4F for Freaks’, whether this cautionary tale, with its drawings of pleasing vivacity has enormous appeal for adults. I think you will find it does.
As Huynh says in his introduction, “Moments matter,” and this is a contention well-proved by ‘Happy Birthday, Anyway’. His sensitive portrayal of the intricacies of personal relationships and daily life have produced a fine, moving and substantial book – recommended! See: www.stikman.netica.com.au/ Ian C Thomas is a regular book reviewer for Inkspot. He draws Dillon’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Fairies” in Total Girl Magazine and “Moth & Tanuki” in Manga comic OzTAKU.
Inkspot Extra Hot on the heels of Warren Brown’s ‘Peking To Paris’, ‘Me and My Art’ is a new series of documentaries produced by the ABC to be shown as part of their Sunday arts program. In late July we’ll see a short feature about Melbourne member Leigh Hobbs, focusing on his work as a children’s book illustrator and creator of ceramics, sculptures, paintings etc. Leigh’s latest book is ‘4 for Freaks’, just out (see review). His other children’s books (‘Old Tom’, ‘Horrible Harriet’ etc) have been a runaway success in Australia as well as overseas and the animated series of the old cat has become a favorite. 18 www.cartoonists.org.au
It is Miss Corker’s misfortune to encounter Nearly Normal Nancy, Feral Beryl, Louisa the teaser and Terribly Tough Timmy among other rebellious kids, all from the pen and ink of ‘one of today’s best living children’s book illustrators’. No computer short-cuts for Leigh Hobbs.
Victorian member Grant Brown is jetting off to the US from the 29th of September until the 12th of October. Grant will be attending the National Caricaturing Network annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference runs from the 1st-5th of October.Some of the best caricaturists in the world will be attending.For more information on the NCN check out www.caricature.org
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Rolf gets ridiculous
Now in production at Little Hare Books in Sydney – another children’s book written and illustrated by Rolf Heimann. This is the third book in this series and will be titled, appropriately, ‘A Ridiculous Story’. It contains short stories about talking spiders, a haunted castle, an inflatable hippopotamus, a time machine that gets mistaken for a washing machine and many other even more ridiculous things. Pirates too, and snakes by the dozen!
Wollongong’s Warren Steel was “stoked” when told two of his three entries in the Baldy Archies made the final cut and joined the national tour. It was the first time he entered. His work featured John Howard as “Super Johnny” , another of Premier Morris Iemma as Elvis (below) and a third depicting Abbott and Costello as Abbott and Costello. The Bald Archys, a send-up of the Archibald Prize, is run every year by the Colac Festival of Fun - www.regionalartsnsw.com.au or Google for it.
Western Australia Is Seriously Funny Over the March long
weekend this year the ArtGeo Gallery and Courthouse Arts Complex held its inaugural Art and Humour festival. The exhibition is the only award in Western Australia that focuses on humour. This year the exhibition was judged by Paul Rigby, internationally renowned cartoonist and several categories were awarded both cash prizes and of course wine, the area being well known for its wine industry. Paul’s opening speech said much about the state of cartooning hobbled by political correctness and current sedition laws. He also commented on the direction of contemporary art where apart from the date on work lent nothing to marking its presence in time or place. The categories were ‘Seriously Funny’, ‘Wit and Whimsy’, ‘Laugh Out Loud’ and ‘Beyond a Joke’ awarding prizes to include the broad range of work on show. Artists from around the state submitted work. Political satire appeared in both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional forms as drawings, photographs, prints, sculptures and paintings. Cartoonists’ work contained musings on current society but few directly commenting on politics or political figures. Other artists’ works used visual puns and threw side balls at the philosophies of life. Prize money is set to increase from this year’s $7,000 pot to $15,000 with further support from business. It is also open to artists, cartoonists and sequential artists in the nation. The next submission will commence in early January 2007. Interested artists should phone ArtGeo on 08 97514651 for further details closer to the date. Meanwhile the annual Little Creatures Brewery exhibition kicked off with the offical opening by Fremantle Mayor Peter Tagliaferri . The exhibition features over 50 pieces of work from West Australian members and includes satirical and political cartoons as well as caricatures of local identities . The exhibition runs from June 22nd through to July 24th , upstairs at Little Creatures Brewery , Mews St, Fremantle and is well worth a look and a pint of pale ale. The ACA’s Walkley Award found its way to Perth where Titane Laurent (right), outstared it for a Guinness World Record.
Purple Spider Studio
Joanne Brooker’s Purple Spider Studio has opened at the Metro Arts on Edward Street right in the middle of sunny Brisbane. Purple Spider Studio has been created to focus the Art of Caricature and Cartoon within Brisbane and to bring together artists from all over who wish to take their art to a professional level or to just enjoy this fabulous artform. Joanne has organised a unique and specialised series of Caricature and Cartoon workshops and classes for all ages and abilities. Email for details or check out her blog for details for upcoming events - http:// purplespiderstudio.artsblogs.com. Joanne has also organised an exhibition called Extreme Faces, a collaberation between herself and fellow artists exhibiting paintings, sculpture and photography for September at Metro Arts Gallery. www.cartoonists.org.au
Vane Lindesay reports: At the February meeting of the Victorian Chapter to a full house (Rolf and Lila Heimann’s actually), we were privileged to hear a taped recording of Ronald Searle being interviewed on BBC radio, a broadcast listened to with interest and respect. Ronald spoke about his love of select classical music, some of his favourite pieces interspersed the interview, and how he felt that a new direction for his art had been his aim, leaving the ‘St. Trinians’ behind him for all time. Altogether a fascinating hour – to cartoonists anyway. Leigh (Old Tom) Hobbs received the tape from the family of ‘Lofty’, he being a friend and fellow prisoner in Changi during World War II. In the role of Patron of the ACA, and with the consent of the Victorian Chapter, I passed on our fraternal greetings and an appreciation of his broadcast to Ronald Searle living in France. Here is his response addressed ‘PRIORITAIRE’ to the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association. I should add that with a sense of fun, Sapper Ronald Searle would have heard the Aussie approving expression ‘Good on you, Dig!’ from Australian soldiers fellow prisoners in Changi. I ended our letter to Ronald with it. This explains his greeting...
Dear Vane – and all the Cobbers (you can see I was with the best of the Australian riff raff) of the Victorian Chapter, I was very touched by the more than kind message from you all. Pen and ink can be a real mess. But in some cases it can be like super glue & bring together a mob in friendship so that we can all suffer together the miseries of trying to find brilliant ideas and scratch them onto paper. Australia – well, the Victoria bit – is quite a long way from this South of France mountain village. We have more goats than sheep (but the smell is about the same) but despite the miles that seperate the cartoonists at both ends beating their brains out to appear beautiful in print, the friendship is there, and I send you all the best of mine – and good on yer! Ronald Searle.
Melbourne cartoonists meeting John Lent at Rolf’s house: (from left) George Haddon, Ingrid, John Spooner, WEG (Bill Green), Vane Lindesay and Rolf Heimann with John Lent John Lent, Professor for Mass Communication from Temple University Philadelphia, and (among many other things) editor of the International Journal of Comic Art, honored Australia with another visit, this time to Melbourne, where he was hosted by Rolf Heimann. Primarily he had come to talk at Swinburne University on the history of comic research as part of the yearly ‘Colloquium’ on humour, but he took the chance to meet Melbourne cartoonists in preparation for a symposium on Australian cartooning, to be published in his journal. He also inspected Jim Bridges’ impressive array of filing cabinets and indulged in one of his favourite pastimes – shuffling through second-hand bookstores. Vane Lindesay, among others, is hard at work preparing a contribution to John Lent’s journal. 20 www.cartoonists.org.au
George and Maxine Haddon spent three relaxing days on P&O’s Pacific Star (as part of his 2005 Gold Stanley Award). A grateful George sent P&O several sketches he created while on board. He didn’t throw anyone overboard during the production of this sketch (above). Not bad, eh?
Sydney’s AppleCentre TaylorSquare has moved. As part of the move, they’ve rebranded their company to Academy Store Bondi Junction Apple Premium Reseller. They’ve also changed their telephone number to (02) 8383 1600, complete with a new website address: www.academystore.com.au. The new Academy Store opened its doors on the chilly evening of 15 June and greeted over 950 guests in its first 4 hours! Perhaps the prospect of a beer or two helped swell numbers, but was nevertheless a success. Better still, proprietor Ben Morgan confirmed his involvement with Stanleys 2006! Great one, guys!
Journal of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association.