Thursday, May 31, 2007

Surveillance news

The Times Educational Supplement is reporting this week that schools are being asked to get all their pupis to fill in a personal qestionnaire on the behaviour of their parents. I'm reproducing the intro to the frontpage story below - and also the cartoon I was asked to draw about it.

> Heads shun ‘Big Brother’ Ofsted survey asking 10-year-olds if they get drunk and if mum works.
Pupils as young as 10 are being asked personal questions, including how often they get drunk and whether their parents have paid jobs, in an Ofsted survey.
The education watchdog has told teachers they do not need parental permission before children complete the online questionnaire because it is anonymous.
But pupils are being asked for their full home postcode.

Anyone else find this slightly worrying? Ofsted are supposed to be an educational standards board - not an arm of social services.

News animation on Iraq ...

... is published here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Yorker news

Here's a short video interview with Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker. Generally, cartooning isn't big on prestigious things, but being cartoon editor of the New Yorker is probably about as close as it gets. Please try and ignore the fact that the clip is at least in part, trying to associate a IT firm with the essential coolness of getting to draw for a living.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cartoonist interview news

Here is a link to a fantastic interview with one of Britain's most outrageously gifted cartoonists, Martin Honeysett. Obviously, rather than getting admired here, he had to go to Japan to get interviewed.

I particularly enjoyed this Jules Feiffer quotation that Honeysett cites;

"Jules Feiffer once said that 'outside of basic intelligence there is nothing more important to a good cartoonist than ill will.' "


Waste and rubbish news

A letters page cartoon on the traditional employment problem of ageism.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New news animated cartoon

The UK will be building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

How to draw really big - in review

My colleague Royston Robertson has kindly posted details of some links to pictures and video of the recent Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival at which we both worked.

There are some details on what I did there here, here and here.

Although I'm told I ought to warn you about the hat which appears.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Green news

British Airways are running a green audit for their information management team.
[Story from Computing newspaper]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New animation news

I have a new political animation posted here - all about the next unelected political leader in a major western democracy. Oh, and here's a link to the last other one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Remedy for the doctors

The government has climbed down on its attempt to reform the way doctors are employed by the NHS. Remedy UK, a lobby group of junior doctors, has stopped a major power grab by central government in the way young medics are trained.

Here is a link to a campaigning viral animation I did for them this spring.

Launch news: 160507

Continuing the launch of Britain's first regular digital cartoon diary, today, cartooning master John Jensen has posted his first digital drawing.

Forthcoming attractions include the debut of Martin Rowson and a new animation from me.

The artwork is available under a Creative Commons licence which means it can be used and spread across the web, but not for commercial purposes and it must not be altered from its original form. You can read more about Creative Commons here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Moderation news

Well, the comment spam has started to arrive (I'm one to talk :-) so I'm afraid I have had to turn moderation on. Sorry.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Newspaper contractor-dom

I blogged here about a large row that's going on in the US about the worth of animating political and news cartoons - and implied that was coming about because of the economic changes which are challenging print journalism - of all sorts.

One of the people I referenced, cartoonist Clay Bennett has kindly sent the details of an interview with him which has been published in the American Journal of Political Science this month. It's well worth a read for anyone who works in the print industry. I'll link to the whole pdf of the interview here, but here's one of the accurate points I think he makes about one of the reasons for the decline in newspaper circulations in industrialised western societies.

Clay > The bulk of the [job] positions lost over the past thirty years have been as a result of the virtual extinction of two-newspaper towns in America. <
> Our problem now is not the newspapers were lost, but the ones that remain. No longer engaged in a competition for readers, a newspaper loses the ambition and aggressiveness that rivalry inspires. Without a cross-town rival, the features that once made the paper unique, and the journalists whose work most distinguished the publication from its competitor became expendable.<

I think this is an elegant summation of what has happened to our printed media (and cartoons in them), inspite of the variety of national press we have. I believe there will be a role for unique and distinctive content in the digital age, but we all still wait for business to work out that in order to get good content (and branding recognition) for the multiplicity of digital devices, one must be prepared to pay for the people who can make it.

Launch stories: 130507

The cartoonists from Tribune (not quite the men from Uncle, but nearly) launched a digital cartoon diary last week - and have started to get some reactions to it. One in particular made me laugh as political blogger Tim Worstall replied with some vigour to the PR effort ... I quote ...

Tim > My suggestion would be to start by promoting to blogs that share your view of the world.<

Trib>It would be a very boring and sterile debate if we only spoke to people we knew we
were going to agree with wouldn't it?

Tim > Well, if you could manage to get closer to agreeing with reality that would be interesting....

But, a gentleman, he posted a link anyhow, so thanking you Mr Worstall (doffs cap, tugs forelock etc etc).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cartoon controversy news: 120507

There is a large row going on in the world of American editorial cartooning - and it concerns one of the preoccupations of this diary - animated cartoons and the new media.

Put simply, the print media industry is going through massive and seismic change in the US - and cartoonists of all sorts have been employment casualties just like so many other journalists. Cartoonists have even campaigned againist job cuts (hard to imagine in the UK! But perhaps more on this later :-)

Some US cartoonists have looked at the situation and attempted to diversify into the new areas of media provision in spite of all the difficulties and worries that this brings with it. A brief namecheck would call Mark Fiore (the daddy of the new animated editorial cartoon), Walt Handelsmann, Kal (who I've blogged about before) and more recently Matt Davies.

But it is only recently that all this activity has really hit the fan with Walt Handelsmann's recent Pullitzer prize win for cartooning, which the judges said was in large part due to his work in animation. My colleague in the UK, Morten Morland has got some very interesting thoughts about this too.

There has been a fierece reaction to Handelsmann's Pullitzer victory, not least from his professional colleague, Scott Stantis.

There's some excellent background on all this in an interview with the former President of the Association of American editorial cartoonists, Clay Bennett. Check out his work too - it's fantastic.

As regards the row, I don't wish to get into the detail about whether or not animated art is a legitimate part of a winning Pullitzer submission, but I do want to post a few thoughts on the reasons why all this is happening - and you'll be unsurprised to hear, they refer back to the ongoing industrial issues in the print media. So watch this space...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Burying bad news news:110507

In among all the excitement yesterday, the government chose to release a long-delayed set of figures on the start-up costs for ID cards. There has been a fair bit of coverage of this, which is great because the figures are hair-raising - and these costs do not include little delights like the millions and millions of scanners which will be required acoss the country to make the system 'function.' The Home Office eestimates carefully 'divides' the project costs down into seperate areas, claims them as unrelated and in this way disperses the bill.

You can download the Home Office's artful report here - or get a fisking of it here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

LAUNCH DAY! 100507

Today, I and my fellow cartoonists at Tribune are launching a digital political and news cartoon diary - I'm also announcing my intention to publish Britain's first regular animated political cartoon there every Wednesday.

Today, I have made an animation on ten years of Tony - and his relationship with that most difficult of concepts, the truth.

Graphic to display if Flash Player is not available.

Also, on the news front - there's a small interview with me underneath a very large (and fine) drawing by Dave Brown in today's Independent newspaper.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Channel 4 news

I have two drawings published at the Channel 4 News website. They are for the channel's almost-the-end-of-the-Prime-Minister art gallery. I was commissioned for art which summed up the Prime Minister's time in power and of the three drawings that I sent, the two below made the final cut.

The Blair legacy.

I drew the original image way back in 2003, when the insurgency only existed on all the briefing papers which Tony Blair, George Bush and Dick Cheney failed to notice.

The Prime Ministerial character.

Here, I was trying to draw the man - and I think that after all the posturing and image-making he has undertaken over the years that perhaps there isn’t perhaps really much to him at all. What do you think?

There's also some very nice work from Morten Morland, Royston Robertson, Beau Bo'D’Or and The Spine.

Northern Ireland news: 100507

Stranger things may have happened...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Refuse news: 070507

Graphic to display if Flash Player is not available.
Weekly refuse collections are very popular - unnecessarily extended periods are not.