Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pol Leurs Cartoons - Luxemburg

I think Pol Leurs (°1947, Luxemburg) was one of the first cartoonists I met in the ECC. In fact, without knowing whom he was in reality, I knew his cartoons long before I met Pol. Many of his cartoons are published in catalogues of the Knokke Heist Cartoon festival, and his cartoons always make me laugh in a particular way. Pol is a very amiable man and artist to meet. In fact he's a retired engineer and a self-taught cartoonist. He once told me that engineers may have some good qualities to be a cartoonist, as he refered to Yuriy Kosobukin, who studied engineering at univerity too and is a well-known cartoonist.

Take a look at Pol's cartoons at his website, and you'll be convinced a his qualities as an excellent cartoonist. Serving his incisive humor, his drawings are precise, accurate and meticulous. Acid humor sometimes speaks of his drawings who make one think, but ultimately find the approval of the audience.
His two books: Poleurs Cartoons 1 and 2 are proof of this. Unfortunetely the books are sold out, but in November this year, a third book will be published. I'm looking forward enjoying it!

Learn more:
Poleurs website
Poleurs on wikipedia
Cartoonbook files:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eurokartoonale Kruishoutem 2009 - Sand Pebble and Gravel

This cartoon, for the cover of the 2009 catalogue,
is by Norbert van Yperzeele.
It's a cartoon drawn on sand paper.
A very good finding and creative idea.

This is the introduction to the catalogue by ECC president Rudy Gheysens:

"The Euro-kartoenale celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It seems like it was only yesterday that the first cartoon contest ("Chicken and Egg”) was held for Belgian cartoonists in the rural town of Kruishoutem.
Since 1979 the Euro-kartoenale has evolved hugely such that, after 30 years, I dare to say, without blushing, that we belong to the best in the world.
The cartoon itself has also evolved. In the seventies and eighties, this cartoon book still was dominated by black and white drawings, created with only a few pen strokes.
In recent years we have seen the cartoons develop into colorful, detailed pieces of art.
However the fundamental nature of the cartoon has remained: transfer a message, denounce something and make the viewer smile or grin.

Signed by prize winners
Ross Thomsom (UK) and Norbert van Yperseele (B)

This year 590 participants from 70 countries were inspired by the theme ‘sand, pebble and gravel.’ Although this imposed subject proved to be difficult for many cartoonists, the selection of cartoons is of stunning quality. The jury chose 200 works for the exhibition and in this catalog you will be delighted by a hundred of the best of them.
Have fun! Enjoy looking!"

Prize award ceremony

cartoonists Norbert van Yperzeele , Stefaan Provyn
and Ludo Goderis (jury) in action

Read more:
Cartoonbook file

Monday, April 13, 2009

U.C.O. - Unusual Cartoon Objects

article by JMB
Also take a look at U.C.O. (part 2)

Paraphrasing The Beatles, on can say: ‘Paper, cartoon, these are words that go together well’. Yes indeed, in spite of all the computers’ screens, cartoons are still printed on paper: newspapers, magazines… and books, of course! This blog is really a place to mention books.

But there are also calendars as well as some other cartoon mediums that use paper too, like:

this bookmark, advertising for a book of rebuses, drawn by the French cartoonist Honoré;

this disposable individual tablecloth, designed by the French cartoonist Cambon;

such disposable napkins, illustrated by the Turkish cartoonist Tan Oral;

this matchbox; designed by the Irish cartoonist Martyn Turner, for a wedding party;

these playing cards, illustrated by the French cartoonist Dubout;

and these cards for a soothsaying tarot, drawn by the Italian cartoonist Pino Zac.

Obviously, one must mention postcards too; some series are even bound together like a book.
Directly connected to cartoons, let us name the invitations to exhibitions or festivals, and their posters. Now, let us go from these largest collectible items to the smallest ones: post stamps.

A set of post stamps designed by the famous American caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.

Let us change for something really thicker: cardboard, and think of jigsaw puzzles; like the ones of: Mordillo, Jan van Haasteren, Roger Blachon, Oscar Barrientos, Maurice Sendac, Marino Degano, Graham Thomson… and many others.

The orchestra by the French cartoonist Loup
(2000 pieces puzzle; Heye publishing)

Smaller but thick too, such are the innumerable beer mats printed for brewing. Writing on an international website but located in Belgium, it would be a really big shame to forget them! Such items are illustrated by various cartoonists.

An old beer mat illustrated by the French cartoonist Chaval.

Well. Whatever the beers’ qualities are, the French I am cannot avoid speaking of… wine, and I am pleased to mention the labels for its bottles, sometimes drawn by cartoonists.

A wine label created by the French cartoonist Ghertman

Next time, may I show you some non-paper mediums? These are much odder. You remember the acronym: U.F.O.; the following items could be named: U.C.O. - Unusual Cartoon Objects.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In Search of the Better 'Ole - Captain Bruce Bairnsfather (1887-1959)

Captain Bruce Bairnsfather (BB) was the most famous cartoonist of The First World War. His cartoons of the soldiers and their life in the trenches, in which he served himself in Belgium, made them and the Nation laugh. But because he showed the men and the battlefields as they really were - dirty, generally fed-up and surrounded by the destruction caused by shelling - the Establishment disapproved of his work and he was never formally recognised.

29 September 2009 is the 50th Anniversary of Bairnsfather's death. In a next post, I'll tell more about this event. I recommend to read his biography, written by Mr en Mrs Holt, whom I had the pleasure to meet last week in Ypres.

from left to right:
Dominiek Dendooven (In Flanders Fields Museum Staff),
me, Valmai and Tonie - 1 April 2009

Captain Bruce Bairnsfather of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment created what is probably the most famous and most copied cartoon of all time ¬'The Better 'Ole' -which is featured on the cover of this book.
Bairnsfather drew cartoons to amuse his soldiers and to keep up their and his spirits in the mud and cold of Flanders. His drawings were published in the Bystander magazine and became an instant success, selling in hundreds of thousands and making nations laugh. His effect on the morale of the Tommy was such that other countries such as France, Italy, America, Australia and Canada asked that he should visit their lines and draw their men too, while the British Secret Service considered using him for propaganda purposes.
The Bystander organization marketed Bairnsfather's work much as popular TV programmes and films are promoted today. There were special editions, collected editions, prints and postcards. Grimwades, the pottery people, produced plates and cups, teapots and cheese dishes, and busts of Bairnsfather's most popular character, Old Bill, were made in pottery and in metal as car mascots. All of these are sought today by enthusiastic collectors around the world.
Bairnsfather wrote many books and plays and worked with Charles Cochran, Seymour Hicks, Sydney Chaplain and John Mills and his films were seen in Britain and America.
When the Second World War began he was virtually ignored by the British Establishment. The Americans, however, had taken him to their hearts and he lectured all over the USA including at the famous Carnegie Hall. Thus he was appointed as the official cartoonist to the USAAF and wore their uniform.
This is the roller-coaster story of Bruce Bairnsfather and his character Old Bill- the ones 'who won the war' according to General Sir Ian Hamilton - how they began, how they became one, how Old Bill both sustained and destroyed his creator in his search for the Better 'Ole.
Bairnsfather had always said that Old Bill had just evolved but in this new edition the authors identify the real Old Bill and find his name on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium, barely twelve kilometres from where Bairnsfather drew his his first cartoons.

Text: from the dust jacquet of the Bairnsfather biography 'In Search of the Better 'Ole by Tonie and Valmai Holt. (ISBN 08050527643 - 288 p, 2001 edition)

You can buy the book at:
Site of Tonie and Valmai Holt, BB biographers and BB collectors

Learn more:
related article: WW1 in cartoons
The BB commemoration site (more information about this in a next post)
The official BB site by Mark Warby
Site by BB collector Joe Bristow
Free BB e-book – lots of cartoons from Fragments from France (WW1)
Inspiration for making BB-based cartoons.
BB site by Michel Dewitte (Belgium)