Steve Bell Stole My Eyebrows: The News from the Shrews

p1000236As previously mentioned, last weekend was Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, and what an event it was! Luckily, the predicted storms failed to materialise (aside from a brief shower early on Saturday morning), and the sun shone throughout.  Myself,  Matt Buck and Royston Robertson were there to blog and twitter for, the blog of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation.

I arrived on Thursday night in order to start fresh and early on Friday morning, snapping and videoing the goings-on in the main square. A number of the posts were written (and videos edited) over the weekend, using laptops and the WiFi connection at a certain well-known coffee shop chain in the Square in Shrewsbury.

On Friday night there were a couple of gallery openings – an exhibition of Kate Charlesworth‘s marvellous work from New Scientist (of whom I’ve been a fan for many years), and a joint exhibition of Steve Bell‘s cartoons from the Guardian alongside submissions on this years theme of Science (to tie in with the 200th anniversary of the birth of local boy Charles Darwin).

Saturday’s weather forecast meant the appearance of the marquee to cover the Big Boards in the main Square, but this didn’t proved necessary in the end. Daytime events on Saturday included talks, workshops and cartoon clinics. Whilst Matt and Royston went off to cover some of the other events, I settled myself in at the Old Market Hall for talks by Bill Stott (on The Science and Philosophy of Serious Ranting – and very funny) and Steve Bell who, amongst other things, thanked me publicly for my eyebrows. You see, the thing is Steve was struggling with his caricature of Barack Obama, but it only clicked for him when he saw my rendering of him (here’s Steve’s before and after for an example) in Tribune. Saturday night closed with the usual bacchanalian shenanigans of the cartoonists’ and organisers’ dinner, of which the less said is probably better.

Sunday was a more sedate, with a chance to meet the cartoonists at the Bear Steps gallery, prior to a nap on the train back to Brum. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable festival this year – and certainly nice to see it from a visitors perspective (if no less tiring).We’ve been posting pics and vids from the show on all week, and there’s a bit more to come… in the meantime, here’s a selection of my pics (more here).

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