The Really BIG Cartoon Day is approaching – for those who don’t have it in their diaries yet it’s the day after Hastings bonfire, Sunday 16 October. Erica Smith is one of the organisers, and here she tells you what is going to happen, as well as why she got involved.
Cathy Simpson made me do it. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a big cartoon Festival to celebrate Martin Honeysett’s life and mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings?” she said. She’d been talking to Martin Honeysett’s partner, Penny Precious. I knew Penny, and knew and liked Martin’s work. It seemed a VERY good idea for SOMEONE to do it, so we got on and applied for a grant… We didn’t get it, so we applied for another one… and didn’t get it, then we re-applied for less money and got some, and kept on applying for grants and kept on getting them…
By then we were COMMITTED to putting on a Festival. I focussed on setting up a series of outreach workshops and talks whilst Penny focused on moving the exhibition of Martin’s artwork down from the London Cartoon Museum to Hastings Museum and organising not one but TWO more exhibitions of work by local artists and members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO). Pete Donohue, youth worker and cartoonist for Hastings Independent Press joined us to write safeguarding policies and help publicise the event. Now we are nearly there… it’s scary, but exciting!
SO – what IS going to happen?
On Saturday 15 October, members of the PCO are invited to attend an event at Hastings Museum from 1–4pm. Bill Stott, Chair of the PCO will open the event, and Royston Robertson of Private Eye will lead a panel discussion along with The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall. This event will be followed by a networking and professional development event for invited cartoonists and an early evening meal at The Beacon to which members of the public are also invited (email firstname.lastname@example.org to book). This will be followed by a walk to the Old Town to watch the bonfire parade and fireworks.
Sunday 16 October is the public open air event ‘Big Cartoon Day’ on the Stade and in the Stade Hall from 11am–4pm. We are delighted to host the veteran French cartoonist, Robert Rousso and Breton illustrator Emmanuel Cerisier who has writen a book about the Battle of Hastings. There will be a bevy of PCO members running workshops, caricaturing and drawing life-size cartoons on big boards including Denis Dowland, Dave Brown, Bill Stott, Christopher Burke, Royston Robertson, Cathy Simpson, Nathan Ariss, Andrew Birch, Jeremy Banx, Rupert Besley, Glenn Marshall, The Surreal McCoy and Clive Goddard.
Local cartoonists will be there on the day, including: James Brandow, Pete Donohue, Scott Garrett, Julian Hanshaw, Jon Higham, Christopher Hoggins, John Knowles, Erica Smith and Andy Willard. Brighton-based comic artist Ottilie Hainsworth will also be attending.
At 4pm there will be a wind down drink and buffet at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association (EHSAA). I sometimes wonder why on earth I let myself get involved with such a huge undertaking. And then I remember that I really like cartoonists, comic artists and illustrators. It’s not just that they do funny drawings, it’s because they see the world through an interesting perspective. They are funny and intelligent and I’m really looking forward to the wind-down drink because I know I’ll be in good company!
But the day doesn’t end there – at 8pm there will be a screening of animated films by Ralph Bakshi and René Laloux at the Electric Palace Cinema. Robin Knowles, one of our workshop co-ordinators has chosen the films as part of his B-Movie Fan Club series.
Oh yes – look out for Linda King driving her Car-Toon vehicle on Sunday 16 October – she will be ‘drawing’ people to the Stade to take part in the activities. We hope to see you there!