Awards

SILA Award

Went to the post office yesterday and found this lovely little package waiting for me. SILA Illustration West 52 Gold Award

Thanks to SILA and the judges for the honour. Below is the info, or you can head straight to the source.

SILA Illustration West 52 Gold Award

Thanks for stopping by,

Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

Reubens Weekend in Pittsburgh 2013

Hey yinz!  I just returned from a great week and a half in Pittsburgh.  PITTSBURGH!? Huh? I hear you mumble while absently checking your Facebook status.  Yup, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) moves their annual Reubens weekend around every year (I've been to New Jersey and Boston), and this time it was in 'Steel City'. Now, for those of you who don't feel like reading a long piece, here's the crux: I won my second Magazine Illustration Reuben Division Awardhad a rockin' time!  Woo! For the rest of you, please feel free to read on while I blurt out some foggy, jetlagged mutterings...

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Holy moly!  Here's me with MAD's Sam Viviano, while ex-MAD Editor Nick Meglin photo bombs.  Photos © me and Jason Chatfield 2013.

I arrived a few days early, as my previous experiences of flying in the US have been fraught with delays and weather issues.  So I allowed a buffer in case of crapness.  Turned out, it was a dream run; I had a whole row of four seats to myself for the 14-hour leg from Sydney to LA, so I got some sleep.  And then after just a quick four hour jaunt to Pittsburgh I arrived feeling fairly relaxed.

I took my lodgings at the Omni William Penn hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, where the Reubens were held.  It's a really fantastic old hotel with all the bells and whistles (not pictured) and an air of luxury (air also not pictured).  My room was slightly less luxurious than the public areas, but everything seemed to work ok, except for a light or two.  (Pfff...  seeing things is overrated, anyway.)  And I was also to learn that I'd need to purchase earplugs if I wanted to sleep in. (Pfff... sleep is overrated, anyway.)

Omni_Chatfield_Emdin

Not bad, eh?  On the far right was my view: a great old church and the skyline.  Even some water, too.  Nice.

After arriving in the evening I grabbed a quick shower before heading downstairs.  There I spied the lovely Tom and Marie Stemmle and Jeff Keane (Family Circus) enjoying a drink at the lobby bar.  Well, I assume they were enjoying it, as they were laughing and talking.  But then again, I was in a strange new land, and wasn't aware of the custom of the local tribes.  I approached them using the customary cartoonists' greeting of "hello", and a bartender was summoned.  I was then served the biggest scotch on the rocks I've ever seen (seriously, that glass was FULL... not that I was complaining) and settled into the night.

The next day I wandered around Pittsburgh, getting my bearings.  Besides bearings, I picked up three pairs of sneakers, clothes and other knick-knacks for stupidly low prices - well, compared to what they cost in Oz.  And with all that money I saved, I could afford to buy a new bag to lug it all home!

Sharp_Edge

The Sharp Edge beer cafe in downtown Pittsburgh.  Great beer, crap logo.

On Thursday a few more cartoonists started rolling in, which was a little weird as I generally prefer walking.  I met up with my fellow Aussie mate; Ginger Meggs cartoonist and comedian Jason Chatfield, who was to be the MC on the Reubens Awards night.  Jason's old mate Ben Russell travelled up from Chicago to hang out, too, and I had the pleasure of going on a 'man date' with him while Jas went to a meeting.  From all accounts Ben is a fantastic sketch comedian, being part of the elite Second City troupe in Chicago.  I also learned that he is a cocktail aficionado , and we spent many hours sampling some tasty beverages in the great Speakeasy bar under the hotel.  These weren't the girly, fruity ones, mind you.  These were the ones you'd see in the early half of the 20th Century - a lot of liquor and crushed ('muddled', I learned) things.  Over the week I developed a taste for the Old Fashioned, which I learned was some sort of alcohol and awesomeness blended with a shitload of hangover.

Jason_Sophie_Ben

Jason, Sophie, and, er... Ben

Friday brought a good sleep-in (either my jetlag had subsided or I was actually still on Sydney time and it didn't matter) and then seminars on e-publishing, Rob Rogers on editorial cartooning, and Terri Libenson on her 'The Pajama Diaries' comic strip.  On Friday night was the official start to the Reubens Weekend, and there were drinks, food, an excellent exhibition (excellibition?) in the local 'Toonseum' of art from every Reubens winner, including Bill Waterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Walt Kelly (Pogo), Al Capp, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Bil Keane, Mort Walker, Tom Richmond, Arnold Roth, Sergio Aragones, Rube Goldberg... seriously, the list goes on and on.  I was gobsmacked at the gorgeous inking of many early strips.  It made me a little sad to think that most of us new generation artists won't have the original art like this to show in years to come.  So many of us (myself an offender) will ink fairly loosely as we know it will be fixed up 'in post' later.  Or even work purely digitally (again, my bad).  Something to think about, at least...

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Reubens original art.  Wow.  This is how it appeared after one too many Old Fashioneds. Photo © Jason Chatfield 2013.

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Some MAD art on show, featuring original art from Sergio Aragones, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Tom Richmond.  In the middle is a MAD #1 I found at a local comic shop for a cool $5K. Photos © Jason Chatfield and Anton Emdin 2013

The night continued on into a local seedy bar with karaoke and girls walking around selling watered down test tube shooters.  The classy atmosphere drove many back to the hotel bar, so the hardcore of us stuck it out, enjoying some great singing performances, including Lio's Mark Tatulli  treating us to a rendition of Kermit's 'Rainbow Connection'... AS KERMIT.  He brought along his own puppet (as you do) and acted it perfectly.  Amazing.

Party_Blazek_Alma

Party people: The talented John Martz, Dave Blazek and I; Terry LaBan and Dave; Ray Alma and the 'Tooter' girl; Tooters all round thanks to Universal Uclick Prez John Glynn; Blazek, Rob Rogers, Mike Lynch and I.  Photos © Dave Blazek and Ray Alma 2013.

Saturday started with more seminars, including the awesome Mo Willems, who gave a very entertaining talk while sharing some excellent tips on story book layout and writing.  Next was someone I was VERY excited to meet: Drew Friedman.  Drew's paintings are astounding, and his talk was hilarious.  Drew is obsessed with old Jewish comedians... so much so that he has published three books on them.  He had some great stories to tell, including his visit to Groucho Marx and the rumours surrounding Milton Berle's enormous schlong.  Very informative.  Ahem.  And then we heard from Brad Anderson on his famous dog Marmaduke, but I was more interested in his early gag cartoons which exhibited his great, fluid brush style.

After a quick cuppa joe, we all scrambled back to our rooms to pretty ourselves up for the big night.  (It takes some of us longer than others - after half an hour of prettying, I looked pretty much the same as before.)  Drinks were served in the cocktail reception, and everyone looked marvellous (even ol' un-pretty me).  I got to meet my fellow nominee Daryll Collins, who was a great guy.  Unfortunately, Barry Blitt (my other fellow nom-nom) wasn't able to make it.  Barry does fantastic work, including infamous cover art for The New Yorker.

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This art STINKS!  Reubens night photos © Ray Alma and Mike Cope.

The night started with a bang as Mr. Chatfield came out swinging singing.  Between videos produced by Tom Gammill (Doozies cartoonist and writer for The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live), Jason did a brilliant job throwing out gags and keeping the night rolling along.

I was sitting at a table with John Kovaleski, and new friends Maria Scriven, Carol Isaacs (The Surreal McCoy), and Drew Friedman.  Admittedly, I was nervous once the awards part started (mainly from the thought of getting up on stage - I definitely prefer it out of the limelight) although to be honest I really didn't think I would get the gong.  The competition was tough, and I lost a few bets back home when they called my name.  Yep - I was awarded the Magazine Illustration Reuben Division Award!  And it was extra cool to be handed it by Bizarro's Dan Piraro.

The big winners of the night were Rick Kirkman and Brian Crane for their work on Baby Blues and Pickles, respectively).  Some other notable awards went to Jen Sorenson (Editorial), Vince Dorse (Online Comics - Long Form) and Ed Steckley (Advertising illustration).  The full list is published here: www.reuben.org/2013/05/2013-reuben-awards-winners/ and well worth a squiz.

By the way, everyone has been asking me which piece I was judged on.  Actually, there are six pieces, so the panel is looking at the best from your body of work published during the previous year.  From memory there was Pickup Lines and the Dinner Party for People, Black Caviar and Britain's New Muslims for The Spectator, plus MAD's Toilet Saga and The Avengers.

A night of drinking followed with an after party, and then the after-after party.  I stumbled in at around 4-ish to grab a few zzzzeee's (or zed's as we say back home) before heading down for lunch with MAD art director Sam Viviano, Chatfield and  Sophie Miller.  Stuffed, we waddled over to the Pittsburgh Cartoon Arts Festival a few blocks away.  A whole swag of cartoonists were doing signings and drawings, and I drew in a couple of sketchbooks, too.  I got whisked away to a big, huge comic store a few blocks away, and then had a bite to eat with Maria Scriven and Ray Alma.  Ray's a MAD guy from way back, and Maria has just had her first piece accepted into the mag, so it was a very potrzebie affair.  Unfortunately, I was a bit green around the gills, so made for a lousy lunch companion.  We headed back to the hotel to find ourselves in the street being entertained by ex-MAD editor Nick Meglin.  Talking to Nick is like being in a stand-up comedy club and we were all in stitches - mainly because he'd beat us if we didn't laugh.

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MAD's Nick Meglin and Sam Viviano keep us amused.  Photos © Ray Alma 2013.

Then it was time to dress up all over again for the farewell dinner and drinks at the Speakeasy.  Everyone really did outdo themselves - there were a lot of white suits and feathers, headbands and long cigarette holders.  I dressed smart-casual and felt like a goddamn bum in comparison.  But it was a great night, and I got to chat to quite a few people, many of which I didn't get a chance to on the crazy night before.

Monday rolled around far too soon and everyone left.  Leaving the next day, I headed out to walk along the river for some head-clearing.  I passed the Andy Warhol Museum (closed, darnit!), two sports stadiums and then stopped in at the Carnegie Science Museum, which is like the Powerhouse Museum here in Sydney.  I had a lot of fun playing air hockey and Foosball against computers.  (They won every time, despite my sledging and threats to loosen their bolts.)  I was actually feeling pretty homesick at this point.  I missed Ash and the kids, and realised that going to such a family-friendly place was a really stupid idea.  So I shuffled back to the hotel, ate a lonely dinner and counted down the hours till I would see them.

The journey home seemed to take an eternity.  Leaving early, I left the Pitts to spend eleven hours in JFK airport waiting for my flight.  Fog in Sydney had caused massive delays, and to top it off we all had to get off the plane in LA for three hours before commencing the 14-hour leg to Sydney.  Luckily I got a bit of sleep, and was sitting at a local Italian restaurant with the family 48 hours after leaving my hotel.  Bliss.  Later I collapsed into bed, and woke to tell the tale here.


Thanks so much for stopping by, and I appreciate all the notes that have been coming in to my mailbox and via social networking.  It really was an amzing week, and I met and caught up with so many awesome cartoonists - way too many to name here - you know who you are.  And congrats and thanks to Tom Richmond, Jeff Keane and all the rest of the NCS board for putting on a brilliant weekend.

I'm decompressing over the weekend, and then back to the ol' drawing board next week... see you then.

Take care,

Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

Finalists for Cartoonist of the Year

Very surprised (and honoured) to read this news:2012 Stanleys Log

Gold Rush For Cartoonist Of The Year

The Australian Cartoonists Association is proud to announce the six finalists for the Gold Stanley for Cartoonist Of The Year to be announced at the 28th Stanley Awards in Newcastle on November 17.

Named after the famous 1930’s legendary Smiths’ Weekly Cartoonist (and ACA Past President) Stan Cross and his timeless cartoon - “For gorsake, stop laughing - this is serious!”, the Stanley Awards are globally recognised and revered.

Award categories include comic strip, single gag, editorial/political, caricature, illustration and comic book art. Finalists and winners of these awards will be announced during the Stanley Awards dinner.

The finalists for the Gold Stanley Award sponsored by the Herald Sun are (in alphabetical order):

Peter Broelman – editorial cartoonist for Fairfax and APN regional newspapers and recipient of the Gold Stanley in 2005 and 2009.

Anton Emdin – freelance illustrator for MAD, The Spectator, People and last year’s Gold Stanley winner.

Mark Knight – editorial cartoonist from the Herald Sun who was awarded the Gold Stanley in 2006 and is also a three-time Walkley Award winner for Best Cartoon.

Glen Le Lievre – freelance cartoonist with The New Yorker, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

David Pope – editorial cartoonist from the Canberra Times and 2010 Gold Stanley winner.

David Rowe – editorial artist with the Australian Financial Review who has collected three Gold Stanleys in 2002, 2007 and 2008 and is also a two-time Walkley Award recipient.

Congratulations to all nominees.

Good luck to Broels, Mark, Glen, Pope and Rowe! Really an honour to be in such fine company.

 

Cheers, Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

ACA Stanley Conference and Awards 2011 ~ Part Two: The Awards Night

If you had arrived in the foyer of the Mercure Hotel in central Sydney on Saturday 12th November, 2011, you would have encountered a rare sight: cartoonists, illustrators and comic book creators dressed up to the nines; suits, ties, clean underwear, and even a hand-panted tie and gold winged sneakers! Usually known for being casual we donned the dapper duds and drank, danced, dined, duelled and presumably other things beginning with "D" till dark and dawn. Yes, it was the 27th Annual Stanley Awards by the world's oldest cartooning club, the Australian Cartoonists Association (ACA), and a fun one it was!

Beat poet Jules Faber and comic creator and animator Matt Taylor gaze lovingly at each other while Peter Berner and Jonesy chat about fame and fortune, presumably

After pre-dinner drinks, the night kicked off with Reg Mombassa's duo "Dog Trumpet" playing a few tunes to set the mood. Reg is a deft hand with the slide guitar, and as I had found out at the conference, a really good bloke, too.

Founding Mental as Anything members Pete O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa in Dog Trumpet

Our MC was Brendan "Jonesy" Jones (half of the "Jonesy and Amanda" radio team) and he did a cracker job of hosting the evening, even admitting he had a thing for Roger Fletcher's Staria when he was a teenager!

During dinner we were also treated to a satirical presentation by Rodney Marks, performing as 'Ewan Dye'.

Christie Follett, Ash Kinchin and Eva Frengstad. These girls got up to mischief...

Jonesy holds the Ralph Steadman for the auction and dreams of Staria's "sexy but functional" costume.

Every year there is a silent and regular art auction, and I this time I picked up a sweet, signed Ralph Steadman print! Money raised was being donated to the Westmead Children's Hospital and I was pleased to meet an exceptional young bloke named Conner Maclean who dedicates his time to raising money for the hospital. Here's a video that explains his situation a bit better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyz-xJ5oeSE . Connor is a little older now, and a great guy. He planned to sing, but unfortunately his throat wasn't quite up to it on the night.

Jules Faber and Mark McHugh with Connor Maclean and his mum, Cheryl. We all drew cartoons in Connor's autograph book, and I think he had a great time.

A great part of the evening was the presentation to Marie Fletcher, and then to Roger, a hand-bound book of original Torkan homage art from 35 artists on the occasion of Torkan's 35th anniversary. Once the art is online I will link to it, as there were some great cartoons in there. In the meantime you'll have to suffer my first ink and watercolour piece ever (be kind)...

Also throughout the night we paid homage to Ginger Meggs' 90th Birthday by drawing the famous Aussie redhead for the Cartoon of the Night competition. You can read all about the history of this classic strip here: http://jasonchatfield.tumblr.com/post/12787755115.

Jason Chatfield has fun with his character.

The Awards presentations kicked off swiftly, and I've included the full list below (which I've nicked from the ACA blog):

27th Annual Stanley Awards

FINALISTS AND WINNERS

… … … … …

ILLUSTRATOR

Sponsored by WACOM

Anton Emdin -WINNER

David Follett

Pat Campbell

Matthew Martin

Jozef Szkeres

COMIC STRIP CARTOONIST

Sponsored by The Herald Sun

Tony Lopes -WINNER

Gary Clark

Glen Le Lievre

Alex Hallatt

Andrew Marlton

EDITORIAL/POLITICAL CARTOONIST

Sponsored by The Sydney Morning Herald

David Pope -WINNER

Peter Broelman

David Rowe

Mark Knight

Cathy Wilcox

CARICATURIST

Sponsored by The Australian

David Rowe -WINNER

Joanne Brooker

Luke Watson

David Pope

Judy Nadin

COMIC BOOK ARTIST

Sponsored by MEAA

David Follett -WINNER

Roger Fletcher

David Heinrich

Jozef Szekeres

Stuart Hipwell

SINGLE GAG CARTOONIST

Sponsored by CAL

Andrew Weldon -WINNER

Glen Le Lievre

Matthew Martin

Cathy Wilcox

Matt Golding

CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by the Herald Sun

Anton Emdin -WINNER

David Rowe

David Pope

Andrew Weldon

Mark Knight

Peter Broelman

--

Oh, and we mustn't forget a very important award - the Jim Russell Award for contribution to Australian cartooning, received by the tireless and effervescent Rolf Heimann! Rolf has been breaking boundaries between Australia and the world, and truly deserves this great honour.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners. Andrew Weldon and David Pope couldn't be there, but recorded their acceptance speeches. Check out David's... very funny: http://youtu.be/AxXXgUyQ6dU

David Follett is clearly excited to have won a Best Comic Book Stanley for his brilliant work in Uncle Silas: Genetis.

You may have noticed my name on the list, and I am extremely honoured to have been awarded the gong for Best Illustrator and also the big one: Cartoonist of the Year!

Ash lost her mind when my name was called!

I cannot stress what a surprise and honour this was to receive. I did not in my wildest dreams think that I would win it. I've had quite an amazing year, and this really is the icing on the cake. Somehow I think I will always remember 2011!

Ok, the Oscars music is starting to play, and I can see a large hook protruding from the wings...

So, with the formal part of the evening out of the way, it was time to cut loose, and the Stanley Steamers made sure that happened right. The Steamers are a band made up of ACA cartoonists - who woulda thought that scribblers could shred, but they did - and how! The band comprises of Peter de Haan (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Alan Rose (vocals, harmonica), Roger Fletcher (guitar), Jason Chatfield (vocals, guitar), Sophie Miller (vocals, keys), Bill James (bass) Shane O'Neil and Buddy Ross (drums).

The Stanley Steamers in action!

The dance floor jumped and jived, while those non-dancers amongst us (yes, I'm hanging - but rocking - my head in shame) tapped our feet and tried to drink the bar dry.

I have no idea what they're pointing to. Any ideas? Mark McHugh, Glen LeLievre, Pete Rigby, Luke Watson.

Dave and Christie Follett

The party moved on to the bar and balcony... and then eventually to room 1431 where way too many people squeezed in for a killer after-party thanks to Pete Rigby and his amazing shoes...

Hermes delivered us the message that the after party was good to go!

Caricaturists extraordinaire: Judy Nadin and Steve Panozzo

Goofing with Geoff Richo and Roger Fletcher

Elton John made a brief appearance

Yes, it's getting late, and perhaps a few lemonades were drunk

Gary Clark (Swamp) sings a showtune.

...The room got pretty packed and loud, and at around 3am it wasn't much of a surprise when the hotel security turned up and we were flung into the street...

Chris Barr greets security at the door.

Luckily, the Broadway Hotel was just a couple of trips and totters to the left, and the cartoonists carried on celebrating another great year of Stanleys fun!

The official Boston Reubens Australian team is assembled again.

I'd like to thank all the Stanleys Team member for putting on a brilliant weekend. There is a mountain of work and stress that goes into it that we lowly attendees don't see. So hats off to:

Jules Faber, Peter Broelman, Mick Horne, Kerry-Ann Brown, Lindsay Foyle, Grant Brown, Phil Faigen, Roger Fletcher, Dee Horne, Hywel Kemsley, Peter de haan, Stephen Axelsen, Luke Watson, Peter Rigby and Jason Chatfield!


Photo credits: A big thanks to Jason Chatfield, Geoff Richo, David Blumenstein and Mark McHugh for allowing me to use their images. All photos are © their respective owners.

 

ACA Stanley Conference and Awards 2011 ~ Part One: The Conference

Well, I'm only just recovering from what was another brilliant Stanley's weekend! If you are not aware, every year the Australian Cartoonists Association holds a two-day conference capped by an awards night dinner and party. This year's special guest was the one and only Ron Cobb, who has had an amazing career in not only political cartooning but film production art and character and set design. The location: The Mercure Hotel in Sydney.

Friday: Conference Day 1

First up was little ol' me! I was honoured to be asked to hold an inking workshop titled "INKS Vs. DIGITAL" that addressed drawing in both traditional and computerised techniques.

(Sidenote: while setting up for it, I had one of my Stanleys highlights before it even started: drawing quietly and trading tips for over an hour with Swamp's Gary Clark. I may have to share a cool trick he showed me in customising to a Faber-Castell PITT pen sometime later, too...)

There was a lot to cover in the workshop, and it felt like the hour flew by. I started with a quick presentation of some of my illos, then warmed up and inked a quick drawing with brush and ink on paper. Then I moved on to another drawing using Photoshop and the new Wacom Citiq 24HD. (For those interested, I may be doing a review of this sometime soon, as I got to spend a few hours on it while setting up and doing the workshop.)

Anton Emdin's INKS Vs DIGITAL Workshop - photo © Jason Chatfield 2011

Brush and ink on paper. Not easy with someone threatening to taser you.

I gotta say, that I am not used to drawing in front of so many people - it was definitely an experience! Once my hand stopped shaking, I had to get used to talking and drawing at the same time, which is not as easy as it seems when you are used to quietly working in your studio. Thankfully a lot of questions were being thrown in and it seemed to go pretty well. There was a bit of time at the end, so at the request of an audience member I did a bit of simple colour work, too.

Anton Emdin's INKS Vs DIGITAL Workshop - photo © Jason Chatfield 2011

Digital inking on the Wacom Cintiq 24HD - it's a beast!

My aim was to show that you could use both traditional and digital techniques - either separately or together to make an illustration or cartoon, and I hoped that everyone would walk out with a few new tricks to add to their process.

Thanks to Jules Faber for MC duties, and Peter Broelman for an hour of filming over my shoulder! That little camera gets heavy after a while!

Next up we had Children's Illustration panel with Leigh Hobbs, Stephen Axelsen and Cathy Wilcox which gave some interesting insights into the world of publishing and the artmaking process. I had a great chat with Leigh beforehand, but missed out on meeting one of my favourite newspaper cartoonists, Cathy Wilcox.

Aussie Legend Reg Mombassa entertained us with stories and insights into his illustration, art and cartoons over the years. Reg's work with Mambo has covered the bodies of millions of Aussies. It would be hard to find someone that has lived here throughout the last couple of decades who is not familiar with his art. Not many illustrators can say that!

Dirty Creatures © Reg Mombassa

Alex Hallett (Arctic Circle), Matt Bisset-Johnson, Luke Watson and David Blumenstein discuss important matters of world domination.

After lunch we heard Nat Karmichael talk about John Dixon's Airhawk, followed by the Aussie Comics Panel with Tim McEwen, Dave Follett and Jozef Szekeres. They spoke about their work and Tim shared his extensive knowledge on Australian comics and creators. I had no idea that so many Aussies were doing well in the major publishers like Marvel and DC, and it was great to see quite a few titles being produced here. What came through in abundance was their love and devotion to the craft - a trait shared by most comic creators I've met.

Then, special guest Ron Cobb took to the podium and chatted about his prolific career as a political cartoonist. His style has been revered (and emulated) over the years and hearing him talk about his processes was very interesting. A lot of questions were being thrown in about his technical process, which I was very happy about. I love hearing tool talk.

For me, Cobb's work is so successful as he has the 'holy trinity' of the great cartoonist: design/composition, draftsmanship, and idea. With all these planets aligned you get a truly memorable cartoon, and Ron has many, many of these in his catalogue.

Art © Ron Cobb

That was Day 1 of the conference done, so Alex Hallett (Arctic Circle) and Mark McHugh (Easy Tiger) and I headed off to The Clare for some jugs of fine ale and shared some comic strip stories.

An hour later we walked (with a little more spring to our step, I must admit) back to the hotel to join the others for a meal in a private room, followed by drinks in the bar. ACA President/Ginger Meggs artist/caricaturist/editorial cartoonist/standup comedian/musician/what-the-hell-CAN'T-this guy do well Jason Chatfield had me in stitches, and I slapped the backs of talented folk such as comic artist and Stanleys newbie David Blumenstein, definitely not a newbie Steve Panozzo, legend Vane Lindsay, Broels, Watson, Dee Texidor, Chris Barr, and a host of other talented scribblers.

From top: Dad and son Watson do their ABBA impression while Jason Chatfield watches in horror; Torkan creator Roger Fletcher and Eva Frengstad; Vane Lindsay shows us how it's done; Mark McHugh looking only slightly insane.

I had planned on an early night, but this was not meant to be, and I stumbled home for a few hours kip before the next day's seminars...

Saturday: Conference Day 2

Due to family duties (read: wrestling childerbeasts) I unfortunately missed the AGM and Steve Little and Fran Stevenson's talk on the Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour, but I did arrive to see the uber-talented Eric Lobbecke do a workshop on editorial illustration.

Lobbecke is one of my favourite newspaper illustrators and he bravely gave himself the task of completing an illustration within the time a typical deadline might be. So, in 45 minutes he would sketch, scan and colour up a finished piece. Unfortunately, his scanner was having technical issues, so he had to colour up a different sketch he had scanned beforehand. Nonetheless, I was enthralled to watch him work and talk about his thought and art processes. It was interesting to see that he draws all the linework in pencil, and goes directly to colour in Photoshop.

Eric Lobbecke sketches Captain Tony Abbott

Like in my talk, Broels filmed over his shoulder so the audience could see every pencil stroke. This is something I love to do, and I know a lot of other artists learn a lot from this simple act of observation. Eric mentioned he found it difficult to draw and talk at the same time... Hoorah, I am not alone!

Spitting image: Comic artist and animator David Blumenstein with his caricature by Luke Watson

Torkan and Staria creator Roger Fletcher took to the stage beside NSW VP, cartoonist and cartooning historian Lindsay Foyle (although Roger has the gift of the gab, and I don't think Lindsay had much of a chance to even draw breath!). Roger's Torkan strip is 35 years old this year - an amazing achievement, and a testament to Roger's skill in telling a story and hooking in readers to come back week after week.

After lunch we were treated to a great presentation by Andrew Marlton, who draws under the pseudonym First Dog on the Moon for Crikey. Andrew's work is effortlessly funny, and he had us laughing the whole way through.

I even got a nod in his Stanleys comic strip!

Stanleys comic strip by and © First Dog on the Moon 2011

Stanleys comic strip drawn by and © First Dog on the Moon 2011

Peter Berner and Grant Brown

Next, Jordan Verzar chatted with Jules about the very successful GRAPHIC festival, including reading email excerpts from Robert Crumb about his cancellation from the festival. He also showed a highlights reel and hinted at some ideas for next year. I'm a big fan of the festival, and it's great to see a collaboration between Graphic and the ACA.

The highly anticipated talk on Ron Cobb's Hollywood career was on next, and Cobb seemed even more at ease, recalling stories of Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger to name a few. Ron worked on some of my (and the world's) favourite films: Back to the Future, Star Wars, Alien and Aliens, Total Recall and many, many more sci-fi films.

Two great cartoonists: Mark Knight and Ron Cobb. Just imagine if they made a baby.

Cobb's masterful painting and vision of the future has helped shape what we see now on film, and the room was transfixed on the production art that appeared on the screen. After the talk we crowded around to get a glimpse of some of the original pieces he had brought with, and cursed his immense talent!

Hammerhead alien design from the Star Wars Cantina scene.

Bruce Petty couldn't make it, so the dapper Glen LeLievre held the floor and delivered a great talk on his experience with The New Yorker magazine; showing many of his very funny cartoons. I've toyed with the idea of sending in some ideas, but with the bombshell that most artists need to submit for years - YEARS - before even getting one published, I wonder how strong my resolve is! Apparently, the record is ten years before being published. You gotta admit, that fella had a thick skin.

Do not adjust your sets... this is indeed Glen LeLievre.

That concluded the Stanleys Conference so (here comes another highlight...) editorial cartoonist Jos Valdman and I went for a quiet beer with Ron Cobb in the lobby bar! We had a great chat about movie special effects, models and CGI.

I could have stayed there all night, but there was something else on. What was it? Oh yeah, The Stanley Awards! So I had to drag myself away and get ready for Australian cartooning's big night...

Next... Part Two: The Awards Night


Photo credits: A big thanks to Jason Chatfield, Geoff Richo, David Blumenstein and Mark McHugh for allowing me to use their images. All photos are © their respective owners.