Sirene by Raoul Servais

sirene.jpg

Sirene (1968), a short animation by Belgian filmmaker Raoul Servais, isn’t as sinister as his nightmarish Harpya (1979), despite the similar titles. But Sirene does have a collection of anthropomorphic harbour cranes, and a flock of inexplicable pterodactyls like something out of a Gerald Scarfe cartoon. Watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Harpya by Raoul Servais
Taxandria, or Raoul Servais meets Paul Delvaux

Fortune illustrators

fortune19.jpg

Chemicals by Ronald Searle, November 1963.

More from the pages of Fortune magazine via the labour of love which is the VTS archive. A good reminder of the degree to which some magazines used to support many different kinds of illustrators and designers. The serious piece by Ronald Searle was a surprise since I thought he’d given up that kind of work by 1963. Below there’s a 3D caricature of Robert Kennedy by Gerald Scarfe.

fortune21.jpg

Poster Portfolio by Cassandre, 1937.

fortune22.jpg

Incantation by Charles Sheeler, 1946.

fortune26.jpg

RCA Building by Walton Blodgett, date unknown.

Continue reading “Fortune illustrators”

Memories

scarfe1.jpg

Untitled cartoon by Gerald Scarfe (early 1980s).

Margaret Thatcher saved career of police chief who made Aids remarks

Margaret Thatcher helped save the career of a police chief constable who said Aids patients lived in a “human cesspool of their own making”, newly-released documents show.

THE TELEGRAPH, 04 Jan 2012

Sir James Anderton, then chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, faced calls to quit after making the comments, which were perceived as homophobic.

Now documents secured by the Manchester Evening News give an incredible insight into the 1986 political storm – and show how close the country’s second largest police force came to meltdown.

It can revealed that the government staged a series of crisis meetings aimed at keeping Sir James in post, and that other chief constables accused Sir James of ‘bringing ridicule’ on the police service.

The papers also show that senior civil servants were dismayed over the top cop’s ‘religious overtones’ and feared he had a ‘taste for martyrdom’, but that Mrs Thatcher, the then Prime Minister, privately backed Sir James’s right to speak out – and stamped down demands for a public inquiry into the state of the force. (more)

scarfe2.jpg

Belgrano Nightmare – Thatcher Wakes Screaming (1982) by Gerald Scarfe.

bell.jpg

Cartoon by Steve Bell (2000).

Gerald Scarfe’s Long Drawn-Out Trip

scarfe.jpg

Yet more animation. Long Drawn-Out Trip was Gerald Scarfe‘s first foray into the medium, produced in 1972 at the request of the BBC who sent the artist to Los Angeles to try out the new De Joux animation system. The process needed only six or eight drawings per second of film thus reducing the usual amount of labour. Scarfe says in the first book collection of his work, Gerald Scarfe (1982), that the 16-minute film was still very labour intensive.

The subject of Long Drawn-Out Trip is Los Angeles and America itself, the concerns being the same ones that Ralph Steadman was depicting that year in his illustrations for Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72: venality, violence, vulgarity and the omnipresent spectre of Richard Nixon, a president who had the good fortune to be drawn many times by two of Britain’s greatest living satirists although he wouldn’t have thanked them for it. In Scarfe’s film we also find Mickey Mouse being reduced to his constituent lines and colours after smoking a joint. In the 1980s Scarfe regularly drew Ronald Reagan wearing the famous mouse ears, something that nearly got him fired from his post at the Sunday Times after Rupert Murdoch saw one of the cartoons. Long Drawn-Out Trip had a more favourable effect when it was seen by Roger Waters who asked Scarfe to create some animations for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here tour. The animated sequences for The Wall have their origin in this short film.

Long Drawn-Out Trip can be viewed here where the 4:3 ratio has been grievously stretched to 16:9. For those who know how, I’d suggest downloading it then watching it in the proper aspect ratio.

The art of Ronald Searle, 1920–2012

searle01.jpg

Undertakers. From Punch magazine (undated).

I started trying to draw like Ronald Searle when I was about eight. So there was Jabberwocky and Ronald Searle I was turning into by the time I was thirteen. You know, I was determined to be Lewis Carroll (giggles) with a hint of Ronald Searle.

John Lennon, 1968

Does the late Ronald Searle need any introduction? Everyone knows he created the anarchic schoolgirls of St Trinian’s in the 1940s, although their exploits had the greatest audience in the films based on Searle’s cartoons rather than the original drawings. Searle’s work first came to my attention through reprints of the Molesworth books he produced with Geoffrey Willans in the 1950s—Down with Skool! (1953), How to be Topp (1954), Whizz for Atomms (1956) and Back in the Jug Agane (1959)—a masculine riposte to St Trinian’s which allowed for a broader range of humour than the slapstick and short-skirted salaciousness the films drifted into. The Molesworth books are perhaps best appreciated at age 11 as this LRB review notes; looked at with older eyes all I see is a portrait of a rigidly class-bound nation whose boarding schools, gowned masters, “maters” and “paters” could only inspire affection in the Etonians currently attempting to govern Britain. But the drawings remain a treat: wiry and mordant with flashes of a viciousness that make Searle the godfather of Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman.

searle.jpg

The girls of St Trinian’s, Lilliput magazine, December 1949.

Given Searle’s influence on generations of newspaper cartoonists it’s no surprise that the British papers are being free with the plaudits. Links to various stories follow. The images here are taken from earlier posts or pulled from my bookshelves. The illustration of Engelbrecht below is from the Savoy Books edition of Maurice Richardson’s The Exploits of Engelbrecht which I designed in 2010.

Guardian obituary | Telegraph obituary | NYT obituary
• Ronald Searle in pictures: Telegraph | Guardian
Ronald Searle: a life in pictures by Steve Bell.
Mike Leigh: ‘Ronald Searle was my inspiration’.
Ronald Searle: Now let’s have some fizz: Gerald Scarfe remembers his friend and childhood hero.
Ronald Searle was our greatest cartoonist – and he sent me his pens, says Martin Rowson.

Other links:
Perpetua, the Ronald Searle tribute
Searle at VTS
Winespeak at BibliOdyssey

searle03.jpg

Engelbrecht versus Grandfather Clock. From The Exploits of Engelbrecht (1950) by Maurice Richardson.

molesworth.jpg

“A trap for dere Santa”. From How to be Topp (1954) by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle.

searle02.jpg

The Coming of the Great Cat God (1968).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Engelbrecht lives to fight another day
Ronald Searle book covers
Engelbrecht again