• Top

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

Illustration

Illustration: A brilliant history of the cartoons of Private Eye

Posted by Rob Alderson,

I think I’m quite funny. Most people think they’re quite funny. But there’s a cavernous leap between making your mates titter in the pub with that Sea World anecdote and being funny every day, making a living out of being funny and having to be funny to a deadline. That’s why my respect for cartoonists is so high, and some of the best are collected together in this brilliant new book, Private Eye: A Cartoon History.

Edited by Nick Newman, it includes more than 1,000 examples from across the five decades of the satirical magazine’s existence. It’s interesting that while some cartoons from the 1970s say are still easily able to raise a smile, others are bafflingly other-era.

In his entertaining foreword Nick reveals that the Eye receives about 500 unsolicited cartoons every couple of weeks, and as such: “Rejection is the glue which binds rival cartoonists together – and the experience which defines us as a breed.”

The book not only fetes the best examples of the Eye’s cartoons, it also charts the changing nature of the art form and (by extension) the changing nature of magazines’ role over the past half a century.

Nick also tries to dig into what makes a great cartoon; it comes down he believes to charm.

“The great thing about cartooning, for some of us, is that you don’t have to be able to draw particularly well. Some cartoonists are true artists, but many are self-taught, and one of the most highly-paid scribblers draws stick-men. But what you do need is charm – and that unifies the Eye’s cartoonists. However the bleakness of the sentiment, however sick the joke, if it’s delivered with charm you can get away with it – and with only a handful of cancelled subscriptions. "

Private Eye: A Cartoon History is available now.

  • P37-larry-couple-at-it

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P42-woodcock-mummy

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P114-tony-husband-yobs

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P138-nb-alcoholics-hieronymous

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P-160-austin-eve

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P230-heath-untattooed-man

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P240-robert-thompson-cnut-allergy

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P266-pearsall-sire-the-gift-shoppe

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

  • P272--meryick-jones-senior-moment

    Nick Newman: Private Eye – A Cartoon History

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. List

    Originally from Barcelona and now working in Finland, Magoz’s portfolio is a colourful jaunt through his editorial illustrations, which have appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and adverts around the world.

  2. List

    Joan Cornellà is nothing short of a master of his form. He’s got the gruesome comic strip down to a fine art, creating complex and hilarious narratives and then expressing them in no more than six bright panels, from one man with a poo on his head googling “who loves me?” and being given the answer “nobody,” to another man riding a bicycle made out of a suffering friend.

  3. List

    Wild Beasts frontman Hayden Thorpe vividly remembers coming across Mattis Dovier’s work. The band had been approached to take part in The Jameson Works, a project which focuses on how creativity happens and the insights and stories picked up along the way that are as much a part of the creative process as the final outcome. Searching for some reference material, Hayden came onto It’s Nice That and saw this post of Mattis’ GIFs. “It was pretty confrontational,” he remembers. “You could see Mattis’ hand behind the work and that reflects the way we now work too.”

  4. List

    There’s something delightfully scientific about Erik Söderberg’s GIFs, however firmly I remind yourself that they’re composed of thousands of pixels. The repetitive way they pulsate and fizz quietly on the screen takes me right back to double Biology on a Thursday morning, watching in shellshocked fascination as tiny living cells mutate on a tiny strip of glass under a microscope, and grandly imagining myself to be the second coming of Louis Pasteur.

  5. List

    I love peering into people’s sketchbooks. There’s so much more honesty in an image that’s been hurriedly scribbled down on a station platform than in one which has been perfected over the course of several drafts, and I’m a sucker for that kind of insight into an artist’s process. I like to see the mistakes, the rubbings out and the development as well as the final work.

  6. List

    I came across Assa Ariyoshi’s work while perusing the latest issue of Mood Magazine where it brought alive a feature on the weird and wonderful world of Icelandic cuisine. I love the way how in this surreal dinner party scene the shark looks like he’s drunkenly ranting at the puffin. We’ve all been on both sides of this I’d wager.

  7. List-176-holidays

    Jean-Jacques Sempé has something of a varied CV. Having been expelled from school, he went on to become a door-to-door tooth powder salesman, a soldier and a comic book artist, before going on to creating some rather iconic covers for The New Yorker and cartoons for Paris Match.

  8. New-list

    If our interview with Brown Cardigan as part of our feature on to digital publishing has taught us anything, it’s that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a GIF. Introducing then Japanese illustrator Nimura Daisuke, who has perfected the art with some of the sweetest, rudest moving images we’ve ever seen. How could you not fall for a shot of a woman flashing at a grumpy man as he looks the other way, or an unfortunate schoolboy leaning over and having the full conents of his rucksack crashing to the floor?

  9. List-14592817705_06714ea8ff_k

    Kevin McNamee-Tweed by name, twee by nature, I’d assumed, casting an eye over these sweetly, naively sketched wee pictures of books. Then I read the titles. One contained the word “shart.” Another proclaims, “It’s Only Your Fault: How to Help Yourself”, while a more philosophical tome proffers the question “who is….BIRD HUMAN?”

  10. List

    Jean Jullien is many things. Artist. Illustrator. French. Recent emigre to New York. It’s Nice That favourite. So hot right now. He’s also the final artist to have a show at Kemistry Gallery’s current east London home before it closes its doors early next year (although as has been reported it has some excitingly ambitious plans).

  11. List-2

    A couple of weeks back a parcel containing the newest issue of The Pendulum made its way through our door, leading us haphazardly but happily to the website of its creator, Liana Jegers. Chicago-based artist Liana is an illustrator as well as a co-ordinator of printed imagery, and her Tumblr is full of snippets of sketches in progress which stand up admirably on their own.

  12. List

    Last week the third issue of Danielle Pender’s Riposte magazine was launched and after she and designer Shaz Madani set such a high bar with the first two issues, we were interested to see how they’d followed up their previous success. The early indications are very good. Although we haven’t seen a copy in the flesh we have had a sneak peek at some of the content and once again the title’s smart curatorial approach is very much in evidence.

  13. List

    German illustrator Nadine Redlich just keeps going from strength to strength, her catalogue of exuberant characters growing day by day. Though there’s no doubt at all that Nadine’s masterful at creating truly cheerful chappies, there’s a growing number of creatures in her portfolio who look like they’re ready to hibernate for winter, staring out at you blankly as though they wish they’d been left to sleep. Of course there’s also the belligerent mountain, the cherry at the end of its tether and that creepy fellow with the giant aubergine who I can’t help but find menacing, resulting in an altogether impressive cast of characters in a portfolio we can’t get enough of. If you want even more, Nadine’s got a comic out with Rotopol Press that you can get your hands on here. Now, back to enjoying that dog on the chair…