Saturday, 11 June 2016

Making a Fougasse of myself

In which G.M. Norton draws a cartoonist out of the past. 


As a child, I harboured dreams of being a writer and illustrator. I was quite handy with a pencil and loved drawing. Fast forward 25 years and my only artistic endeavour now involves doodling on a notepad, while avoiding whatever dull task I'm duty bound to complete. 

Still, I achieved part of my dream and get paid to write. I've even gained the lofty title of Editor-at-Large for In Retrospect magazine (issue 07 is now out by the way, chums).
I must admit that until only quite recently, I'd never heard of Cyril Kenneth Bird before. 

A British cartoonist and editor of Punch magazine, he went under the pseudonym, Fougasse (which translates as 'a small land mine which might or might not hit the mark'). 
Fougasse is most well-known for his wartime public information posters, which is how I chanced upon him. 

He actually volunteered his artistic talents for free to the Ministry of Information, quite rightly believing that humour was the way to get across important messages.
We've all heard of 'Careless talk costs lives', what? Well, that was dreamt up entirely by Fougasse. 

By a strange quirk of fate, it was actually another war that we have to thank for Fougasse honing his talents and picking up a pencil. Serving in the Great War, he was seriously injured at Gallipoli and while recuperating, he started to draw cartoons. 
After the end of the Second World War, Fougasse was honoured for his gratis artwork with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire. 
Fougasse passed away on this very day in 1965. Quite rightly, his work is still remembered more than 50 years later and through that, his memory lives on. That's all one can hope for, surely. 

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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2 comments:

  1. Honestly: you NEVER know who's listening... that thing hasn't changer, it got bigger. Every device can be "turned against us" so to say - dear me, I'll start being afraid of my own refrigerator. :)

    M.

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  2. I did wonder who did all of those posters, thank you for filling me in with that historical snippet! They are really great cartoons aren't they? So, would you care to share any of your own creations I wonder? x

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