To give our editorial team a well-deserved break, Cartoon Movement will be 'closed' from December 24 until January 1. Of course the website and all the content will still be available, but no new cartoons will be published during this period. On Monday January 2 we'll be back to business as usual. Thanks for all your support in 2011, and we hope to see you all in 2012!
Orlando Cuellar is an illustrator and graphic humor artist from Bogota, Colombia. His work is a beatiful example of graphic art from Latin America. In the United States and (Western) Europe, cartoons and graphic humor are often associated with relatively simple drawings made with pen and ink, often with text. In the general opinion, cartoons are not considered art.
In other parts of the world, such as Latin America, the delineation between cartoons, graphic humor, and art is far less distinctive. This is also demonstrated by the work of Orlando, which is definitely art in its own right. In the slideshow below you can get an idea of how he creates his work:
When we began Cartoon Movement as an international platform for cartoonists, we had an idea: what if we published comics journalism regularly and treated it like a real thing worthy of respect. That is, what if reporting stories through comics wasn't a novelty, but an actual field comprised of professionals who happen to use cartooning where others use prose or film. What if in the great media transition we are living through, comics were actually a perfect vehicle for telling real stories about real people.
Looking to 2012, we will have much more from contributors who have already written for us as well as many new ones. We will also be launching two major projects that we are very excited about.
Last summer, the Cartoon Movement editorial team went to Haiti in search of cartoonists and journalists to work on a project focusing on the struggles their country face in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince in 2010. On January 12, 2012, the second anniversary of the quake, we will publish the first installment.
But the goal isn't to do a quick check-in on the anniversary and move on, as so many other outlets in the media will be doing. Largely ignored unless a horrifying disaster or coup has made headlines, Cartoon Movement will keep a spotlight on Haiti throughout the year. And we will do it with comics.
Besides using graphic reporting to tell stories, this project will be notable for something else: It will be done by Haitians. The stories told about Haiti to the outside world are typically from foreign aid organizations, visiting journalists, and even celebrities. No more. It's time for Haitians to have a voice. Oh, and we're publishing it in French in Creole so they can read it as well.
Running a total of 75 pages, the project will be illustrated by Chevelin Pierre (who you can see in our first video about the trip) and reported on by a number of Haitian journalists who will all take up a different subject, ranging from NGO money and influence to the recent reformation of the Haitian army.
Army of God
In the summer of 2010, journalist David Axe spent a month reporting from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Lord's Resistance Army has created one of the largest humanitarian crises on earth with its campaign of violence and widespread use of rape as a weapon of war.
Beginning in February, Cartoon Movement will publish the first installment of Army Of God, a graphic novel-length work of comics journalism focusing on the brutal LRA, the people they've terrorized, and the people fighting back. Written by Axe, Army of God will be drawn by Tim Hamilton, a Brooklyn based cartoonist and illustrator who adapted Treasure Island and Farenheit 451 into graphic novels.
"The situation in Congo is changing rapidly in some regards, and in others it's not changing at all," says Axe. "Corrupt president Kabila just won re-election, most likely through massive voter fraud. His hold on power will be a stumbling block to improved security. But growing awareness of Congo's problems, and a new U.S. military mission to help fight the LRA, offer some hope."
Real stories. Real people. Real places. Told through comics. See you next year.
On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, Cartoon Movement went online, claiming to be the 'the Internet's #1 publishing platform for high quality political cartoons and comics journalism'. Now, exactly one year later, we take a look at this claim, and at what happened in the past year. One thing we can say is that the success of Cartoon Movement has far exceeded our expectations.
'Cartoon Movement Anniversary' by Giacomo Cardelli - Click on the image to see the full-size cartoon
A development that definitely gave Cartoon Movement a boost early on was the Arab Spring, starting in Tunisia in January. Freedom and oppression are much favored subjects among cartoonists, and our freshly designed newsroom flooded with great contributions, giving perspectives from the Arab World, but also from the rest of the world. Check out our slideshows on the Arab Spring, and on Egypt, Libya (and Gaddafi) and Syria for an overview of all these perspectives.
The most special cartoon published in this period (and maybe even the most special cartoon of the whole year) is the one by Egyptian cartoonist Sherif Arafa, made a day after Mubarak finally resigned. It marks the very first time Sherif was able to draw the likeliness of Mubarak in a cartoon; this was a so-called 'red line' when Mubarak was still in power, meaning a cartoonists who was bold enough to draw a caricature of Mubarak was likely to end up in jail. We were very proud to be able to publish this cartoon; it also showed us the impact that our platform could have.
After Mubarak - Sherif Arafa
Cartoon Movement is all about providing a platform for visual journalism, and pushing the envelope by publishing new types of content. I had the luck to meet up with brilliant cartoonist Matt Bors just before (and shortly after for the second time) his trip to Afghanistan in August 2010. My first thought was to have him daw about his experiences in Afghanistan (which he did), but as we started talking about this new platform in the making, it soon became clear that we both thought comics should be an integral part of Cartoon Movement. So we decided to run Cartoon Movement together, myself as editor for the cartoons, and Matt as editor for the comics journalism.
Throughout the year, we've published some truly amazing pieces, showcasing the power of comics as a form of serious journalism. Some of my favorite comics are The Waiting Room by Sarah Glidden (about Iraqi refugees in Syria), What Every Women Should Know by Susie Cagle (about Crisis Pregnacy Centers, that don't actually offer the option of abortion), and, most recently, a stunning comic by Josh Neufeld about two cartoonists in Bahrain, who find themselves at opposite sides as the Pearl Revolution unfolds.
Page from 'Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand' by Josh Neufeld
There is more than one truth
The core philosophy behind Cartoon Movement is to publish different perspectives on the international news from different parts of the world. Although cartoonists agree on a lot of issues (as they tend to be a progressive bunch of people), we have had some instances where different points of view became apparent. This was definitely the case after the death of Osama Bin Laden, when our newsroom quickly filled up with cartoons on the issue. You can check out the resulting slideshow here. Worth mentioning is also the international support for Ali Ferzat, the Syrian cartoonist whose hands were broken to stop him from drawing anti-regime cartoons. This international solidarity among cartoonists is also why we started Cartoon Movement.
Out of our philosophy about different perspectives grew our special cartoon projects, set up for other media or organizations. These projects not only help us to continue to pay our cartoonists for their work, they also are a very interesting way to gather cartoons on a particular issue. Some of the projects we've done in the course of 2011were about freedom, peace and elections in the Arab world.
There Is More Than One Thruth - Victor Ndula
Living up to our motto, we think it's especially interesting to have the voices (and images) from those places that don't regularly appear in the global spotlight. Haiti is one of those places; its fifteen minutes of fame came on January 12, 2010, when a major earthquake struck the capital Port-au-Prince. Alas, the attention span of global media is chronically short, and soon other news was considered more more important. The camera's left, but the problems remained.
Inspired by his trip to Afghanistan, Matt came up with the idea to get comics journalism from Haiti, made by Haitian journalists and artists, to show a global audience what it's like there, two years after the earthquake. The total lack of infrastructure meant that to find these journalists, we'd have to go there ourselves. To that end, I convinced the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fund the project. After much preparation, we traveld to Haiti in Ayugust, and spent a month in and around Port-au-Prince to look for the right people. And with success. You can read about our experiences here. On January 12, 2012, we'll publish the first chapter of our comic on Haiti, focusing on the tent camps, corruption, and what happened to all the aid money.
Cartoons and education
December 15, 2010, also marked the beginning of our very first project that combined education with editorial cartoons. Working with 15 high schools throughout the Netherlands, we set up a collaboration between our 100+ cartoonists and over 300 students (age 15-18). Their goal; to come up with 100 great cartoons about the Millennium Development Goals and European Development Policy. Students sent in sketches and ideas, and cartoonists turned them into professional cartoons. The end result is a cartoon book that was made in large part by students, and is now used in Dutch high schools to teach about the MDG's and about the power of the visual message.
Millennium Development Goals - Luke Watson
This is probably the first time ever such a cooperation took place, and we're certainly looking to do more of these projects. This month, Cartoon Movement gave a presentation about the value of cartoons in education at Online Educa, Europe's largest conference on e-learning, to share our ideas with educational organizations from all over the globe.
At the moment, we're branching out into the academic world with a long-running project for the London School of Economics, supporting six-year research project on governance, security and justice in conflict-affected areas with editorial cartoons and comics journalism.
What makes Cartoon Movement unique is our global network, and our global scope. We aim to keep both the range of perspectives we offer, and the scope of subjects we tackle as broad as possible. Over the last 12 months our audience has grown steadily, and with visitors from 120 countries on average every day, we can also boast a truly international audience.
We're looking forward to continue on the same path in 2012, living up to our claim by continuing to publish high-quality content that offers a different perspective on what's happening in the world. We'll also continue looking for new ways to to use cartoons and comics to show the world the power of the visual message. For instance, in January we'll publish our second interactive comic, about the International Criminal Court (ICC).
We've been improving the website throughout 2011, and will continue to do so in 2012. If you have good ideas for Cartoon Movement, such as ways to improve the platform, or ideas for cartoon or comic projects, we would love to hear from you.
We hope you have enjoyed the first year of Cartoon Movement and will continue to visit and support us in 2012!
In this week's 'Behind-the-Scenes' we take a look at how the work of Ukranian cartoonist Vladimir Kazanevsky is created. Vladimir is a traditional cartoonist, and his work is made entirely without the help of a computer.
The slideshow below shows the process, which begins with a rough pencil sketch, followed by inking; coloring is done with tempura paint. Although Vladimir has a very distinctive style, the cross-hatching technique he uses is characteristic of traditional political cartooning. This technique is employed by many cartoonists still working today, but is less popular among the younger generation of cartoonists, who seem to prefer a cleaner style that is better suited to the mix of digital and traditional tools that they use.
In July 2011, Cartoon Movement's editorial team spent a month in Haiti in search of a comic artist and journalists to produce comics journalism about life in Haiti. This video is a record of that project. It was shot and edited by Caroline Bins, a video journalist who accompanied us.
On 12 January 2012, the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake that demolished Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, we will publish the first chapter of the comic that is the result of the project.
In February 2011, we ran the very first special project on Cartoon Movement. The project was titled 'Freedom Worldwide', asking cartoonists to draw different perspectives on freedom. Out of all the pitches, a number of cartoons were selected and used by the National 4 and 5 May Committee, an organization responsible for Dutch Liberation Day, which takes place on May 5th each year. The cartoons (which you can see in this slideshow) were used in publications throughout the Netherlands to remind the Dutch how precious freedom is.
Freedom from Generation to Generation - Gianfranco Uber
For the next Liberation Day (May 5th 2012), we have been asked to set up a new cartoon project. This year's theme is freedom from generation to generation, and it invites you to think about your concept of freedom, which was passed on to you by the previous generation, and is also influenced by your experiences. In turn, you will pass on your concept of freedom to the next generation, contributing to the evolving meaning of freedom. But, although the concept of freedom may change with the times, its importance and urgency should never be forgotten.
The special newsroom for this project is already full of great cartoons on the subject. The project is only visible to registered users, so if you were looking for a good excuse to sign up, this is it!
We are very happy to welcome Chad Crowe to Cartoon Movement. Chad is a cartoonist and illustrator from Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in publications across the U.S., including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Capital Business, and The Boston Phoenix. For the last 10 years most of his work has been illustration focused, and he is looking forward to creating political cartoons once again.
The Huffington Post has a short interview with Stephanie McMillan about her piece for Cartoon Movement.
HuffPost: Do you have any specific demands? (I have to ask.)
McMillan: I don't have demands because I don't recognize the legitimacy of those in power (so why would I demand anything from them?), and I don't believe that this system can be reformed. But I absolutely have goals: a sustainable way of life free of class divisions and all other forms of domination.
In this installment we give you a insight into the working method of Spanish cartoonist Miguel Villalba Sánchez, who is perhaps better known by his artist name Elchicotriste. When we contacted him, he said he was happy to participate, but warned us we would be surprised, and that maybe some professionals wouldn't like to see the way he works.
Well, it's not like any work environment we've encountered before, but that's what makes looking behind the scenes so interesting.
Miguel about the way he works: 'Of course there’s a variation of techniques depending on the job. When I’m travelling around I may use the available material I get and improvise procedures. I can be drawing on restaurant tissues or even toilet paper if the emergency requires to. If I’m moving (train/car/plain) the digital camera will substitute the scanner to digitalise the image. If I am safe at home, for private commissions in which I have to deliver the original drawing, I enjoy to use watercolour. This video is the performance of a comic character I monthly publish for a comic magazine released in several newspapers in Catalonia.'
Although Miguel is a traditionalist, preferring pencil and paper over pen and tablet, he must be one of the most eco-friendly cartoonists working today; where most artists use ample amount of paper to do their sketching and drawing, Miguel recycles paper, using every inch of available white space to draw.
Take a look at the slideshow to see how Miguel works: