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Book Promotion

Book-promotionPhotos courtesy of Trapped in Suburbia.

We try to limit the amount of promotion we do on this blog to once a week, when we share our weekly new t-shirt design. Our revenue model is mainly based on supplying cartoons to other media, and doing cartoon and comic projects for various organisations, and does not depend on trying to get our audience to spend a euro or two. But some orders came in recently for our book 'There is More Than One Truth', and since we still have a couple of boxes in storage, we thought to do a tiny bit of promotion for those interested in obtaining a copy from our dwindling supply.

Originally published in 2009, 'There is More Than One Truth' is a collection of timeless editorial cartoons commenting on themes such as conflicts, religion, migration and human rights. The cartoonists included in the book are masters of their craft from all over the world, including multiple winners of the World Press Cartoon and UN Political Cartoon awards. We think it's safe to say it's one of the best cartoon books out there, not only in terms of content, but certainly also in terms of design of the book itself. The book was created by Dutch design agency Trapped in Suburbia, and resulted in a luxurious hardcover of 112 full color pages.

The book can be ordered for 25 euro (+ shipping). To order, send us an email.




The World Talks to Leslie Chew

Carol Hill, the global cartoon editor for PRI's the World, talks to Leslie Chew, a cartoonist from Singapore who is facing court because of his work. Chew is the creator of 'Demon-Cratic Singapore', which is published on Facebook. Although Chew claims the comic is about a fictional country with fictional characters, the Singapore government thought differently, and he was charged with sedition. Earlier this week, these charges were dropped, but he still faces a charge for contempt of court, for offending the judiciary in his comic. Hill talks to Chew and his lawyer how they feel about defeating this charge.

'Cartoons Are Like Medical Records'

Interview with Indonesian cartoonist Doddy Iswahyudi

Doddy Iswahyudi is the first cartoonist from Indonesia to join Cartoon Movement. As an old school artist, his cartoons are entirely done by hand. We talk to him about his work, and about cartooning in Indonesia.

Could you describe the process of how you make cartoons and the materials that you use?

'When an idea pops into my head, I start to make a rough pencil sketch on paper - for me, this is the most important part, until I find the right form. Then I continue to draw the outline of the object. I use a drawing pen to draw the outline. The last step is coloring with watercolor and ink; sometimes I use aquarel too.'


Are there many cartoonists in Indonesia?

'There are many cartoonists in Indonesia. Unfortunately there are few political cartoonists; I guess simply because there is more demand for other types of cartoons, such as illustration for articles, books, ads, jokes, etc. In the other hand, we do have a situation of social and economic injustice, bad governance, dirty politics and corruption. So it's an anomaly, if I may say so. In this kind of situation, political cartoons should flourish.'

Is it difficult to be a cartoonist in Indonesia?

'No, not these days. The challenge is how will you publish your work. When you're an independent cartoonist, it's not easy to publish your work in newspaper, because most of the large newspapers got their own cartoonists. In Indonesia, there is only one cartoon syndicate so far - one of the alternative ways to publish your work. The internet will help you a lot.'

I can imagine there are certain subjects you cannot make fun of?

'If you're working for newspaper, your main burden is the editor, since you have to get along with newspaper policy and he's the one who plays the gatekeeper role. There are certain subjects called 'SARA'. It refers to 'Suku, Agama, Ras, and Antargolongan' - basically ethnicity, religion, race, and inter-group relations. You can't make fun of those things too far. It's a sensitive issue.'


Do political cartoons play (an important) role in Indonesian society?

'Let me give you some examples:

In 1932, a series of cartoons appeared in the Fikiran Rakjat magazine, that were signed 'Soemini'. That is what Soekarno - later Indonesia's first president used as his pseudonym on his cartoons. The cartoons came together with his writings on nationalism, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and anti-capitalism.

In the revolutionary period of Indonesia (1945-1949), many cartoons were depicting the people's struggle against colonials. Under the Parliamentary Democracy era (1950-1957), political cartoonists 'celebrated' freedom of the press. They drew sharp criticisms of their political rivals, regardless of the newspaper's political and ideological background. It was the era of parties and groups using newspapers to spread their influence and gain public opinion.

Later on, 1959-1965, in the post-parliamentary democracy period, or Guided Democracy, as it was called, the fight became unequal because of the domination of Nationalist and Communist party. Then came the New Order under Soeharto (1965-1998) which is renowned as the hardest time for all forms of criticism. Press was controlled totally by an authoritarian government. The militaristic-style government had devastating consequences for freedom of speech and expression. Political cartoonists had to be careful, since they were also being watched discretely.

The post-Soeharto era (1998-today) is known as Reformasi – reform, a more open political and social environment. Today we can see a lot of sharp political cartoons criticizing the government, the parliament and the judicial institution. But the institutions remain silent, or to be precise, remain ignorant. 'It's like Don Quichotte tilting at windmills', said GM Sudarta - a senior political cartoonist, in an interview with BBC Indonesia in December 2012.

Political cartoons play a big role because visual language is easier to understand, more so than reading written words. It deciphers a situation or problem artistically in various ways, either humorous, satiric, ironic, or sarcastic. Even though cartoons give a smile on people's faces, they can be used to assault political or ideological rivals. Cartoons are like a medical records. It shows that there's something happening, and could make us think that maybe there is something wrong with our society. But it's not the cartoonist's duty to improve the situation, it's the government's responsibility.'