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Best Cartoons of 2016

As 2016 comes to close, we can conclude it’s been an interesting year (interesting, in the sense of the ancient Chinese proverb ‘May you live in interesting times.’). And although many people think that ‘interesting’ times provide a lot of inspiration for cartoonists, a lot of cartoonists would have been very happy never drawing another Trump caricature ever again.

However, world events did inspire some amazing cartoons here on Cartoon Movement and in the spirit of the season we’ve made a top 10 of the cartoons that were  particularly excellent (in our opinion) and resonated with our audience and beyond.

We can also conclude it’s been a good year for Cartoon Movement. We’ve maintained our financial independence, sustaining the site by reselling cartoons to other media (although there's also been media that did not bother with the tediousness of actually paying cartoonists)  and by doing various comic and cartoon projects. This means we’ll be continuing our mission in 2017: to publish great editorial cartoons that give different perspectives on world events, making you laugh, shocking you, provoking you and sometimes even making you angry. But always with the intention of making you think about the world around you. For now, enjoy our best of 2016. We hope to see you in 2017!

 

1. Nowhere to Go

1514-160126 Refugees (Dahdouh)_small

A very apt summary of the plight of many refugees, by Abdelghani Dahdouh. Published in January 2016.

 

2. Refuge

1573-160409 Panama papers (Reynolds)_smallA cartoon by Brandan Reynolds that went viral. It perfectly captures the inequality in the world in a single image. Published in April 2016.

 

3. Cause & Effect

1592-160512 Migration (Lahlali)_small

A lot of cartoons focused on refugees this year. This image by Naoufal Lahlali is one of the best, as it exposes the Western politics of intervention and billion-dollar arms industry as the core causes of the refugee crisis. All without needing a single word. Published in May 2016.

 

4. Fashion

1603-160601 Fashion (Boromand)_small

A look at the fashion industry, by Payam Boromand.

 

5. Lessons from History?

1611-160615 Trump (Nelson)_small

 We tend to be wary of Hitler-analogies in cartoons, as they tend to elicit such strong responses that any meaningful debate is impossible. This one by Dom Nelson, however, is just very good in our opinion (and our audience seemed to agree). It's painfully funny and so cleverly executed that even mentioning Donald Trump is unnecessary. Published in June 2016.

 

6. Now What?

1619-160624 Brexit (Vitti)_small

The aftermath of the Brexit referendum saw a lot of cartoons that used the Union Jack is some way (flags are always a popular subject with cartoonists). We like this one by Andrea Vitti, because it captures the confusion so well. Published in June 2016.

 

7. France

1630-160715 France (Hassan)_small

Sadly, some of the most powerful cartoons this year were those expressing the horror and shock after a terrorist attack. This one by Fadi Abou Hassan was made after the attack in Nice. Published in July 2017.

 

8. Security Council

1658-160920 UN (Hajjaj)_small

Osama Hajjaj with a visual analysis of the decision-making process UN  Security Council. Published in September 2016.

 

9. Nobody is Haiti

1669-161010 Haiti (Elchicotriste)_small

Another cartoon that went viral year is this cartoon by Elchicotriste, criticizing the lack of international response (no Facebook profile photo filters. no hashtags) after a hurricane took a heavy toll on Haiti. Published in October 2016.

 

10. I Have a Nightmare

1691-161111 Trump (Tomas)_small

An eloquent response by Tomas to the very unexpected outcome of the US elections. Published in November 2016.


Questions of Copyright

Questions of copyright is a monthly feature in which we share some of our questions and concerns about how and where cartoons from Cartoon Movement are used without our permission.

This month, the US elections provided ample fodder for cartoonists, and media outlets proved eager to showcase how the world’s cartoonists responded to the unexpected win of Donald Trump. First, credit where credit is due: we know that CNN and Politico Europe both offered payment to the artists whose work they ran. CNN even commissioned the cartoons, asking several cartoonist beforehand to do a cartoon, instead of selecting the ‘best’ cartoons after the event, like the majority of media outlets do.

We’d like to see more media actually commissioning cartoons if they plan to show cartoons on a particular event, as this will help in making the business model for cartoonist that much more secure.

We’re not sure how many other media that published cartoons slideshows actually paid contributing artists, but based on our experience, probably not a lot. Here’s one example that might serve to illustrate the point we’re trying to make:

No response.

A little later, on the Indy100 website:

Screenshot

Granted, the journalist was probably only asking for permission to use the cartoon as the lead image above the article, which is the only image actually hosted on the website. The Twitter embed function is generally used without permission (like we do above, ironically). A lot of cartoon slideshows are now published this way.

Perhaps the journalist just did not understand that we meant we were opposed to the use of our cartoons by another media outlet for free in general. We can only surmise that our message wasn’t quite clear enough.

Another outlet that’s worth a mention this month is Euranet Plus. One of our cartoonists was very surprised to see on of his cartoons included in a video on Euranet Plus. Checking more videos in the EUphoria series produced by them (and cartoons posted on the page with each video) we could not help but notice a lot of familiar cartoons. We of course assume that they have asked all the cartoonists for permission to use their work (and simply forgot one), but they have yet to respond to our inquiries.


Calling for the Release of Turkish Cartoonist Musa Kart

JOINT STATEMENT: CARTOON MOVEMENT, CARTOONING FOR PEACE & CARTOONISTS RIGHTS NETWORK INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR RELEASE OF MUSA KART, POLITICAL CARTOONIST FOR CUMHURIYET NEWSPAPER, JAILED ONE MONTH AGO

3-org-logoMusa Kart, a world-renowned political cartoonist for Cumhuriyet newspaper, Istanbul is one of several staff pending trial for "crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organisation and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)".

Accused of collusion in last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey, these journalists are just a few of the great many academics, public servants and media workers who have been fired, detained, questioned or jailed by the Erdoğan regime in recent weeks.

David Kaye, the UN’s special rapporteur visited Turkey in November and said: “Across the board, the Government is imposing draconian measures that limit freedom of expression […] the measures are not only drastic and disproportionate, but they lack any form of transparency.”

Kart’s regular panel in the paper has been printed with a blank space since his arrest. Today, three major international cartoonists’ groups call for his release.

Cartoon Movement is the internet’s leading international platform for high quality political cartoons and comics journalism with over 400 contributors across every continent.

Cartooning for Peace is a network of global cartoonists working to counteract extremism and prejudice, contextualise visual humour, explain its importance as social commentary, and confront ideology while respecting pluralism.

CRNI is the human rights organisation for cartoonist whose work leads to direct threats against their livelihood, liberty, life and limb.  Each year they present a Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award and Musa Kart is a past recipient.

All three are committed to freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.

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CRNI’s Executive Director, Dr Robert Russell, said:
“President Erdoğan has responded to the recent so-called coup attempt by arresting hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen. People from all walks of life, high ranking governmental officials, the cream of the judiciary, intellectuals of all persuasions, journalists, simple common working people and anyone else he thought had negative opinions about him have been arrested. Some witnesses have said that the entire affair made him extremely happy, as now has an excuse to get rid of all of his enemies.  There still may be as many as 100,000 people imprisoned.

One of them is Musa Kart, a prominent cartoonist with the Cumhuriyet newspaper. He and a number of other staff members still languish in prison.
We point out to the President that this whole affair demonstrates to the world how utterly paranoid he is, and the degree to which his own administration has deteriorated well into the failed regime category.

We call on the President to immediately release all innocent and improperly held prisoners, particularly journalists, and specifically Musa Kart. We ask that he be restored to his family and all charges against him and the rest of the Cumhuriyet staff be cleared.”

JOINT STATEMENT

On the 31st of October the homes of a number of staff from Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest national daily newspaper, were raided and under emergency powers they were detained for questioning without legal representation for five days.  On the 5th of November nine individuals were formally arrested and jailed pending trial for "committing crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organisation and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)".

This came amid a freezing of internet access and a wave of arrests across the country, all in an apparent effort to purge supporters of last summer’s attempted coup from Turkey’s mass media and opposition parties.

Organisations for the defence of freedom of expression and the liberty of journalists have already condemned the Cumhuriyet raid and arrests as brutal suppression of vital, critical voices in what purports to be a democratic nation.

We wish to draw special attention to Cumhuriyet cartoonist Musa Kart’s case in particular because this represents the third attempt by President Recep Erdoğan to silence him after suing for libel in 2005 and slander in 2014. On this occasion a punitive fine or jail sentence is not the worst possible outcome, as objectionable as it would be. If granted his stated ambition Erdoğan will reintroduce the death penalty specifically for those said to be involved in organising the coup. Clearly there is a real threat to Musa’s life should his trial proceed and he is found guilty of the charges given. We are witnessing an effort by the president to exact revenge on someone he has long considered an enemy.

It has been well reported that Erdoğan has taken an almost industrial approach in responding to personal offence over criticisms in the mass media.  Where, we ask, is the magnanimity shown earlier this year when the many hundreds of so-called ‘insult cases’ he had instructed his government to pursue were dropped? On what basis can the drawing of satirical cartoons be considered a crime, much less an act of terrorism?

We call upon the leadership of every democratic nation to redouble their efforts in dissuading the Turkish government from its present course and demand the immediate release of our friend and colleague Musa Kart.

NB – at the time of writing Musa Kart and colleagues are in Silivri prison, Istanbul; family members have visited and say his health is good and spirit unbowed.

Sources:

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/11/5/detailed-secular-turkish-newspaper-staff-charged-with-terrorism

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/629629/Bekleyin_gelecegiz..._Musa_Kart_cocuklara_borcunu_oduyor.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/29/turkey-drops-cases-of-insult-against-president-in-coup-aftermath

http://m.gulfnews.com/news/mena/turkey-s-oldest-national-daily-defiant-after-arrests-1.1924874

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/nine-arrested-in-probe-on-daily-cumhuriyet-.aspx?pageID=238&nid=105743&NewsCatID=339

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-coup-erdogan-government-death-penalty-restore-attempted-istanbul-ankara-latest-dead-a7140391.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-death-penalty-erdogan-reintroduce-debate-consider-turkish-parliament-a7386591.htm

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2016/11/international-coalition-slams-cumhuriyet-arrests-and-media-closures/

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20892&LangID=E


Drawing Tablet Review: Yiynova MVP20U+RH

Review by Tjeerd Royaards

If you are an artist and you use a computer to help you create your work, you’ve probably heard of Wacom. Wacom is basically the industry standard when it comes to digital drawing tablets used by professional artists. The Cintiq line of Wacom offers a range of tablets that allow you to draw directly on the screen, creating your art completely on the computer.

Artists agree that Wacom makes great products. But they are also quite expensive. For a long time, Wacom has maintained a virtual monopoly on drawing tablets, but in recent years competitors have emerged, mainly from China. Last month, the European branch of Taiwanese company Yiynova contacted us to inform us of their products, with which they hope to compete with the Wacom Cintiq. I offered to test one of their units. For the purpose of full disclosure I should mention that I received the test unit at no cost. Research shows that products received for free do tend to be reviewed more positively, although I will of course try my best to be as objective as possible.

2Yiynova product ad of our test unit. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

The most important thing to note about Yiynova tablets (aside from the rather complex type names such as MVP20U+RH) is that they are considerably cheaper than their Wacom counterparts.

On the Yiynova website it’s on offer for €669. Amazon UK offers the tablet for £419. In the US, the tablet can be bought for $499.

[Update December 2: According to Yiynova Europe, the price difference between Europe and the US is due to VAT (21% in the Netherlands and comparable rates in other European countries), higher shipping costs and a warranty of 2 years instead of 1 year that US costumers get.]

For that money you get a screen size of 19.53 inch diagonal (49.6 cm). Closest comparison from Wacom is the 22HD Cintiq, with a slightly bigger screen size of 21,5 inch (54.6 cm), available in Europe (the Netherlands) for €1599 and the US for $1649. However, for this test the main comparison will be the Cintiq 13HD (screen size 13.3 inch/33.8 cm, price €699), for the simple reason that that’s the one I own and use.

The Yiynova tablet and the Cintiq I’m comparing it to are not stand-alone equipment. They function as an additional screen (you can draw on) and need to be hooked up to a laptop or PC to function. They are both compatible with  Mac and Windows. Stand-alone tablets do exist. Wacom offers the Companion and MobileStudio. I’ve also heard good things about the iPad Pro in combination with graphic software. However, I have no personal experience with either.

What you get

1The tablet screen + accessories just after unpacking.

The first thing I noticed when unpacking the Yiynova is the screen size. On the photo below you can see how it compares to the 13HD. It’s absolutely huge.

TabletsSize of the Wacom Cintiq 13HD (left) and Yiynova MVP20U+RH (right) compared.

The biggest difference between Yiynova and Wacom Cintiq is the screen surface. The screen surface the Yiynova is glass (like and iPad), while the surface of a Cintiq has a finish that approaches the feel of paper. I’ll get to that difference in more detail later on in this review. The aesthetics of the screen are great; in my opinion it actually looks better than tablets in the Cintiq line. Only potential letdown is that the screen glass is held in place in the plastic housing with small clips (two at the top, four at the bottom). The screen would look even better without these. That said, they are barely noticeable.

To hook the screen up, you need wires. The wiring loom is comparable to Wacom, which is to say: there is a lot of wire. It needs it’s own power supply and hooks up to your computer with a USB and display connection. The display/USB connection cannot be removed from the tablet, and I’ve read in other reviews that some people found the cord to be too short to connect to their PC. I had more than enough cord to hook it up to the laptop.

The stand of the screen is light and small, but feels sturdy. It’s very easy to tilt the screen in various positions. My preferred position is to have it as flat as it can go. The disadvantage of such a relatively small stand is that, if you draw in the extreme upper left or right corner of the screen (which I sometimes do), the screen will tip a little bit. A minor design flaw can be found with the on/off switch and screen setting buttons. These buttons are located on the backside of the tablet and are positioned at the bottom. Because the angle at which I use the tablet is almost flat, I can’t reach them easily to adjust the color, contrast or brightness in that position. It would have been better to locate these at the top of the screen so they could be reached regardless of the angle of the screen.

BackBack of the Yinova tablet showing the stand, the screen setting buttons and the pen holder with pen. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

The Wacom Cintiq features a number of buttons next to the screen; you can preset these to correspond with the functions you use often in for instance Photoshop, like zooming in/out, undo or switching between brushes.  The Yiynova does not have these buttons on the screen. Instead you get a remote with a number of buttons. This remote can be fixated anywhere on the screen with the help of six suction cups. I have never cared particularly for the buttons on the Wacom and prefer to use keyboard commands. I did try to use the remote with the Yiynova, but again found that I preferred the keyboard. I do like the idea behind the remote, but it does look and feel a bit cheap. Also, it tended to fall off fairly regularly.

Remote
Yiynova tablet with remote. It hooks up to a USB port on the side that is specifically for this prupose and cannot be used as a regular USB port.

You get a good amount of accessories with the Yiynova. Various cable extensions are included so you will be able to hook it up to a scart or Mac display port. Wacom does not provide any extension cords for hooking up to a Mac, you need to order these separately. Another accessory that’s not provided by Wacom but that is included with the Yiynova is a pair of artist gloves. These gloves ensure your hand glides smoothly over the screen and doesn’t stick. It’s also a convenient way to keep your screen clean while drawing. I didn’t use one with the 13HD (too cheap or lazy to buy them, I guess), but I must admit they are really helpful.

GlovesGloves.

The biggest letdown of the Yiynova is probably the pen. Both the pen itself and the nib feel cheap in comparison to the Cintiq pen and it doesn’t come with a nice case like the one Wacom provides. Also, because of the technology Yiynova uses, the pen requires an AAA battery (which was not included). The Wacom pen functions without any battery. I have yet to see how long the battery will last (more than a month at least).

PensPens of the Yiynova (left) and Wacom (right) compared. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

With Wacom you get a weighted pen stand. Yiynova provides you with a pen holder that clicks onto the back of the tablet. I’ve read other reviews that complained about the Yiynova pen clip; it’s too flimsy and liable to break. However, I really like it. I’ve never used the Wacom pen stand, as I’ve always felt it was just another item cluttering up my desk. In contrast, the pen clip allows you to store your pen conveniently attached to your tablet. It's a cheap solution, but it works for me.

Set-up

Set-up
My set-up.

I found setting up the screen and installing the appropriate driver easy. It can function both as an extended display (and additional screen) and as a mirrored display. I’ve been using it mostly as a mirrored display. Because of it’s screen size, I’ve even used it as my main monitor in it’s upright position.

I tended to use the Wacom 13HD as an extended display only and often got annoyed that pop-up screens in Photoshop (layer properties, image size etc.) popped up on my laptop screen instead of my tablet screen (I also use Photoshop without the tablet hooked up, and that caused Photoshop to revert to using the laptop screen as primary). So my workflow has been improved with the Yiynova. That might have more to do with my choice on the set-up than anything the Yiynova has to offer, although the fact that I can tilt the screen up and use it as a regular screen did influence the decision to go with mirrored displays.

I’ve had no driver glitches whatsoever during a month of use. In comparison, my experience with the Wacom is a bit worse. I did have some trouble setting that up (back in 2014) on an older Mac and had to run a driver from the Wacom Asia website because the one on offer from the European website would not work. The driver would also cut out sometimes (not very frequently, maybe once every two months) causing the pen to stop working. This was simply fixed by turning the tablet off and on, but still inconvenient.

My experience

I have used the Yiynova in combination with Photoshop CS5. I’m using this older version of Photoshop because this is the last version you could actually purchase, instead of being stuck with a monthly subscription as they offer now. The Yiynova is hooked up to an older MacBook Pro (from 2011) running OSX Yosemite (10.10.5).

In one month, I made 10 cartoons with the Yiynova, including one for CNN the day after the US election. Others have of course appeared on Cartoon Movement, and have been published by Courrier International, Politico Europe and Dutch news/opinion website Joop.

The screen resolution of the Yiynova is fine, but not great. It's definitely not retina quality and if you look closely, you can see the screen pixels. The resolution quality disappointed me when I first activated the tablet, but to my surprise it has not bothered me very much in using the tablet.

The screen colors are good, although the factory settings require some tweaking. Using the tablet as a mirror display allows me to easily compare the colors between two screens. The colors stay reasonably the same as you look at the tablet from different angles. Strangely, there seems to be more color variation when you look from side to side than there is from top to bottom.

My style does not rely heavily on pressure sensitivity. The brushes that I use to draw in Photoshop simulate fineliner pens and are set to give a consistent line width regardless of pressure. However, I do need pressure sensitivity for the sketching the roughs. For this I use brushes that simulate an HB and a 2B pencil. I also sometimes use pressure sensitive brushes to do soft shading. The technical specs of the Yiynova are great, and using it I could find no discernible difference between Yiynova or Wacom in terms of pressure sensitivity. Both deliver a good drawing experience.

I also could not find any difference in lag (the delay between the moment your nib touches the screen and the moment the pixels appear) between the two tablets. There is some lag both with the Yiyniova and with the Wacom, especially if you work on larger files, but once you get used to it, it’s barely noticeable. I could not say how much of the lag is caused by my outdated computer and CS5 and how much by the tablet software or hardware.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, perhaps the biggest difference between the tablets is the surface feel. It was also my biggest worry as I started using the Yiynova, Would it be too slippery, and would my pen just slide across making wobbly lines? I had this problem with the Wacom when I first started drawing completely digital in 2014. Wacom sells nibs that provide more friction to provide a more paper-like feeling. I considered buying these, but before I made my final decision I got used to the surface of the Wacom. Granted, the glass surface of the Yiynova is even more slippery, but it took me no time at all to get used to it. I do tend to rotate my canvas a lot as lines come out best if you draw them straight down. The glass surface also forces me at times to draw a line more quickly to prevent it from wobbling. But, for me, these are not really drawbacks, just specific things you need to get used to, as there always are when you use a new tool or material.

I was also worried of potential reflection working in a studio with fluorescent lights overhead, but this did not prove an issue. Probable because I like to draw with my eyes quite close to the screen, my head blocks out any annoying reflection.

ParallaxParallax effect.

An issue that is often talked about in reviews of drawing tablets is the parallax effect. This is the distance between the tip of the pen and the cursor doing the drawing. And to be honest, there is more distance with the Yiynova than there is with the Cintiq 13HD. You especially notice it if you hold your pen at an angle. At some angles, the line you draw appears in quite a different place than your pen is. This will be an issue for some and understandably so. I tend to use the pen as upright as possible (and rote the canvas more often to do so) and I’ve trained my eye to look at the cursor more than the pen.

I cannot yet determine how durable the Yiynova will be. I am not known for using products with extreme care. Tools are there to be used, in my opinion. As a result, my 13HD is fairly battered, with numerous scratches on the screen. In all fairness, this is probably mainly caused by me not changing out my nibs often enough. As they wear, the nibs get sharp edges and gouge the screen causing scratches. Glass should provide a more durable protection against scratches, but I did already notice two after one month of use. So we’ll see.

Conclusion

Making cartoons is not a good way to get rich and many of us have a tight budget for professional equipment. In that context, it’s great to see more choice in the field of drawing tablets. To be honest, when I was first looking at the website and ads of Yiynova, I was very doubtful if their products could even come close to Wacom (let’s just say Yiynova's website and promotional materials could benefit from a redesign). But contrary to expectations, I really like the Yiynova tablet. It offers a lot of value for its money. And although Wacom Cintiq products are undoubtedly superior, mostly in terms of parallax effect and screen feel, they are not as much superior as the considerable price difference would suggest. Given my budget, I would definitely be in the market for a Yiynova tablet. The luxury of have a bigger surface to draw on is absolutely worth the disadvantages, at least for the way I work.

Would I recommend the Yiynova to others? Yes, but… As I said, it is great value for money. But whether you like it or not will depend on the way you use it. The slippery surface and parallax effect do not bother me that much because I get used to them. I do think that my experience of drawing digitally for over two years helps considerably. I wonder how someone making the transition from paper to tablet for the first time would like the Yiynova. The Wacom offers an experience that is more akin to drawing on paper. So this is a choice every artist will have to make on their own. This review only attempts to list the pros and cons. It is also an inherently anecdotal review, as it’s based on the way I work with all my idiosyncrasies. That said, I do hope people considering to buy a tablet for drawing will find this helpful. If you have any thoughts or questions, please let me know in the comment section, or contact me by email (tjeerd@cartoonmovement.com) or Twitter (@Royaards).