Dutch cartoonist Tom Janssen wins the second edition of the European Cartoon Award

EU and belarusThe winning cartoon, by Tom Janssen

 

The European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht have announced the name of the winner and runners-up of this year’s edition of the European Cartoon Award. With his work EU and Belarus published in the newspaper Trouw, the Dutch cartoonist Tom Janssen won the first prize. The two runners-up are another Dutch cartoonist, Hajo de Reijger, and the Turkish artist Musa Gumus - both published by Cartoon Movement.

 

It's ChineseCartoon by Hajo de Reijger

 

BloodCartoon by Musa Gumus

 

The works of the winner and runners-up were selected from almost 300 submissions, coming from 28 countries, European and beyond, by a jury composed of award-winning cartoonists, previous year’s nominees, activists, and experts.

Janet Anderson, chair of the Panel of judges:

'Editorial Cartoonists have shown us again how they make powerful political commentaries with their drawings. 2020 was the year of the pandemic in Europe, and our shortlist selection and our prize-winner inevitably reflect much of the worldwide economic, social and political debates. But in our other top choices, we wanted as a jury to also reflect on the huge political story taking place in Belarus, and the political reality of how Europe engages with what is just over its borders, and to highlight the importance of the freedom of the media and the violent threats the press faces.'

The jury of the European Cartoon award 2021 was composed of: Anne Derenne (2020 winner), Janet Anderson, Khalid Albahi, Gian-Paolo Accardo, Paulo Jorge Fernandes. And, for the first round of selection, a jury composed of five previous year’s nominees: Mette Dreyer, Claudio Antonio Gomes, Costel Patrascan, Halit Kurtulmuş, and Tomás Serrano.


Evergreen satire - launch event

On September 15, the Evergreen satire project was officially launched with an online event, live from the Beeld & Geluid Den Haag media museum in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Cartoon Movement editors Emanuele Del Rosso and Tjeerd Royaards talked with Jürgen Kaumkötter, director of the Center for Persecuted Arts in Solingen, Germany, Rob Phillips, Head of Archives and Manuscripts Section and the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library of Wales and Tjeerd de Boer, deputy editor at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Here is the full stream of the event:

 

Evergreen satire is a network of institutions that house historical cartoons or have have expert knowledge in the area of editorial cartoons.With this new network, we will explore ways to open up these archives and to present the cartoons therein in an engaging way to a general audience. In the launch event, we discuss cartoons made by cartoonists in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and compare them to cartoons protesting repressive regimes today. And we take a look at how the Cold War and Vietnam war were portrayed in cartoons, and how cartoonists draw about current geopolitics and the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan.

 


Evergreen satire - online event September 15

We want to invite you all to our first official online event of Evergreen Satire on Wednesday September 15 at 4 pm CEST, live from the Beeld & Geluid media museum in The Hague, The Netherlands. It’s free!

 

Register for the event

 

Evergreen satire is a network of institutions across Europe that house historical cartoons or have have expert knowledge in the area of editorial cartoons. In our first event we will bring together several guests to explore how war has been visualized by cartoonists through the years.

 

Banner for website - Evergreen Satire

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September 15 is the International Day of Democracy and September 21 marks the International Day of Peace. We therefore thought it fitting for our first event to explore how cartoonists have drawn about war & peace in the last century. Can we compare cartoonists drawing anti-Nazi cartoons in the 1930s to Syrian cartoonists that protested against the regime with their work? And can we see similarities in cartoons about the Vietnam war and the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan?

Guests will include: Jürgen Kaumkötter, director of the Center for Persecuted Arts in Solingen, Germany; Rob Phillips, Head of Archives and Manuscripts Section and the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library of Wales; and Jop Euwijk, curator News, Current Affairs and Information at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. And of course Emanuele Del Rosso and Tjeerd Royaards from Cartoon Movement.

 

Register for the event

 


European Cartoon Award shortlist

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This week, the European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht announced the shortlist of 16 cartoons that are nominated for the European Cartoon Award 2021, from a total of 287 submissions, sent by cartoonists from 28 countries.

We are incredibly proud that 8 of the 16 nominated cartoons were first published on Cartoon Movement!

The winner, who will receive €10,000, will be announced in September. For more details about the prize and the judges, go here.

 

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Editorial: our position on anti-vax cartoons

Cartoons reflect the public debate; an international community of cartoonists will therefore frequently reflect the different perspectives that are present in the global public debate, including the more extreme ones. In some cases, we will try to present and publish these varying perspectives. In other cases, we will make the editorial choice to focus on one perspective, ignoring others.

On such example is the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar in 2017. While the overwhelming majority of our cartoonists chose to call out the atrocities committed by the Myanmar army, our contingent of cartoonists from Myanmar defended their government and army, stating that the accusations of genocide were fake news. In light of the evidence, we chose not to highlight these perspectives. That doesn’t mean these cartoons are censored; it simply means we will not publish them on our homepage or post them on our social media channels.

 

Fake__aung_thein_htike__athCartoon by Aung Thein Htike ATH from 2017, with the perspective that the suffering of the Royangya was fake news.

We have made the same editorial decision for cartoons that speak out against vaccination. In light of the evidence about the effectiveness of the vaccination, we will not publish cartoons that ignore this evidence and feed into the various conspiracy theories out there about the supposedly nefarious intentions of researchers and governments alike. We do show a couple of them here, to illustrate our decision. If you want to see how most cartoonists think about the vaccine and the anti-vax movement, check our collections here and here.

 

Vaccinescreamvaccine_pete_kreiner Cartoon by Pete Kreiner

 

FauciA portrait of Anthony Fauci, by Elchicotriste

With all editorial decisions, there will be grey areas. Not publishing anti-vax cartoons is a clear-cut decision, but what about cartoons about the position and rights of the unvaccinated in society? For instance, Swaha takes a more nuanced approach with her cartoon questioning the French Covid passport as a way to return to a free society.

A citizen in a free society is only free to the extent that his or her freedom doesn't harm the freedom of others; the problem with unvaccinated is that they consciously make a decision that is potentially harmful for the rest of society. On the other hand, one could argue that no state should have the power to coerce people to inject something into their body, and that granting privileges to one group over the other is coercion of a sort.

 

CM_21Cartoon by Swaha

We will not change our editorial stance on the anti-vax movement (barring new scientific evidence), but we will closely be looking at the way societies and governments deal with the unvaccinated, and the cartoons that are made about this.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor

 

P.S. This editorial has been edited slightly on August 9 after receiving feedback from SWAHA, to better reflect the intention of her cartoon.


No Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning this year

By Tjeerd Royaards

While editorial cartoonists arguably have been producing excellent work in recent years, the environment in which we do our job is becoming ever more challenging. This article was sparked by the decision of the Pulitzer Prizes not to hand our an award for editorial cartooning this year.

 

 

Why would a European cartoonist have an opinion about an award for US cartoonists being awarded or not? Because this latest development seems to fit in a trend of several developments that reinforce each other and have one thing in common: they are all detrimental to political cartooning. Most of these developments have already written about, by us and by others, but I feel it's worth mentioning them again.

Many in the field were outraged by the decision of the Pulitzer Prizes not to award a cartoonist this year. The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists issued this statement. US cartoon platform Counterpoint also issued a statement. Michael Cavna of the Washington Post responded with this article. He makes it clear that the decision not to hand out a Pulitzer in a particular category isn't unprecedented, but after a year in which so many outstanding cartoons have been made, it feel unjustified and, even worse, adds to the loss of standing of political cartoons within the field of journalism.

Timid cartoons and no job security

The number of staff positions for cartoonists has been dwindling for years. As more and more of us are forced to go freelance (or have been freelancing our entire careers), the field becomes ever more competitive. Nowadays, many newspapers and magazines select cartoons from a large pool of freelance cartoonists sending in their work. Following the tenets of neoliberalism, this increased competition should lead to a better product. In the field of cartooning, it does exactly the opposite. Daryl Cagle, who runs a US syndicate of about 70 cartoonists, has written many times about timid editors shying away from hard-hitting political satire.  The cartoons that get picked most from his syndicate are the ones that do not express an opinion; harmless jokes about the news do well, and cartoons about celebrities. The incentive is clear: if you want to sell your work, you need to pander to these editors; don't be hard-hitting, don't make people angry, don't draw anything controversial.

Freelancing has not only lead to more watered-down cartoons, it has also significantly weakened the job security of cartoonists. In 2019, the international edition of The New York Times decided, on the basis of one controversial cartoon, to stop running cartoons altogether. As a result, two of their regular cartoonists, Heng and Patrick Chappatte, lost their jobs over a cartoon they did not even draw.

Over the last ten years, this kind of response seems to have become the norm; when a cartoon sparks outrage, fire the cartoonist. And with more and more cartoonists working freelance, this decision is easier than ever. If we've published one of your cartoons and it makes people angry, we'll just never publish your work again. There are several examples of this, both in the US and in the rest of the world. They seem to have become more numerous than examples of newspapers standing with their cartoonists. Here are some examples from the US, Australia and most recently, India, where well-known cartoonist Manjul was fired after making the government tried to take down his Twitter account because of his critical work.

There is irony in this. In most professions, when people make mistakes we would say that to err is human; but for a cartoonist, whose job is to provide sharp critique, one mistake is unforgivable.

Please note that in the case of the US and Australian controversy, I do not agree with the cartoons published (which I think were bad and insensitive), but I take issue with the knee jerk reaction of getting rid of the cartoonist. And it's also important to point out that, despite these trends, many cartoonists are continuing to produce amazing, scathing, sharp, hilarious and downright brilliant cartoons. It just keeps getting harder and harder to find placed to publish them. Even social media is getting increasingly sensitive when it comes to satire.

Within this context, it is more important then ever that a renowned institution recognizes the responsibility they have to recognize the work being done by cartoonists under ever more difficult circumstances. Instead, they decided they could not agree on a winner and not to hand out the prize at all. The decision of the Pulitzer Board is not only an insult to this year's finalists, it also contributes to the weakening position of political cartoons in general.


UNESCO cartoon competition on global education

Allmeansall-gem-report-unesco-cartoonIllustration by Anne Derenne

The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.

The GEM Report team has worked with cartoonists for several years to illustrate the various topics being analysed in its annual publications. Deemed by the team as a thought-provoking communications tool, the cartoons are commissioned as an original way to tease out the multiple themes in each annual report.

This year, for the first time ever, the GEM Report is launching a cartoon competition in partnership with the Cartoon Movement. The competition is focused on the theme of the forthcoming 2021/2 GEM Report covering the role, influence, benefits and concerns about non-state actors in education. The competition is to draw the best cartoon depiction of the issues around school choice and the impact of non-state actors in access, equity and quality in education. The winning submission will receive $500. Read the full brief and information on how to take part here.

To give you an idea of what they are looking for, here are some of the artists they have worked with in previous years:

Political cartoonist, Gado, from Tanzania, who is the editorial cartoonist for The Standard in Nairobi, created satirical cartoons about accountability in education for the 2017/8 GEM Report.

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In 2020, Anne Derenne, a cartoonist and illustrator with Cartooning for Peace from France worked with the GEM Report to create cartoons illustrating the many different faces of inclusion in education.

Exclusion-cartoon-anne-derenne-gem-report

The competition will culminate at the end of July 2021. Cartoons submitted will be voted on by the public via the GEM Report’s Facebook page.  The winner will see his/her cartoon feature in the 2021/2 GEM Report on non-state actors in education, in all public facing events for the Report held around the world.


Tips for (aspiring) cartoonists

By Tjeerd Royaards

After three episodes of Cartoonist 2 Cartoonist, where Emanuele Del Rosso and I analyze submitted cartoons and give (hopefully) constructive feedback, I think we can identify some general points that seem to apply to most, if not all, cartoons. If you are looking to improve your work, we do recommend you take a look at one or more of the episodes, but in this article we list some general tips and tricks that will help you make your cartoons better. To illustrate, we are using some of the cartoons we discussed in the episodes.

1) Make a good scan

This tip only applies if you are working on paper and scanning in your work as a digital image file, either as a finished cartoon, or to apply color digitally. The first thing to do, is to make a professional scan, so that you do not immediately see it's a scan of a drawing, like in the example below.

Jasmin Lin - China 1 copyCartoon by Jasmin Lin

As you can see in the image, the bottom right corner is darker than the top left corner; what you should be aiming for a a solid flat white background. You can achieve this by playing around with the contrast with just basic image editing software. And also be sure to crop the image to remove any black edges that mark the end of the scanned paper. Here you can see them at the top and at the left of the cartoon.

This is the same cartoon with a better contrast. It's not perfect yet (which has to do with the original scanning), but you can see the improvement:

Jasmin Lin - China 1 improved

If you do not have access to a good scanner, there are some decent free apps available that will turn your phone into a scanner. And if you don't want to blow your budget on a Photoshop subscription, there are also free programs to edit images.

Remember, the presentation of your work matters. If it looks sloppy, it will go into an editor's trash folder without a second glance. This also goes for digital cartoons, so make sure your cartoons look professional.

2) Think about your lettering

If you use text in your cartoon, there are a number of things to consider. One of the most important questions: do you go for lettering by hand, do you choose a digital font? Both are valid options, but the style of lettering you choose should fit with your style of cartoons. If you draw and color by hand on paper, your best option will probably to letter by hand as well. This cartoon, discussed in our most recent C2C episode, uses a digital font, but both me and Emanuele felt the style of the cartoon would benefit from hand-lettering:

Barry Wade - USACartoon by Barry Wade

Take a look at the shop names on the awnings for instance; if these would be done by hand, they would look more like a part of the image, instead of a layer that has been added on top.

Other cartoons might actually work better with a digital font. The cartoon below has a style that would work well with a (well-chosen font), that would improve the readability of the text in the speech bubble.

Mohd Alammeri - Oman 1Cartoon by Mohd Alammeri

If you choose to use a digital font, choose wisely. There are thousands upon thousands of fonts available, so it's worth taking your time to find something that really works with your style. And please, stay away from Comics Sans or Papyrus... Also make sure you use a font that free to use (in the public domain) or that you purchase the appropriate license.

It's also worth thinking about the amount of text you need and where you place it in the image. In general, you should only use text when it is absolutely necessary for understanding the cartoon, or for providing the punchline. And think about where you position the text; do you want people to read the text first and then look at the image, or do you want people to look at the image first? This also relates to the next tip, where we discuss the way people navigate your image.

3) Is your message clear?

This is probably the most important condition for any cartoon to be successful. Some things to consider:

-Think about the composition, not only aesthetically, but also as the means you have to guide viewer through your cartoon. A cartoons tells a story; think about how you want people to navigate your story. People in the West tend to navigate from left to right, same as reading. People from the Middle East do the exact opposite, so it might be worth considering your target audience when designing the cartoon narrative.

-Think about the elements you have in your image. Do you need them all? If not, scrap the ones that are not necessary, it will make your message clearer. The rule of thumb is that every element you draw needs to contribute to the story that you are telling.

-All the elements that are necessary need to be understandable as well. If your unsure, check with your friends, family or colleagues. Things might make perfect sense in your own head, but that is not a guarantee that the cartoons will be easily understood by everyone.

-Think about how people will journey through your cartoon. Where should they start looking? Where should they end? Make sure your composition and arrangement and size of elements encourages people to navigate the cartoon in this way.

We discussed the cartoon below by Vincente Corpus from Mexico based on these points:

3. Vincente Corpus - Mexico

In essence, this is a great cartoon. It shows how the pharmaceutical industry cashes in on the pandemic. But was it immediately clear to you? Ema and I think the scared Uncle Sam is actually the same person as the man behind the till in the bottom panel, but we're not sure.  Providing more visual clues (such as still having him ware the red-striped hat) would have been helpful. A different composition could have worked here, with a similar position of Uncle Sam in the top and bottom panel. Also, you have to make an effort to read the text on the costume of the salesman.

We hope some of these tips will help you in your own cartoons. And remember, if you would like the chance to have your work discussed in Cartoon 2 Cartoonist, send it to cartoons@cartoonmovement.com


Evergreen satire, episode 2

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Evergreen satire is a partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision to give new relevance to historical cartoons. Join us on Instagram on June 8 at 6pm CEST for episode 2 as to talk with experts about the history of satire. The topic for this episode is war: how have cartoonists visualized violence and conflict through the years?

Guests in this episode will be Paule Jorge Fernandes, Assistant Professor at NOVA University of Lisbon, specializing in 19th Century History, Political History, Humor, Satire and Editorial Cartoons, and Jop Euwijk, conservator at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.