We are pleased to welcome visual artists José Sanina from Portugal. He combines his work as an artists with his work as a professor teaching visual arts in Lisbon.
24 February will mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our cartoonists have drawn hundreds of cartoons about the Russian aggression, mocking Putin, condemning the atrocities of war, warning about the threat of nuclear war.
To keep the war in the spotlight, we've created a social media toolkit with 10 of the best cartoons drawn in the past year. Feel free t0 share one or more of them on any of your social media channels. It also includes a video slideshow.
Download the social media kit here as a .zip, which even includes a suggested text for your post(s). Thanks for sharing!
Illustrators around the world are concerned about the impact Artificial Intelligence might have on their profession. How do political cartoonists feel about AI?
Much has been written about AI in recent weeks. After ChatGPT, which can whip up written text in the blink of an eye, the focus has now shifted to image-generating AI such a Dall-E and Midjourney. Illustrators are in an uproar, both because they feel their livelihood is threatened and because the AI programs are using the work of millions of illustrators to learn how to produce compelling visuals. Many illustrators feel this is a clear violation of their copyright.
While all this has been going on, political cartoonists have stayed remarkably quiet on the subject. We wanted to find out why that is, so we sent a short survey (created by Emanuele Del Rosso) to our cartoonist community earlier this week, asking them how they feel about AI.
Cartoonists aren't that worried about AI
Over 50 of them took the time to fill out the survey. From their responses we might learn something about how editorial cartoonists think about AI in general. We first asked them how much they knew about what AI can do in relation to art, on a scale of 1 to 5. A minority of 14% confessed to know little or nothing about AI, while most cartoonists ranked themselves 3 or higher on the AI knowledge scale.
Next we asked them if they ever had used AI generated visuals for their own work. 92,6% had not. The few cartoonists who had mostly used it just to try it out, although one cartoonists used it to create reference material.
After that, we went on the the most important question: do you feel threatened by AI in your profession?
'I asked AI to draw a cartoon in the style of Plantu.
It gave me sketches of plants!'
In general, political cartoonists are not all that worried. We again used a scale of 1 to 5; no one of the respondents marked the perceived threat higher than 3, with a majority scoring it a 1, stating they weren't worried at all. We also asked them to motivate their answers. One unworried cartoonist commented: 'I asked once to an AI to draw a cartoon in the style of the French cartoonist Plantu. It gave me various sketches of plants! So I'm not worried so far.'
The ones who do see AI as (somewhat of a) threat worry about AI getting better and better and eventually replacing human artists as editors at newspapers and magazines opt for the probably cheaper option of using AI-generated illustrations and cartoons. As one cartoonist puts it: 'Although artificial intelligence cannot do as effective things as we do, it is at a level that can satisfy the needs of people. For this reason, I think people may prefer to get free or cheaper AI products instead of investing in our work.'
The unstoppable march of technology
There is some division in how cartoonists think about the issue of AI. There is a camp that doesn't see a threat at all, as AI is not -and will never be, in their opinion- capable of creating humor and satire that way that humans can. Opposing this view, other cartoonists believe that technology will continue to improve to the point where AI will be able to create political cartoons that are as good as the ones made by humans. Most cartoonists agree, however, that the march of technology is unstoppable. Some of them express the hope that AI will be regulated, providing some measure of protection for human creators. A few point out that it might become a useful tool in the creation of cartoons.
'It’s a development that’s here to stay.
Be creative, work around it, deal with it.'
I'm not surprised by the outcome of the survey, which mostly align with my own thoughts about AI, and with my expectations of other cartoonists' perceptions. I think most cartoonists don't feel threatened (yet), because AI is currently not able to produce satire. One could argue that drawing is not our core business; the core of political cartoons is the idea, which we then translate into a visual metaphor.
While illustrators probably have reason to be worried about the ability of computers to generate images on command, I expect there is some way to go before AI is able to match a skill and wit of a good cartoonist. That said, there the possibility that people without drawing skills might use AI to produce their own editorial cartoons, supplanting the need for us political artists. But we've already seen this with memes, which have added to the field of satire, but certainly haven not replaced editorial cartoonists. I suspect this is because creating cartoons requires a rather specific skill-set, one you only get by doing it, a lot.
But perhaps the main, and most cynical, reason most cartoonists do not fear AI is that being a cartoonist isn't much of a business model anyway. Since making money in our little niche of the labor market is already so incredibly hard, how much worse could AI make it?
Cartoon Movement editor
The end of the year is fast approaching, so it’s time for our selection of the best cartoons of 2022. December 15 is an extra special day for us, as Cartoon Movement went live on this date in 2010, making us 12 years old today! We hope to bring you great international cartoons for many years to come!
In 2022, a whopping 10,080 cartoons were uploaded to Cartoon Movement. It is beyond difficult to select 10 cartoons from this immense pool of satire. It also means a lot of subjects were left out, like the resignation of Boris Johnson (and then Liz Truss), the death of Queen Elizabeth and the US midterms, to name just a few.
The tradition selection of 10 cartoons is based on what did well with our audience, what we think were the most important subjects of the year that must be included and which ones we as editors liked a lot. It's far from objective, but we hope you enjoy them nonetheless!
This cartoon by Cuban cartoonist Raimundo Llerena Ferrer shows how inequality starts at birth.
I come in peace
This cartoon by Martin Chren was made the day following Putin's invasion of Ukraine, capturing perfectly the gap between Putin's rhetoric and his actions.
This cartoon by Khalid Cherradi addresses a point that many cartoonists made when commenting on the invasion of Ukraine. If African refugees, the people in conflict-torn countries like Syria or Yemen, or the people living in Gaza got even half of the attention that Ukraine got in 2022, they would be a lot better off.
We can't predict the future, but the war in Ukraine could well be known as Putin's folly in future history books. Many cartoonists have drawn this folly, but this cartoon by Dutch cartoonist Hajo commenting on Sweden and Finland joining NATO perfectly visualizes how we imagine Putin has often felt since he launched his invasion.
With corona in the past, 2022 was also the year that saw the return of climate and environmental summit, like COP27 about the climate crisis and COP25 about biodiversity, jetting in world leaders from across the globe to meet in a luxurious setting and discuss the demise of the planet. Cartoon by Luc Vernimmen.
2022 saw it's fair share of mass shootings in the US. Awantha Artigala drew a line between foreign policy and domestic violence.
Abortion rights aborted
A rather visceral cartoon by Vasco Gargalo (who often manages to make our selection of best cartoons), commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
Obviously we couldn't have a top 10 without at least one cartoon about the World Cup in Qatar. This one by Daniel Garcia was the most popular.
Under new management
And what will become of Twitter in 2023? Cartoon by Bahram Arjmandnia.
Another topic that had to be included is the uprising in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini. Cartoon by Jawad Morad.
In 2021, the Guardian revealed that an estimated 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar during the construction of the stadiums that will host the World Cup. Since then, cartoonists have commented on the World Cup with a steady stream of cartoons, mostly featuring footballs, skulls, stadiums and graveyards. As the World Cup is set to start on Sunday, we take this opportunity to share 10 of our favorites. If you'd like to see even more Qatar World Cup cartoons, you can visit our collection.
Spanish cartoonist KAP offers a suggestion to those planning to go to the World Cup:
A simple visual that doesn't need any explanation, by Dan Murphy:
We've seen many cartoons featuring skeletons beneath the football field, but this one by Maarten Wolterink, titled Revenge of the workers, takes the cake.
Another cartoon with workers buried beneath the football field, but this one by Luc Vernimmen manages to include a lot of detail; we especially like the FIFA official approvingly testing the grass:
Although we've seen many footballs transformed into skulls, this visual by Morhaf Youssef is quite unique:
Zach from the Philippines offers this powerful visual:
This cartoon by MATE from Argentina plays with another symbol that we see frequently in cartoons about this topic, the worker's helmet:
Jawad Morad manages to use the Iwo Jima pose trope in a very clever way:
We couldn't do a selection of cartoons about Qatar without including at least one skull, so here it is in a cartoon by Mir Suhail:
The final cartoon in our modest selection is by French cartoonist Bernard Bouton and shows the only score that really matters:
The COP27 starts in Egypt on November 6. Another get-together of world leaders to discuss the need to stop talking and start acting. Our cartoonists have been following previous COPs with some interest, so we're sharing some of these cartoons, going back to 2015.
This first cartoon by Italian cartoonist Enrico Bertuccioli does a good job conveying the general message throughout all the cartoons that deal with the various climate summits. Although there is a lot of talk about the need to take immediate action, it seems like the participants are operating on a different sort of clock...
COP21 - 2015 - Paris
Niels Bo Bojesen from Denmark already pointed out the need for urgent action back in 2015.
COP22 - 2016 - Marrakech
A year later in Morocco, Abdelghani Dahdouh pointed out that the industrial plundering of the earth appeared to continue unabated.
COP23 - 2017 - Bonn
A year later, another dire warning, this one by Cuban cartoonist Ramses Morales Izquierdo
COP24 - 2018 - Katowice
Austrian cartoonist Marian Kamensky show the delegations leaving COP24, held in Poland. Not much has been achieved, in his opinion.
COP25 - 2019 - Madrid
Cuban cartoonist Falc0 suggests a new logo.
COP26 - 2021 - Glasgow
Gatis Sluka from Latvia points out the difference between words and actions.
COP 27 - 2022 - Sharm El-Sheikh
Dutch cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards shows where we are in the process of rescuing the earth.
Were ending this overview with two cartoons by Anne Derenne and SWAHA, pointing out the fundamental problem of all the COPs and predicting the future respectively. Check out even more climate cartoons here.
The European Press Prize and Studio Europa Maastricht, founders of the European Cartoon Award, proudly announce the name of the winner and runners-up of this year’s edition of the contest. The first prize was awarded to the Cuban cartoonist Carlos David Fuentes, for his work Putin in Ukraine published in the French magazine Courrier International (with first publication on Cartoon Movement). The two runners-up are cartoonists Marilena Nardi (Italy) and Harry Burton (Ireland). Honourable mentions were awarded to Jean-Michel Delambre (France) and Vasco Gargalo (Portugal).
The works of the winner and runners-up were selected from over 400 submissions, coming from 29 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: 'The jury was impressed by the powerful storytelling and striking imagery of many of the submitted cartoons. Tom Janssen rightfully said that Carlos David Fuentes' cartoon is the right image to portray this difficult year; it has a very dramatic impact, and it is very strong. Harry Burton's cartoon on abortion rights tackles a very big issue with wit, and in a clearly recognisable image. Lastly, it might seem the issue of Afghanistan slipped off the world’s agenda, but the underlying issues are still huge, and Marilena Nardi’s cartoon tells that story in a simple but very effective way.'
The cartoons of the two runners-up, Marilena Nardi (published in the Italian newspaper ‘Domani’) and Harry Burton (published in the Irish outlet ‘Irish Examiner’):
The jury decided to award two honourable mentions as well, to Vasco Gargalo and to Jean-Michel Delambre:
Again Janet Anderson, chair of the Panel of Judges: 'Jean-Michel Delambre’s cartoon treats the subject of the Ukraine invasion in a humorous way, all the while driving home a point, and a very important one. Vasco Gargalo’s lollipop cartoon is about an issue that is still affecting much of the world, and for its shocking reminder, the jury decided to award it with a special mention.'
The jury of the European Cartoon Award 2022 was composed of: Tom Janssen (2021 winner), Janet Anderson, Catherine André, Jen Sorensen, and Niels Bo Bojesen. And, for the first round of selection, a jury composed of four previous year’s nominees joined the voting: Osama Hajjaj, Saeed Sadeghi, Konstantinos Tsanakas, and Vitor Neves.
After 2 rounds of evaluation, the two juries identified a batch of 16 cartoons that qualified for the final selection. Here is the list of the 16 nominees the cartoons belong to: Toso Borković (Serbia), Dave Brown (UK), Harry Burton (Ireland), Hajo de Reijger (Netherlands), Jean-Michel Delambre (France), Carlos David Fuentes (Cuba), Vasco Gargalo (Portugal), Emad Hajjaj (Jordan), Silvano Mello (Brazil), Marilena Nardi (Italy), Pierre Pauma (France), Tjeerd Royaards (Netherlands), Gatis Šļūka (Latvia), Matías Tejeda (Argentina), Mahnaz Yazdani (Iran), Nahid Zamani (Iran).
Emanuele Del Rosso, Head of Communications at the European Press Prize and organiser of the ECA 2022: 'The incredible power of editorial cartoons is clear when we look at the sixteen works shortlisted for the final stage of the ECA, and even more, at the winners of this year’s Award. These are works that tell us a whole story in a single image. They convey multiple meanings, they make us think, and help us interpret a cultural and political reality that is harder and harder to understand.'
Lupo is a cartoonist from France. He enjoys making fun of the powerful, avenging those who suffer injustice through laughter.
On July 14, our exhibition Framing the War was opened in the Sound and Vision media museum in The Hague by the director of Sound and Vision and the mayor of The Hague. Framing the War shows 100 days of war in Ukraine with about 125 photos of the Dutch press agency ANP and 75 international cartoons from Cartoon Movement.
In the photos posted below, we'll try to give you an impression of the exhibition, but we highly recommend that, if you're in the area, you go see the exhibition for yourself. It will be on display until September 4. More information here.
Photos by Cartoon Movement and by Rob Hogeslag.