Cartooning the future

Last week, we did a project titled Cartooning the Future for the Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands. During the annual Summerschool of the Ministry, we hosted a workshop for employees of the Ministry, challenging them to sketch their vision of the future.

The sketches were uploaded to the. Professional cartoonists from across the globe chose the best, most inspiring ideas and turned them into editorial cartoons. On Friday July 8th a selection of these cartoons was on display in The Hague, during the festive closing conference of the Justice and Security Summerschool.

You can check out all the cartoons and sketches on the project page of The Next Movement. Here below, we give a small impression of the exhibition.






New cartoonist: Iain Green


Iain Green is a cartoonist from Scotland. His first work as a political cartoonist appeared in Punch magazine, around the time of Tony Blair’s ‘97 election win. Since then he has worked for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The Guardian, Independent and the Scottish Daily Mail. He has also contributed to Holyrood magazine since 2005.

World Press Cartoon 2022 winners

The winners of World Press Cartoon, one of the most prestigious cartoon awards in the world, were announced this weekend. We are proud that the winners include multiple cartoonists who publish on Cartoon Movement, including the winner of the Grand Prix. You can see the winning cartoons below. Check out all the WPC winners here.







Cartoon exhibition: Power unmasked

1. Vladimir  Kazanevsky - OekraïneCartoon by Vladimir Kazanevsky

If you are planning to visit the Stripdagen Haarlem, a comic book festival taking place in Haarlem, The Netherlands, between June 3 and 12, be sure to visit our political cartoon exhibition Power unmasked at the provincial government building.

The exhibition shows work from various Cartoon Movement contributors and other renowned international cartoonists about power and oppression, featuring many of the autocrats that are in power in the world today. The exhibition will be on display between June 1 and August 30, with an official opening on June 8.

Cartoon exhibition at The Hague City Hall

If you are in The Hague in the coming weeks, go check out our cartoon exhibition Just Speak! From May 3 until May 20 the exhibition can be seen in the Atrium of the City Hall.

FR5lWMXXIAETXxh Afghan cartoonist Hossein Rezaei spoke at the opening of the exhibition on World Press Freedom Day.

Justice for all can only be reached if we have the freedom to express ourselves in fair and peaceful communities that leave no one behind. A focus on justice is necessary in solving all conflicts. Images have the power to carry a message in a clever, funny and informing way, which is exactly what this exposition is about. Ideas about peace and justice from the youngest generation turned into professional cartoons, created by human rights cartoonists from around the world.

IMG-20220504-WA0004 Tjeerd Royaards and Lucinda Miedema from Cartoon Movement and The Next Movement.

Visit the exhibition to see the voice of youth across the world. This exhibition presents an overview of various education projects we have done through the years. By means of a competition, students at schools all over the world were asked about their ideas on how to achieve justice in a conflict in their part of the world. What are their thoughts on how to prevent or peacefully resolve this issue? Using their creativity to shape these ideas in the form of a cartoon, their drawings were shared with the professional cartoonist network from The Cartoon Movement. They chose the best, most inspiring ideas and turned them into editorial cartoons.

Justspeak One of the cartoons at the exhibition (and the sketch it is based on).

Exhibition Just speak!

1651235765929Cartoon by Ahmed Falah

We have launched a new educational project. Just speak! challenges youth across the globe to draw about the problems that face us all. Professional cartoonists turn the best ideas into editorial cartoons.

To launch the project, we have put together a cartoon exhibition that will be on display at The Hague City Hall, featuring a selection of drawings by students that were turned into cartoons in previous projects.

If you’re in the Netherlands, join us for the opening on May 3rd (World Press Freedom Day) at 5pm in the atrium of The Hague City Hall. Afghan cartoonist Hossein Rezaei, who escaped Kabul in 2020 with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a drawing tablet, will speak about the importance of cartoons and freedom of expression. Download the invitation here.

Cartoons at war: some thoughts on 'conflict drawing'

By Emanuele Del Rosso

When large-scale catastrophes, like a natural disaster, the election of Trump, or a war like the Ukrainian one, happen, cartoonists are ready to fire their best drawings. But how hard is it to portray such a polarizing situation as a war? Very hard, let me tell you why.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine - it's been more than a month, time really flies like a hypersonic Russian rocket against a hospital - my social media and website stats have, well, boomed. It might be because I've been drawing more - driven by anger, and a little bit by fear - for a war that seems so near. Proximity is a thing, and I can't apologize for feeling this conflict more than I feel others.


Target - Del Rosso_1

I know, though, that the main reason why people are sharing, liking, and commenting on my cartoons - and the ones of my colleagues, for sure - is that everyone needs information. Trying to make sense of this mess, we resort to the most immediate, most shearable, and often most effective content that populates our social media: cartoons.

But in this baillamme of hearts and thumb-ups, I started asking myself some questions about the position a cartoonist should take towards a conflict. Nothing is black and white, and even if something can be right or wrong, it is worth exploring all the aspects of it, to find a space for reflection.

Here are some of my doubts and thoughts.

Neutrality? Oh c'mon!

Let's start by saying neutrality is not a thing. It was never a thing.
Neutral cartoons simply don't exist, because the meaning of a cartoon lives in the proverbial "eye of the beholder," the mind - and taste - of the public. We put out a cartoon with an idea in mind, sure of its meaning, and then people take it and do what they want with it.

A perfectly neutral cartoon should be a blank slate. But not even, because I can see the clever reader seeing in the white of the canvas a deep longing for peace, and the irony of the cartoonist that, lost for words, uses "white noise" to signify conflict and its opposite, peace, and destruction. Or one can simply scroll down, for some more interesting content.

Sorry for who of you asks for objectivity and neutrality. I'd tell you to go to Switzerland - famously neutral - but even they choose a side in this war.

Emergency prompts oversimplification

In the first days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a flurry of emotional cartoons and blazing political commentary stormed the web.


Making Europe - Del Rosso

And this happens whenever a tragedy unfolds. A kind of knee-jerk response, totally motivated, and yet also completely uncontrolled. I've been hit by this war unlike any other war before - I already said proximity is, unfortunately, an important factor in how much we care about a specific emergency - and I've drawn my fair deal of "knee-jerky" cartoons.

But the problem with an emotional response to an emergency is that there is no space for a correct analysis. Editorial cartoons are there to help people explore a topic, understand its different angles, and reason about it. We want to take an issue into our hands and turn it around, put it under bright light, peek into each and every crack and crevice.

I am not saying Putin's war is right, or that we should be skeptical of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, of course! They need all of our support. But, in this emergency as in every other emergency, we need to keep an eye on the bigger picture, and editorial cartoons are there to remind us we need to stay sharp.

At war with war

How many cartoons with white doves can you see, before feeling the urge of shooting a Russian hypersonic missile at the next one?

I love doves, really. But, fellow cartoonists, I have a question for you: Do we really add anything to the conversation when we draw a dove, ten doves, a thousand doves, with different flags in their beaks, according to where the latest emergency takes place? There are peace doves flying everywhere, so many doves flying over your head that I hope you brought an umbrella with you!

What I mean is that it is ok to be, let's call it this way, "at war with war," but after the aforementioned knee-jerk response we have all the right to have, it is time to draw something else. Let's leave the doves alone.

It is a great time to be a cartoonist

It is a great time to be a cartoonist! No, I'm joking, it's not. It might seem that extraordinary times make for good cartoons, but in fact, they don't.


Outside the frame - Del Rosso

For one, polarization in the public discourse, and a lack of perspective - too many emotions involved - make a discussion almost impossible. I drew a cartoon trying to reflect on all the other - many - wars that are unfolding in the world while the Ukrainian conflict is given all the ink and paper we have, and soon I had to stop reading the comments and the messages I kept receiving, because many were unsettling.

On top of that, many cartoons are stolen, and published in media outlets that use them to better sell their narrative on a specific issue. Twisting the meaning of an editorial cartoon is not impossible, and a cartoonist can take the blame for it. When we are dealing with delicate topics, this can be quite stressful.

We live in extraordinary times

In the end, so much for "extraordinary times." We have been living in a constant state of emergency for the last, I don't know, 20 and more years. This hasn't fostered a healthy public debate, but quite the opposite: it has given real power to populist pseudo-politicians, and pushed media outlets to seek more "neutral" cartoons, to avoid polemics. "Have you got any doves cartoons? Keep 'em coming!!"

All the while, cartoonists sit there, at their tiny desks, and try to come up with something clever but thoughtful, touching but sharp, simple but complex.

And in the distance, a high-pitched whistle pierces the air, first feeble, and then louder and louder towards them, now almost unbearable, all-encompassing, definitely hypersonic.

Live event: Evergreen satire

Powerful cartoons are timeless. Their message resonates through history and has a lot to teach us about ourselves, helping us to make sense of our modern times. Join us on Wednesday February 23 for the second online event of Evergreen satire, the project where we breathe new life into historical cartoons. Evergreen satire is a joint project of Cartoon Movement and Sound and Vision The Hague and is designed to bring together different archival collections, to foster knowledge sharing and work together to make such archives known and available to experts and to the broader public.

Banner for website - Evergreen Satire

The first step to open the vaults of the archives is a series of live streaming events held at Sound and Vision The Hague, where cartoonists Tjeerd Royaards and Emanuele Del Rosso sit together with directors of archival organizations, to compare and discuss their cartoons and highlight the several “satirical” threads that connect our past with our present.

In this second event, which will be broadcasted live from in The Hague, we will explore how historical and modern cartoons visualize social protests and social unrest. We'll be talking to Douglas McCarthy from Europeana and Kim Robensyn from AMSAB, the Belgian Institute for Social History.

Evergreen satire
Wednesday February 23, 4pm - 5.30pm CET
Register for the event here

The best cartoons of 2021

The end of December is approaching, so it’s time for our traditional top 10 of the best cartoons of the year. In 2021, we published a total of 236 cartoons (so far) as an editor’s choice on our homepage, chosen out of 8524 cartoons that were sent in by our cartoonists.

The 10 best we have selected are not all editor’s choices, but instead are based on how they resonated with our audience. We have also aimed to cover some of the most the important topics in the news this year, and to represent the geographical spread of our cartoonists. And we've tried to represent all genders, even though the profession is still very much dominated by men.

This selection is to some degree arbitrary, as limiting our selection to just 10 cartoons means we had to leave out a number of excellent cartoons about important topics. We hope you will enjoy the cartoons here nonetheless. If you would like to keep up to date with our best cartoons, consider subscribing to our monthly newsletter.


The last joke

January - Antonio Rodriguez

The only Trump cartoon in this year's selection is by Mexican cartoonist Antonio Rodriguez, with a cartoon about the attack on the Capitol in January.


Health inequality

February - Mahnaz Yazdani

Out of all the cartoons about the unequal distribution of vaccines (and there were quite a few), this one by Mahnaz Yazdani from Iran is by far the most popular.


The endarkenment

April - Max Gustafson

Another hugely popular cartoon is this one by Max Gustafson, who reflects on the time we live in.



May - Tjeerd Royaards

This year's violent outbreak in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was illustrated by Tjeerd Royaards.


Floods in Europe

July - Marian Kamensky

Another very popular cartoon, this one by Marian Kamensky from Austria, also illustrates the endarkenment (as Max Gustafson calls it). More extreme weather events, like the floods in the Europe in July, do little to sway the opinion of climate deniers.


The corporate ladder

June - Peter Sully

Mocking corporate culture is an evergreen pastime for cartoonists, and always popular with fans of cartoons. This one is by Australian cartoonist Peter Sully.


Keyboard warrior

September - Tomas

Another subject that is good for popular cartoons every year is social media, how it affects our lives, how addicted we are to it and how we use and abuse it. This cartoons by Italian cartoonist Tomas deals with that last subject.



October - Vasco Gargalo

Continuing our streak of evergreen that subjects, here is one by Portuguese cartoonist Vasco Gargalo, responding to yet another report (this time in France) about widespread child abuse by Catholic priests.


Career Perspective

2782-211122 Gender (Zamani)_small

Life in Afghanistan will be very different for girls, now that the Taliban have taken over, says Nahid Zamani from Iran.


Knowledge and peace

2740-210921 Peace (Dehgani)_small

But it is the next generation that will shape the future. Hopefully, they will do so by aiming for the stars, and not their fellow humans, as illustrated in this beuatiful visual by Mansoure Dehghani, who is also from Iran.

If your interested to see our most popular cartoons from previous, you can check out the 2020 here, 2019 here and 2018 here.