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.

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



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


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.