An editorial cartoonist, also known as a political cartoonist, is an artist who draws editorial cartoons that contain some level of political or social commentary. Their cartoons are used to convey and question an aspect of daily news or current affairs in a national or international context. Political cartoonists generally adopt a caricaturist style of drawing, to capture the likeness of a politician or subject. They may also employ humor or satire to ridicule an individual or group, emphasize their point of view or comment on a particular event.
Self-caricature by an editorial cartoonist
The traditional and most common outlet for political cartoonists is the pocket cartoon, usually appears in the editorial page or the front news page of a newspaper, in the front news section of a newspaper. Editorial cartoons are not usually found in the dedicated comic section, although certain cartoons or comic strips have achieved crossover status.
Historically, these are quick, hand-drawn ink drawings, scanned and reproduced in black and white and published in print newspapers. The introduction of color came later, and more recently the use of digital drawing tools are a popular and efficient way to produce work quickly for newspaper deadlines.
Editorial cartoonists may reflect the political opinion expressed in the editorial page, or a newspaper in general, but they can also express opposing views, or opt for more populist humor that often reflects the conventional wisdom of the readers.
Historically, these artists have roots in ancient art forms, such as the cave painting of Early Man, or the hieroglyphics of Egypt, in terms of their role in informing society. Cartoonists in many ways take on the role of a court jester, who though employed by a King or ruler, would often mimic and ridicule him and his regime in his performances, to entertain the court, or 'the common man'.
In recent years, the internet has become an excellent means for distributing this kind of short format media, humor, and minority political opinions, leading to a large growth in the popularity of online and alternative editorial cartoons.
The rise of comic journalism online, which combines the longer comic strip format as a means to relay a story in more depth, is very effective in a vertical web format. As visual journalists, they can tell a story in a visual way, with words and images.
Because an editorial cartoonist expresses an idea visually, with little or no text or words, it can be understood across many languages and countries. A strong tradition of editorial cartooning can be found throughout the world, in all kinds of political environments, including Cuba, Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Iran, France, Denmark, Canada and the United States.
In the United States, there are more than a hundred published editorial cartoonists, from both sides of the Republican-Democrat divide.
In India, the most common and popular form of political commentary is the pocket cartoon. R. K. Laxman, Sudhir Dar, Mario Miranda, E. P. Unny, Shekhar Gurera, Ajit Ninan are some of the popular editorial cartoonists, through their daily pocket cartoons.
A political cartoonist's aim is often to encourage debate; they can also fuel controversy. Their work can expose corrupt or abusive regimes, governments or political groups, and therefore often put themselves and their publishers at risk.
In 2005, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard received numerous death threats and was attacked in his home by man with an axe.
In 2015, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's offices were attacked by two Islamist gunmen in reaction to publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Twelve employees were killed, including staff cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski.
The Cartoonists Rights Network International awards the annual Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award to political cartoonists who show bravery and risk their own safety to publish their work. In 2015, this accolade was awarded to Atena Farghadani of Iran, who was jailed for more than 12 years for publishing a cartoon of Iran's parliament with heads of various animals.
There is a Pulitzer Prize awarded every year for America's top editorial cartoonist — as decided by a panel of senior media industry professionals and media academics (see Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning). Other major awards given each year to editorial cartoonists include the Association of American Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club, and the Herblock Prize.
There are several North American books that have collected together the majority of cartoonists being published at the time. Attack of the Political Cartoonists, written by J. P. Trostle, was published in 2004 and includes profiles of 150 mainstream American and Canadian cartoonists. Attack was an effort to update the 1962 tome Today's Cartoon, by New Orleans States-Item cartoonist John Chase, which included most of the editorial cartoonists working in the U.S. at the height of the Cold War. And the 3-volume Attitude series includes some of the political cartoonists who have appeared in alternative newspapers and online — see Attitude: The New Subversive Cartoonists.
There are also a number of North American annual collections published each year, including Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year from Pelican Publishing, Best Political Cartoons of the Year from Daryl Cagle, and Portfolio, which showcases the best Canadian cartoons of the year.
The Auckland Star was an evening daily newspaper published in Auckland, New Zealand, from 24 March 1870 to 16 August 1991. Survived by its Sunday edition, the Sunday Star, part of its name endures in The Sunday Star-Times, created in the 1994 merger of the Dominion Sunday Times and the Sunday Star.Originally published as the Evening Star from 24 March 1870 to 7 March 1879, the paper continued as the Auckland Evening Star between 8 March 1879 and 12 April 1887, and from then on as the Auckland Star.One of the paper's notable investigative journalists was Pat Booth, who was responsible for notable coverage of the Crewe murders and the eventual exoneration of Arthur Allan Thomas and the Mr Asia case.In 1987, the owners of the Star launched a morning newspaper to more directly compete with The New Zealand Herald. The Auckland Sun was affected by the 1987 stock market crash and folded a year later.Peter Bromhead was the editorial cartoonist from 1973 to 1989, and Guy Body also created editorial cartoons.When the newspaper ran editorials in 1991 opposing the work of a gay youth group (Auckland Lesbian and Gay Youth), the paper in turn became subject to strong protests from gay activists. After failing to convince the paper's editor, Frank Haden, to retract his editorials, the activists started a campaign that included discouraging advertisers from booking ads in the paper – a strategy which the activists credit with causing the paper to fold later in the year.Bado (cartoonist)
Bado is the pen name of Guy Badeaux (born 21 May 1949), who has been the editorial cartoonist at the French-language daily Le Droit in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada since 1981. Recipient of the National Newspaper Award for editorial cartooning in 1991, he is currently treasurer of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists. He was editor, for 23 years, of Portfoolio: The Year's Best Canadian Editorial Cartoons, published by McArthur & Company Publishing, and, for two years, edited by Warren Clements, then with The Globe and Mail.Brian Gable
Brian Gable (born 1949 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian editorial cartoonist. He studied fine art at the University of Saskatchewan, subsequently studied education at the University of Toronto, and taught art at Brockville, Ontario.
Initially freelancing as a cartoonist for The Recorder and Times in Brockville in 1977, he subsequently became full-time editorial cartoonist for the Regina Leader-Post in 1980, and then became the editorial cartoonist for The Globe and Mail in 1987. He won National Newspaper Awards in 1986, 1995, 2001 and 2005 for his work.
He is also the illustrator for the children's book series Words are Categorical, published by Lerner Publishing Group.Dustin (comic strip)
Dustin is a daily comic strip created by Steve Kelley, and Jeff Parker, editorial cartoonist for Florida Today. It is carried by King Features Syndicate and debuted on January 4, 2010. Dustin won the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Newspaper Comic Strip in 2010, and again in 2017
. Focusing on the present boomerang generation and post-2008 recession period, it also deals with varying topics from everyday life and social commentary.
Dustin was initially planned as a collaboration between Kelley and Steve Breen, who was Kelley's successor as the staff editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union Tribune after Kelley was fired from that position in 2001. Breen later decided not to proceed with Dustin, leading to a 2008 lawsuit by Kelley against the owners of the Union Tribune, alleging that Breen had been improperly pressured not to collaborate with Kelley; the case was dismissed in 2009, but reinstated in 2011.At its outset Dustin was carried in more than 100 newspapers nationwide, and by October 2010 it had expanded to 300. In several papers, Dustin was the replacement strip for Cathy, which ended its run in papers on October 3, 2010. Among the papers that carried Dustin from the beginning was the New York Daily News, but due to a recent cutback in the paper's comic section Dustin, along with several other strips, was jettisoned from the paper.Edmund S. Valtman
Edmund Siegfried Valtman (May 31, 1914 – January 12, 2005) was an Estonian and American editorial cartoonist and winner of the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.
Born in Tallinn, Estonia, he sold his first cartoons at age 15 to the children's magazine Laste Rõõm. He worked as an editorial cartoonist for the newspapers Eesti Sõna and Maa Sõna and studied at the Tallinn Art and Applied Art School. When the USSR reoccupied Estonia in 1944, he and his wife fled the country and spent the next four years in a displaced persons camp in Germany, which was still under the control of Allied occupation forces. They emigrated to the United States in 1949.
Once in the US, Valtman worked for The Hartford Times from 1951 until his 1975 retirement. He was noted for his caricatures of Cold War-era communist leaders like Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his August 31, 1961 cartoon. It showed Fidel Castro leading a shackled, beaten-down man representing Cuba and advising Brazil "What You Need, Man, Is a Revolution Like Mine!"Valtman died in a Bloomfield, Connecticut retirement home.Frank Miller (editorial cartoonist)
Frank Andrea Miller (March 28, 1925 – February 17, 1983) was an American editorial cartoonist. He was a cartoonist for the Des Moines Register from 1953 to 1983. In 1963, Miller received the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning for his notable editorial cartoon on nuclear warfare which depicts a world destroyed and one ragged figure saying to another, "I said -- we sure settled that dispute, didn't we!"Fred Curatolo
Fred Curatolo (born 1958) is a freelance editorial cartoonist.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Curatolo studied at the esteemed visual arts program at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute from 1974 to 1978. After encouragement from an instructor, he began serious editorial cartooning in 1982, and was first published in 1983 at the Toronto Sun. Curatolo started his cartooning full-time at the Brampton Guardian in 1986. In 1989, Fred moved to Edmonton, Alberta to join the Edmonton Sun as staff editorial cartoonist and continued this position until 2006. Having been published in numerous papers across Canada, Fred's work was also featured in the former local weekly See Magazine. Currently he is drawing for the St. Albert Leader.Graeme MacKay
Graeme MacKay (born 23 September 1968) is the Hamilton Spectator's resident editorial cartoonist. Born in 1968, grew up in Dundas, Ontario. A graduate from Parkside High School in Dundas, Graeme attended the University of Ottawa majoring in History and Political Science. There he submitted cartoons to the student newspaper, The Fulcrum, and became the graphics editor. Between 1989 and 1991 he illustrated and, along with writer Paul Nichols, co-wrote a weekly comic strip, entitled "Alas & Alack", a satire of current day public figures framed in a medieval setting.After a 2 year working tour through Europe and North Africa he returned to Canada in 1994 and submitted cartoons to various newspapers. His work caught the eye of The Hamilton Spectator and in 1997, he was hired as a full-time editorial cartoonistBesides creating five editorial cartoons per week for the Spectator, Graeme's work is nationally syndicated through Artizans. Through distribution his cartoons appear across the Internet and in newspapers, big and small, throughout Canada, and occasionally in the United States.
Between 1999 and 2003, Graeme illustrated a comic strip exclusively for the Hamilton Spectator called Gridlock featuring 5 characters working at a fictitious local taxi company called Hammercab. Gridlock’s creation came about through a partnership with Wade Hemsworth, a columnist at the Hamilton Spectator, who wrote the scripts.Between 2008 and 2010 Graeme was President of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists, and hosted its biennial gathering in Hamilton in September, 2010.
Graeme has lived in Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto and London UK, for 18 months (1994) as a counter clerk in the food halls of Harrods in Knightsbridge. He now resides in Hamilton, with his wife Wendi, and their daughters, Gillian and Jacqueline.Henry Payne (cartoonist)
Henry Payne (born 1962 in Charleston, West Virginia) is an American editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News.Payne began cartooning when he was a student at Princeton University, drawing for two of its student publications, The Daily Princetonian and The Nassau Weekly. After graduating with a degree in history, Payne was hired by Charleston Daily Mail as their staff artist. In 1986, he moved to Washington D.C., working for Scripps Howard News Service as an editorial cartoonist and an editor for its cartoon wire. His cartoons were available though the Associated Press syndication services. Detroit News hired Payne in 1999 as their cartoonist, replacing Draper Hill, who retired from the paper.
Payne's cartoons are syndicated by United Media. In addition to his editorial cartoons, Payne also writes columns for various conservative publications, including the National Review and the Weekly Standard. Payne has criticized the mainstream media as corrupt, and is an outspoken critic of the corruption in global warming news reporting.Payne lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with his wife, Talbot, and two children.Jeff Parker (editorial cartoonist)
Jeff Parker has been editorial cartoonist for Florida Today which serves Florida's Space Coast, since 1992. He also assists Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Mike Peters (cartoonist) with his comic strip, Mother Goose & Grimm and worked with Denis Lebrun on the daily Blondie comic strip from 1996 until 2005. With New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial cartoonist Steve Kelley, Parker produces the strip Dustin, centered on an unemployed 23-year-old living with his parents. Dustin was launched in papers nationwide in early 2010. Parker's work generally mocks Conservatism.Parker's work has been recognized with awards from Gannett News Service, Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Press Association. In 2004, he was awarded the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Division Award for Editorial Cartooning after three prior nominations.
His cartoons are distributed by Cagle Cartoons syndicate to hundreds of news outlets, regularly appearing in USA TODAY, Newsweek, TIME, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Courrier International, The New York Times and on CNN and Fox News.Kudzu (comic strip)
Kudzu was a daily comic strip by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette about rural Southerners. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, the strip ran from 1981 to 2007.
The title came from the kudzu vine which was introduced to the Southern United States (and initially encouraged) as a soil erosion control plant, but soon became an out-of-control invasive species.Mark Knight
Mark Knight (born c. 1960s) is an Australian cartoonist. He is currently the editorial cartoonist for the Herald Sun, a daily tabloid newspaper in Melbourne. Knight was also the last editorial cartoonist for one of the Herald Sun's joint predecessor newspapers, the afternoon broadsheet The Herald.Merle Tingley
Merle "Ting" Tingley (1922-2017) was a Canadian cartoonist who was the main editorial cartoonist for the London, Ontario newspaper, The London Free Press, from 1948 to 1986 as well as being syndicated for 60 other publications as well.In World War II, Tingley was the official cartoonist for the Canadian Army magazine, Khaki, and a contributor for the overseas army newspaper, The Maple Leaf. After his discharge, Tingley toured the country on his motorcycle hoping to find work as a cartoonist only to have the various newspapers in applied at turn him down. When Tingley reached London, Ontario, he was out of funds and had to gain a menial job at the London Free Press with a friend's help. However, Tingley's fortunes improved when an editor on that paper noticed a cartoon Tingley drew of the mayor during the municipal election. The editor was impressed enough with that work to arrange to have Tingley become the resident editorial cartoonist.Tingley's mascot was a worm character called Luke Worm who usually was present in each of his cartoons.
Tingley's honours include the National Newspaper Award for editorial cartooning in 1955, National Headliner Award for Editorial Cartoon year for 1965 and induction into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame in 2015. In addition, collections of his work are stored at the University of Western Ontario and at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.After his retirement in 1986, his artistic contributions have been commemorated since 2014 in the Ting Comic And Graphic Arts Festival in London, Ontario. It is an annual three week arts festival at The TAP Centre for Creativity devoted to cartooning and sequential art which includes gallery displays of various local Canadian artists including selections of Tingley's art, as well as various activities devoted to the medium and is scheduled to conclude with the annual Free Comic Book Day event.Michael de Adder
Michael de Adder (born May 25, 1967) is a Canadian editorial cartoonist who worked for the Halifax Daily News until it closed its doors in February 2008.Paul Szep
Paul Michael Szep (born July 29, 1941) is a political cartoonist. He was the chief editorial cartoonist at the Boston Globe from 1967–2001 and has been syndicated to hundreds of newspapers worldwide. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice for Editorial Cartooning in 1974 and 1977. Szep also won the prestigious international Thomas Nast Prize (1983). The Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi (SDX) honored him twice with its Distinguished Service Award for Editorial Cartooning (1973 and 1976). He won the National Headliner Award in 1977 and the National Cartoonists Society's Editorial Cartoonist of the year (1978). He has written more than a dozen books.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Szep is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. He first started cartooning at the Financial Post newspaper in Canada. Although born in Canada, he is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Szep was a strong opponent of the Vietnam War and his cartoons on Edward King, the governor of Massachusetts, resulted in his being sued for libel. In 1987, a court dismissed King's suit. His work is currently syndicated by Creators Syndicate. He has a daughter Amy (artist, born 1967). His son, Jason Szep (born 1969), a Reuters journalist, also won a Sigma Delta Chi Award (2007) and a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (2014). Jason Szep, formerly Southeast Asia Bureau Chief at Reuters, is now U.S. National Affairs Editor for Reuters, based in Washington.
In 2010, a putter discarded by Szep and sold at a discount golf store was bought for $39 by Jim Furyk, who won the $11 million FedEx Cup tournament with it.Rob Rogers (cartoonist)
Rob Rogers (born May 23, 1959) is an editorial cartoonist. His cartoons appeared in The Pittsburgh Press from 1984 to 1993, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 1993 to 2018. In 1999, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.He was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in mid-June 2018 for his cartoons that were critical of President Donald Trump.His cartoons are still syndicated by GoComics.Sid Barron
Sid Barron (June 13, 1917 in Toronto – April 29, 2006 in Victoria, British Columbia) was a Canadian editorial cartoonist and artist. He drew for the Victoria Times, Toronto Star and The Albertan.
His drawings were typically apolitical showing the views of the common person. They often contained a biplane with its landing gear falling off towing a banner with the words "Mild, isn't it?" and a striped cat, known as "puddy tat", leaning on its elbow holding a card bearing a wry comment.Signe Wilkinson
Signe Wilkinson (born July 25, 1950, in Wichita Falls, Texas) is an editorial cartoonist best known for her work at the Philadelphia Daily News. Her work is described as having a "unique style and famous irreverence." Wilkinson is the only female editorial cartoonist whose work has been distributed by a major syndicate.Wilkinson is the first female cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning (1992) and was once named "the Pennsylvania state vegetable substitute" by the former speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 2011, Wilkinson received a Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design. She has also won four Overseas Press Club Awards and two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for Cartooning, along with other various awards.Wyatt Tremblay
Wyatt Tremblay is a Canadian editorial cartoonist who has worked for the Yukon News since 1992.