Showing posts with label editorial cartoons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editorial cartoons. Show all posts

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ann Telnaes Q&A at Politics and Prose

IMG_20180124_190746_672After she read Trump's ABC, her new book of caricatures about the administration, Ann Telnaes took questions from the audience for about thirty minutes. With her permission, I've transcribed them.

I’ll tell you a little about his book came about. I did not plan to do an ABC book. I had done a lot of sketches in 2016, especially during the primaries and debates, and I originally tried to get a book published of those sketches. My book agent went around, still during the primaries when most people thought Hillary was going to win the presidency (myself included), and couldn’t get any interest. People were already tired of it, and thought Hillary was going to win, so the feedback from publishers was, “We’d like to see a Hillary book.” I thought, “Ok, I can try that – this will be interesting - first female president” – but for some reason, I had this nagging feeling and I just couldn’t come up with something. Of course then the election happened and most of us were surprised, and I thought everybody would be interested in a Trump book. But you’d be amazed at how many publishers didn’t want to do a Trump book – at least an editorial cartooning book.

I put it aside and I happened to take a road trip down to Savannah during the holidays. I had a nine hour drive down and a nine hour drive back. I was driving, because my dog doesn’t, and I didn’t have my hands free to do any sketches. I was thinking about a suggestion a friend had given me, which was to do a political ABC book. Since my hands weren’t free, I put my phone on, and started to recite, “A is for blah, B is for blah...” and I kept doing that all the way down to Savannah and all the way back up. By the time I got back to D.C. I had a book.

Which was amazing, because the hardest thing for me is to let go and let that new thing happen. When you get something in your head – I had a different type of book in my head – but once I let go of it, and I went with what I was thinking, it just came. That was a surprise, a nice surprise. I took a few hours and did some sketching. By chance I was giving a talk at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, and I was talking to James Sturm the co-founder of the college. He looked at my sketches and said, “I’ll put you in touch with Fantagraphics.” I had an email exchange with publisher Gary Groth and it was great. He said, “Yeah, let’s do it” and that’s how the book came to be.

The rhymes were done by the beginning of 2017, and the artwork was finished by May, and I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t hold up. There are some things that obviously aren’t in here, but I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m happy I did it.

Q: How has your image of Trump changed as he’s gone from being the joke candidate to being the actual president? How has your portrayal changed? I know the tie has gotten longer.
Yes, the tie is wonderful. The tie is the prop that keeps on giving. I’m still playing with that tie.
You know, I didn’t really think of him too much as a joke in the beginning. I had done a couple of Trump cartoons before when he ran earlier that were more joke-like, but when he announced this time, I actually did a cartoon where he was saying, “Me, me, me” all the time, because his run for president was all about him. I think in terms of how he looks physically – to me caricatures are more about who the person is. The more that I listen to him, and the more that I realize that this is all about him, that has developed my caricature.

A difference in the last couple of years is that I’ve gone back to doing colors by hand instead of on the computer. Watercolor is a wonderful medium for accidents. I don’t even know how to use watercolor, but it doesn’t matter.

Q: On your road trip where you composed the book, did you have any ideas that were too angry or obscene to include, and if so, will you share them now?

Probably, but I don’t remember them. Actually, it’s amazing. Except for a couple of letters, I pretty much kept to it. The only one I remember going back and forth on was the “K is for Killing without a new plan,” about Obamacare. At that time, they were just in the middle of trying to kill it and I wasn’t sure if I should say they killed it, or didn’t, so I decided that they’d try to kill it, but they still haven’t killed it yet.

Q: Would you consider doing sequels for other years if he lasts that long? Every day there’s some new crazy story…

Oh god. You’re right. The only thing I find wanting in this book is that there’s other things I want to address. Maybe I can do a counting book.

Obviously I had to make a decision what I was going to do for each letter, and there were certain things I wanted to make sure I got in there, like the separation of powers, and I had to include something about his appearance and his hair, even though that’s kind of silly. People would notice if that wasn’t in there. I wanted to hit specific things. Using “pussy” was deliberate on my part – this is something new. I work for the Washington Post, and I had to ask if I could use that word. I can tell you that they wouldn’t have allowed me to use it in any other situation, but once the President says it, I’m allowed to use it. And now I use it.

Yes, now for another book I could use “shithole countries.”

Q: Since Trump is famously thin-skinned, do you know to what extent he has objected to your cartoons?

Let’s broaden that and say, “Has he reacted to any editorial cartoonists?” Not that I know.  I honestly think it’s because the man doesn’t read. He gets his information from television. We’re not on television and I think that’s the reason he has noticed us. There’s been plenty of work out there that has been hard-hitting against him.

Q: Did Fantagraphics come up with the board book format, or was that something you came into the deal with?

No, actually that was something they had to sell me on. I draw very large, and I tend to want my work printed large. At first I thought it would be a bigger book, but I had a really great designer, Jacob Covey, and he and Gary Groth were both telling me that we needed to do this as a board book. I said, “I don’t know, that’s kind of small,” but when I saw it and held it my hand, I thought, “Yeah, this will work!” I’m really pleased that they convinced me to do it this way because I think it’s perfect.

I draw large. The reason I draw large is because I have an art background. We were encouraged in art school during life drawing classes to draw from the shoulder and not from the wrist. So I’m always doing this [as she makes a big sweeping motion with her arm]. I always feel I draw better larger. It takes more time, but I feel I get a better end product.

Q: The rhyming flows well – was that hard to do?

I’m not a writer. Maybe because I was in the car… I had a lot of time. I said a lot of things over and over, but I’m not a writer. I think because I was raised on Dr. Seuss books that might have helped me a little bit. It’s not perfect, but it worked.

Q: As a journalist, how do you process all the ongoing controversies? Do you ever tune it out?

I have to be honest with you – ever since Trump became President, I just feel the need to draw. I’ve been drawing editorial cartoons for 25 years, and even though I did a lot of cartoons criticizing the Bush administration, and I didn’t agree with their policies, this is a completely different situation for me. It’s a dangerous time. I wake up every morning just wanting to draw. I have to decide what to draw and that is one thing that I’ve made a conscious effort about. There’s a lot of silliness, and with social media, that tends to spiral out of control sometimes, so I try to make sure I’m criticizing actions and policy decisions and not just stupid things he says. Things that have consequences are what I try to do; I don’t know if I’m always successful at that. Personally, I’m having trouble sleeping lately because I’m thinking about it. That is one thing I do. I don’t watch the evening news after the PBS Newshour. I stop, because then my mind is racing for the rest of the evening. But that’s the only personal struggle that I have.

Q: I’ll put you on the spot - where do you see this all ending up?

I think it’s going to go on for a while. I really do. There was a short time right after he became president where I thought “Maybe this is going to be over quickly.” The problem is, and this is what I do my most critical cartoons on, the Republican leadership is the enablers. They are the reason we are still at this point. They have decided that they are going to keep this man in office as long as he is useful to them. And unfortunately, I think that the way Trump operates, and what he responds to, and what he wants out of this… it’s going to be a back-and-forth situation. We’re just going to have to roll along with it. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to take a while.

Q: For a cartoonist, it must be very tempting to hop on the hot-button stuff, the craziness and the complete nuttiness and not the more complicated stuff about the state of the Environmental Protection Agency and political contributions. How do you find a way to make the more complex issues visual?

I take a lot of notes. It’s really a question of what am I going to address today. And make sure I keep the ones that I may go back to later. It is more difficult to do an editorial cartoon about a complicated thing. The EPA is a great example – they’re gutting it. They are gutting it. And people don’t realize the extent of it until they turn their faucets on and they have dirty water. I try to address those things, but when TV is talking about the recent silliness, then that’s what people are paying attention to.

Q: Are there other members of the administration that are iconically recognizable that you can build a cartoon around?

Oh, I love drawing Pence. Pence is one of those examples where I think my cartoon doesn’t really look like him, but it is him. I’ve done Sarah Huckabee – she’s interesting. There’s a lot of good characters in this administration. I drew them in G – grabbing pusy. The KKK guy [in the background] was the last thing I put in the book, because it was right as Charlottesville was happening. The [G-H] spread kept getting more and more people in it and I was so thankful when Scaramucci dropped out. I was like, “Where am I going to put him?” and I just didn’t have to. I stuck Comey in here, because it was the time when he got fired, and everyone said he’s a hero, but they failed to remember that he’s the one that decided to announce that he was reopening an investigation into Hillary. So that’s why I stuck half of him in there.
IMG_20180124_190545_189Q: I wanted to thank you for ending the book on a positive note.

It wasn’t intentional [laughing]. I showed it to a close friend when I first got it, and she said, “You ended it on a positive note. That’s not you.” Z is hard. Zebra or Zen?

Q: Do you now see Trump as wrong, or as evil? If the latter, will that affect your drawing? You draw him as funny-stupid person versus an evil person.

I draw the Republican leadership as evil. I think he’s an opportunist deep down. I think he’s got a lot of faults and he’s an opportunist in the worst sense. He’ll say anything to get what he wants, and he’s got a lot of people around him that are enabling him to do that. And let’s face it – he’s a 71-year-old man. That’s him.

Q: To what extent do you get requests from the editorial board of The Post, or readers, or is it just what you want to do? Do they ever make requests?

No. I come up with the idea and run it by them. They’ve always let me decide what I want to cartoon on. They’ve nixed a few things. Around the time of the Charlottesville protests and killing, I came up with an idea they wouldn’t allow me to do because I think they were concerned about the tenor of the country. I think if I had offered that idea at any other time, it probably would have gone through. Sometimes they have to think about that.

Q: Does The Post have right of first refusal? Or are they your syndicate?

No, I’m not syndicated. I’m exclusive to The Post. I do other work, for The Nib occasionally, but they have the first rights. I did that cartoon for The Nib; they ran it.

Q: Have you been threatened?

By people? Oh yes. All cartoonists get threatened at some point or another. After 9/11 was a difficult time. I did a cartoon about Senator Cruz and I got a lot of threats for that. I think when everyone’s emotions are running high are when you get the most. But mostly we get emails telling us how stupid we are.

Q: Could you talk about becoming a political cartoonist, and then if you have the desire to move out and do other forms of illustration?

Sometimes. [laughs] It depends. I actually started in school for animation. I went to California Institute of the Arts, and studied character animation in the traditional Disney style and I worked for a few years in the animation industry. I had no interest in politics whatsoever. I didn’t read newspapers. I lived in LA – why do you need to read newspapers? One night I was doing a freelance project and I had the television on, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 happened right in front of my eyes and I think that woke me up. I became more and more interested in political events, and watching C-SPAN a lot, and I just started doing my own editorial cartoons. Then what finally caused me to decide that I wanted to be an editorial cartoonist was watching the Anita Hill / Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991.

I was a young woman, in my late twenties, and I had dealt with sexual harassment myself and I knew perfectly well it was a problem. To watch a bunch of senators up there, both conservative and liberals, and say that it couldn’t possibly have happened and they didn’t believe Anita Hill made me decide I needed to become an editorial cartoonist. So you can thank those senators; they’re the reason I’m an editorial cartoonist.

Q: What’s your sense of how the #MeToo movement is going to affect the 2018 elections?

Let’s hope it does. Women are mad. I speak to my friends who are my age, and they’re mad, really mad. I hope so because I think it’s about time. It’s funny to hear people to talk about sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. There’s all forms. I’ve dealt with it my entire career. I laugh when I hear people express doubt about it. Every woman has gone through it one way or another. It’s not all rape, but it’s a lot of forms of assault.

I’m going to give a personal example that I’ve never told anywhere. I’m in my fifties. When I had just turned fifty, I was walking down the streets of Washington, D.C. in broad daylight and I had a guy come up from behind and grab me like Trump grabs people. In broad daylight. I’m not a young woman. I was floored. To deal with the police after that? Two female policeman took down everything and did nothing. I was furious. That’s just unacceptable. It was some thirty-something year old guy just thinking he could do it. It’s a problem. And it’s not just for young women, it’s for older women too. There – now I’m really mad.

Q: Is Fantagraphics sending you on a book tour for this?

Yes, I’m going west. I’m going to first start in LA, then to Oakland, then Pixar (where a lot of my old colleagues from CalArts work), and then finish up at Fantagraphics in Seattle in February.

More pictures from the evening can be seen at Bruce Guthrie's site. If you want to see how large her drawings are, original cartoons by Ann can be seen at the Library of Congress in the Drawn to Purpose exhibit or in the Hay-Adams Hotel's Off the Record bar.  An article about the bar and the cartoonists (that I wrote and interviewed Ann for) will be in the upcoming issue of White House History magazine. Ann's previous book, Dick, about Vice President Cheney can be bought online and is highly recommended. Three styles of t-shirts with Ann's cartoons on them can be bought at Amazon.

Ann Telnaes' booksignings for Trump's ABC

Monday, September 25, 2017

Catching up with conservative cartoonist Al Goodwyn

by Mike Rhode
It's been 6 years since I interviewed you for the Washington City Paper - The world's changed a bit since then - have you?
Other than grayer hair and higher cholesterol, I haven't changed much.  Still enjoying life in DC.  And you're right, the world has certainly changed, some for the good and some for the bizarre.  What's also bizarre is that the good and bizarre labels seem to flip depending on individual political perspectives.
About six months ago you started a cartoon blog with Jeff Newman where you provide conservative political cartoons and he does humorous commentary on public events.  Can you tell us how that started, and why you're doing it? How is the reaction?
I had been wanting to try my hand at blogging for some time.  Given that the first steps at blogging aren't really part of the creative process, but include figuring out the mechanics of blogging, the layout, and all of the key strokes needed just to get started, it stayed on the back burner for years.  Jeff's a good friend of mine back in South Carolina and we chat often about politics.  He was actually the push to make the blog finally happen. 
It was over a few beers with Jeff that the topic of blogging resurfaced.  We convinced ourselves we could manage a blog.  Isn't beer amazing?  We wanted the theme to somehow counter the growing number of people who get their news from Comedy Central and memes.  We were both a fan of the book Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole where people seemingly amassed in a confederacy to stymie the protagonist's every move.  From our prospective those who simply latch on to whatever fits their world view without validation from other sources were acting like drones, hence Confederacy ofDrones was launched. 
With lots of snarkiness, satire and sarcasm, we've been posting on a fairly routine basis since then.  Part for fun and part for sanity.  We've loaded over 150 posts so far. We even appreciate other perspectives and disagreement especially when opinions are backed up by facts. The blog can be found here:  The reaction has been positive and we've enjoyed engaging with other bloggers on politics.
You've been picked up to do print cartoons for the Washington Examiner, which was Nate Beeler's home when it was a daily. What is the story behind that? Is it all new material for them?
Nate is a phenomenal editorial cartoonist.  His work was a part of my metro commute when the Washington Examiner was a daily newspaper.  I was sorry to see that daily paper go away, partly because it changed my commute routine but mostly because it was another step in the fading of political cartoonists.  Nate has been, and I'm sure he'll continue to be, used by the Washington Examiner through syndication. 
My involvement with the Washington Examiner came about because my cartooning outlet of 28 years, the HealthPhysics News, was cutting back on costs and no longer wanted cartoons.  My start at cartooning began with them back in 1989 when they were called the Health Physics Society Newsletter and ever since then I had been a regular contributor … until this summer when they let me know that they would no longer be running cartoons.  I think they felt worse about it than I did.  It's a business decision that I completely understood.  They had been great to me over those many years and without them, it's possible I may never have tried my hand at cartooning.   
Since one door closed, I was in search of another.  The Washington Examiner, now a weekly news magazine, has its offices near mine in downtown DC.  I made contact with several people there and after they looked at some of my work, we met in person.  They were encouraging during that meeting and indicated that they'd like to occasionally use my work.  The first was in the September 18th issue. 
How does it feel to have a 'reinvigorated' political cartoon career as a conservative in 2017? 

It's great to have an outlet whether it's the blog or in print.  There's so much going on and so many opportunities to identify contrary opinions to what's happening in politics and society, that there's plenty of motivating material for cartoons. 

Even though I lean to the right and most of my cartoons have a conservative tilt, I still poke at Republicans and President Trump.  Of course many would say, and I'd agree, that those are easy targets based on recent missteps and gaffs.  Fortunately as far as US presidents are concerned, we don't elect them for life.  Unfortunately, in the absence of term limits for congress, the country has moved too far away from the citizen politician and more toward entrenched career politicians.  You'd think with the level of political fodder available today for lampooning that the world of political cartoons would be a thriving industry.  Maybe, again, some day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

New caricature coasters at the Hay-Adams

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg of the Supreme court in a caricature drawn by Ann Telnaes on a coaster from the Hay-Adams' Off the Record bar.


Kim Jong-Un by Matt Wuerker and Angela Merkel by Kal.

Mitch McConnell (from 2014) by Kal and Vladimir Putin by Matt Wuerker.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Ralph Baden - An Artomatic Interview

by Mike Rhode

Ralph Baden's work at Artomatic was quite a surprise as it's often NSFW, or families. The centerpiece of his exhibit is a large painting of a man with an erect penis and a caption that wouldn't make it through many Internet filters. We reached out to him to ask our usual questions, some of which are less relevant to a painter than a cartoonist, and he gamely answered them.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

Large scale political satire and comical oil paintings.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Oil painting on canvas.


When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1960's Maryland.

What neighborhood or area do you live in?


What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

The Corcoran School of Art

Who are your influences?

I'm doing pretty original stuff. Nobody takes oil painting and makes the most vulgar painting -- except maybe the old Dutch masters -- paintings where people got drunk in the streets -- they were funny.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

To do it over I'd have to have a career- but I would have gone twice as loud, twice as big and twice as early.

What work are you best-known for?

Nobody knows of me -- I'm amazed you contacted me.


What work are you most proud of?

 In 2016, being expelled from 2 un-juried shows with 2 completely different bodies of work -- also not being allowed to sell at a farmers market under the freeway by the prison in Baltimore because my work wasn't family friendly... and also not being accepted into The Bromo Seltzer building because my work was considered"too unique".

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

Bigger larger scales. I would like to have a room full of people laughing at my work at The Met or The MOMA

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

Stare at a light bulb.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

Trash can, dumpster, landfill.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

The Phillips -- I love to go sit in the Mark Rothko meditation room and wonder why.

How about a favorite local restaurant?


Do you have a website or blog?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Angelo Lopez wins cartooning award in the Annual Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards

Selections from the press release:

Cartoon Winner
"Editorial Cartoons," Angelo Lopez, Philippines Today

"Throughout his life, my father held a deep commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of the press." Observed Kerry Kennedy, President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights "He would invite reporters and news crews to join him in the most impoverished city neighborhoods, to Indian reservations and communities in Appalachia, California's Central Valley or rural Indiana—places that often lacked electricity and plumbing—and he would ask the press corps why it wasn't covering those issues and these places. The Journalists who followed his '68 campaign created the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards in his name, to honor those who covered the issues most important to him."

This year's Book and Journalism Award winners were chosen from out of more than 300 submissions. Historian Michael Beschloss chaired the judges' panel for the 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

The book award, now in its 36th year, will be presented by Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy at a ceremony featuring remarks by Kerry Kennedy and Michael Beschloss on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, celebrating their 48th year. All honorees will receive a bust of Robert F. Kennedy in recognition of their award.

(as in the past few years, ComicsDC editor Mike Rhode was one of the judges)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

PR: Winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize is Mark Fiore

[corrected 2nd paragraph]

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, DC, Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 – Mark Fiore has been named the winner of the 2016 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Fiore is the first to win the Prize with all animated cartoon entries.

Mark Fiore, who the Wall Street Journal has called “the undisputed guru of the form,” creates animated political cartoons in San Francisco, one of the most fertile regions for creating political animation and cartoons. His work has appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site,,,,, NPR’s web site and is currently being featured on online news sites ranging from KQED and to The Progressive and Fiore’s political animation has been featured on CNN, Frontline,, and cable and broadcast outlets across the globe.

Beginning his professional life by drawing traditional political cartoons for newspapers, Fiore's work appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times. In the late 1990s, he began to experiment with animating political cartoons and, after a short stint at the San Jose Mercury News as their staff cartoonist, Fiore devoted all his energies to animation.

Mark Fiore was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning in 2010, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2004 and has twice received an Online Journalism Award for commentary from the Online News Association (2002, 2008). Fiore has received two awards for his work in new media from the National Cartoonists Society (2001, 2002), and in 2006 received The James Madison Freedom of Information Award from The Society of Professional Journalists.

The Herblock Prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for "distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock." The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Mark Fiore will receive the Prize on May 24th in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress. Mark Shields, a nationally known political analyst, columnist and commentator, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony.

Judges for this year's contest were Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), editorial cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and The Economist, winner of the 2015 Herblock Prize; Michael Rhode, archivist and author, commentator on comics for the Washington City Paper and creator of the ComicsDC blog; and Peter Kuper, alternative cartoonist and illustrator best known for his autobiographical, political, and social observations is also a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Judge Kevin Kallaugher (Kal) commented, "Mark Fiore's entry contained an engaging and powerful collection of visual commentaries.  Fiore demonstrated a great use of parody, adept writing, great visualizations and solid journalism to deliver thought provoking editorials. Like a good Herblock cartoon, Mark's work displayed a consistent and determined passion to fight against societies' ills and absurdities. It is his skilled and masterful cartoon craftsmanship steeped with determined political convictions that make Fiore's animations worthy of the Herblock Prize."

Peter Kuper added, "From the numerous high quality entries to this year's Herblock Foundation award, Mark Fiore's animation entry rose to the top. Not because it was animated, but rather because he demonstrated a consistently strong handle on his subject matter with an ability to convey complex topics with great humor, rage and irony. Fiore produced a powerful body of work that addresses a range of current events and brilliantly serves them up with a smile and a kick in the gut, heart, and other body parts. His work honors the legacy of Herblock and expands the form."

This year's finalist is Ruben Bolling, pen name for Ken Fisher. He is the author of the weekly comic strip "Tom the Dancing Bug" and will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize.  Judge Peter Kuper stated "For decades Ruben Bolling has consistently produced full page comics that find new angles of attack on familiar subjects. With subtlety, yet tremendous humor, he constructs each comic without any wasted space to build to surprising conclusions. Many of his strips take on several topics at the same time and over the years he has honed his art to deliver these ideas with great verve."

The Herb Block Foundation seeks to further the recognition and support of editorial cartooning:  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ed Piskor, Michael Ramirez, and Gene Yang announced for National Book Festival in 2016

Update: Darrin Bell has also confirmed his attendance.

Sweet Sixteen: The 2016 National Book Festival Announced!

January 21, 2016 by

Many authors have already accepted the festival's invitations this year, and they include:
  • Kwame Alexander, Newbery Medal winner
  • Douglas Brinkley, prize-winning historian
  • Christopher Buckley, author of such satirical works as "Thank You for Smoking"
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and author
  • Philip Glass, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Winston Groom, author of "Forrest Gump"
  • Stephen King, best-selling, prize-winning author and literacy advocate
  • James McBride, National Book Award winner
  • Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
  • Joyce Carol Oates, prize-winning author of more than 70 books
  • Ed Piskor, alternative comics artist
  • Michael Ramirez, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Diane Rehm, NPR host and author
  • Salman Rushdie, Man Booker Prize winner
  • Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Bob Woodward, Pulitzer prize winner and author of 17 No. 1 best-sellers
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, prize-winning author of "The Devil's Highway"
  • Gene Luen Yang, Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

The National Book Festival poster will be designed this year by Yuko Shimizu, an illustrator based in New York City and an instructor at the School of Visual Arts. Her work has appeared on The Gap T-shirts, Pepsi cans, Visa card billboards and Microsoft and Target ads, as well as on book covers for Penguin, Scholastic and DC Comics. She has published work in the pages of The New York Times, Time magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and many other publications.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More on The Post's censorship of Telnaes' cartoon

Washington Post Pulls Ann Telnaes Cartoon Featuring Depiction Of Ted Cruz's Children
Tom Spurgeon
December 23, 2015

Washington Post's Cruz cartoon rekindles debate over candidates' children 

(Reporting by Erin McPike and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)

Reuters Dec 23, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Supporting Mohammad Saba'aneh

Apr 17, 2015

Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba'aneh, talks about how global support can help cartoonists in distress. Kal, Mike Rhode, Ann Telnaes and Matt Wuerker talk about the importance of putting the spotlight on cartoonists like Mohammad.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Paul Merklein, Dabney and Dad

by Mike Rhode

Paul Merklein recently tossed a message over our virtual transom about a cartooning class he's conducting in Arlington on April 19th. We took the opportunity to make him answer our usual questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I currently draw my cartoon "Dabney and Dad', which you can read here...

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I still love pen & ink, but I'm planning to start coloring with Photoshop soon.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1963 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?

My wife & I moved to Silver Spring MD in June 2009, and we love DC.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I have freelanced cartoons to newspapers, magazines, books, online media - and even church newsletters - since I was in college in the 80's.

Who are your influences?

Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Matt Groening & Charles Schulz. I admit that I still read The Family Circus.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would stop trying to copy the style of greater cartoonists.

What work are you best-known for?

Fame has eluded me so far, but this interview may change that.

What work are you most proud of?

I drew cartoons for several Milwaukee newspapers in the 80's & 90's, and I always enjoyed getting "hate mail".

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

An illustrated novel. Something like "Dabney and Dad go to Las Vegas."

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I take a walk in my neighborhood.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I use social media to engage my audience, then I market my cartoons & services to them.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

My teenage son & I have attended most of the local comic cons, and The Small Press Expo is my favorite. A few years ago, we were sitting in the audience listening to Jeff Smith (creator of Bone) and I recognized a famous cartoonist from The New Yorker sitting next to me.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The variety & diversity of people here.

Least favorite?

The Beltway.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

If the weather is nice, I take visiting relatives & friends for a walk on The National Mall, and lunch on U Street.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I eat at Ben's Chili Bowl whenever I can. My family loves The Big Greek Cafe in downtown Silver Spring.

 Do you have a website or blog?

You can see me drawing & teaching here...

Starting April 19, I'm teaching Cartooning at The Walter Reed Community Center in Arlington VA. Here is the link to register for my class, which is 320122 - Cartooning.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Herblock's awards

A couple of weekends ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time at the Herb Block Foundation's offices. One room there is decorated with Herblock's awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Pulitzer Prize, the Reuben Award, the RFK Journalism Award, and others. Here's some pictures, and more are online here.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

JE SUIS CHARLIE vigil at the Newseum in DC

Guest post by Bruce Guthrie

The Wednesday attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly newspaper, set off a torrent of email traffic supporting the freedom of the press.  By 1pm, a vigil had been scheduled that night at the Newseum:

In light of the horrendous attack that killed 12 people in Paris today, let's get together to stand peacefully in support of Charlie Hebdo and for freedom of the press. Bring your pencils and pens. #jesuischarlie

It was a bitterly cold night here in DC and vigils are always held outside for some reason but sometimes you just gotta go.  So I did.

On the way, I ran into another vigil near the Navy Memorial Metro stop.  They said they were with the All Souls Church, a Unitarian community, but I wasn't really interested in a religious response to the violence so I moved on quickly.

I was early and initially only a few people including the lead organizers, mostly French, were there.  They handed "JE SUIS CHARLIE" -- "I am Charlie" -- papers to people as we showed up.  Among those filming were Newseum staff who said we were free to go into the museum for heat and bathrooms if we wanted to.  I heard their atrium jumbotron said "JE SUIS CHARLIE" and I wanted to film it so I went through security.  Pretty quickly, the rest of the folks started coming in too.

There, we warmed up and the organizers explained to the cameras why we were assembling -- to stand up for freedom of the press -- and that the Newseum -- which has the First Amendment emblazoned on its Pennsylvania Avenue side entrance -- was the ideal place to do it.  They had no idea how many people were going to show up but it was easily several hundred folks which I thought was pretty impressive for an instant event on a very cold night.

We then went back outside.  Once we had reassembled, the names of the terrorist victims were read.  The crowd chanted "JE SUIS CHARLIE" in solidarity with each name.

People continued to mingle, arrive, and depart.  I noticed Chistine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, had come to support her countrymen and the cause as well.

I was relieved that I never heard the word "Muslim" during the event.  The focus was on freedom of the press, not the repressive elements out there trying to suppress it.

I felt better having gone.

More pictures on

Bruce Guthrie
Photo obsessive