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Street Celebrations in Algiers

I just arrived in Algiers for their Second Annual Festival International de la Bande Designee (FIBDA) – the Algerian Comic Con. I seem to have arrived at an unusual time, when their soccer team is on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup finals, for the first time in 24 years. They just won an important game and all the streets are clogged with rampaging celebrants, yelling, honking their horns, waving flags and blowing off flares. Here is a movie I shot of the street in front of my hotel. This is not a big street; it is just like every street tonight. The noise is a strange constant roar, punctuated by occasional blasts.

I’ll post more in the blog when things happen at FIBDA. They have invited an exotic collection of one hundred cartoonists from all over the world, and I’m told that half of them are political cartoonists.

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Cagle's News of the Bizarre

Here’s an update from October 4th.  If you happen to be at the Algiers Comics Festival, this is where you can see me:

Oct 13 (time TBD): TV appearance on Bonjour Algerie (morning talk show)

Oct 15 @2pm: I’ll be on a panel discussing Comics and the Cinema discussion with Etienne Schreder, and Djilali Biskri at the Esplanade OREF

Oct 16 @3pm: Editorial Cartoons in the US (my solo seminar) at the Esplanade OREF

I just got word that the American Embassy in Algeria has scheduled me and Jan Eliot to go to an Algerian grammar school and paint a mural with the kids.  Has the world gone mad?

I’m also scheduled to give a speech to Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah.  I’ll be giving a speech at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem but I don’t know if that will be open to the public, they will announce something.  I’ll post more info here when I get the details.

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Iranian Pinocchio Cartoons Win Yahtzee

Pinocchio’s nose is one the most common editorial cartoon metaphors, and with the news that Iran launched a missile capable of striking Israel while claiming their nuclear program will only be used for “peaceful” purposes, it’s no surprise that we suddenly have noses growing out the wazoo.

When five or more cartoonists draw the game gag, we refer to it as a ‘Cartoon Yahtzee.Here’s a brief explanation behind them, but there is a basic rule of thumb to go by, “if one other guy drew it, he’s a plagiarist; if five other guys drew it, they’re hacks; if a dozen other guys drew it, they are honoring a tradition”.

Vote at the bottom which cartoon included in this yahtzee is the best:

Jimmy Margulies - The Record (New Jersey)
Jimmy Margulies - The Record, New Jersey
Nate Beeler - The Washington Examiner
Nate Beeler - The Washington Examiner
Pat Bagley - The Salt Lake Tribune
Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune
Hajo de Reijger - The Netherlands
Hajo de Reijger - The Netherlands
Olle Johansson - Sweden
Olle Johansson - Sweden
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Vote: Is this what the Fox News audience is really like?

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Love Those Lemmings

Lemmings are an evergreen concept for an editorial cartoons.  Here’s my latest lemming cartoon, about Obama and the Dems pushing for a health care plan.  First, the rough sketch:

Then I do a nice finished line drawing on a overlay, which is what most readers see in the newspaper.

… And then I color it for the web and the minority of newspapers that print political cartoons in color.

Here’s a lemmings cartoon I drew about the housing crisis …

And here’s a lemmings cartoon I drew about college graduates and the job market …

I learned that people love lemmings all around the world -sometimes people love lemmings a little too much.  After I drew the graduation lemmings cartoon, the cartoon was plagiarized by cartoonist Ali al-Ghamdi for a major newspaper in Saudi Arabia, the Alwatan.

Lemmings.  Ouch.

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Come Meet Daryl in Las Vegas on Saturday

I’m reclusive and elusive, but I’ll be in Las Vegas this Saturday night where we’ll have a fan evening at the Tuscany Suites Hotel from 6:00 to 8:00pm in the Sienna Hall.  It is free and nobody is selling anything, so come by and say “hello.”

I’m in Las Vegas this weekend for a seminar on self-syndicating your cartoons, and we thought it would be nice to have some fan time where all the seminar people are around to chat with fans and aspiring cartoonists who didn’t want to buy a seminar.  Want to meet some cartoonists?  Come on by.

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Mike Lane Retires

I’m saddened to write that one of the great editorial cartoonists has decided to retire. Mike Lane, who drew for the Baltimore Sun for decades and was one of the very first cartoonists to form our little syndicate, is calling it quits.

Mike stopped drawing early last month when he was slated for open heart surgery, but he assures me that health is not the reason for his retirement; he just feels it is time to move on.  Mike writes,

My quitting editorial cartooning comes because it’s time, not because of my health. Which is quite good, notwithstanding. The operation was a terrific success, my recovery is rapid (as can be) and my repaired heart promises a long and robust future.

Mike writes about retirement:

When I was with The (Baltimore) Sun, I used to refer to my old cartooning pal Tommy Flannery (The Sun) and me (The Evening Sun) as the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of The Sunpapers.

R. and G. were minor characters in Hamlet, plotting and conniving and generally being a nuisance, not part of the aristocracy but always there. That is a fair description of the role of the editorial cartoonist , don’t you think? In the end Shakespeare kills them off: “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead!”

Well, Rosencrantz (Tommy) is dead but Guildenstern (me) lives on! And it’s time for different plays, acts and so, I’ve drawn my last political/editorial cartoon. Time for watercolors, greeting cards, perhaps, whatever.

Mike’s last cartoon, from August 6th before his surgery, is below.  See an archive of Mike’s cartoons here. Your work is wonderful, Mike.  Editorial cartoon fans already miss you!

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Welcome Bill Garner

I’d like to welcome Bill Garner to our site. Bill was the longtime cartoonist for the conservative Washington Times who was recently laid off. Bill wasn’t syndicated when he drew for the newspaper and recently started drawing again, only for syndication. See an archive of Bill’s recent cartoons here.

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See the Elusive Cagle in Algeria

I’ll be spending ten days in Algeria next month at the 2009 Festival International de la Bande Dessinee d’Alger, their national Comic Con.  I have to admit that I don’t know much about Algeria.  My travel agency, which has been in business for decades, tells me I’m the only traveler they have ever sent to Algeria – but it looks like Algeria is full of cartoon fans.  I’ve noticed that there seems to be special interest in editorial cartoons from all of the Arab countries.

Jan Eliot, who draws Stone Soup for Universal Press Syndicate, will also be in Algiers, along with a long list of cartoonists from exotic locales around the world – cartoonists so exotic that I’ve only heard of one of them, Tayo Fatunla, the Nigerian editorial cartoonist from our site, who blogged about last year’s Festival in Algiers and who actually lives in England.  Here is a list of the cartoonists attending the event – please leave a comment if you have heard of any of them.

I’ll be giving at least a couple of seminars in Algiers and fans are welcome to come by and say hello.  I’ll be on a panel of cartoonists talking about “Comics in the Cinema” at 2 pm October 15 at L’Esplanade de l’OREF in Algiers and I’ll give another seminar about my own work.  I’ll blog and Tweet from Algiers and I’ll post more information on where I’ll be at the Festival soon.

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Timeline of the Financial Crisis in Cartoons – and Farts

Thanks to my loyal assistant, Stacey Fairrington, for putting together this excellent cartoon slideshow for MSNBC.com, telling the story of the financial crisis of the past year.

I do a Week in Political Cartoons slideshow for MSNBC.com that goes up every Friday morning. The newest slideshow can always be seen on our archive page with all the past weekly slideshows.

I’m a big fan of Sandy Huffaker; we used to syndicate his work but Sandy retired when Obama was elected, telling me he had lost his inspiration when he didn’t have President Bush to kick around anymore.  Sometimes Sandy still gets inspired and sends in a cartoon, like the Glenn Beck cartoon below that I put into the latest weekly slideshow. It looks like Beck really made Sandy mad.

I’ve noticed a recent pattern where nutty conservatives are inspiring cartoonists to draw fart jokes.  There was a time when drawing a fart cartoon insured that your cartoon wouldn’t be reprinted in newspapers, but I noticed this Pat Bagley conservative/fart cartoon (below) in my local paper this week.

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How to Draw a Bad Doggie and Bubble Gum

Everyone tells me they like it when I post my messy rough skteches – so here are a couple of new ones.  The latest cartoon makes fun of how silly it is that Obama continues to try to coax the Republicans when the Dems and the GOP are so far apart.

I start with a messy rough sketch in hard pencil on slick paper – to discourage me from rendering in the sketch and force me to draw quickly, without worrying about mistakes.  I shouldn’t worry about a rough sketch looking good – and this one certainly doesn’t look good.  Here you can see that I erased, and I redrew Obama’s face on top with a darker pencil because I wanted it to look goofier and simpler than I had drawn on the first pass.  When I make an error it is usually to draw too realistically, or to draw too much detail; I have to think hard about making things simpler and cartoonier when I draw.

Next I do the finished line art on a piece of drafting vellum in pencil.  I draw pretty hard, so the lines are crisp and I scan the art at high contrast so it ends up looking like ink. I do the shading on Obama’s pinstripe suit by smudging the pencil with my finger. This line drawing is what most readers will see in the newspaper.

Then, for a small but growing number of newspapers who print editorial cartoons in color, and for our readers on the web, I add color in Photoshop.  I take care to use simple, bright colors because of poor newspaper printing.  I also make sure that my black line art is on a separate channel (the “K” channel in CMYK) so that the lines stay crisp and don’t get broken up into a halftone screen when the cartoon is reprinted.  Many cartoonists save their cartoons in RGB format and their black lines look like an illegible mess when their cartoons are printed just a little bit out of register, as is typical with lousy newspaper printing.

With this next cartoon I wanted to give the impression that Obama had stepped into, and gotten stuck in a mess that wasn’t of his own making, and that his reaction to the mess was only to make it worse. (And gooey bubble gum is always fun to draw.)

Here again I drew over the rough sketch in hard pencil on drafting vellum and scanned the drawing at high contrast to look like ink. Lots of artists complain that they like their pencil sketches better than their finished ink drawings because they lose the spontaneous look with ink. The shading on his pinstripe suit is finger smudges again. All of my drawings are 11×17, which is larger than most editorial cartoonists draw.   The black line art below is what most people see will in their newspaper.

Then I colored it in Photoshop. The pink color helps the bubble gum look more like gum.

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From My Anti-Socialist Mail-Bag

Added 9/10/09: Here’s an interesting column about my Obama school speech cartoon (the cartoon is below) from a newspaper editor, responding to some very vocal complaints from readers who misunderstood the cartoon.

Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 4:39 PM
Subject: Cartoon question

Dear Daryl,

I just got a surprise phone call from a reader who was mad at me because he thought your cartoon of little Jeffy was intended as an insult to the president. I told him that’s not the way I took the cartoon, and that I thought it skewered those who thought Obama’s speech would “indoctrinate” youngsters and turn them instantly into Communists. Our reader didn’t sound very convinced.

I know cartoonists don’t like to explain their work, but did I interpret your cartoon as you intended?

Thanks for the help,

Rowe Ray
Managing Editor – San Marcos Daily Record

On Sep 8, 2009, at 6:12 PM, Daryl Cagle wrote:

Hi Ray,

I’m being sarcastic. I think the conservative complaints and fears about Obama’s speech were silly, so I drew it up to look silly.  I did, however, label the cartoon as “conservative” on our download site, because I knew some conservatives editors would take it literally, and that amused me.

Satire is often lost on readers; sometimes it is a cultural thing. I recently gave a speech in Tokyo where the interpreter explained all of my cartoons to the audience who didn’t understand or appreciate our concept of sarcasm. I guess that explains why we rarely see political cartoons in Japan.

There will always be readers who don’t “get it” –better to keep drawing for the ones who do “get it.”

All the best,
Daryl

From: Sally
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 11:10 AM
Subject: Jeffy cartoon

I found the cartoon very offensive.  Yes, I do realize you were trying to be sarcastic.  However, this ran in our local paper before the speech was given.  I believe that many of the “extremists” who are not going to listen to the school speech will actually believe this is what the speech is about, and then go spread even more of their lies.  As I told the Editor and Publisher of our local paper, if it has run AFTER the speech, it would be quite obvious to all that you were just being offensively sarcastic.

I wonder how Ed, Chris Matthews, Olberman and the other news people on MSNBC feel about this.

Sally Sarina

Jeff Keane left this comment about the cartoon on my Facebook Page:

That cartoon does confuse me… I don’t know whether I am supposed to be going left or right… so I just have to keep running around in circles…