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When Cartoons Matter

May 18th, 2012 | Category: Baltimore Sun, News

block cartoon

I learned a surprising truth this week. I learned that cartoons matter. This may sound funny from someone who has been immersed in the dark art of editorial cartooning for over 3 decades.

Sure… I always hope any cartoon I draft is going to rock the world and be positive force for change. But it is more realistic to assume the daily cartoon is a small voice that affects things in small ways.

I believe the cumulative impact of hundreds of cartoons over years can give a cartoonist potent voice in the political discourse… but one cartoon making a difference these days? I didn’t think so… until this week.

The cause for change was an essay published this week by former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. He had been invited with over a dozen Baltimore luminaries to pen a tribute to the Baltimore Sun in honor of the publication’s 175th anniversary.

In his reflection (see below) he chose to describe the influence of a newspaper on local politicians. He gave as the perfect illustration (pun intended) of this power … the editorial cartoon. He cited how one cartoon in particular from 1992 changed his mind and policy on a certain city issue.

t was very interesting for me to learn of this…even 20 years after the fact. I now wonder if any other cartoons might have had similar impact on other politicians.

For those who don’t think newspaper cartoons have impact, please take note…. I now have proof to the contrary.

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And So the 2012 campaign begins

June 03rd, 2011 | Category: Economist, Finished art

Palin bus tour web

There is no doubt the best time to be an editorial cartoonist is during an election campaign. There is enough satire material to keep an army of cartoonists employed. The candidates are larger than life figures doing ridicuous things on a daily basis.

More than a year away from the US Presidential election in November 2012, republican pretenders are already getting into campaign shape. In this week’s edition of The Economist I drew my first election cartoon for the 2012 campaign (see above). I am looking forward to many many many many many more to come in the months ahead.

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Kal Lebanon cartoon

January 20th, 2011 | Category: Economist, Line Art

Kal economist cartoon 1-20-11web

Last March I had the opportunity to visit Beirut. There I was able to see up close the impressive redevelopment of Lebanon since the war that devastated the country in the 1980’s. I was also keenly aware of the tensions that currently lie just beneath the surface of this beautiful yet potentially explosive land.

My visit helped inform this cartoon that I drew for this week’s edition of The Economist. There is no question that visiting the Middle East has made me feel more connected to the stories playing out in the region.

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Easter cartoon

April 08th, 2009 | Category: Finished art

With Easter around the corner, I thought I would take this chance to post one of my favorite holiday cartoons from some years back. 


Spot the Difference

October 29th, 2008 | Category: Economist, Finished art

There is a difference between the two cartoons above. One cartoon (the bottom cartoon) ran in The Economist this week.  The second cartoon is being distributed to publications in the US and elsewhere through syndication.


HINT: American english and English english employ different spelling in some select words. If you cannot locate the difference between the two cartoons, take a break and pour yourself a whiskey, or is it whisky?

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Kal Cartoon

August 07th, 2008 | Category: China, Economist, Finished art, sketches

Here’s this week’s Economist cartoon. My recent trip to China was very much on my mind as I spent the day constructing and drawing this commentary.  You can find below some of the rough sketches that went into the development of the cartoon. The first are incoherent but eventually I found my way.


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