Here’s the next in the fun series of animations I created for The Economist to compliment their specialised dictionary ” Economics A-Z”. This one is about hyperinflation. Please share!
Last week I attended my 35th college reunion from Harvard. It was a great affair. It was also the 375th anniversary of Harvard University. I was honored to have one of my cartoons grace the cover of commencement issue of the Harvard Gazette while I was there. The art features the iconic statue of John Harvard joining the Alumni parade (see below). If you look carefully you will see me looking on from the crowd.
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.
Sureâ€¦ 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 discourseâ€¦ but one cartoon making a difference these days? I didnâ€™t think soâ€¦ 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 publicationâ€™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 â€¦ 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 thisâ€¦even 20 years after the fact. I now wonder if any other cartoons might have had similar impact on other politicians.
For those who donâ€™t think newspaper cartoons have impact, please take noteâ€¦. I now have proof to the contrary.
This week marked my return to The Baltimore Sun after a 6 year hiatus. I am delighted to be back. (see this week’s cartoon below)
This new chapter in my career started in early December when I received a surprising email from Andy Green, Editorial page editor of The Sun. He had been asked by the publisher of the paper to see if there was any way they could lure me back. This was an intriguing thought.
I have been very lucky during the intervening six years since my departure from The Sun. I had a close and long term (30+ year) affiliation with The Economist which continued to blossom. I joined UMBC as an Artist-in-Residence where I have engaged in a series of great projects involving students and faculty. I have also been exploring animation in a big way, working with local animation houses DigitalSteamworks and Bully Entertainment on some great and exciting films. Check out the video below created by The Sun that talks about my recent work.
So, when The Sun first contacted me, I thought that I might be too busy to accept their offer. But then, I reconsidered. I thought I could manage one cartoon a week as long as certain conditions were met.
First, I wanted assurances of editorial freedom in my work. Next, I wanted the cartoon to be displayed at a large enough size to adequately showcase the artwork. Third, and most importantly, I wanted to maintain the same rights that I have enjoyed with The Economist over the past 3 decades: I would own the physical artwork of the cartoons and own all rights to the use and reproduction of these cartoons.
I submitted these requests along with a daily rate for producing a black and white cartoon. The Sun agreed to my proposal.
We determined the starting date to be the 19th of February because I would be settled back in Baltimore after some international travel.
During my return flight from the UK on Thursday, I scanned through the in-flight movie listings and made the mistake of choosing to watch “Immortals”, the over-the-top B-level sequel to “Clash of The Titans”. All was not lost, however. The farce of a movie acted as a perfect inspiration for my first cartoon for The Baltimore Sun. (see below).
Back in January 2006, I was one of the many victims of the mad and desperate cost cutting that was crippling US newspapers. It is my hope the return of a cartoonist to The Baltimore Sun is a modest beginning to the reversal of that trend.
I just came across on the web this delightful blast from the past.
This was a televison commercial I worked on in 1987 with Richard Williams, one of the all time great legends of animation.
It was great experience. I had been hired to be the cartoonist at a brand new UK newspaper called TODAY.The goal of the commercial was to use my cartoons to promote the newspaper.
I worked closely with Richard on the early part of the project. I created character drawings of the major players along with the opening sequence plus a few key drawings. Richard and his animators then took the project and ran with it.
There are some funny little tidbits in the film. In the opening art (it is very difficult to see in this low quality video)… in the audience at Parliament, there are sheep and Mickey mouse sitting in the balcony. Also, among the backbenchers are caricatures of me and a couple of the creatives from the Ad agency that managed the project.
A part that Richard particularly enjoyed was the transition of Neil Kinnock (the then leader of the Labour Party on the right) from a devil to an angel. Look carefully, you will notice he disappears up his own rear end.
As I recall, It took us three months to complete the project with hundreds of drawings used to create the animation. By the time the commercial was ready, the Today newspaper was low on cash and could not afford to give it a nationwide release in the UK. Instead it was aired on local stations (not in London). Still when I visited Richard on a later occasion, he told me it had won two animation awards ( I don’t know which… any info here would be welcome)….2 comments
The only catch was… they needed to translate my text from the original English version to French. This is not a major problem except there were some English idioms in the Economist version that I am not sure translated well to French (Thatcher’s Iron Fist, for example). For any of you French speakers out there, I would be interested in hearing how well you think the artwork translated!
I am pleased to announce that I am currently featured in this month’s edition of Malibu Magazine.
The magazine has a regular column called “10 x 10″ where they ask a guest 10 eclectic questions about his-or-herself ( my favorite: What tunes would be on the five-song playlist to your life?).
As part of my interview, I was asked to supply a photo. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to embellish it a little Â so I created the art below.
Sorry to be so lacklustre at posting this summer… been bogged down with the new 2012 Economist wall calendar ( which looks awesome!).
Here are some recent favorites from The Economist.