My 2015 Reubens Talk

A few weeks back I had the honor of speaking at the 2015 NCS Reuben Awards in Washington, DC. It went really well and was well-received, so I thought I’d share it here in case you missed it or weren’t able to attend.

BTW, there were questions at the end, but I left those off. If you have questions feel free to drop me a line.

2015 NCS Reubens – Washington, DC

This year the National Cartoonists Society held it’s Reuben Awards in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC at the Omni Shoreham. It was an amazing weekend and I was so honored to be one of the featured speakers.

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Hotel
Presidents, Sinatra and the Beatles have stayed here. And now I have too!
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Our Room
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - The View
Lots of space to pretend to work in!

First up was an event at the Library of Congress for King Features’ 100th anniversary. Then it was back to the Omni for presentations.

I was up first and I think my talk went really well. I made a recording of it and I’m hoping to post it in a week or so. So stay tuned!

Other speakers for the weekend included Juana Medina, Doug Mahnke, Nick Galifianakis, Brian Crane, Mort Drucker, and a panel hosted by Ann Telnaes.

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Presentations
No, that’s not Brian Crane in the photo belly dancing
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Mort Drucker Standing O #1
Mort Drucker getting a standing O at his presentation

I think one of the most exciting parts of the weekend for me was meeting Mort Gerberg. He came to my presentation and came up to chat with me afterward. His book, Cartooning: The Art and the Business, was a gigantic help and influence to me when I was just getting started. I was so thrilled to meet him. What a wonderful and kind man.

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Me & Mort Gerberg
Me & Mort Gerberg

I also met tons of other people who wanted to chat about my presentation. Everyone had a lot of questions and I was so pleased to talk with them!

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Phil Judd

Later that night there was a cocktail party and I got to chat with tons of people including Anne & John HambrockAdrian Sinnott, Ken Krimstein, and Brigid Alverson.

The next morning was a trip to the zoo. It was just a 10 minute walk away!

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Panda
This panda really liked that popsicle
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Meerkat
Meerkat taking a break
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - National Zoo
I don’t remember what this is

Saturday evening was the big awards dinner with a pre-show cocktail party. Again, I got to chat with so many nice people including Tom Richmond, Tom GamillBrian KellyTom Stemmle, John Glynn, and Mo Willems.

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Mo Willems
Me & Mo Willems

And of course, my best pal Mike Lynch!

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Mike Lynch
Me & inky pal Mike Lynch

The awards were terrific. (Click here for the list of winners.) Jason Chatfield did a terrific job hosting!

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Jay Kennedy Award
Derek Desierto accepts the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - More Mort Drucker
Another standing O for Mort Drucker

The next day I spent touring DC a bit. I’ve never been here before and really wanted to take it all in.

2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - White House
The White House
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - WW2 Memorial
World War II Memorial
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Lincoln
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Air & Space Museum 1
Me & a Saturn V engine
2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards - Air & Space Museum 2
Mooning astronauts

Well, that’s it. Huge thanks to Tom Richmond and the NCS for inviting me, the lovely Anna for helping things to run smoothly, Latisha Moore for keeping everything organized, John Lotshaw for calming my nerves and making my talk run smoothly, and everyone who was kind enough to take the time to chat with me. What a wonderful and exciting weekend!

I’m Speaking at the 2015 NCS Reuben Awards

2015 Reubens Cover

I’m super excited and honored to announce that I’m going to be speaking at the 2015 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards! Perhaps even better, I’ve been caricatured by Mad’s Tom Richmond for the brochure cover! (I’m second in from right under the flag with the glasses, hat, and the giant, and sadly quite accurate, nose.)

You won’t believe the other people speaking:

  • Mort Drucker– First recipient of the “NCS Medal of Honor”; Speaker
  • Jeff Keane– Recipient of the NCS “Silver T-Square” for outstanding dedication to the Society
  • Brian Crane– Reuben winning creator of the syndicated comic strip “Pickles”; speaker
  • Doug Mahnke– Superstar comic book artist; speaker
  • Juana Medina– Illustrator, first recipient of the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship; speaker
  • Nick Galifianakis– Cartoonist, author, illustrator; speaker
  • Ann Telnaes, Pulitizer prize winning editorial cartoonist; moderating a panel on “Cartooning and Free Speech”

Wow, huh?

I’ll be talking about how I got started cartooning, how I make a living online, and my many spectacular failures.

Hope to see you there!!

Cartoonists Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Knight

So recently Keith Knight posts this after crashing the NCS cocktail party:


Having been a member of the NCS, and having not renewed my membership, I agreed with pretty much everything Keith said.

Daryl Cagle responded and had some good, reasonable things to say.

Then the whole thing blew up at The Daily Cartoonist with the usual suspects calling each other names and blah blah blah blah blah…


I was going to put a whole lengthy response together, but then decided I couldn’t put it better than Ted Rall:

I can understand why cartoonists who are pros in every respect other than earning most of their income via cartooning would feel offended at not qualifying under NCS admission rules. Professionalism is like porn–you know it when you see it. And of course many well-paid pro cartoonists do really crappy work.

On the other hand, if a group isn’t interested in having you as a member, why would you want to join?

And then on the third hand (I’m an alien), it’s easier to join an existing organization and/or ask it to modernize than to start a new one from scratch.

I’ve long wondered why NCS doesn’t seem interested in becoming more than an annual drinking society for wealthy cartoonists. But it seems to me that the loss is really theirs, not the cartoonists they’re excluding. They’re like newspapers 20 years ago. They’re going to turn around someday soon and wonder why they’re going under. And it’s going to be because they decided, over and over, to reject the future and wallow in irrelevance.

Dead on, Ted. Dead on.

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Jay Kennedy Scholarship

JaykennedyJust a heads up that the NCSF Jay Kennedy Scholarship deadline is February 6.

Jay was just a swell guy who couldn’t have been nicer to me starting out. I’m so glad this is available to budding cartoonists in that spirit.

More info:

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship, in memory of the late King Features editor, was funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from Jerry Scott, Jim Borgman, Patrick McDonnell and many other prominent cartoonists. Submissions are adjudicated by a panel of top cartoonists and an award is given to the best college cartoonist. The recipient is feted at the annual NCS Reuben Awards Convention attended by many of the world’s leading cartoonists.

Applicants must be college students in the United States, Canada or Mexico that will be in their Junior or Senior year of college during the 2009-2010 academic year. Applicants DO NOT have to be art majors to be eligible for this scholarship.

Along with a completed entry form, applicants are required to send 5 samples of their own cartooning artwork; noting if and where the work has been published (either print or web).Please send copies. DO NOT send original artwork.


The applications will be judged by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation (NCSF) and the number of scholarships given out and their amounts will be at the discretion of the NCSF.

Seriously, if you’re a young cartoonist, get on this.

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