The 1st of October the theme of the 19th Euro-kartoenale Kruishoutem was launched. We did choose for ‘The Bicycle’. Immediatly we got some very nice reactions about the theme. So we hope to see your works very soon.
In this blogpost I like to share a discussion I had with Riber Hansson about the contest rules. It was a discussion that made me think things over again and I am really curious to hear what your opinion on the topic.
Last week I did sent a mail to Riber to tell that we don’t have a lot of Scandinavian cartoonists who do take part in the Euro-kartoenale. Riber is really a great cartoonist and a nice man, so he forwarded my mail to some cartoonists-friends.
The reaction was prompt: ‘we can not participate in this contest because the cartoons may not be published before and we are professionals who don’t work for free. You will never get the best cartoons because of that rule.’
Indeed our contest rules are clear about that:
‘The number of entries is limited to 5. They may not have been exhibited or published before. Any kind of graphical technique will be accepted, including 3-D works. Digital artwork is preferably printed by the artist, in order to present a sufficient high quality work to the jury.’
Why this rule?
We like cartoonists to be creative. That’s why we put a lot of efforts in choosing the theme, where we always try to find a theme that’s original and not evident. By asking to the cartoonist to sent us a cartoon that is not published and exhibited before we like to force her or him to think a step further. That should help to have a high quality competition between cartoonists. To win the contest you have to stand out of the average ideas.
When we decided about that rule we really had ‘contest cartoons’ in mind and we were not aware that by this rule we excluded a lot of professional editorial cartoonists who are published everyday and do not have the time to make contest cartoons. We always thought that it was because of the two separate worlds (political/editorial and gag cartooning), or because editorial cartoonists do often use text, that we didn’t have a lot of editorial cartoonists participating in contests. So I was (partly) wrong about that.
And what about the best cartoons?
I really must admit that I regularly see bad cartoons that are published in journals and magazines. And I am sure that a lot of you, cartoonists, have a lot of great works that are being refused for publication. But of course I hope that the editor chooses the best of your works.
On the other hand I see a lot of great works winning prizes (or not) in cartoon contests. Being a non-professional cartoonist is not a guarantee for less quality, as professional does not mean good.
Working for free
Participating in cartoon contests is a personal choice. As a cartoonist you have to decide what you like to reach with your participation:
– winning money prizes (of course)
– wanting that the public sees your work in international exhibitions
– wanting professionals (jury,editors, museums, other cartoonists) to notice you and using this as a platform for a professional career or personal exhibition
– being published in cartoon books that are distributed around the world
– being able to work in your own style and freedom to express yourself instead of adapting to your editor/agent/readers
– just for fun
We can divide the cartoon competitions in two great parts:
- The press cartoon contests where only press cartoonists can participate with their cartoons published in newspapers and magazines
- The theme cartoon contests where all cartoonists can participate and where the difficulty is exactly to make a highly qualitative cartoon (in technique and idea) around a certain theme
Some cartoonists do prefere to take part in press cartoon contests, others in theme cartoon contests. Some of you will take part in both.
Whatever you choose we wish you all the best in every competition you do take part.
Thanks Riber for the exchanges, it was very rich!