“I don’t like to brag,” people say with their lips pursed to preen themselves. Self-aggrandizement is socially awkward, but at the same time, we take pride in the things we do fairly well, hence our many specialized blogs. My particular blog is heavy on photography, with some poetry and fiction scattered within. But my professional hobby is drawing editorial cartoons for multiple publications, a few of which are also included here.
Most every year my work garners awards at the state-level, and that’s an honor, of course. But the truth is, there are not that many cartoonists submitting work to newspapers in my state, especially middling-to-small publications. Most of those papers subscribe to a syndicate and purchase work by nationally-syndicated cartoonists. At the national level, however, there are many more folks who do what I do: draw and submit opinion pieces with a local slant.
Last week I was notified that I had taken First and Third Place for the category of “Best Original Editorial Cartoon, Daily and Non-Daily Division” in the National Newspaper Association’s annual contest for 2018. Now, I’m not up against all the syndicated folks or the few remaining staff cartoonists at large, metropolitan papers; their work falls under a different organization’s auspices. But still, across the nation there are many artists who draw for middling-to-small papers, of which there are still thousands, which makes my accomplishment very meaningful to me.
Political opinions can be very polarizing, so I don’t expect everyone reading this will agree with my cartoons, but here are the two winners. The First Place cartoon deals with Bitcoin miners setting up huge server farms in my county, which happens to provide the cheapest power in the United States. Douglas County has put a moratorium on such operations as they draw huge amounts of electricity from the grid.
The Third Place cartoon is of the oft-parodied painting, “American Gothic.” Pot is legal now in my state, so pot farms have sprung up all over the place. In addition, one farmer here in Eastern Washington installed solar panels on large swaths of his land to make a profit. I thought I’d update the painting…
© Brad Skiff