“Toon Awards” in Okoboji, Iowa

April 28th, 2009 | Posted in News

This past weekend I drove down to picturesque Lake Okoboji, IA to attend the 2009 Toon Awards Exhibition, held at the Pearson Lakes Art Center right in Okoboji (in the town, not in the lake). It was organized by Toon-Ed, a cartoon education group led by Sioux Falls cartoonist Ken Alvine. Veteran magazine gag cartoonist and Iowa resident Dave Carpenter and Ken did a fantastic job with the show, program and all the arrangements. The folks at Pearson also did a great job, especially Lissa and Danielle. It’s not easy setting something like this up.

Toon-Ed is dedicated to educating the student of cartooning and provides a chance to showcase students cartoon art that are enrolled in post-secondary schools, colleges, art schools, and universities. Cartoon art students were invited to participate in the TOON Award. Speakers did presentations on Saturday and an exhibit of professional cartoon art opened in the main lobby and landings.

The Cartoon Exhibit-

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Cartoons hanging in one of the Pearson Center landings

This was pretty impressive. It included original works from a lot of big time cartoonists. There were original comic strips including work from Chris Browne (Hagar the Horrible), Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits), Greg Evens (Luann), Lynn Johnston (For Better or for Worse), comic book pages from Stan Goldberg (Archie) and many other great examples of professional cartooning being showcased. I have two original MAD pieces hanging right by the bathrooms were they belong! Some of the artwork was donated to the raffle conducted on Saturday night and some to a silent auction that ends with the end of the exhibit. The show runs until June 27th, so stop in if you find yourself in the area.

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An original “Zits”

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Artwork by Bucky Jones

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An original “Luann”

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An original “Hagar” Sunday

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Some original garbage from MAD

The Student Competition-

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Ed Baker pronounces judgement

College students 18 years of age or older were welcome to submit up to 3 pieces of their original works of cartoon art to the Pearson center for inclusion in the competition. The submissions were hung in a special gallery at the Art Center. There were only 13 artists with entries but some very enjoyable and solid work.

The work was be judged by a panel of professional cartoonists on Friday. The panel included:

  • Chris Browne of “Hagar the Horrible”
  • Ed Baker -Emmy award winning storyboard animator
  • Paul Fell– Editorial Cartoonist
  • Buck Jones – Humorous Illustrator
  • Tom Richmond of “Mad Magazine” (Hey… that’s me!)

Judging was not easy, there were easy arguments to be made for the worthiness of just about every entry. We each picked an artist for best work in comic strip, animation and illustration categories, as well as best overall work. Judging was fair and there was no bribery involved, much to our disappointment.

The artists recognized were:

  • Best Comic StripEric Lee Johnson (Northern State University)
  • Best AnimationKaty Elder & Roman Serebryakov (Des Moines Area Community College)
  • Best IllustrationRoman Serebryakov (Des Moines Area Community College)
  • Best Illustration- 2nd PlaceAlex Heberling (Ohio State University)

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Award winner Alex Heberling

And the 2009 Toon Award for Best Overall Work:

  • Eric Lee Johnson (Northern State University)

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Eric Lee Johnson and his award winning art

Congratulations to the cartoonists and all who entered. Your work looks great in that gallery.

Cartoonist Speakers

On Saturday there was be several workshops on cartooning by professional cartoonists:

Because there was also a “meet and greet” with the cartoonists upstairs I only got to catch Dave Carpenter’s talk, which was fascinating. Gag cartooning is both a great art form and an interesting business. Dave is one of the top gag cartoonists in the business, with a long list of frequent clients including the Harvard Business Review, Barron’s, Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, and many, many more.

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Dave Carpenter talks cartooning

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Chris Browne and fans

There was also a main speaker following the Saturday Evening awards banquet. “Nebraska’s Cartoonist” Paul Fell shared his work including his editorial cartoons, sports cartooning, caricatures and illustration. Paul also talked about the future of cartooning and the internet, and showed us his latest efforts in online cartooning including the free subscription service The Daily FellToon, and his new online Huskernutz store.

As expected, it was a fun time. It’s never dull hanging out with other cartoonists… illegal sometimes, but never dull.

Comments

  1. Bucky says:

    Tom, thanks for posting all the great photos and information. It was a real treat getting to hang with my cartoonist friends and the opportunity to meet aspiring cartoonists. As usual I learned more outside the classroom than in. Most of which cannot be repeated. Thanks for all the laughs, Tom. ____WWTRD!

  2. Katy Elder says:

    It is so cool to accidentally come across our names on the Internet! Especially since it is in a somewhat honorable fashion 🙂
    Thank you and the crew for providing students like us with such an amazing opportunity! We had a blast participating and we look forward to attending the Toon Awards again in the future! Wish we would have had the chance to spend some more personal time with you Tom. Thanks for everything!

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