NCS Announces Expanded Online Comics Award Division

January 3rd, 2013 | Posted in News

National Cartoonists Society

Today the National Cartoonists Society posted their annual call for submissions for the 2012 NCS Division Awards, and announced some changes to the awards field:

Advertising and Product Illustration– The former “Advertising Illustration” division has been expanded to include illustration for retail products. This would include things like cartoon art/humorous illustration for merchandise (posters, calendars, menus, apparel, etc.) as well as for retail packaging (kid’s meal boxes, toy packaging, etc.). It was always a gray area as to if that kind of work was acceptable, now it definitely is.

Animation Divisions– The TV Animation and Film Animation divisions are now more specific as to what form of work is accepted for consideration. Formerly, only examples of full animation were acceptable, regardless of what the person submitting the work actually did. Now, if you were a storyboard artist, you submit copies of the storyboards you worked on. Likewise with character designers, production artists, etc. Here are the details from the NCS website:

  • Both animation categories are accepting submissions of individual artists’ work for consideration. Submissions maybe submitted by the artists themselves, or by the studios or other colleagues on the artists’ behalf. As will all divisions there is no charge for awards submissions.
  • Production designers, art directors, character designers, layout artists, background painters, character painters, and all other still art creators must submit five to ten samples of their work from a single production for each application.
  • Samples may be physical prints or as JPEG files on a CD-R. If the samples contain work by anyone else, please include a detailed written breakdown of which art is attributed to the applicant.
  • Animators, storyboard artists, visual effects artists, and anyone else involved in creating moving or continuity art, please submit a reel of your work on a DVD or CD-R. (Storyboards will only be considered in animatic form.) If the samples contain work by anyone else, please include a detailed written breakdown of which art is attributed to the applicant.

This makes a lot more sense, as it is impossible to judge the work of a storyboard artist or a character designer from a segment of finished animation, which also involved the work of many others to achieve its final form.

Online Comics– Last year the NCS had a single division that was purposefully restricted to only daily strip formats as a way to test out their process. This year they are expanding it into two divisions, Long Form and Short Form.

Online Comics: Short Form– Unlike last year, this division includes daily strip, single panel, Sunday strip, or partial/single page formats. Short form comics should be able to stand alone as a single narrative, even if it is part of a longer storyline like an adventure strip. They can be full page comics, like a “Life in Hell”, but if so they should be single page narratives that do not serialize their storylines.

Online Comics: Long Form– These would be ongoing narratives told in full page formats. Basically an online comic book or graphic novel, where the story is fully serialized.

Like last year, the NCS will have a screening/nomination committee of independent, online comics experts that will help determine if the submitted work meet the criteria for consideration:

  • Must be web only publication (any syndication/third party publication in print should submit to proper print division above)
  • Must have shown consistent timely publication over the course of the 2012 calendar year (weekly, bi-weekly, multiple times a week, daily, etc.)
  • Creator must earn the greater part of their living directly from cartooning/comic art in order to meet the requirement that they be eligible for professional NCS membership

Great news. The NCS is moving forward in the digital age. If your work is eligible for submission, I hope you’ll send it in.


  1. Karl says:

    Well, my online comic meets requirements 1 & 2, but sadly, doesn’t generate income, period, so I don’t qualify for membership as stated in the third criteria. Not for lack of trying, though. 😉

  2. Very encouraged by the changes to the online comic criteria! Long-form in particular has been growing in leaps and bounds in the past few years. I appreciate that the trend is reflected here. I am eager to see what the future brings as the online comic industry continues to develop!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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