Sunday Mailbag

May 9th, 2010 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Great art you posted the other day for the upcoming NCS Reuben awards. I was wondering what the requirements are to become a member of the NCS?

A: Thanks for the kind words about the Reuben illustration. The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists that started in 1946. You can read all about the history of the NCS here.

The requirement for membership, at least as a regular member, is that you are a professional cartoonist i.e. you make a living drawing cartoons. That encompasses a large gamut from syndicated cartoonists to animators, comic book artists, illustrators, gag cartoonists, greeting card creators, etc. There are also Associate, Honorary and Retired membership classes.

Here is what the NCS website says are the requirements for consideration for regular membership:


Cartoonists who are currently earning the major part of their income from cartooning and have done so for at least the past three years; Work must be of a high professional quality and their reputation good.

Application must include two letters of recommendation from NCS members, a short biographical sketch and samples of current work bearing a signature. Applications must be accompanied by a check covering one year’s dues, which will be refunded if the candidate is not accepted by the Membership Committee.

A candidate is eligible for membership when accepted by a unanimous vote of the Membership Committee.

So… you must be able to demonstrate you have earned the majority of your income directly from cartooning for the past three years, and you must be sponsored by two members in good standing with a letter of recommendation from each. Members get the excellent NCS newsletter “The Cartoon!st”, can attend the annual Reuben Awards weekend and more importantly get to know their fellow cartoonists and the people whom they both admire and respect in the industry. If you qualify and are interested in becoming an NCS member get all the details here.

There are also local chapters of the NCS, and you DO NOT have to be a regular NCS member, or even qualify as one, to be part of a local NCS chapter. If you are an amateur or part time cartoonist, or just have a great interest in cartooning, look up your local chapter here and find out about their get-togethers and events.

I have been a member for 11 years now, and was sponsored by the great Mort Drucker himself, which was a huge honor. I’m currently serving as a vice-president of the organization. Joining and being a member has been and continues to be one of the high points of my career.

Thanks to Richard Griffin for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


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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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