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Washington Post cartoon contest announces winner

The Washington Post’s America’s Next Great Cartoonist Contest has a winner. Olivia Walch, 20, of Fairfax Station, Va. is the contest winner, impressing the judges with her “Imogen Quest” cartoon and winning over readers. She emerges as America’s Next Great Cartoonist after our panelists picked 10 finalists, celebrity judges critiqued entries, then thousands of readers voted in two rounds of challenges to choose the winner. As winner, Walch receives $1,000 and a shot at syndication.

Of Walch’s work, Judge Jerry Scott said, “Olivia’s panel is really current and smart. Her ideas are fresh and funny, and the drawings are consistent and likable.” Gene Weingarten was impressed with her jokes. Richard Thompson also reviewed her work and wrote, “This Sunday is ingenious and funny, and pushes metahumor about as far as it can go.”

Walch is studying math and biophysics at The College of William and Mary and is a cartoonist for the student newspaper, ‘The Flat Hat.’

Her work for the contest can be viewed on the WP’s site.

Community Comments

#1 Ben Carlsen
@ 9:30 am

I am in complete agreement with this choice. I haven’t been following the contest, so I haven’t read any of the other entries. Still, I read her entry strips, and this is definitely a cartoonist I want to read in the newspaper. Clean, lovely artwork, great sense of humor, amazing writing… definitely a winner.

#2 David Reddick
@ 9:35 am

Great artwork? really?

#3 David Reddick
@ 9:36 am

Compared to what?

#4 Scott Nickel
@ 9:40 am

Kudos to Olivia! Very nice work — especially by someone so young.

#5 Henry Clausner
@ 9:44 am


#6 August J. Pollak
@ 9:45 am

Alright the pet password one actually made me laugh out loud.

#7 David Reddick
@ 9:48 am

The writing is excellent, though. Congrats, Olivia.

But… does no one really care about comics that are fun to LOOK at anymore?

#8 Daniel Boris
@ 9:49 am

Congrats Olivia!


#9 Scott Metzger
@ 9:55 am

I think her stuff is excellent. The pet password and fancy humor strips are very funny.

#10 Kelly McNutt
@ 10:10 am

She’s the one I voted for, and I, for one, find her artwork appealing.

To all the contestants and finalists: it was fun to see all the hard work y’all put into this. Best of luck!

#11 Daniel Boris
@ 10:24 am

@ Kelly: Thanks very much!

#12 Stephen Beals
@ 10:27 am

She has such a neat and funky design style. And she’s funny. Definitely something to be picked out of the sameness you see in most strips. I hope she gets a chance to prove herself in front of a larger audience.

#13 Dan Bielinski
@ 10:39 am

The “pet password” comic made laugh out loud.

Congrats, Olivia!

#14 Zachary Snyder
@ 10:41 am

Major congrats to Olivia!

This contest was a lot of fun! I wish more newspapers/syndicates would have them!


My characters respond to the contest news:

#15 Stephen Beals
@ 10:51 am

@David, Perhaps this has nothing to do with your opinion of Olivia’s art, but I’m burned out on drawings that are in love with Photoshop (especially my own). They’re pretty, static images with their gradient colors, but it all looks so familiar and has zero sense of spontaneity. It’s hard to tell one artist from another sometimes. I felt that way about airbrushing a lifetime ago.

But I’m also tired of singing buried and altered under layers of sound.

And I’ve been eating my broccoli without any cheese on it.

So maybe it’s just me.

#16 David Reddick
@ 11:03 am

Stephen: Brocolli without CHEESE?? Foreshame!! LOL

And yeah, I hear you about overly-Photoshopped art, too.

And I am genuinely happy for Olivia. She brought the goods, and MADE it! ;-) I just pine for some Al Capp, Bill watterson or Milton Caniff or the next Richard Thompson, artistically, combined with great writing, these days is all. Art is subjective, ultimately, and as a friend just told me, “different strokes for different folks!”

Olivia, I meant no disrespect to your acheivement. Congratulations! Go get ’em, girl!

#17 Steve Skelton
@ 11:14 am

Congrats, Olivia! Always nice to see some good news regarding cartooning. Your style makes one want to see more.

So……..when is the next contest?

#18 Scott Nickel
@ 11:19 am

It’s a cage match between Scott Kurtz and Ted Rall.

Get your tickets now!

#19 Dave Stephens
@ 11:20 am

The art is whimsical and varied and very effective – I especially love the variety of effects she gets with minimal line-work. Regardless of the particulars of her art (which will only improve over time), it is her creativity that is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to her long career in comics.


@ 1:45 pm

I like the idea of the eyes floating in air. Congratulations Olivia.

#21 David Jones
@ 2:14 pm

Life without CHEESE? My entire strip would NOT exist then!!! I love cheesey humor…


Congrats Olivia… well deserved. Now for the rest of us losers, don’t fret!!! Success is just a strip away.. so keep stripping. Someone will notice you if you strip well. Strip loud, strip proud!!!

– Dave….

#22 Susan Camilleri Konar
@ 3:22 pm

Ted Rall came to mind when I first saw some of Olivia’s characters. But she certainly has created a unique and clever world. Looking forward to more.

#23 Jim Lavery
@ 4:07 pm

A finalist in last year’s comic contest had floating eye people as well so I think it’s a style that many people utilize

#24 guy endore-kaiser
@ 5:33 pm

I dig it. Good for her.

#25 Ted Rall
@ 9:28 pm

she the first with the floating eyes shes an origenal i give that credit to her only


#26 Stephen Beals
@ 11:31 pm

@Corey, Well, what’s funny to me is that you write like the Crocs in Pearls Before Swine speak. Then you went all caps and I imagined a PBS croc yelling….it was hopeless to think otherwise at that point.

We need more Cubism on the comis page.

#27 Dave Stephens
@ 1:41 am

I second Ted’s “lol” and add to that a hearty “guffaw, chortle and snicker.”

Because hundreds, probably thousands of artists dozens and dozens of cartoonists have done the “floating eye” thing…

Not laughing at you, but definitely laughing at what you said.

#28 Mike Witmer
@ 6:37 am

corey: I think Ted was laughing at your grammar, not your statement.

Congrats. I was happy to see the top five show up with some well-executed humor. Good job, judges!

#29 Sandra Bell-Lundy
@ 7:01 am

Love the writing and the art. Congratulations, Olivia!

#30 Alan Gardner
@ 7:56 am

Editor’s note: The individual mentioned as “Corey” in this thread has had his comments deleted throughout the site. He’s continuously not used his first and last name, and from the records, it’s clear he’s used several different names to post comments.

The rules are simple: use you first and last name.

Because his comments have been referenced in the thread above (and other threads on the site) there may be a disconnect in the conversation. For that I apologize.

#31 John Cole
@ 8:46 am

Funny stuff (David Hume/baseball gags ALWAYS kill).

Congratulations, Olivia!

#32 Shane Davis
@ 8:52 am

Corey the first with the no name last hes an origenal i give that credit to him only

#33 Ted Rall
@ 9:02 am

I was just laughing. There were several reasons to laugh, and I couldn’t choose.

#34 Jason Nocera
@ 10:16 am

@Corey – Well said! I think with that post we can finally put the end to the print vs web debate!

#35 Scott Nickel
@ 11:10 am

I blame Corey Pandolph….


#36 Mike Grosvenor
@ 11:27 am

Olivia and WPWG need to get the pet funeral strip on mugs and shirts before it’s stolen. It seems to have struck a chord.

#37 Alan Gardner
@ 11:35 am

For the record the “Corey” in question is not Corey Pandolph.

#38 Scott Nickel
@ 1:22 pm

A likely story, Alan…;)

#39 Corey Pandolph
@ 3:16 pm

Huh? Wh? I was asleep. Whad I miss?

#40 Garey Mckee
@ 8:44 pm

I love the writing and the artwork reminds me of something you’d find in a New Yorker magazine cartoon. Great work!

#41 Rich Diesslin
@ 11:39 am

Garey, that’s a terrible thing to say to someone. Shame on you. ;)

#42 Garey Mckee
@ 7:03 pm

Sorry Rich. I should be banned. But the artowrk does remind me of magazine art. Perhaps New Yorker was a bit harsh LOL!

#43 larry johnson
@ 5:43 pm

mr. boris should have won

#44 Daniel Boris
@ 2:30 pm

@ Larry: Thanks very much! (It would have been nice to see how the votes went down, but the Post did not disclose the vote breakdown.)


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