Reflections of the Reuben Award Weekend 2011

As attendees of the 2011 National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben Award weekend return home and post their thoughts, experiences and photos of the previous weekend, I’ll link to them here.

One pre-Reuben item: this weekend, Tom Richmond takes the helm of the NCS for a four year term as NCS President replacing outgoing president Jef Keane. Correction: The NCS president term is only 2 years – Jef served 2 terms.

Starting out: Chris Sparks posts photos of Cartoonist of the Year Richard Thompson

This year, the NCS opened it’s doors to the webcartooning community. Here are some of their reactions:
Dave Kellett has posted a cartoon journal of his experience.

Kris Straub

But in the NCS, it really felt like a true community. These are people to whom the craft means everything, who swam deep in unknown oceans we online cartoonists only skate on the surface of. To drive the metaphor into the ground, we don?t have the gills for it, and it isn?t as elegant out here on land. Fish.

I come at cartooning from an outsider angle, as do many online artists who never really had dreams of being published in newspapers. I can name my favorite cartoonists on one ? well, maybe two hands, but I don?t know much about them beyond their work which I pored over. I don?t know how they started, what frameworks did or didn?t exist for them, how easy or hard it was for them to move up the ranks. But to spend time in the company of the NCS, all that didn?t seem so distant.

Mike Lynch has posted photos

Anne Hambrock has posted her photos.

Isabella Bannerman has posted sketch notes of the webcartoonist’s panel.

19 thoughts on “Reflections of the Reuben Award Weekend 2011

  1. From the “Not Making This UP Dept.”: when panel of web cartoonists were asked about their drawing tools, xkcd cartoonist said, and I quote:

    “…even though I draw stick figures, sometimes I have to erase and redraw it.”

  2. Great Reubens. Jeff did an outstanding job as always… I’ve got big shoes to fill.

    Just a quick correction on above story- the NCS board officer’s term is two years, not four. Jeff served four years as he served two terms. Likely I will be run out of town on a rail after just one term, unless nobody else wants the job.

  3. An amazing and truly awesome weekend. The folks at NCS are far more than ridiculously talented, witty and smart. They are super nice, very down-to-earth and welcoming beyond words. It was hard to end each evening, harder to wake up each morning and hardest to leave. Meeting FB friends in person is more fabulous than I imagined and meeting new friends made the whole “getting off of the sofa” ordeal very much worth it.

  4. Yeah, it was a pretty awesome five days, despite the fact that Mike Lester almost killed me. Other than that, one for the record books…I don’t know how you top that one, Tom.

  5. Ditto to all the comments above. I especially enjoyed Roy Doty’s and Jeff Kinney’s talks. Interestingly the three web cartoonists that spoke do their cartooning on paper (not that it matters, just interesting to me). I enjoyed meeting Scott Kurtz and even have a good picture of Scott and Wiley. These events are inspiring and I am always amazed by the talent and friendliness of everyone there. Tom, you’ll do a great job, I have no doubt.

  6. I had a wonderful weekend! The members of the NCS are the greatest group of people, so warm and fuzzy… For me, the highlight was Roy Doty’s speech … it moved me to tears… Welcome to the helm, Tom, I’m sure you will make us all proud! Thank you to everyone involved.

  7. Seriously, Patti…you really remember what Roy said?! In your condition? And will Mason and Mick ever be able to show their faces in public?

  8. With Tom Gammill’s and Arnie and Caroline Roth’s permission, I’ve added my handheld recording of one of Tom’s infamous videos from the ceremonies. Tom has plans to eventually include this video in his “Learn To Draw” series.

    The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee: Arnold and Caroline Roth meet Tom Gammill

  9. This was the first time I had been to the Reuben Award Weekend. It was a privilege to be invited, and everyone I met was very kind and interested in the way I – and others like me – run their comics online (that was the seminar I was a part of). I find the comment above about Randall quite ungenerous, I think anyone wanting to know the business of online comics should count themselves lucky for the opportunity to speak with one of its most successful people. He’s certainly head and shoulders above me there, and a very nice fellow.

    Thanks to everyone who made me feel so welcome in a great community of friends and talent, I hope to see you again sometime!

  10. Kate: ” I find the comment above about Randall quite ungenerous.”

    I apologize for finding it funny that a guy who draws stick figures tells his audience that he has to occasionally erase and start over. I didn’t say it, it’s a direct quote. I wrote it down. And it’s hilarious.

  11. When I did a guest strip for xkcd last year I found myself erasing a lot. Part of that was trying to make my stick figures look like Randall’s, but part of it is when you don’t have eyes, mouths, etc, to convey expressions/personalities/emotions, things like the arch of the back, the position of the arms, etc, take on way more importance in subtle ways.

    It’s funny in a counter-intuitive way, yes.

    Glad you had fun, Kate…it was great to meet you!

  12. Rather than reply to the separate private comments I got re: Randall / xkcd, let me clarify: I made no judgement on his content, success or even his “art”. I simply quoted him.

    In his defense, -and he doesn’t need one, for people like me who came out of the womb being able to draw, the INABILITY could be frustrating except that it’s not. It’s immaterial. I’m not sure how Walt Kelley felt about Chas. Schultz drawing style but one was not in the others league and we know how that turned out.

    Stephan Pastis is refreshingly self-depricating re: his drawing “skills”. Recently, Donna Lewis took a public pelvic exam on this blog re: her art. It was petty, mean and an exercise in petulance. She’s syndicated. Go out and do the same.

    Stick figures? Why not? But when you have to erase and re-draw them -that’s funny.

  13. I totally got what Randall was saying. Even though his comics are made out of simple stick figures, the composition still matters to him on an instinctual level.

    I suppose it’s funny in a “because it’s true” sort of way. I struggle with the same thing. Sometimes the panel just looks “wrong” to me, so I redraw it … despite the fact that said panel will be shrunk to 1.5 inches square, and will only be looked at for a fraction of a second by most readers.

    I don’t kid myself into thinking what I do is high art, but I still strive to do the best I can within the limits of my ability. And often that means fixing the mistakes that nobody but I can see.

    Isn’t that a common “madness” among cartoonists?

  14. As a longtime fan of Matt Feazell’s Cynicalman, I’ve always taken it for granted that stick figures can be high comic art. And any halfway decent cartoonist knows that some lines and circles are funnier than others.

  15. And by the way–I think the NCS deserves credit for making webcomics such a prominent part of the weekend. It’s a big change from last year, when they were hardly mentioned, and long overdue. I, for one, was totally geeked (pun maybe intended) to meet so many prominent web cartoonists, and I told any board member I found myself talking to (ok, maybe just Mike Lynch) that webcomics should be a division award category.

  16. John Read … I just now checked back on this thread and your comment totally made my day! … my poor sons … By the way, great job with the One Fine Sunday exhibit! Highlight of the weekend … until Chad Carpenter took that guy out in the alley …

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