The mission of the AAEC is to champion and defend editorial cartooning and free speech as essential to liberty in the United States and throughout the world.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is dedicated to the promotion of political art in American life, and the celebration of free speech and a free press as essential to a healthy democracy. The AAEC aims to be an international leader in support of the human, civil, and artistic rights of editorial cartoonists around the world, and to stand with other international groups in support of the profession.
- To promote the profession of editorial cartooning in the United States on all platforms, from print to digital.
- To be a national and international leader for free speech, the foundation of political cartooning.
- To encourage and foster young editorial cartooning talent.
For over 60 years, the AAEC has been a network of cartoonists concerned with promoting the interests of staff, freelance and student editorial cartoonists in North America, including political illustrators and the growing field of comics journalists. We seek to provide a common meeting ground for cartoonists of all political persuasions to exchange views, meet socially, and showcase creative and technological innovation.
AAEC Officers 2022
- President: Kevin Necessary, Cincinnati Enquirer
- Vice President: Ed Hall, freelance
- President-Elect: Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee
- Secretary-Treasurer: Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons
- Director: Gretchen Koch, freelance (2nd year)
- Director: Dennis Draughon, Capitol Broadcasting (1st year)
- Director: Paul Berge, Q Syndicate (1st year)
- International Advisor: Patrick Chappatte, freelance
- Digital Editor & cat herder: JP Trostle
- General Manager: Kelsey Maher
Contact us at: [email protected] or via snail mail AAEC, PO Box 160314, Sacramento, CA 95816
The John Locher Memorial Award
The AAEC/John Locher Memorial Award is given each year to a promising cartoonist under the age of 25 who produces editorial cartoons, web comics with a political bent, or comics journalism. The winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to that year’s AAEC convention and a $1000 cash prize.
Since 1987, the Locher has been awarded to an aspiring cartoonist whose work demonstrates both clear opinions and strong artistry on political and social topics. Single panel, multi-panel, and animated editorial cartoons and comics will be accepted. Both students and non-students. age 18-25, are eligible to submit. For complete details on how to enter, go to http://locheraward.org/
Past Locher Award Winners
- 1987 — Kevin Siers. Kevin is currently the cartoonist for the Charlotte Observer.
- 1988 — Paul Tarr at the Milwaukee convention.
- 1989 — Mike Thompson at the Newport convention. Mike was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently the political cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press and is syndicated by Copley News Service. His cartoons appear in more than 400 publications nationwide. Mike has won numerous awards for his work.
- 1990 — Bill Costello at the Seattle convention. Bill is a University of Maryland graduate. His cartoons can be seen in USA Today.
- 1991— Steve Breen at the Memphis convention. Steve was graduated from University of California at Riverside in 1992. Steve won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and in 2009. He also has won the 1991 Scripps-Howard Foundation-Charles Schultz Award. He is presently the editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and is the creator of the comic strip, "Grand Avenue."
- 1992 — Jerry King at the Colorado Springs convention. Jerry finished his final exams as senior at Ohio State University the day before he left for the convention. He is now a commercial artist specializing in greeting cards and full-color Illustrations for magazines. He recently won a 2002 National Cartoonists Society award for magazine gag cartoons.
- 1993 — Marshall Ramsey of Kennesaw State College, Marietta, Georgia, won at the convention in Austin, Texas and immediately was offered a position as editorial cartoonist at the Conroe Courier in Texas. Marshall went on to work at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and won the 1999 Mississippi Press Association Award. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and 2006.
- 1994 — John Davidson's winning editorial cartoons appeared in the University Dally student newspaper at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. John attended the convention in New Orleans.
- 1995 — Drew Shenneman was a sophomore at Central Michigan University when he won the award at the Baltimore convention. Drew is presently the cartoonist at the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.
- 1996 — Brian Fairrington at the Phoenix convention. His award-winning cartoons appeared in The State Press, the student newspaper of the Arizona State University. Brian's cartoons appeared in the Arizona Republic. He is syndicated by Caglecartoons.com.
- 1997 — Aaron Taylor's winning cartoons appeared in The Daily Universe at
Brigham Young University. Aaron attended the Orlando Convention. After
nearly eight years as a graphic designer, Aaron joined the Daily Herald
in Provo, Utah in 2005 as the staff editorial cartoonist and designer.
Creators Syndicate syndicated his comic strip "Ph.D" in 1999 and 2000.
- 1998 — Patrick O'Connor won in Las Vegas. While a student at Kent State University, Patrick's cartoons appeared in the student newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater. He went on to become the editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Daily News.
- 1999 — Brad Minnery's winning entries were drawn for the University of Pittsburgh's student newspaper, The Pitt News. Brad received his award at the Chattanooga convention.
- 2000 — Justin Bilicki's winning entries were drawn for Michigan State University's student newspaper, The State News. Justin received his award at the Minneapolis convention.
- 2001 — Eric Devericks won for this cartoons in the Daily Barometer, the Oregon State University student newspaper at the Toronto convention. Within a year of receiving the award, Eric accepted the editorial cartoonist position at the Seattle Times.
- 2002 — Nate Beeler of the American University, Washington, D.C., won for his cartoons in the campus newspaper, The Eagle. He received his award at the Washington convention. He was also the recipient of the 2002 Charles M. Schultz Award from Scripps Howard Foundation.
- 2003 — Dan Carino was staff editorial cartoonist for The Daily Aztec, the student newspaper of the San Diego State University, for two years when he won the Locher Award contest. Dan also won the SPJ Mark of Excellence and the Gold Circle Award from Columbia College.
- 2004 — Josh Ferrin was a graduating senior at the University of Utah when he won. He received his degree in Political Science with a minor in Middle Eastern studies. His cartoons were featured in the student newspaper, the Daily Utah Chronicle. He also won the SPJ Mark of Excellence award. Runners up: Adam Zyglis, Canisius College, Deana Sobel, UC Berkeley.
- 2005 — Terrence Nowicki, Jr. drew his first editorial cartoons in the fall of 2004 for the Western Front, student newspaper of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He submitted these cartoons in March of 2005 and won the contest. He also won the SPJ Mark of Excellence award in 2005.
- 2006 — William C. Warren joined the staff of the Old Gold and Black, the weekly newspaper of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina during his first week of his freshman year and produced two cartoons a week for them. William was a sophomore when he won the contest, majoring in political science with a double-minor in studio art and journalism.
- 2007 — Kory Merritt was a senior at the State University of New York College at Brockport majoring in art with an environmental science minor when he won. His cartoons appeared in SUNY Brockport's student newspaper, The Stylus. Merritt "had been fascinated with the cartooning profession since early childhood" and considered winning the award contest to be one of the greatest honors he received. Merritt received the Award at the Washington D.C. convention which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the AAEC.
Runners-up: Sam Ayres, Yale University and Nathan Rohde, University of Wisconsin -- Madison.
- 2008 — Sam Ayres was a junior English and political science major at Yale University, where he was the staff editorial cartoonist for the Yale Daily News. Sam began cartooning in 2002 for his high school newspaper in Englewood, CO. Sam said he was honored and exited to have won the contest and to be part of the special tradition the award represents.
Runners-up: Christopher Sharron, Kent State University and Bill Richards, University of Georgia.
- 2009 — Jake Thompson, a junior in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, is this year's winner of the award contest. According to Thompson, even though he has always enjoyed comics, in particular the work of Bill Watterson, he did not actively begin cartooning until he studied abroad in Scotland where he illustrated for Edinburgh University's newspaper, The Student. His subject matter included the recession, President Obama's stimulus bill and the present plight of newspapers. Runners-up are Christopher Sharron, Kent State University and Charles Brubaker, University of Tennessee at Martin.
- 2010 — Chris Sharron, a senior at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio is this year's winner of the award contest. The cartoons Chris submitted to the contest were politically astute and well crafted. Sharron began his editorial cartooning career drawing cartoons and illustrations for his college newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater, as a freshman and has been contributing as staff cartoonist ever since. He says that "… cartooning has taken me to many interesting places and allowed me the opportunity to meet some pretty great people. Most importantly, it has given me a way of sharing my ideas with the world." As he enters his last few months at Kent State University, Sharron looks forward to new challenges, new ideas and new things to say. He says he will continue to learn and to better his craft in the hopes that he will also find new and better ways to express those ideas. Bill Richards of the University of Georgia came in second and Wesley Andrews of the University of Virginia came in third in the contest.
- 2011 — JR Fruto. JR is a senior majoring in Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fruto's political cartoons cover topics such as the Tea Party movement and the recent Egyptian uprising against President Mubarak. His interests in both art and politics have led him to try editorial cartooning. He is presently contributing cartoons to UNC's newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.
- 2012 — Ben Wade. Ben is a Sophomore at Indiana University – Bloomington, majoring in Telecommunications. His cartoons cover a variety of topics such as Occupy Bloomington, the devil's influence in music, the crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries, and online piracy, to name a few. He enjoys being able to put his own twist on major issues and giving his opinion or just a tension breaking visual to help make light of heavy situations. He is presently contributing cartoons to Indiana University – Bloomington's newspaper, Indiana Daily Student.
- 2013 — Kara Yasui. Kara is a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her cartoons cover topics such as education, state funds, bipartisan strategies, the fiscal cliff and 2012 Apocalypse prediction. She is presently contributing cartoons to the University of California – Los Angeles' newspaper, The Daily Bruin.
- 2014 — Andrew David Cox. Cox graduated from Appalachian State University cum laude and with departmental honors. While in college he served as an editorial cartoonist for the student newspaper, The Appalachian, from August 2012 until May 2014. Cox's cartoons address important issues playfully and wittily while also recognizing somber and more serious moments. His work as a cartoonist or freelance illustrator has appeared in multiple publications, including the Winston-Salem Journal, the High Country Press, and select blog posts on the website Daily Kos.
- 2015 — Doo Lee of Suwanee, Georgia. Lee is a student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. His cartoons cover topics such as political issues, the World Cup and Islamic extremism. He is presently contributing cartoons to the Yale Daily News.
- 2016 — Devon Manney was studying animation at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles when he received the Locher Award in 2016. His editorial cartoons, published weekly by the Daily Trojan, deal with a wide array of socio-political issues, including campaign pandering, modern mass media, and the reprehensible Oompa-Loompa masquerading as the GOP’s presidential candidate. His cartoons, illustrations, and films can be found at his website, devonmanney.com.
- 2017 — Damian Alexander of Boston, MA was a graduate student at Simmons College when he received the Locher Award in 2017. His illustrations often highlight personal experiences with social equality, LGBTQ issues, and mental health. Damian's comics have appeared on Narratively, and gone viral on tumblr. He has also been a contributing writer to Polygon, Teen Vogue, and others, highlighting social issues in mainstream media. Damian is currently working on a graphic memoir about LGBTQ issues and his experiences with mental health. You can find more of his work at damianimated.com.
- Outstanding Submissions: Madeleine Witt, James Tsiridis and Moaz Elemam.
- 2018 — Charis JB received a BFA on a full scholarship from The Cooper Union in NYC. While a student, Charis did design and illustration projects with places like Frederator Studios and BuzzFeed. She has recently made comics for The Nib and Splinter News. You can find more of her work at her website, https://www.charisjb.com.
- 2019 — Chelsea Saunders is an emerging freelance illustrator residing in New York, whose work focuses primarily on editorial illustration and animation. Her work has been featured on The Nib, Topic.com, and in Current Affairs Magazine.You can find more of Chelsea’s work at her website, and follow her on Instagram.
- Outstanding Submissions: Sage Persing [link website.], Smita Minda [website], Junchen Liu [website]. , Maria Sweeney[website] , Sage Coffey[website]
- 2020 — Catherine Gong is a graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist based in San Francisco. In her covert rebellion against prejudice, her weapon of choice is satire. The judges said: “Catherine’s work demonstrates a range of commentary from strong and poignant to precise and funny, all skillfully drawn with a unique voice.”
- Outstanding Submissions: Tom Coute was named runner-up, and Emeka Perkins-Johnson, Sam Nakahira and Edward Wilson
Rex Babin Memorial Award
The Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning is given each year to an editorial cartoonist who focuses on state and local issues, and whose work has had an effect on their community.
As the cartoonist for daily newspapers in two state capitals during his career, the late Rex Babin saw how effective satire could sometimes be when directed at targets across the street. He was a strong believer in the power of editorial cartoons to have real influence at the local level, and often lamented that such work was overlooked by the big industry awards.
The Babin Award is presented at the annual AAEC convention. The deadline to enter is usually the last Friday of August — check the AAEC's Latest News feed for complete details.
Past Babin Award Winners
- 2017 — Dwane Powell, The News & Observer, Raleigh NC
- 2018 — J.D. Crowe, AL.com, Alabama Media Group
- 2019 — Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD
- 2020 — Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Current, Pittsburgh, PA
Ink Bottle Award
The Ink Bottle Award is presented annually by the AAEC "in recognition of dedicated service to the Association and distinguished efforts to promote the art of editorial cartooning."
- 1982 — Dan Dowling
- 1983 — Tom Curtis, Jim Lange, Julianne Warren, Draper Hill, John Stampone, John Milt Morris, Karl Hubenthal, Charles Brooks
- 1984 — Jerry Robinson, Art Wood
- 1985 — Jack Jurden, L.D. Warren, Bert Whitman
- 1986 — Bob Drebelbis
- 1987 —Sandy Campbell, Bill Sanders
- 1988 — Roy Peterson
- 1989 — Jim Berry, Hy Rosen
- 1990 —Andy Donato
- 1991 — Bob Taylor
- 1992 — Ed Stein
- 1993 — Dani Aguila
- 1994 — Sam Rawls
- 1995 — Etta Hulme
- 1996 — [no award]
- 1997 — Frank Stansberry
- 1998 — Lucy Shelton Caswell
- 1999 — V. Cullum Rogers
- 2000 — [no award]
- 2001 — [no award]
- 2002 — Larry Wright
- 2003 — [no award]
- 2004 — J.P. Trostle
- 2005 — Bruce Plante
- 2006 — Dave Astor
- 2007 — Jay Kennedy, The Herb Block Foundation
- 2008 — Clay Bennett
- 2009 — Frank Swoboda, The Herb Block Foundation
- 2010 — Anita Austin
- 2011 — Dick Locher
- 2012— Bro Russell
- 2013 — R.C. Harvey
- 2014 — Jenny Robb
- 2015 — Mark Fiore, Matt Wuerker
- 2016 — Kevin Kallaugher
- 2017 — Joel Pett
- 2018 — Scott Burns
- 2019 — Ann Telnaes
- 2020 — Adam Zyglis, Ed Hall & JP Trostle
Membership in the AAEC is determined by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, which is composed of Regular member cartoonists elected annually to the position.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has five categories of membership for those looking to join:
- Regular — Regular membership is open to professional cartoonists who publish editorial or political cartoons that appear on a regular basis in any regularly updated, recognized forum (including newspapers, magazines, and online news outlets), and are citizens or legal residents of the United States, Canada or Mexico. Regular dues: $150
- Retired — To be eligible for Retired membership, an editorial cartoonist must be a legal resident or citizen of the United States, Canada or Mexico, and must be retired from publishing editorial cartoons that appeared on a regular basis in any regularly updated, recognized forum. Retired dues: $60
Both Regular and Retired members are eligible to vote in membership meetings and in elections, and run for office.
- Student — Any student enrolled at a college or university in the United States, Canada or
Mexico who produces editorial cartoons on a regular basis for a regular college newspaper may
be eligible for Student membership. Student dues: $50
- Associate — Any citizen or resident of the United States, Canada or Mexico who is not a cartoonist but has a professional interest in the field of editorial cartooning may be eligible for Associate Membership. This would include publishers, editors, journalists, critics, attorneys, historians, etc. Associate dues: $150
- International Associate — Any person or cartoonist of any citizenship or nationality outside of North America with a professional interest in editorial cartooning who does not meet the qualifications of Regular or Associate membership, may be eligible for International Associate membership. International Associate dues: $50
Interested in joining? Apply today!
Applications must be accompanied by:
- A verified email address
- A complete application form
- A link to a news or media website which runs your current work ; or
- Links to scans of three (3) tearsheets or other reproductions of your current work
Or applicants can download an application here and follow the instruction in the PDF. Include three links or samples of professionally published cartoons in your email.
Applications will be reviewed by the AAEC Board of Directors who will notify you of their decision. Even in the age of the Internet, please allow at least 6-8 weeks for an answer. Former members looking to rejoin will still have to go through a review process, but turnaround time will be quicker for those whose information is still in the system. The board reserves the right to reassign the applicant to a more appropriate membership category if need be.
Membership Terms of Service
AAEC Membership TOS
AAEC reserves the right to cancel or revoke memberships.
Various features of the website such as (but not limited to) uploading, publishing and managing portfolio items are disabled for users with unpaid dues. Obtaining membership will re-activate these features.
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You may also choose to pay by check, memberships paid by check will remain in a pending status till the check is received.