Annual Convention

Annual Convention October 5-8

The AAEC and Association of Canadian Cartoonists will be joining with the Cartoon Art Museum in San Franscisco for a 3-day celebration of editorial art and political cartoonists, October 5-8, 2023.

Online registration is now open!



The John Locher Memorial Award is given each year to a promising cartoonist, age 18-25, who produces editorial cartoons, web comics with a political bent, or comics journalism. Beginning in 2024, the award will transition from an annual contest to a fellowship granting the winner a trip to that year’s CXC Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in the fall.

2022 — Masha Zhdanova was this year’s winner of the John Locher Memorial Award. The jury noted “her short comics lend insight into authoritarianism and provide intimate viewpoints from the war in Ukraine.” Zhdanova (she/her) is a lesbian cartoonist born in Russia and raised in New Jersey. She writes and draws original comics as well as writing reviews of comics for a variety of publications, including Publisher’s Weekly
Outstanding Submissions: Alexandra Bowman was named runner-up, and Han Hampy as finalist.
2021 — Sam Nakahira (she/they) is a Japanese American comic artist whose long-form comic essays have been published by the Nib and Vox. This judges said: “Sam uses pop culture touchstones such as books, movies and music to beautifully illustrate and explore the history of American Imperialism, while also reflecting on her own biases.” 
Outstanding Submissions: Katie Vuong was named runner-up and Reilly Branson, Tom Coute, and Izzy Boyce-Blanchard were finalists.
2020 — Catherine Gong is a graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist based in San Francisco. 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 were finalists
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,, and in Current Affairs Magazine.
Outstanding Submissions: Sage Persing, Smita Minda, Junchen Liu, Maria Sweeney, and Sage Coffey
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, and her work regularly appears at The Nib.
Outstanding Submissions: Leila Abdelrazaq, Sage Coffey, Madeleine Witt, Caroline Cook, and Jake Thrasher
2017 — Damian Alexander was a graduate student at Boston’s Simmons College when he received the Locher Award in 2017. His illustrations often highlight personal experiences with social equality, LGBTQ issues, and mental health. 
Outstanding Submissions: Madeleine Witt, James Tsiridis and Moaz Elemam.
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 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. 
2015 — Doo Lee was a student at Yale University, where his cartoons appeared in the Yale Daily News. His cartoons covered national political issues, the World Cup and Islamic extremism. 
2014 — Andrew David Cox graduated from Appalachian State University and served as an editorial cartoonist for the student newspaper, The Appalachian. Cox’s cartoons address important issues playfully and wittily while also recognizing somber and more serious moments. 
2013 — Kara Yasui was a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her cartoons for The Daily Bruin, the UCLA paper, covered topics such as education, state funds, bipartisan strategies, the fiscal cliff and 2012 Apocalypse predictions. 
2012 — Ben Wade was a sophomore at Indiana University–Bloomington, majoring in Telecommunications and contributing cartoons to IU newspaper, Indiana Daily Student. His cartoons covered a variety of topics, from Occupy Bloomington, the crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries, and online piracy, to name a few. 
2011 — JR Fruto was a senior majoring in Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he contributed cartoons to UNC’s newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. His interests in both art and politics led him to try editorial cartooning, and covered topics such as the Tea Party movement and the Egyptian uprising against President Mubarak. 
2010 — Chris Sharron began his editorial cartooning career as a freshman drawing cartoons and illustrations for his college newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater, and has been contributing as staff cartoonist ever since. 
Outstanding Submissions: Bill Richards of the University of Georgia came in second and Wesley Andrews of the University of Virginia came in third in the contest.
2009 — Jake Thompson, a junior in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, said 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.
Outstanding Submissions: Runners-up were Christopher Sharron, Kent State University and Charles Brubaker, University of Tennessee at Martin.
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, Colorado.
Outstanding Submissions: Runners-up were Christopher Sharron, Kent State University and Bill Richards, University of Georgia.
2007 — Kory Merritt was a senior at the State University of New York College at Brockport majoring in art with an environmental science minor. His cartoons appeared in SUNY Brockport’s student newspaper, The Stylus.
Outstanding Submissions: Runners-up: Sam Ayres, Yale University and Nathan Rohde, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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.
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 also won the SPJ Mark of Excellence award in 2005.
2004 — Josh Ferrin was a graduating senior at the University of Utah where 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. 
Outstanding Submissions: Runners up were Adam Zyglis, Canisius College, and Deana Sobel, UC Berkeley.
2003 — Dan Carino was staff editorial cartoonist for The Daily Aztec, the student newspaper of San Diego State University. Dan also won the SPJ Mark of Excellence and the Gold Circle Award from Columbia College the same year.
2002 — Nate Beeler of the American University, Washington, D.C., won for his cartoons in the campus newspaper, The Eagle. He was also the recipient of the 2002 Charles M. Schultz Award from Scripps Howard Foundation.
2001 — Eric Devericks won for his cartoons in the Daily Barometer, the Oregon State University student newspaper. Within a year of receiving the award, Eric accepted the editorial cartoonist position at the Seattle Times.
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.
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.
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.
1997 — Aaron Taylor’s cartoons appeared in The Daily Universe at Brigham Young University. 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.
1996 — Brian Fairrington’s cartoons appeared in The State Press, the student newspaper of the Arizona State University, and he went on to work for the Arizona Republic and
1995 — Drew Shenneman was a sophomore at Central Michigan University when he won the award, before going on to work at the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.
1994 — John Davidson‘s winning editorial cartoons appeared in the University Daily student newspaper at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. 
1993 — Marshall Ramsey, a student at Georgia’s Kennesaw State College, won in 1993 and was immediately offered a position as editorial cartoonist at the Conroe Courier in Texas. He went on to work at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and 2006.
1992 — Jerry King finished his final exams as a senior at Ohio State University the day before he left for the AAEC convention in Colorado Springs. Jerry went on to win the 2002 National Cartoonists Society’s award for magazine gag cartoons.
1991 — Steve Breen graduated from University of California at Riverside in 1992, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and 2009. He is presently the editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and is the creator of the comic strip, “Grand Avenue.”
1990 — Bill Costello was a University of Maryland graduate who went on to draw cartoons for USA Today.
1989 — Mike Thompson was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and worked for years as a political cartoonist at the Detroit Free Press and USA Today. He continues to produce award-winning work as a freelancer.
1988 — Paul Tarr returned to cartooning after several decades as a lawyer, and currently draws under the pen name RATT for the Crooks And Liars blog, and The Rule of Law This Week.
1987 — Kevin Siers, the first winner of the Locher Award, is still the staff cartoonist for the Charlotte Observer. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 2014.


The late Rex Babin saw how effective satire could sometimes be when directed at targets across the street. 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.

2022 — Steve Stegelin, Charleston City Paper, Charleston, SC
Finalist: David Horsey, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA
2021 — Matt Davies, Newsday, Long Island, NY
Finalists: Robert Ariail, Charleston City Paper, Charleston, SC
David Horsey, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA
Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY
2020 — Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Current, Pittsburgh, PA
Finalist: Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY
2019 — Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD
Finalist: Nate Beeler, Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, OH
2018 — J.D. Crowe,, Alabama Media Group
2017 — Dwane Powell, The News & Observer, Raleigh NC


The Ink Bottle Award is given by the AAEC to individuals or organizations “for dedication to the spirit of our profession, in recognition of service to the Association or distinguished efforts to promote the art of editorial cartooning.”

The following have been presented with the Ink Bottle Award in recognition of dedicated service to the Association and distinguished efforts to promote the art of editorial cartooning.
2022 — Steve Sack
2020 — Ed Hall, JP Trostle, Adam Zyglis
2019 — Ann Telnaes
2018 — Scott Burns
2017 — Joel Pett
2016 — Kevin Kallaugher
2015 — Mark Fiore, Matt Wuerker
2014 — Jenny Robb
2013 — R.C. Harvey
2012 — Bro Russell
2011 — Dick Locher
2010 — Anita Austin
2009 — Frank Swoboda, The Herb Block Foundation
2008 — Clay Bennett
2007 — Jay Kennedy, The Herb Block Foundation
2006 — Dave Astor
2005 — Bruce Plante
2004 — JP Trostle
2002 — Larry Wright
1999 — V. Cullum Rogers
1998 — Lucy Shelton Caswell
1997 — Frank Stansberry
1995 — Etta Hulme
1994 — Sam Rawls
1993 — Dani Aguila
1992 — Ed Stein
1991 — Bob Taylor
1990 — Andy Donato
1989 — Jim Berry, Hy Rosen
1988 — Roy Peterson
1987 — Sandy Campbell, Bill Sanders
1986 — Bob Drebelbis
1985 — Jack Jurden, L.D. Warren, Bert Whitman
1984 — Jerry Robinson, Art Wood
1983 — Charles Brooks, Tom Curtis, Draper Hill, Karl Hubenthal, Jim Lange, John Milt Morris, John Stampone, Julianne Warren
1982 — Dan Dowling


Here are deadline agnostic links to the major national journalism awards given to cartoonists. As always, confirm any and all deadlines and entry fees on the appropriate website before submitting.

Eligibility: Canadian cartoonists
Deadline: Early January
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $50

Eligibility: Cartoons on international affairs
Deadline: End of January
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $200
(Executive Director Patricia Kranz notes, “If it is difficult for you to pay the full $200 entry fee, contact me at  about assistance.”)

Eligibility: Open to newspaper, magazine, syndicate or wire service cartoonists for work published in the U.S. or its territories, or in foreign editions of U.S.-based publications
Deadline: February 1
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: No entry fee

Eligibility: Any professional cartoonist in the U.S. not just NCS members
Deadline: Early February
Rules and entry form available online: awards/guidelines/
Entry fee: No entry fee

Eligibility: None
Deadline: Late January or early February
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $75

Eligibility: Editorial cartoonist published in anewspaper, magazine, newsletter or on-line news site
Deadline: Early February
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $60 fee per entry for SPJ members or $100 fee for nonmembers.

Eligibility: Cartoons on social justice issues
Deadline: Early February
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $75

Eligibility: Cartoons appearing in a paid circulation publication or broadcast in the United States
Deadline: Mid-February
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $75

Eligibility: Any North American cartoonist who draws on local or state subjects
Deadline: Late August
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: No entry fee

Eligibility: Editorial cartoons on a website
Deadline: Late August
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $275

Eligibility: U.S.-based editorial cartoonists
Deadline: First week of October
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $2+65


Eligibility: Student cartoonists currently enrolled in college
Deadline: Mid-January
Rules and entry form available online:
Entry fee: $20 entry fee for SPJ members, $30 for non-members.

Eligibility: Student editorial cartoonists
Deadline: Early September
Rules and entry form available online:


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 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.



Cartoons in Education

Every two weeks throughout the year, The Learning Forum and the AAEC offers CARTOONS FOR THE CLASSROOM, a free lesson resource for teachers discussing current events.  Visit for more lesson plans.