Cartoonist Kevin Siers wins the Pulitzer Prize: The “punch of an editorial cartoonist”


The Charlotte Observer’s resident cartoonist, Kevin Siers received the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 2014. His selection was based on 20 cartoons on national topics he submitted to the Pulitzer board. An in-depth story written by Mark Washburn about Siers’ selection appears on the Charlotte Observer’s website. Things to know about Kevin:

  • Landed job at Charlotte Observer at age 33 when Doug Marlette took a position at the Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • Has worked over 25 years at Charlotte Observer
  • Became the third cartoonist from the Observer to receive a Pulitzer Prize (Eugene Gray Payne and Doug Marlette)
  • Grew up in rural Minnesota
  • Worked in the ore mines to earn money for college
  • Imitated drawings Pogo, Dick Tracy, Spider Man, Fantastic Four before coming up with his own style
  • Published first in local weekly and won state press award in Minnesota
  • Worked for his campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily
  • Coached by Steve Sack, cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013
  • Maintains quiet presence in newsroom
  • Sends cartoons on national issues to Kings Features Syndicate for distribution to subscribers

Things to know about Kevin’s approach:

  • Studies the newspaper for ideas
  • Attends board meetings to hear discussions of timely topics and issues
  • Scribbles first
  • Uses watercolor brush and fine-point pen, rather than computer-generated images
  • Uses photoshop to colorize final versions of his cartoons

Things to know about Kevin and the art and craft he practices, taken from the story about his winning the Pulitzer: is only part of his skill. He’s first and foremost a journalist who has a passion about current events and public affairs. He is so plugged into what’s going on, he’s able to use that base of knowledge to inform through his cartoons.” editorial page editor, Taylor Batten said.Sometimes we’ll be discussing what we’re going to do,” Ann Caulkins, the Observer’s publisher, said, “and Kevin is saying, ‘I have a different take on that.’ He is his own person. We embrace that.” “I’m just really grateful to still be working and lucky to be at one of the papers that still values editorial cartoons,” Siers said. Siers believes economics is only part of the reason many newspapers have abandoned local editorial artists. Some of them, he said, don’t want the hassle that a cartoonist can stir up. “A lot of newspapers don’t want a strong voice in the community,” Siers said. More than half of his cartoons are on local or state issues, rather than national politics. Kevin is currently the only full-time editorial cartoonist working for a North Carolina newspaper. STUDY Siers’ work through his newspaper and websites presented below. Discuss the “punch” in his published cartoons and the quotes above offered by newspaper executives who work with Siers. REVIEW editorial cartoons published in newspapers that serve your community. Find editorial cartoons published on editorial pages in your local and area newspapers and view the same cartoons through the newspapers’ e-editions. Note which cartoons the newspapers choose to publish and find out more about the cartoonists from websites below that offer details about practicing editorial cartoonists. Analyze cartoons, using different questions and varied criteria:   Editorial Cartoon analysis   NC Press Foundation, NIE on analyzing cartoons Download PDF here   RESOURCES: Siers’ Pulitizer portfolio can be found on the Charlotte Observer’s site:   The Charlotte Observer features an archive of Siers’ editorial cartoons.   Kevin Siers publishes cartoons for a "write the caption" contest; he also publishes selected captions and winning writers.   The American Society of Editorial Cartoons indexes cartoons Siers’ cartoons on the ASEC’s site:   The ASEC’s site links to “Cartoons in the Classroom.” One posting encourages readers to submit a caption for a cartoon posted on the site. In addition to over 270 lessons, links to the following appear at the bottom of the classroom page,   Search “cartoons” on the Newseum site for links to biographies, past exhibits and explanatory information.   The Library of Congress provides historic cartoons produced by Herblock.   Cartoons from newspapers outside the United States, last updated March 2010     PULITZER: Kevin Siers’ citation   Homepage