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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Posting Your Drawings

When I began this blog a year or so ago I wrote that I hoped viewers would also post their sketches here. A lot of visitors to this blog are visual people and it seemed only natural that our conversation might be both visual and verbal.

In their desire to get a lot of online projects launched, our online tech people asked me to be patient and promised we'd return to the technological issues that would allow viewers to participate visually in this blog.

This morning I attended an online training session Gannett has made available to its bloggers, and it's clear that other newspapers have figured out how online readers can post photographs, drawings, etc. on blogs.

My question: How important is this to you? If we made this tool available, would you post cartoon ideas, graphic commentaries, relevant photos or other sketches on this blog? What might be the issues on your end?


at 9/20/06, 11:02 AM Blogger Jim in DC said...

I would be very interested to see other graphic posts and sketches here. Based on some of the comments, it looks like other cartoonists would participate - I'd find that fascinating.

at 9/20/06, 11:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea a lot, but you would have to have someone moderate the posts, since I am SURE some "not family friendly" stuff would try to get posted.... that minor detail aside, I would hope you could keep an eye on file size... since I know not everyone has a broadband connection, and if people start uploading 5 meg picture files it could be a DRAG... however I do like the ability to "click through" to a higher res pic, some are worth seeing in a higher resolution.

And one other thing to consider (since I used to live in the Baltimore area) is some people might claim that YOU STOLE THEIR PICTURE to use in one of YOUR cartoons, let's say a year from now, or something. There was a lawsuit in Baltimore years back when, for a contest, someone contributed a sketch for the then new "Ravens" football team logo to the City Paper or something and the Team did have to change their logo when I think that person won the law suit! (I forget the details, someone can google it to get the whole story.)

Anyway, it would be fun to see what readers contribute by way of their own political cartoons, even though Borgman makes it look easy and fun, I bet some folks who think they can do it will find it harder than they think!!!! :^)

at 9/20/06, 11:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I come here for Jim Borgman sketches and finished cartoons.

There's lots of other blogs, forums on the internet for artists to post their work. Having others post their stuff here would cloud the purpose of this blog, which is to peek over your shoulder and see what YOU are working on.

If you do want to do this, why not do it once a month? Or even, once a week? Let's say Mondays or Fridays, it's a free-for-all. Post your ONE finished or sketched cartoon idea.

I think this will open up a can of worms that is best left alone.

at 9/20/06, 11:58 AM Anonymous Guillaume said...

As an illustrator myself, and a huge fan of your work, i think it would be really great to have the possibility to post sketches here. A generous idea!

at 9/20/06, 2:22 PM Blogger Benjamin Russell said...

While my first instinct is to echo the opinions about the dangers of litigations, and to encourage you not to just talk to the Tech folks, but also to talk to the Legal folks, there are interesting web communities where people share drawings. The Japanese term, apparently, is Oekaki, and there are online java-based programs that allow people not just to post images to to actually draw online and then save and share. And while my first response was inspired by safety, it would be lovely to actually develop a community of artists and visual commentators... it's one of those things that the web is good at.

at 9/20/06, 3:49 PM Blogger Steve Willhite said...

Personally, I love the idea. I participate in a lot of online art sites and they’re tons of fun. There’s also the exposure that a newbie cartoonist would get. I’m guessing you get as many hits on your blog per day as I get in 6 months on mine. For inkslingers it’s a great opportunity.
BUT I can foresee a bunch of problems cropping up for you. Enormous files, mass postings (to the point that it becomes someone else’s art site), whining because of criticism, parallel thinking (someone comes up with the same idea as you. Ex. – Lalo Alcaraz {I still say he ripped you off}) and then there’s the problem of someone like me who might cross the line of good taste and offend everyone. This could be solved with guidelines and a moderator but I would hate to see you do it. You need to be making us laugh, think, whatever.
All that being said, I would love to get involved. If you do go for it, I hope it lasts.

at 9/20/06, 9:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get ready for a lot of crummy ideas and crummy art from wannabes.

at 9/21/06, 6:53 AM Anonymous Dan said...

I suggest you set up a separate blog for artists and cartoonists who want to interact with you. I'm sure there are folks who would love to participate, but I'm not one of them.

I come here to see Jim Borgman's notes, sketches, finished cartoons, and people's commentary. Other art would not interest me.

at 9/21/06, 9:24 AM Blogger Brendan said...

Jim, this reminds me of a high-tech update on the "Exquisite Corpse" method used by the surrealists.

You should find a way to do it - albeit with moderation and some way to make sure that nefarious attorneys won't find clever ways to sue everybody over ideas and inspiration.

at 9/21/06, 3:11 PM Blogger Lee said...

Who wouldn't love the opportunity to visually communicate with one of our country's greatest cartoonists? Sure there could be problems with it, but there are going to be problems with any feedback system.

at 9/21/06, 5:45 PM Anonymous Bearman said...


I agree that while i think its a worthwhile effort, you may want to host it as a separate blog than your own. Maybe on this blog you could do a "place your own caption" contest into a sketch you have already completed.

For a picture blog you could pick a topic that others would have to create a cartoon for. Maybe once or twice a year you pick your favorite to redraw a a Borgtoon and give an original to the winner.

But as I always say...its your blog and seemingly people have taken notice so do what you think is right.

at 9/25/06, 10:23 PM Anonymous tmbenson said...

Steve Whillhite claims Lalo Alcaraz ripped off a Borgman cartoon displaying the Statue of Liberty's torch raised above a brick wall topped by barbed wire. Many cartoonists react in a similar manner to a breaking news event. I don't understand Steve's obession with that particular cartoon. Several cartoonists have enjoyed successful careers by "borrowing" the drawing style and humor of Jeff MacNelly. I met Lalo and his wife at a cartoonist convention in D.C. Lalo was upset when I informed him that Steve had accused him of plagiarism. Lalo's work appears in hundreds of newspapers. He has proven himself as an accomplished cartoonist. Steve should visit the Cagle website and express his issues with Lalo.

at 9/26/06, 1:00 PM Blogger Steve Willhite said...

Actually, what I said was that it was parallel thinking and then I added my opinion. Opinions are just that – opinions. Right or wrong? Who knows? I stand by what I say, that’s why I don’t post anonymously even though I know it might upset someone.

I have no idea what Cagle is but thanks for the invite. As far as asking him about the toon, I don’t see the point. What’s he gonna say? Either “No, I didn’t” or “Dang, you got me.” The latter is pretty doubtful. I sorry to hear he was upset and I appreciate you representing me at this convention. They must have sent my invitation to the old address.

You’re probably right about dropping the subject. I really did only mention it to illustrate parallel thinking and should have left it at that. If you still have issues, go ahead and click on my name it will take you to a page that says “contact” and has an email link.


at 9/26/06, 3:21 PM Blogger Eric! said...

Don't muddy the water with other art, please keep it pure Borgman.

at 9/26/06, 3:58 PM Anonymous Joseph Harbin said...

Mr. Borgman's idea of posting other
people's work offers an enjoyable possibility of sharing good stuff. However, it may also be a big opportunity for the annoying chastiser or the Sunday morning cartoonist or the persistent dumb idea pusher to be active in a new form -- visually. Some might enjoy
that. I don't think I would.
I feel it would be more interesting and less problematic if the cartoons sent in were works that have already been published in some form. I say this not to be exclusive but in order to have a situation were one's money is were one's mouth is. As a result I think a real "show and tell" and dialogue of colleagues could flourish.

at 9/28/06, 7:17 PM Anonymous Joseph Harbin said...

PS: I meant "Monday morning cartoonist", as in Monday morning quarterback.

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