SILA Award

Went to the post office yesterday and found this lovely little package waiting for me. SILA Illustration West 52 Gold Award

Thanks to SILA and the judges for the honour. Below is the info, or you can head straight to the source.

SILA Illustration West 52 Gold Award

Thanks for stopping by,

Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

Reubens Weekend in Pittsburgh 2013

Hey yinz!  I just returned from a great week and a half in Pittsburgh.  PITTSBURGH!? Huh? I hear you mumble while absently checking your Facebook status.  Yup, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) moves their annual Reubens weekend around every year (I've been to New Jersey and Boston), and this time it was in 'Steel City'. Now, for those of you who don't feel like reading a long piece, here's the crux: I won my second Magazine Illustration Reuben Division Awardhad a rockin' time!  Woo! For the rest of you, please feel free to read on while I blurt out some foggy, jetlagged mutterings...


Holy moly!  Here's me with MAD's Sam Viviano, while ex-MAD Editor Nick Meglin photo bombs.  Photos © me and Jason Chatfield 2013.

I arrived a few days early, as my previous experiences of flying in the US have been fraught with delays and weather issues.  So I allowed a buffer in case of crapness.  Turned out, it was a dream run; I had a whole row of four seats to myself for the 14-hour leg from Sydney to LA, so I got some sleep.  And then after just a quick four hour jaunt to Pittsburgh I arrived feeling fairly relaxed.

I took my lodgings at the Omni William Penn hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, where the Reubens were held.  It's a really fantastic old hotel with all the bells and whistles (not pictured) and an air of luxury (air also not pictured).  My room was slightly less luxurious than the public areas, but everything seemed to work ok, except for a light or two.  (Pfff...  seeing things is overrated, anyway.)  And I was also to learn that I'd need to purchase earplugs if I wanted to sleep in. (Pfff... sleep is overrated, anyway.)


Not bad, eh?  On the far right was my view: a great old church and the skyline.  Even some water, too.  Nice.

After arriving in the evening I grabbed a quick shower before heading downstairs.  There I spied the lovely Tom and Marie Stemmle and Jeff Keane (Family Circus) enjoying a drink at the lobby bar.  Well, I assume they were enjoying it, as they were laughing and talking.  But then again, I was in a strange new land, and wasn't aware of the custom of the local tribes.  I approached them using the customary cartoonists' greeting of "hello", and a bartender was summoned.  I was then served the biggest scotch on the rocks I've ever seen (seriously, that glass was FULL... not that I was complaining) and settled into the night.

The next day I wandered around Pittsburgh, getting my bearings.  Besides bearings, I picked up three pairs of sneakers, clothes and other knick-knacks for stupidly low prices - well, compared to what they cost in Oz.  And with all that money I saved, I could afford to buy a new bag to lug it all home!


The Sharp Edge beer cafe in downtown Pittsburgh.  Great beer, crap logo.

On Thursday a few more cartoonists started rolling in, which was a little weird as I generally prefer walking.  I met up with my fellow Aussie mate; Ginger Meggs cartoonist and comedian Jason Chatfield, who was to be the MC on the Reubens Awards night.  Jason's old mate Ben Russell travelled up from Chicago to hang out, too, and I had the pleasure of going on a 'man date' with him while Jas went to a meeting.  From all accounts Ben is a fantastic sketch comedian, being part of the elite Second City troupe in Chicago.  I also learned that he is a cocktail aficionado , and we spent many hours sampling some tasty beverages in the great Speakeasy bar under the hotel.  These weren't the girly, fruity ones, mind you.  These were the ones you'd see in the early half of the 20th Century - a lot of liquor and crushed ('muddled', I learned) things.  Over the week I developed a taste for the Old Fashioned, which I learned was some sort of alcohol and awesomeness blended with a shitload of hangover.


Jason, Sophie, and, er... Ben

Friday brought a good sleep-in (either my jetlag had subsided or I was actually still on Sydney time and it didn't matter) and then seminars on e-publishing, Rob Rogers on editorial cartooning, and Terri Libenson on her 'The Pajama Diaries' comic strip.  On Friday night was the official start to the Reubens Weekend, and there were drinks, food, an excellent exhibition (excellibition?) in the local 'Toonseum' of art from every Reubens winner, including Bill Waterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Walt Kelly (Pogo), Al Capp, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Bil Keane, Mort Walker, Tom Richmond, Arnold Roth, Sergio Aragones, Rube Goldberg... seriously, the list goes on and on.  I was gobsmacked at the gorgeous inking of many early strips.  It made me a little sad to think that most of us new generation artists won't have the original art like this to show in years to come.  So many of us (myself an offender) will ink fairly loosely as we know it will be fixed up 'in post' later.  Or even work purely digitally (again, my bad).  Something to think about, at least...


Reubens original art.  Wow.  This is how it appeared after one too many Old Fashioneds. Photo © Jason Chatfield 2013.


Some MAD art on show, featuring original art from Sergio Aragones, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Tom Richmond.  In the middle is a MAD #1 I found at a local comic shop for a cool $5K. Photos © Jason Chatfield and Anton Emdin 2013

The night continued on into a local seedy bar with karaoke and girls walking around selling watered down test tube shooters.  The classy atmosphere drove many back to the hotel bar, so the hardcore of us stuck it out, enjoying some great singing performances, including Lio's Mark Tatulli  treating us to a rendition of Kermit's 'Rainbow Connection'... AS KERMIT.  He brought along his own puppet (as you do) and acted it perfectly.  Amazing.


Party people: The talented John Martz, Dave Blazek and I; Terry LaBan and Dave; Ray Alma and the 'Tooter' girl; Tooters all round thanks to Universal Uclick Prez John Glynn; Blazek, Rob Rogers, Mike Lynch and I.  Photos © Dave Blazek and Ray Alma 2013.

Saturday started with more seminars, including the awesome Mo Willems, who gave a very entertaining talk while sharing some excellent tips on story book layout and writing.  Next was someone I was VERY excited to meet: Drew Friedman.  Drew's paintings are astounding, and his talk was hilarious.  Drew is obsessed with old Jewish comedians... so much so that he has published three books on them.  He had some great stories to tell, including his visit to Groucho Marx and the rumours surrounding Milton Berle's enormous schlong.  Very informative.  Ahem.  And then we heard from Brad Anderson on his famous dog Marmaduke, but I was more interested in his early gag cartoons which exhibited his great, fluid brush style.

After a quick cuppa joe, we all scrambled back to our rooms to pretty ourselves up for the big night.  (It takes some of us longer than others - after half an hour of prettying, I looked pretty much the same as before.)  Drinks were served in the cocktail reception, and everyone looked marvellous (even ol' un-pretty me).  I got to meet my fellow nominee Daryll Collins, who was a great guy.  Unfortunately, Barry Blitt (my other fellow nom-nom) wasn't able to make it.  Barry does fantastic work, including infamous cover art for The New Yorker.


This art STINKS!  Reubens night photos © Ray Alma and Mike Cope.

The night started with a bang as Mr. Chatfield came out swinging singing.  Between videos produced by Tom Gammill (Doozies cartoonist and writer for The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live), Jason did a brilliant job throwing out gags and keeping the night rolling along.

I was sitting at a table with John Kovaleski, and new friends Maria Scriven, Carol Isaacs (The Surreal McCoy), and Drew Friedman.  Admittedly, I was nervous once the awards part started (mainly from the thought of getting up on stage - I definitely prefer it out of the limelight) although to be honest I really didn't think I would get the gong.  The competition was tough, and I lost a few bets back home when they called my name.  Yep - I was awarded the Magazine Illustration Reuben Division Award!  And it was extra cool to be handed it by Bizarro's Dan Piraro.

The big winners of the night were Rick Kirkman and Brian Crane for their work on Baby Blues and Pickles, respectively).  Some other notable awards went to Jen Sorenson (Editorial), Vince Dorse (Online Comics - Long Form) and Ed Steckley (Advertising illustration).  The full list is published here: and well worth a squiz.

By the way, everyone has been asking me which piece I was judged on.  Actually, there are six pieces, so the panel is looking at the best from your body of work published during the previous year.  From memory there was Pickup Lines and the Dinner Party for People, Black Caviar and Britain's New Muslims for The Spectator, plus MAD's Toilet Saga and The Avengers.

A night of drinking followed with an after party, and then the after-after party.  I stumbled in at around 4-ish to grab a few zzzzeee's (or zed's as we say back home) before heading down for lunch with MAD art director Sam Viviano, Chatfield and  Sophie Miller.  Stuffed, we waddled over to the Pittsburgh Cartoon Arts Festival a few blocks away.  A whole swag of cartoonists were doing signings and drawings, and I drew in a couple of sketchbooks, too.  I got whisked away to a big, huge comic store a few blocks away, and then had a bite to eat with Maria Scriven and Ray Alma.  Ray's a MAD guy from way back, and Maria has just had her first piece accepted into the mag, so it was a very potrzebie affair.  Unfortunately, I was a bit green around the gills, so made for a lousy lunch companion.  We headed back to the hotel to find ourselves in the street being entertained by ex-MAD editor Nick Meglin.  Talking to Nick is like being in a stand-up comedy club and we were all in stitches - mainly because he'd beat us if we didn't laugh.


MAD's Nick Meglin and Sam Viviano keep us amused.  Photos © Ray Alma 2013.

Then it was time to dress up all over again for the farewell dinner and drinks at the Speakeasy.  Everyone really did outdo themselves - there were a lot of white suits and feathers, headbands and long cigarette holders.  I dressed smart-casual and felt like a goddamn bum in comparison.  But it was a great night, and I got to chat to quite a few people, many of which I didn't get a chance to on the crazy night before.

Monday rolled around far too soon and everyone left.  Leaving the next day, I headed out to walk along the river for some head-clearing.  I passed the Andy Warhol Museum (closed, darnit!), two sports stadiums and then stopped in at the Carnegie Science Museum, which is like the Powerhouse Museum here in Sydney.  I had a lot of fun playing air hockey and Foosball against computers.  (They won every time, despite my sledging and threats to loosen their bolts.)  I was actually feeling pretty homesick at this point.  I missed Ash and the kids, and realised that going to such a family-friendly place was a really stupid idea.  So I shuffled back to the hotel, ate a lonely dinner and counted down the hours till I would see them.

The journey home seemed to take an eternity.  Leaving early, I left the Pitts to spend eleven hours in JFK airport waiting for my flight.  Fog in Sydney had caused massive delays, and to top it off we all had to get off the plane in LA for three hours before commencing the 14-hour leg to Sydney.  Luckily I got a bit of sleep, and was sitting at a local Italian restaurant with the family 48 hours after leaving my hotel.  Bliss.  Later I collapsed into bed, and woke to tell the tale here.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I appreciate all the notes that have been coming in to my mailbox and via social networking.  It really was an amzing week, and I met and caught up with so many awesome cartoonists - way too many to name here - you know who you are.  And congrats and thanks to Tom Richmond, Jeff Keane and all the rest of the NCS board for putting on a brilliant weekend.

I'm decompressing over the weekend, and then back to the ol' drawing board next week... see you then.

Take care,

Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

Finalists for Cartoonist of the Year

Very surprised (and honoured) to read this news:2012 Stanleys Log

Gold Rush For Cartoonist Of The Year

The Australian Cartoonists Association is proud to announce the six finalists for the Gold Stanley for Cartoonist Of The Year to be announced at the 28th Stanley Awards in Newcastle on November 17.

Named after the famous 1930’s legendary Smiths’ Weekly Cartoonist (and ACA Past President) Stan Cross and his timeless cartoon - “For gorsake, stop laughing - this is serious!”, the Stanley Awards are globally recognised and revered.

Award categories include comic strip, single gag, editorial/political, caricature, illustration and comic book art. Finalists and winners of these awards will be announced during the Stanley Awards dinner.

The finalists for the Gold Stanley Award sponsored by the Herald Sun are (in alphabetical order):

Peter Broelman – editorial cartoonist for Fairfax and APN regional newspapers and recipient of the Gold Stanley in 2005 and 2009.

Anton Emdin – freelance illustrator for MAD, The Spectator, People and last year’s Gold Stanley winner.

Mark Knight – editorial cartoonist from the Herald Sun who was awarded the Gold Stanley in 2006 and is also a three-time Walkley Award winner for Best Cartoon.

Glen Le Lievre – freelance cartoonist with The New Yorker, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

David Pope – editorial cartoonist from the Canberra Times and 2010 Gold Stanley winner.

David Rowe – editorial artist with the Australian Financial Review who has collected three Gold Stanleys in 2002, 2007 and 2008 and is also a two-time Walkley Award recipient.

Congratulations to all nominees.

Good luck to Broels, Mark, Glen, Pope and Rowe! Really an honour to be in such fine company.


Cheers, Anton! Signature by and © Anton Emdin 2012. All rights reserved.

ACA Stanley Conference and Awards 2011 ~ Part Two: The Awards Night

If you had arrived in the foyer of the Mercure Hotel in central Sydney on Saturday 12th November, 2011, you would have encountered a rare sight: cartoonists, illustrators and comic book creators dressed up to the nines; suits, ties, clean underwear, and even a hand-panted tie and gold winged sneakers! Usually known for being casual we donned the dapper duds and drank, danced, dined, duelled and presumably other things beginning with "D" till dark and dawn. Yes, it was the 27th Annual Stanley Awards by the world's oldest cartooning club, the Australian Cartoonists Association (ACA), and a fun one it was!

Beat poet Jules Faber and comic creator and animator Matt Taylor gaze lovingly at each other while Peter Berner and Jonesy chat about fame and fortune, presumably

After pre-dinner drinks, the night kicked off with Reg Mombassa's duo "Dog Trumpet" playing a few tunes to set the mood. Reg is a deft hand with the slide guitar, and as I had found out at the conference, a really good bloke, too.

Founding Mental as Anything members Pete O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa in Dog Trumpet

Our MC was Brendan "Jonesy" Jones (half of the "Jonesy and Amanda" radio team) and he did a cracker job of hosting the evening, even admitting he had a thing for Roger Fletcher's Staria when he was a teenager!

During dinner we were also treated to a satirical presentation by Rodney Marks, performing as 'Ewan Dye'.

Christie Follett, Ash Kinchin and Eva Frengstad. These girls got up to mischief...

Jonesy holds the Ralph Steadman for the auction and dreams of Staria's "sexy but functional" costume.

Every year there is a silent and regular art auction, and I this time I picked up a sweet, signed Ralph Steadman print! Money raised was being donated to the Westmead Children's Hospital and I was pleased to meet an exceptional young bloke named Conner Maclean who dedicates his time to raising money for the hospital. Here's a video that explains his situation a bit better: . Connor is a little older now, and a great guy. He planned to sing, but unfortunately his throat wasn't quite up to it on the night.

Jules Faber and Mark McHugh with Connor Maclean and his mum, Cheryl. We all drew cartoons in Connor's autograph book, and I think he had a great time.

A great part of the evening was the presentation to Marie Fletcher, and then to Roger, a hand-bound book of original Torkan homage art from 35 artists on the occasion of Torkan's 35th anniversary. Once the art is online I will link to it, as there were some great cartoons in there. In the meantime you'll have to suffer my first ink and watercolour piece ever (be kind)...

Also throughout the night we paid homage to Ginger Meggs' 90th Birthday by drawing the famous Aussie redhead for the Cartoon of the Night competition. You can read all about the history of this classic strip here:

Jason Chatfield has fun with his character.

The Awards presentations kicked off swiftly, and I've included the full list below (which I've nicked from the ACA blog):

27th Annual Stanley Awards


… … … … …


Sponsored by WACOM

Anton Emdin -WINNER

David Follett

Pat Campbell

Matthew Martin

Jozef Szkeres


Sponsored by The Herald Sun

Tony Lopes -WINNER

Gary Clark

Glen Le Lievre

Alex Hallatt

Andrew Marlton


Sponsored by The Sydney Morning Herald

David Pope -WINNER

Peter Broelman

David Rowe

Mark Knight

Cathy Wilcox


Sponsored by The Australian

David Rowe -WINNER

Joanne Brooker

Luke Watson

David Pope

Judy Nadin


Sponsored by MEAA

David Follett -WINNER

Roger Fletcher

David Heinrich

Jozef Szekeres

Stuart Hipwell


Sponsored by CAL

Andrew Weldon -WINNER

Glen Le Lievre

Matthew Martin

Cathy Wilcox

Matt Golding


Sponsored by the Herald Sun

Anton Emdin -WINNER

David Rowe

David Pope

Andrew Weldon

Mark Knight

Peter Broelman


Oh, and we mustn't forget a very important award - the Jim Russell Award for contribution to Australian cartooning, received by the tireless and effervescent Rolf Heimann! Rolf has been breaking boundaries between Australia and the world, and truly deserves this great honour.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners. Andrew Weldon and David Pope couldn't be there, but recorded their acceptance speeches. Check out David's... very funny:

David Follett is clearly excited to have won a Best Comic Book Stanley for his brilliant work in Uncle Silas: Genetis.

You may have noticed my name on the list, and I am extremely honoured to have been awarded the gong for Best Illustrator and also the big one: Cartoonist of the Year!

Ash lost her mind when my name was called!

I cannot stress what a surprise and honour this was to receive. I did not in my wildest dreams think that I would win it. I've had quite an amazing year, and this really is the icing on the cake. Somehow I think I will always remember 2011!

Ok, the Oscars music is starting to play, and I can see a large hook protruding from the wings...

So, with the formal part of the evening out of the way, it was time to cut loose, and the Stanley Steamers made sure that happened right. The Steamers are a band made up of ACA cartoonists - who woulda thought that scribblers could shred, but they did - and how! The band comprises of Peter de Haan (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Alan Rose (vocals, harmonica), Roger Fletcher (guitar), Jason Chatfield (vocals, guitar), Sophie Miller (vocals, keys), Bill James (bass) Shane O'Neil and Buddy Ross (drums).

The Stanley Steamers in action!

The dance floor jumped and jived, while those non-dancers amongst us (yes, I'm hanging - but rocking - my head in shame) tapped our feet and tried to drink the bar dry.

I have no idea what they're pointing to. Any ideas? Mark McHugh, Glen LeLievre, Pete Rigby, Luke Watson.

Dave and Christie Follett

The party moved on to the bar and balcony... and then eventually to room 1431 where way too many people squeezed in for a killer after-party thanks to Pete Rigby and his amazing shoes...

Hermes delivered us the message that the after party was good to go!

Caricaturists extraordinaire: Judy Nadin and Steve Panozzo

Goofing with Geoff Richo and Roger Fletcher

Elton John made a brief appearance

Yes, it's getting late, and perhaps a few lemonades were drunk

Gary Clark (Swamp) sings a showtune.

...The room got pretty packed and loud, and at around 3am it wasn't much of a surprise when the hotel security turned up and we were flung into the street...

Chris Barr greets security at the door.

Luckily, the Broadway Hotel was just a couple of trips and totters to the left, and the cartoonists carried on celebrating another great year of Stanleys fun!

The official Boston Reubens Australian team is assembled again.

I'd like to thank all the Stanleys Team member for putting on a brilliant weekend. There is a mountain of work and stress that goes into it that we lowly attendees don't see. So hats off to:

Jules Faber, Peter Broelman, Mick Horne, Kerry-Ann Brown, Lindsay Foyle, Grant Brown, Phil Faigen, Roger Fletcher, Dee Horne, Hywel Kemsley, Peter de haan, Stephen Axelsen, Luke Watson, Peter Rigby and Jason Chatfield!

Photo credits: A big thanks to Jason Chatfield, Geoff Richo, David Blumenstein and Mark McHugh for allowing me to use their images. All photos are © their respective owners.