Cartoonist’s Note: While I take time away from my drawing board to organize the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention (June 27-29, Salt Lake), I am featuring the work of some attendees.
This time I promised a conservative cartoonist and here’s a good one from the Midwest. Tim Campbell has been a freelance illustrator since 1988, working primarily with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. He’s a relative newbie to political cartooning and for the last six years has been the cartoonist for Current Publishing, which has five community newspapers just north of Indianapolis.
He also teaches art and design at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.
Tim represents a trend where cartoonists have to hustle to carve out a space for themselves. When I first attended an AAEC convention three decades ago there were about 400 American newspapers that had their own political cartoonists. When Tim comes to Salt Lake for his first AAEC convention, there will be only about 50 such newspapers.
The trend to whack one’s political cartoonist from the payroll began with corporate consolidation of newspapers, gained momentum with newspapers losing revenue to sites like Craigslist, and turned into a bloodbath with the 2008 economic downturn.
The irony is that even though there are fewer of us working for daily papers, our work has greater reach than ever before. I’ve had cartoons go global; sometimes when they come around to me again via the web the captions are in Italian or Croatian. Now, if I only had a penny for every time someone clicked on a Bagley cartoon . . .
The growth in cartooning is around the edges. And, yes, there is growth, mostly on the internet. Tim found a job while many of my peers were losing theirs. We’ll be interested to hear his story.