Inside the Mind of the Prize-Winning Editorial Cartoonist Jack Ohman< < Back to
Editorial cartoonists, in the heyday of newspapers, were plentiful. Now the group is down to only 50 nationwide and that number is being threatened by slow extinction.
One of the survivors, however, is prize winning cartoonist, columnist, editor and author Jack Ohman of the “Sacramento Bee. “
Currently, his cartoons are syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group. Previously, his work appeared in 200 newspapers through Tribune Content Agency, and he was, at age 19, the youngest editorial cartoonist ever nationally syndicated.
Ohman also worked for “The Columbus Dispatch,” the “Detroit Free Press” and “The Oregonian.” He won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2012 for the “Oregonian” in Portland.
Jack talks about the creative process of being a political cartoonist, some of the restrictions and some of the dangers of his profession.
Over his long professional career, he has complete about 13,000 finished cartoons – not counting the thousands of sketches and ideas in progress.
He gives us a view of how he goes about formulating a cartoon from the germ of the idea that starts the process to the finished product. The subject is central to the success of a cartoon, along with the pithy way of satirizing the situation. The art is secondary to a cartoons success, according to Ohman.
He also notes that there are self-restrictions and self-editing placed on cartoonists based upon each artist’s sense of ethics and good taste. Some topics or people are “off-limits” to Ohman but he self-edits those ideas. He does not expect his paper to censor his opinions.
Recently, however, “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers reportedly was fired for being too critical of President Trump and his administration.
Ohman also finds it is not difficult to lampoon Washington even from as far away as Sacramento. “Washington is just television now,” Ohman says. He thinks you can cover it well from anywhere.
Ohman also talks about his creative foray into creating 3-D cartoons for Virtual Reality for the McClatchy Company, owner of some 29 daily newspapers in 14 states.
In addition to the Pulitzer, Ohman has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, the SDX Mark of Excellence Award, the National Headliner Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation Award and two first place Best of the West Awards.
Ohman also is the winner of “The Minnesota Daily Harrison E. Salisbury Distinguished Alumni Award.”