Tom Toles Named Winner of 2011 Herblock Prize

Tuesday April 26th, 2011:  Check out the article on Politico


WASHINGTON, DC, February 28, 2012 – Tom Toles, editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post, today was named the winner of The Herblock Prize for 2011.

The prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by Herblock. Toles will receive the prize April 26 at the Library of Congress. The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy.

Jim Lehrer, anchor and executive editor of the PBS NewsHour, will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony. Previous speakers have been Ben Bradlee, Barack Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Ted Koppel and George Stevens Jr.

This year, for the first time, a finalist for the prize also was named. The 2011 finalist was Ann Telnaes who draws animated cartoons that are posted on the Washington Post website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Judges for this year’s contest were Matt Wuerker of Politico and winner of the 2010 Herblock Prize, Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and Harry Katz, curator of The Herb Block Foundation.

The judges said they were extremely impressed by the high quality and diversity of submissions including alternative cartoonists, animated cartoons and cartoons expressing a range of conservative and liberal viewpoints.

In selecting Toles, Wilkinson said that “Day in and day out, Tom Toles uses his minimal style to maximalist effect. His cartoons ingeniously illuminate our thorniest political problems with humor, insight and conviction. He seems impervious to the fact his victims live within firing range of his drawing board. He is a worthy heir to Herbert Block.”

As far as Wuerker is concerned “there is nothing like a Toles cartoon. It’s a magical combination of sharp and timely political insight mixed with humor, all served up with a disarmingly whimsical drawing style. Toles is a master of that rare cartoon alchemy –boiling a complex political idea down to an accessible, funny, but still piercing cartoon.”

Katz summed up Toles’ talents this way: “Tom brilliantly brings home the hardest truths with a soft, deft touch. Working with the cauldron of Washington politics he cooks up a potent brew of humor, outrage and irony, representing the best traditions of American political cartooning.

Wilkinson, Wuerker and Katz all praised the work of Telnaes who in recent years has gone from traditional to animate cartoons.

“Ann Telnaes animations are blazing a very funny and brilliant trail for political cartoonists as they make their way onto the internet. Done with an elegant line in her singular style her cartoons are pithy, punchy and irreverent,” Wuerker said. “While she can now only be found online there’s something timelessly classic about her work that gets back the best and strongest traditions of political cartoonists.”

Wilkinson too noted how Telnaes managed to retain “the powerful punch of a single panel cartoon in her tight exquisitely drawn animations. Ann lets her victims hang themselves with their own words. She moves from individual foibles to making points about our political world that few others notice. We were in awe of her trailblazing accomplishment.”

Katz said “Ann’s animations take cartooning in a new direction, capsulizing sound, movement and cartooning into an effective political message.”