Cartoonists Chris Ware, Jim Woodring and Joe Sacco have all just been awarded $50,000 each (along with a number of other folks in the arts) by the newly formed "United States Artists." Read more about it here.

This is encouraging. Cartooning is no easy way to make a living, and unlike most other arts there are few grants or fellowships. The Xeric is the best known one (the only other one I can recall hearing about was specifically for caricature or political cartooning). It’s nice (and probably unprecedented) to see some excellent cartoonists get appreciated by an arts fellowship. Woodring I know has cut down greatly on his cartooning output in recent years, and turned more to painting… cartooning paid him so little it’s hard for him to afford to do it. Seeing as he is, in my view, one of the greatest cartoonists of all time, I hope this money will give him the luxury to draw a whole lot of comics.

Things are changing… comics are no longer read exclusively by people who frequent comic book stores. Things have changed immensely in the last few years. Chris Ware and other comic book cartoonists are doing comics for the New Yorker and New York Times, graphic novels are one of the fastest growing sections in most American libraries, some comics are making the best-seller lists, and now this.
Hopefully cartooning will become a viable way to make a living for more and more people.

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