Friday, December 04, 2020

Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship for college cartoonists



Every year the National Cartoonists Society awards the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship to one talented college student pursuing a career in cartooning. 

This includes comic strips, political cartoons, comic books, animation, graphic novels, editorial illustration…any cartooning discipline. 

The scholarship award is $5,000 and a trip to the NCS Reuben Awards.

Submissions are judged by a panel and an award is given to the best college cartoonist. This memorial scholarship is the sort of thing that can launch a young cartoonist's career. 

If you think that might be you, enter now! Below is the info on submitting.

The winner will receive:

  • $5,000
  • Expense paid trip to the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards Convention.

To enter:

  • 8 samples of your own cartooning artwork (copies only); noting if and where the work has been published — either in print or on the Web.
  • Print out the samples AND copy them to digital media.
  • Files should be no larger than 8.5×11″ and no more than 300 dpi.
  • DO NOT send original artwork.
  • Completed entry form.
  • Download the PDF of the entry form for more details.


Jay Kennedy was my editor at King Features in New York for several years. He encouraged me with notes and phone calls when I began submitting comic strips for syndication. (King Features receives over 6,000 submissions per year and chooses just one or two. In the face of such daunting odds, encouragement was in short supply.) When Jay later offered me my first comic strip syndication contract, I began working with him daily in editing both my written humor and artwork for King Features. 

A few years later l was offered another contract by Tribune Media. None of it would have been possible without that initial time spent working with Jay Kennedy. It was essentially hands-on training, particularly in succinct humor writing and editing, something that was unavailable in any college or university. For a cartoonist, or any visual story teller, those skills are as important as drawing ability, (one could argue they are more important, as drawing skill is fairly common.)

Sadly, Jay Kennedy passed away in 2007 while vacationing in Costa Rica. (A little-known fact is that he died a hero, successfully saving his fiance who was caught in a riptide.) 

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship was established in his memory, and is funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional donations from professional cartoonists.

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