WASHINGTON, DC, February 12, 2008 — John Sherffius of the Camera of Boulder, Colorado, today was named the winner of the 2008 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning.
The Herblock Prize is awarded annually for distinguished examples of original editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by the late Washington Post cartoonist. The winner receives a $10,000 tax-free award.
Sherffius will be awarded the prize at a March 18 ceremony at the Library of Congress where Tim Russert of NBC News will deliver the 2008 Herblock Lecture.
The Herblock Prize was created in 2003 by the Herb Block Foundation to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential journalistic tool in preserving the rights of the American people.
Sherffius won this year's prize for a package of cartoons that chronicled the Bush Administration over the past year, a package of searing cartoons dealing with subjects ranging from torture and wiretapping to the escalation of the war in Iraq and the administration's approach to global warning.
Clint Talbott, editorial page editor of the Camera, said in a letter to the contest judges that while Sherffius' work touches on many subjects, "his cartoons about the Bush Administration have been so forceful that we thought it appropriate to enter them as a body of work. This packet seems to be very much in the spirit of Herblock, as it showcases John's passion for using his art to stand up for the rights of the American people - and the responsibilities of the American government."
The judges agreed.
"John's work exemplifies the best the art of editorial cartooning has to offer. Through a potent combination of excellent drawing technique, striking original imagery, and passionate conviction, his cartoons kick you in the gut. They are not merely memorable; they are unforgettable," said Jim Morin of the Miami Herald who was a judge in this year's contest.
Harry Katz, Foundation curator and a judge in this year's contest, said "John Sherffius' cartoons reveal a Herblockian sense of outrage and independence. He draws beautifully, skillfully enhancing hand-drawn renderings with digital coloring and effects. His cartoons communicate clearly with power and conviction."
Christopher Lamb, the third judge in this year's contest and author of "Drawn to Extremes, The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons, "called Sherffius' cartoons "succinct, powerful, honest and memorable. He draws our leaders not as they want to be seen, but as they are." He said Sherffius' cartoons "live up to the best ideals of his profession."
Sherffius began drawing editorial cartoons for the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA. After two years of working as a freelance artist, after graduation, he was hired by the Ventura County Star in Southern California as a graphic artist and gradually worked his way into editorial cartooning for the paper.
In 1998, he was hired by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as the newspaper's editorial cartoonist, a job he held until 2003 when he quit the paper over editorial differences.
Sherffius cartoons appear regularly in the Boulder Camera and are syndicated nationally by the Copley News Service.