1984 Qantas New Zealand Press Awards

Currently known as the Canon Media Awards, the New Zealand Press Awards were established forty years ago to recognise excellence in New Zealand journalism.  They were Initially developed by two Auckland Star news photographers, Fred Freeman and Gary Fearnley, who approached the Australian international airline, Qantas, for sponsorship for an annual news photography award.

The result was the creation of the Qantas Press Awards which started with news photography but within two years expanded to include cartooning and three years later reporting. The Qantas Awards were gradually developed to include all print journalism disciplines. Examples of first, second and commended work in the cartooning category are featured below.

First Place Trace Hodgson

Second Place Chicane (Mark Winter)

Highly Commended Tom Scott

2014 in Review: Christopher Downes


What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

One of the biggest highlights for me was getting nominated for Best Editorial Cartoonist at this year’s Stanley Awards. I’m still reeling for the thrill of hearing my name called out among my cartooning idols!

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?

Pat Grant’s Toormina Video was one of the best things I’ve read this year. I also discovered Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac and fell deeply in love with it. I couldn’t sleep at all that night! It opened something up in me and the next day I drew one of my favourite cartoons I’ve ever drawn for the Mercury. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to chase that elusive spark of inspiration.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?  

My family. My wife is such an amazing support and my 3 year old daughter is great at getting me to sit down with her to fill up her sketchbooks. Watching her artistic skill develop is such a wonder to behold! She draws Jack Skellington over and over! I also really loved the LEGO movie.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

A lot! There’s so much potential for this next year. 2014 turned out to be so much better, bigger and more satisfying that I could have imagined! I’m making a new year’s resolution this year to avoid doing parodies in my cartoons. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with parodies. Some cartoonists do them really well. I just want to take the opportunity to work on my own personal voice without trying to emulate another person’s style. Plus, most of the time I get hung up on trying to make a parody joke “work”. That usually takes up most of the day and in the end, many people don’t get the reference anyways.

The Cartoons of Christopher Downes

2014 in Review: Sharon Murdoch

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

Drawing more, using a sketchbook every day and not getting too caught up in how it looks - in the past I think I got too precious about my sketchbooks which is why I have several that stop a few pages in. 

Now I have found the perfect sketchbook - from Japan City in Cuba St, $4 each, soft card cover, stitched spine and beautiful slightly off white paper. They even have rounded corners. Because they are cheap and soft covered and light I can shove them down the side of my bag, roll them up, whatever, write my grocery list inside, rip out what really appals me, stick stuff in, scratch things out. I'm onto my fourth one. There's nothing fabulous in them, but every few pages will have something that's OK. 

I am more often working pretty close to early sketches for some of my political cartoons. They are more energetic. I've also been photographing drawings from my sketchbooks and then drawing over them on my phone, which has a stylus. The drawings look like they have been done on brown paper and had bits twinked in. 

Workwise, I started the year doing one political cartoon a week, and I now have three spots a week - the latest is with the Sunday Star Times which is a national Sunday paper. I view the political cartoons a bit like the political poster. I used to work with a activist design group called the Wellington Media Collective, and doing political cartoons has given me a road back to that work. I can choose what I want to cartoon about, and comment on what is important to me.  

I am also taking part in the Three Words anthology. Got my three words. That is a challenge for me because I am used to working on a single frame in political cartoons, even though I quite often draw up several frames contained within that. But setting out to tell a story is very different.

What are some of the comics/cartoons you've enjoyed in 2014?

This year I really enjoyed Lisa Hanawalt's My Dirty Dumb Eyes. But I have also been looking at a lot of older work - some of it really old - J. J. Grandville's work from around 1842. Posada, Edward Lear (who I love more and more), George Grosz, Ben Shahn, George Booth, and B Kliban.

What is something non-comics/cartoons that you have enjoyed in 2014?  

Walking. Not in the bush, just around town, getting to places in the city. The things you see, the things you hear. Tea and toast at the Preservatorium on Wednesday mornings. Walking to school with my daughter who is 13, and realising how short this time with her is. The movie of the graphic novel Adele Blanc Sec, and the NZ movie The Deadly Ponies Gang. Listening to some old Robert Wyatt, and Radiohead. Also the doco The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness about animator Hayao Miyazaki, and seeing his new movie The Wind Rises.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Seeing if I can actually make a decent job of that Three Words cartoon. Going to work each day. Work finishing on the buidling site opposite our place so I can wake up to hear birds and people walking past rather than a concrete truck and nail guns, and the site manager who yells, "another day in paradise!" at 6.30 evey morning. I won't even start on world peace and halting climate change ...

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