The last years we’re overwhelmed with a lot of requests to participate in the so-called virtual cartoon contests. Easy to take part. Just send your cartoons by e-mail to the organizers, a short curriculum vitae, a picture of yourself and … you’re on of the participants.
Sometimes you can see the results of the virtual jury, so you can see your works back on one of the sites from the organizer. Now and then you receive a CD with all the selected cartoons or a digital diploma (in some case you receive a printed version by ordinary mail or a trophy without prize money).
Some organizers of these virtual exhibitions are serious; they print a real catalogue and sent it to the selected cartoonists. Some are not; they just want to collect cartoons or use them for their own website!
Of course this is a new way of having international cartoon contests.
Is this the future?
Do we meet only on face book, e-mail, chat boxes, skype and twitter, hi5 or any other virtual meeting place?

What about the good old international cartoon festivals, were cartoonists can see and touch each other, shake hands, giving hugs or kisses, share ideas, discussing problems, draw, drink and eat together, spending a weekend, receiving a printed catalogue, prize money, trophy’s, a framed exhibition with respect for the cartoons, visiting places of interest, making new friends! A place were prizewinners are invited (on costs of the organizers who pay their travel expense and hotel) to come over and stay some days. A platform and meeting place for cartoonists from all over the world. Isn’t it that what we want all?

Cartoon : Bob Vincke

Of course everyone can participate in the virtual cartoonfestivals. And of course we do not need to ignore these developments. It saves a lot of money for the organizers. They do not need to send back original works, no heavy trophies, nor paying for dinners and drinks or hotel rooms and nice looking hosts.
But… I like to break a lance for the REAL festivals were we can meet. If organizers lower their prize money a bit (sometime these prizes are enormous; 5 or 8 thousand Dollars!) and spend a part of these money to invite more prizewinners and cartoonists with special mentions. And… if they produce not a catalogue of one kilo with 500 cartoons in it, but just a selection of the best cartoons (one hundred or one hundred fifty will do), they save a lot of money on the postage and package for sending it around the world and they can keep on organizing REAL CARTOON FESTIVALS with REAL GUESTS and REAL DRINKS and so they will be a platform or meeting place for cartoonists all over the world.

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