A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SDX Awards: Art/Graphics, editorial cartooning, John Sherffius

By Quill

John Sherffius’ editorial cartooning career began in college. More than 20 years later, Sherffius is now a self-syndicated editorial cartoonists based in St. Louis. His regular clients include the Kansas City Star, Illinois Times, Ventura County Star and The American Prospect Online. His work also has been published in USA Today, Washington Post and San Jose Mercury News.

“In my work, I have two equally important goals,” said Sherffius. “The first: To create an image that is striking – something that captures the essence of the subject. And the second: To convey a clear opinion on the topic; there should be no doubt how I feel about the issue. If I can accomplish both of these goals, I feel the cartoon is successful.”

In 2004, subjects of Sherffius’ cartoons included steroids in sports, the presidential election, the tsunami in Asia and the war in Iraq.

“John is unflinching in the topics he addresses,” said Marianne Ratcliff, opinion page editor for Ventura County Star. “His cartoons are thought-provoking and always timely, cover a broad range of subjects and have been a vital part of the Ventura County Star’s opinion pages for more than a decade.”

Judges said Sherffius’ work is editorial cartooning at its best.

“The greatest editorial cartoons make their points with few or no words,” they said. “John Sherffius does just that with pointed, thought-provoking drawings that leave no doubt about what he is saying.”

Sherffius said that his advice for aspiring editorial cartoonists is just that:

“Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion in the editorial cartoon. Ask yourself, ‘Can the reader tell how I feel about this topic?’ If your cartoon’s message is ambiguous, you need to go back to the drawing board.”