Cartoon Contest Survey 2012 by European Cartoon Center - Kruishoutem, Belgium

Cartoon Contest Survey 2012

The aim of the study

Every year hundreds of cartoon competitions are organized. We wondered on what basis cartoonists choose whether or not to participate in a contest. In addition, we were also curious about the specific characteristics of each cartoon contest on copyright, theme, prize, composition of the jury, etc. Finally, we compared the characteristics of the organizations with the criteria that the cartoonists find important.


The study consisted of two parts:
- A survey for cartoonists
- A survey for organizers of cartoon competitions

For practical reasons, an online survey was launched, where cartoonists and organizations, by mail, the website of the ECC and social media were asked to participate in the survey. Working only via an electronic platform obviously has some limitations in reaching the target audience.


A total of 204 cartoonists from 47 countries participated in the survey and 25 organizations.

It is striking that most of the organizations that participated in the survey are established contests. 44% of the organizations have more than 15 years of experience in organizing cartoon competitions, only 12% has less than 5 years experience.

Of the cartoonists participating in the survey 58.33% has more than 10 years experience, 8.33% less than 2 years. It is striking that almost 81% of them say that they won a prize in the last 5 years, in 81% of cases in international competitions.


Number of contests

Almost half of the respondents (48%) indicated that they participate in less than 5 contests per year, and 73.5% in less than 10 contests. In comparison, for the first eight months of 2012 112 cartoon competitions were announced on the website of the ECC.


20% of the cartoon competitions choose a free theme for the contest. The vast majority (56%) choose for social themes such as peace, environment, globalization, crisis, etc.

The cartoonists themselves prefer to work around a free theme (44.22%), 31.16% prefer a socially relevant theme.

Number of participants

44% of the organizations indicated that the number of participants in their contest is stable. 48% indicates it still grows.


Organizers announce their contest often through various communication channels. Email and website have the highest score 92%, only 56% sends the regulations by ordinary post and about 50% use social media for the announcement.

Most cartoonists get their information from cartoon sites (72.06%) and via invitation by e-mail (66.67%). Only 54.41% receive a personal invitation by regular mail.

It is striking that only 27.45% receive the information as a member of a cartoon organization and only 13.24% consult social media to keep informed of events.

Requirements for the works

80% of the organizations accept digital prints, but only 2.5% of the competition rules also allow that the cartoons are submit digitally. However 73.53% of the cartoonists wish that the works can be submitted electronically.

It is striking that only half of the organizations indicate that cartoons may not yet have been awarded before. And in only 56% of the cases the work has to be original, not previously published. Only 38.14% of the cartoonists find that the work has to be original, but 58.82% think it makes sense that the work has had no previous price.

In 76% of the cases organizations impose constraints on the size of the work and in 68% in the number of works.


The number of judges varies between 3 and 12. 44% of the organizations have a panel of 6-9 jurors. 36% have a panel of 3-5 people.

Almost half of the participating organizations also have foreigners in the jury. 4% of the respondents prefer an online vote by a professional jury. 96% is organizing a live meeting of the judges.

The cartoonists find that the jury must be an international jury (80%) of at least 5 persons (72.54%), and that there should be a live meeting (65%).

20% of the organizations don’t communicate the names of the jurors in any way, while 56% publish the names after the jury meeting. 18% do so after the expiration of the deadline and before the meeting. Only 8% communicates the composition of the jury in advance, while about two thirds of the cartoonists indicate that they find it important to know the names of the jurors beforehand.


56% of the cartoon contests awarded a total amount of prizes of at least 2500€. 6% are limited to 500€.

For the first prize in 24% 1000 to 1500€ is provided, in 20% the winner gets between 1500 and 2000€, 24% gives more than 2000€ and 20% less than 500.

Only 11.56% of the cartoonists thinks that an amount of less than 1000€ is acceptable for the first prize. An amount of 1000 - 1500€ seems reasonable for more than 20% of the participants.


All organizations organize an exhibition of the selected works. In one case this is only an online exhibition. The duration of the exhibition varies greatly, but in 48% of cases it is an exhibition of several months.


In 72% the organization uses the selected works to promote the festival. 98% of the cartoonists do agree with this. 8% of the organizations allow the sponsor to use the cartoons. Here too 47% of the cartoonists do agree.

In 12% of the cases, the cartoonist is also compensated for this. It is striking that in 20% the organization maintains all rights to the cartoons.


Main criteria that influence the decision whether or not to take part in a contest:

In 22.34% it is the reputation of the organization that determines whether or not to participate. The reputation is also indicated by 64% of the respondents as important or very important. Interestingly, the reputation has a slightly higher score than their own experience with the contest (which is decisive only for 11.23% and 63% important or very important).

A second decisive criterion is the publishing of a catalog (20.60%) and the possibility of electronic submission of cartoons (20.20%). Only 2.5% of the organizations allow this.

60% of the cartoonists think that each participant should receive a free catalog. Only 28% of the organizations give a free catalog to all participants. 73.33% of the cartoonists think that at least those selected should receive a catalog, which is the case in 60% of the contests. 4% of the organizations don’t publish a cartoon book and 4% only an online catalog.

Although only 13.40% indicates that the return of the works is decisive in the decision whether or not to participate in a contest, 50% find this is an important or very important criterion.

The prize money is only for 10.10% of the respondents a decisive criterion, 37.88% find this important and 18.69% very important.

Also 60% of the respondents find the invitation of the winners at the opening ceremony an important point. As well as the fact that an exhibition is organized (74.36%).

51% of respondents find the composition of the jury not very important. The names of the winners of the previous editions are considered as less important (41%).

It is notable that 63.14% is indicating that the FECO rating is not important or not important at all in making a choice. Only for 1.63% of the respondents this is a decisive criterion.

The copyrights are for 60% an important or very important criterion. But it is notable that in only 12.37% this is a decisive criterion for cartoonists to participate or not in a contest.

Source: ecc-kruishoutem.be .

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