AAEC 2013 Post-Mortem

So I’m back from Salt lake City. Have been for nearly a week. My experience of this year’s meeting of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists was somewhat marred by a freelance deadline and the fact that I had to leave a day early.

I’d hoped to finish the freelance job before I left, but no, I wound up working on the road — penciling furiously in the Denver airport, inking on the flight from Denver to Salt Lake while surrounded by an unsettling number of babies and toddlers. Inking on planes sucks, especially having to work around turbulence and beverage carts, but it is possible.

Despite my mobile cartooning heroics, I still wound up spending too much time in my hotel room working, which involved a dramatic climax in the form of a busted travel scanner. I knew my scanner was on its last legs, so I’d borrowed one the night before from The Economist cartoonist Kal Kallaugher. Kal had kindly lent me his whole portable studio, including Wacom tablet and pen. After my scanner failed the first time, I tried Kal’s, but the driver would simply not install. Sweating profusely at this point, I switched back to my old scanner, which kept making an ungodly buzzing sound. Eventually, after smacking it repeatedly with the Little America Hotel information binder, I managed to get a couple scans out of it. Honestly, I don’t know how I get myself into these situations.

Salt Lake City itself was lovely, with more hip bars and tattooed young’uns than you’d expect. They also have some sweet light rail. Prior to the convention, host Pat Bagley had featured me as a guest cartoonist in the Salt Lake Tribune, which was nice. I managed to drink with everyone I’d hoped to drink with, and met some new folks as well. I missed last Saturday’s grand finale because it was my anniversary, although I wound up stuck in the Denver airport for several hours because it was too hot for planes to take off in Phoenix (where my plane was coming from), so I missed my anniversary too. At least I didn’t miss my deadline.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.



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