Gary Varvel Named 2010 Cartoonist With a Conscience

March 11, 2011 No Comments

Gary Varvel, cartoonist of the Indianapolis Star, has been named 2010 winner of the Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning With a Conscience.
Varvel’s ambitious project, “The Path to Hope,” impressed the judges for its sensitive registration of the everyday burdens that weigh down the poor. Varvel’s artistic technique, combining photoshopped still images for backgrounds and pen and ink for characters, also won plaudits. Small touches lent realism and depth to cartooned faces.

Varvel registers the everyday hardships faced by the poor — illiteracy, transportation, lack of access to healthy food, domestic and neighborhood violence –with a level of empathetic detail rare even in print news accounts. Homing in on the inefficiently laid out Indianapolis bus system, Varvel writes, “Working the third shift can mean up to an hour-long commute late at night and back home early in the morning, hoping to arrive in time to get the children off to school.”