BEN WICKS AWARD
carrying on a tradition from a canadain cartoonist.
An opportunity was given to me after submitting a few panels of example work... then resulting in the award of 10 grand after the execution of 30 pages of similar look and feel .
A little info on the artist,
Acclaimed cartoonist Ben Wicks was a pint-sized cockney who never lost his accent or his sense of humour.
Wicks made a name for himself in Canada, not only as a cartoonist,
but as a journalist, TV personality, author, entrepreneur and
humanitarian. A man of cheeky humour who brought laughter into the
lives of many, Wicks began as a newspaper cartoonist and went on to
publish 43 books of his works. He, along with his wife Doreen, was a
member of the Order of Canada. One of his many friends, Ontario Chief
Justice Roy McMurtry, said that in his experience, "everyone who knew
Ben felt better about life and themselves simply by being in his
Wicks was born in London, England in 1926. As a child, he was
evacuated to the country during wartime, but at 14 returned to the city
and the bombings and got his first job as a shipping clerk.
"I was bloody hopeless at school," he recalled. "Left at 14 and they were as pleased to see me go as I was."
He took evening classes at an art school. "They told me I should
take up something else, so I quit. "They were right, I still can't
draw," he said, years after becoming a highly successful cartoonist.
Wicks has many occupations, both in England and Canada, including
barrow boy, purse maker, electrician's mate, clog maker, window cleaner,
janitor, milkman, army musician and weekly newspapers subscription
And then his first child Vince was born.
"We spent many nights in his first few weeks of life staring at him
to convince ourselves that this was indeed our child. Although neither
Doreen nor I are religious, from the day of his birth I knew there were
such things as miracles. They happen every day, whenever a child is
Vince, himself a cartoonist, recalled that he and his father had "a
terrific life together." "He was the type of dad who was always at
hockey games. He was always there for you, particularly if times were
tough. I remember when I was living in Vancouver that if anything came
up he'd be on the plane the next day."
When his term in the army was almost over, Wicks picked up a book
that taught him how to draw and market cartoons. "You were suppose to
start off by sending them to the top paying magazines and work down," he
recalled. "So I sent off six to the top one, Saturday Evening Post."
The magazine wrote back saying they never took work from unknowns but
if I could supply letters of reference explaining who I was, they'd
take three. It took me about five minutes to fake some letters of
It was the beginning of a great career. He drew cartoons for western
newspapers and in 1963 moved to Toronto to work for the now-defunct
Toronto Telegram. Over the years, he drew for the Toronto Telegram
Syndicate, The Saturday Evening Post, the Toronto Star, and the Toronto
Star Syndicate, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and King Features NY.
His cartoon strip, The Outcasts, appeared in 52 Canadian newspapers
and his single cartoon ran daily in 84 Canadian and 100 US newspapers.
"I had admired the single-panel Ben Wicks cartoons for years," his
friend and standup comic Dave Broadfoot said. "Those cartoons worked
like what is called a "blackout" on stage - a comic idea that lasts 30
seconds with one strong, self-explanatory punch line. Not easy to do.
That's what Ben's cartoons were: funny, political and brief."
Wicks later developed his own TV program, The World of Wicks,
interviewing such personalities such as Ingrid Bergman, Michael Caine,
Sir Edmund Hillary and Charlton Heston. He also wrote a number of
books, including Ben Wicks Canada, Book of Losers, Ben Wicks Book of
Etiquette and The Boys Came Marching Home. The I.Can Foundation was
established to provide education and literacy programs, such as Born To
Read, for children. It was his love of children that prompted his
participation with Regional Maple Leaf's family of children's magazines,
drawing the cartoon characters for the Elementary Safety Book for
Children, Drug Facts For Young People and the Teenage Survival Handbook.
Ben Wicks died on September 10th, 2000, leaving behind his wife
Doreen (1935 - 2003), son Vincent, daughters Susan and Kim, eight
grandchildren and a host of friends and fans.