Before going on to stellar careers, some tremendous talents have won the Charles M. Schulz Award for best college cartoonist — including the Washington Examiner’s Nate Beeler, the Houston Chronicle’s Pulitzer-winning Nick Anderson, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s two-time Pulitzer winner Steve Breen and the gifted Maryland-based comic artist Frank Cho.
Into that heady company of past Schulz winners, you can add the name John Vestevich.
Vestevich, who draws for the Torch newspaper at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., recently won the Scripps Howard-sponsored $10,000 student award for “humorous commentary through traditional editorial cartoons.” Comic Riffs caught up with Vestevich this week for his reaction.
“I was pretty shocked when I found out that I won,” Vestevich, 27, tells Comic Riffs. “I was basically hoping for at least a generic response that said, ‘We received your entry, but don’t call us we’ll call you’ — anything! Or even a ‘Keep up the good work, try again next year.’
“Surprised that I won is an understatement.”
Vestevich, who is attending Ferris State to pursue his second bachelor’s degree, says political cartooning — although fun — hasn’t been something he’s weighed as a career path.
“I’m studying graphic design, so I am being trained to become a designer. I intend to become one, too,” Vestevich tells us. “I’m not ruling out cartooning or comics, but I’d only consider it if a viable career seemed like a possibility.
“I’ve spent several years making traditional comics and trying to get published, but to be honest, I’ve never really considered editorial cartooning as a career,” continues the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native. “I think I just need to explore what kind of market there is for cartoonists.”
As for his plans on how to spend the $10,000 prize money, Vestevich — who currently works on an “adorable little” Wacom Bamboo tablet — says: “The lovely and voluptuous Cintiq 21UX lcd pen tablet is going to be mine! I will treat her well and make many wonderful drawings with her.”