JUST HOW dedicated is Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher to the art of satirizing President Trump?
“I look at him — the president’s face — sometimes four, five hours day,” says the political cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun and the Economist. “Much more than my own face.”
That’s simply one window into how, from pen line to political point, KAL is a craftsman of the highest order — and now again, the National Press Foundation agrees.
On Wednesday, the foundation announced that KAL is the first two-time winner of its Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons. KAL, a Herblock Prize recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist, first won the Berryman in 2002.
“Kevin Kallaugher captures the complexity of our age in his arresting cartoons,” the National Press Foundation judges said. “His work is layered, both visually and emotionally. KAL’s striking artwork jumps off the page with nuanced body language, vivid details and intense expressions.”
That striking artwork involves painstaking study. One of the cartoons in KAL’s winning portfolio, for instance, demands nailing the distinctly different postures of Trump and Putin.
“That’s one of my favorites,” KAL notes, “because of everything that the [physicality] passes along within the message.”
Part of the reason KAL is so passionate about satirizing this administration is because he believes this divisive era calls upon all his cartooning skills. “I’ve spent four decades of my career preparing for this moment … ,” KAL tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “Now it’s time to apply all these tools.”
KAL says that editorial cartoonists are now “way beyond” simply fixating on physical caricatures of Trump, “Now it’s about capturing that Trump essence,” he says. “There are a lot of easy jokes out there. You have to try to capture the subtle things.”
The left-leaning KAL also says he’s prepared himself for eight years of Trump in the White House. “There are tectonic plates moving in our politics … and what we don’t know is where it’s going to end up.”
And the ultimate honor in this environment, KAL says, is getting to return to the drafting board each day to draw back his best satirical arrow.
The Berryman Award honors American cartoons that exhibit the “power to influence public opinion, plus good drawing and striking effect,” the foundation says. Florence Berryman, the former Washington Star art critic, endowed this award in memory of her late father and brother, Pulitzer-winning cartoonists both.
KAL will receive the honor at a National Press Foundation ceremony in February.