Wednesday, October 17, 2012
This week I joined the staff at Grist, where I’ll be writing and drawing daily environmental news. I’ll still have updates here on other projects, but the bulk of regular Susie updates will now live there, so please follow!
Friday, July 6, 2012
Hey! I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con next week speaking on panels. First up is Progressive Politics in Comics, moderated by Douglas Wolk, on Thursday July 12 at 1 p.m. Then Sunday July 15 at 3 p.m. it’s Publishers Weekly Comics World: Serious Pictures: Comics and Journalism in a New Era with a bunch of great people. I’ll otherwise be wandering the convention floor and doing some reporting drawings. If you see me, please come say hi! I’ll have plenty of ibuprofen and vegan jerky.
On Saturday July 21 I’ll be at Code for Oakland all day doing some livesketching of the coding festivities and wooing all those tech minds with tactile tools. And then wrapping up this month on Tuesday July 24 from 6-10 p.m. I’ll be creating small paintings for quick sales at 111 Minna in San Francisco with some other great artists. There will also be a reception for my show at the Cartoon Art Museum soon! But the show will be up through September.
I’ve been working on some longer projects lately that haven’t yet seen the light of the internet, but stay tuned for big drawn journalism pieces at the Boston Review and Cartoon Movement before the month is out. And that’s just the line-up for this month — there’s a ton of awesome stuff in the works for later in the year, including comics conventions, speaking engagements, and new, rad-as-hell multimedia projects. My excitement is founded, trust me.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
But if you’re not, I’ve recently written new Occupy stories for the Awl and the SF Appeal, and I’m contributing more frequent coverage over at In These Times on the Uprising blog with the inimitable Allison Kilkenny.
Flash mobs, mic checks, port shutdowns, all of it, and so much more in the works.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that full-time freelance reporting is not an easy life to live. I have no institutional support or colleagues on whom to rely for help, and my expenses are all on me. While I’ve embraced my poverty for the last several years, I’ve been able to supplement my income with various short gigs and well-paid drawing jobs. Covering a popular movement, especially in an economically depressed city, is not nearly so lucrative.
But I don’t really fucking care.
So I’ve started a fund to help me stay on the Occupy beat and not have to take on some less than ideal illustration jobs to make ends. If you can, a couple bucks would help more than you might think. And thanks so much to everyone who has helped already.
Friday, November 18, 2011
In the late summer of 2008, I got what I thought was my dream job.
After more than two years of blogging and freelancing for next to nothing, dozens and dozens of job applications and interviews, and leaving New York City for the sometimes warmer shores of San Francisco in an effort to find work, it had happened. For three months, I was the editor of Curbed SF, an outpost of the national network that includes Curbed, Eater and Racked blogs around the country. For three months, I had a modest but regular salary, and the full-time reportage job I’d always wanted. I was covering real estate and development in perhaps the NIMBYest city in America, watching the economy crash all around it. For those three months, I could not have asked for a better beat at a better time.
Then two weeks after my health insurance had kicked in, a week before Christmas, I was laid off. I was offered a freelance position at 1/3 of my former rate, which I reluctantly accepted. A month later, I filed for unemployment and began teaching myself how to draw.
More than five years after graduating from Columbia’s Journalism School, surprisingly few of my classmates are now employed as journalists. Many went into PR. Others went on to get graduate degrees in other fields — law, business, social work. Watching the mass layoffs in early 2009, it seemed like as good a time as any to expand my own skill set. I may have grown up the daughter of an editorial cartoonist, but this vocation had never appealed to me until I felt backed into a corner, watching my checking account drain.
And so over the last two years, I have drawn. I’ve reported, written and drawn a graphic novella on food activism in San Francisco; drawn many editorial comics for local, national and international outlets; and even drawn long-form investigative comic work (it’s easier to go undercover with a sketchbook than a video camera).
I’ve also written articles, too, when I’ve gotten the opportunity/response to my pitches. You know, ones with words.
But once I started drawing, it became more difficult to get those jobs. Once I started drawing, I was just a “cartoonist,” a term I’ve heard delivered dripping with such condescension while out covering Occupy that though I am through and through a comics fan, I can’t help but cringe.
Though it was never my intention to become an illustrator, I found myself as a hired hand many times over the past year, drawing advertisements (like Google’s “A Google a Day” series that ran in the New York Times earlier this year) and, far worse for my ego, illustrating the reportage of others (like this SF Public Press piece). I took these jobs so I could eat. They nearly always paid better than the writing work I’ve seen since 2006.
I didn’t realize that in the process, I was apparently undermining my own credibility. From Mediabistro:
Cartoonist Susie Cagle was very publicly arrested last month while covering the Occupy Oakland protest. And yet, in its recent list of journalists who had been arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Associated Press did not include Cagle. We suspect it’s because she’s a cartoonist and not a traditional journalist.
Underemployed journalists often take day jobs that are less high profile. Bartending, retail and food service don’t become a writer’s identity — why am I only allowed to be one thing?
My outspoken championing of art in news certainly has something to do with this. I started Graphic Journos back in April, around the same time I spoke on a panel at the National Conference for Media Reform on the medium (catch me at SXSWi in Austin, TX with the same crew in March 2012). After nearly a year producing drawn reportage outside of the “comics” sphere and in the regular news and feature sections of newspapers, magazines and websites, I was frustrated with the lack of respect given to visual journalism.
Even as all of media seems to be creaming their pants over infographics, few are making the connection between images and information.
Most of our media is still controlled by word people. Word people don’t understand picture people; and to be fair, most picture people don’t understand word people. If you’ve worked at a publication, you understand the turf battle I’m talking about — people on both sides fighting for more space for what they perceive to be the most important part of the news, and the best way of disseminating it to readers.
By trying to do both words and pictures, I seem to have confused both sides. So please, for the last time: Susie Cagle. Journalist, and cartoonist. Yes, both.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Just a brief note to let y’all know there’s free shipping in my comics store from now until my closets are a bit less full. I’m moving to a new place in Oakland this weekend, and I’d prefer not to carry this all with me!
Of particular note may be that the new Census book is now available in the store — 44 black and white pages for $5. I’ll post a picture as soon as I can find the card reader for my camera…
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I updated the events page with some actual sweet upcoming events: comics demo at the Museum of Craft and Folk art in SF in March, a comics journalism workshop/panel at the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston in April, and a whole mess of comics conventions are on the docket for the next couple months. Hope to see some of you at some of these.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I did an interview yesterday with Brian Heater of the celebrated indie comics blog the Daily Crosshatch, and to my surprise and amazement, that overachiever posted the thing but a few short hours later. I gotta say, that’s faster than I’ve ever transcribed interview tape.
I’m not sure if I answered anyones’ pressing questions, though Brian did talk some about my father, plus there are lots of [laughs].
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
As you can see, the entire first installment of Nine Gallons stories are now here, and reasonably well-organized. This coincides with me selling out of the second printing of the book — and I’m not yet sure how to reprint it. (Don’t worry — if you’ve already placed your order, I have a book for you.) Turns out that legal-size is more than twice the cost of letter-size, and so costs are somewhat prohibitive. That’s why I decided to put the book here for free, and it’s why I’ve decided to add a Paypal “tips” button to the sidebar. If you really enjoy what I do here, I surely wouldn’t turn down your loose change. But I also still might reprint the book if I can find a way to do it for cheap enough, and if there’s enough interest.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The SF Public Press newspaper came out on Thursday and it looks great — I’m very happy with how the graphic turned out, especially since it is so freaking huge. Really, it’s such a delight to see my art blown up to broadsheet size, and with very nice four-color registration to boot.
The only problem is that I am going to be paid about $6/hour for the work I put into it (I’m splitting the take 50-50 with my collaborator).
I used Spot.Us to fund my McSweeney’s-killed Mid-Market story back in March with some excellent results. But this round of fundraising has been much tougher going, and I’m left wondering why. I have a few theories, but what I’m most afraid of is that journalism people don’t like funny pictures in their newspapers. But you’re reading this blog, so surely you don’t agree with that nonsense.
So no, I’m not asking for donations, because that feels weird — but I don’t have qualms about asking you to give your email address to a reputable non-profit and spend less than one minute filling out a survey that will result in four free dollars for me.
We have just a couple days and $250 left. Seriously, please just do it already, because this is getting embarrassing.