Student cartoonist wins second regional title

Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

For the second consecutive year, Avonworth High School senior David Clark has been named Point Park University's regional journalism winner for editorial cartooning, a title that qualifies him to move on to Pennsylvania State Press Association competition, where he will defend the championship title he won last year as a junior.

Newspaper adviser Scott Tuffiash said that he is thankful that PSPA has this outlet for David's craft.

"His talent is remarkable and it is great to see him earn this recognition."

While he has been drawing since he could hold a pen, he only began doing editorial cartoons in his freshman year.

"I had some spare time in my computer graphics class and decided to create a quick sketch about school lunches," David said. "I received compliments from both students and teachers, so I decided to pursue this talent in our school newspaper, where I've been drawing ever since."

David said that as a child, he would always take out the comics section in the newspaper and read it while he ate breakfast. "Drawing came naturally to me, so sometime around third grade, I decided to use my artistic skills and my affinity for comics to create cartoons of my very own."

In the recent Point Park competition, artists were given a short period of time to analyze an article and then create a professional-looking editorial cartoon based on the article topic

"I had about an hour, possibly less, as it took time to get everyone situated, to read the article and then to draw a cartoon. This year's article was about mandatory study halls and whether they add or detract from the educational experience. For my editorial cartoon, I drew a smug principal defending the importance of mandatory study halls while chaos and pandemonium ensued behind him in a room simply marked, 'Study Hall'," David said.

While most of David's skills have come naturally to him, his high school courses have included fine arts, computer graphics, and portfolio.

Art instructor Kari Villani said of David, "I'm always so impressed with David. His sense of humor and artistic talent will make him one to watch in the future."

And he has been inspired by other artists.

"My personal favorite cartoonist has always been Bill Watterson of "Calvin and Hobbes." Over the years, I've been subconsciously imitating his art style when I was unable to fully capture something on my own. Some of my other personal favorites are Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine"), Bill Amend ("Foxtrot"), and Lincoln Pierce ("Big Nate").

David, the son of Mike and Rose Clark of Ohio Township, plans to pursue his artistic skills in every way available. "Wherever I attend, I intend to play a part in a campus newspaper, preferably as a cartoonist. As of now, I have been accepted into Kent State."