Editorial cartooning requires a combination of talents, and Todd Luck has the right mix of art and journalism.
Luck, who pens cartoons for UNC Pembroke’s student newspaper, The Pine Needle, won first prize in the college division editorial cartoon category of a contest sponsored in October by the North Carolina Center for Voter Education Go Vote! His winning entry was on the debate with the caption: “The only reality show where you get to decide who runs the country.”
Besides taking home a prize for his portfolio and a check for $100, Luck said he appreciates recognition.
“It’s good for your portfolio and for getting a job,” the journalism major said. “The other day I saw one of my cartoons hanging in an office on campus and that felt really good.”
A Bunnlevel, N.C., resident, Luck already has a degree in art and is working on a second degree in UNCP’s Mass Communications Department. He said working at The Pine Needle as a cartoonist and journalist has been a learning experience.
“It’s so great to get practical experience and to get published,” Luck said. “It’s a learning process, and we learn from every issue.”
Luck, who is also the newspaper’s opinion page editor, works at a student newspaper that is experiencing a journalistic renaissance. Dr. Judy Curtis is the newspaper’s faculty advisor.
“The Pine Needle’s improved design and news coverage attracts talented students like Todd who put a great deal of energy into producing a real newspaper for the University community,” Dr. Curtis said. “As the opinion page editor, Todd not only manages the editorial page and creates the editorial cartoon, he also assists with the paper’s Website and covers general news.”
Luck also writes for The Pine Needle. He had the opportunity to interview humorist Mark Russell, who, like Luck, combines journalism and art as an editorial, song-writer pianist.
“During my interview before the show, I gave him a copy of The Pine Needle, which he looked over,” Luck said.
When Russell got on stage, he told the audience: “All the issues we discuss here tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I got out of the current issue of The Pine Needle. I read it from cover to cover, and it was the most riveting minute and a half of my whole life.”
Like Russell, Luck has not ducked any difficult issues on campus, including an outbreak of mold at the Dial Building and recent campus flooding. It is Luck’s job to serve up a little humor with his observations of campus life.
“I’m a nice guy, and I don’t want to upset anyone,” Luck said. “I try to be fair, but I guess that doesn’t mean people won’t get upset.”
Luck draws inspiration from on and off campus.
“I get suggestions from the editorial staff, but more often than not, I draw what I am interested in,” he said. “I try to mix things up, but there is enough weird and bizarre stuff out there that it’s too bad we only print once every two weeks.”
For Luck, editorial cartooning is the perfect combination of talents.
“As long as I’m doing something creative, I’m happy,” he said.
Luck’s work can be seen online at www.uncp.edu/pineneedle.