Karl Meersman (born 14 September 1961) is a Belgian editorial cartoonist, living in Sint-Niklaas. He is known for his weekly caricatures in the popular magazines Trends and Knack. Since 2004, Meersman lives with former VRT journalist Lies Martens.
Meersman's art has been widely lauded in the press, in the art world, and in politics. He gained international attention when his work was displayed in the Belgian consulate in New York City, in 2006–2007.
Meersman comes from an artistic family. His grandfather was a painter, and both his mother and father were professional artists. When he was a young boy his parents took him to the art school in Temse, where they worked as teachers. At age thirteen, he entered a drawing contest for children, but was disqualified because the jury did not believe his entry was drawn by a child. After a protest from his father and performing the same drawing with the jury present, he won the prize money: 75,000 Belgian francs.
After deciding he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his parents, he dropped out of high school and attended different art night schools instead. He was awarded degrees in publicity, printmaking, and figure drawing. In the meantime his father sent him to a photogravure company, where Meersman held a day job. When his father's drawing workshop became too big to be run by a single person, he became permanently involved there.
Initially, Meersman was mainly occupied with work in the publicity sector. He was hired as a caricaturist by Trends magazine in 1987 after he was noticed drawing visitors in a furniture shop, and has been drawing political cartoons for the magazine weekly ever since. The economical magazine calls the cartoonist their "jester of the socio-economic society". In 1991, together with two of his siblings, Meersman took over his father's drawing studio Meersman I.D. to manage the ever-growing work load. He led the atelier until 2004, when the studio decided that the publicity sector had become too much for them. In 2002, he became the permanent illustrator for Focus Knack, for which he draws caricatures of showbiz people most of the time.
The artwork for magazines is done using traditional techniques: watercolor and pencil on paper. His interest in contemporary politics and news led him to political caricature as a living, and as he says: "I like to stand with both feet in the present, my work is a mirror of today."
As his biggest influences he names Egon Schiele and the satirical prints in the tradition of Félicien Rops, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Honoré Daumier. His style is described as realism with a strong eye for detail.
Besides caricatures and editorial cartoons Meersman also produces posters, stamps, paintings, and interior designs. In the past he also produced book illustrations and children's books.