Launch Date November 2000
Background This one was another one that was off the top of my head--and probably old news by the time I finished it.
For this Drawing Board, I thought that I'd show a step-by-step examination of the process.
Step 1: I started with a simple sketch
Step 2: Once I had the basic idea down, I decided that I needed a little bit of study on the people that I would be representing, so I went on the Internet to get some good pictures of the Bushes--especially since my earlier images of G.W. Bush weren't quite right. Here's a couple of sketches of G.W. He really doesn't have super big ears or a pointy head, but you have to find a way to express the idea that he's a bit of a pin head or dullard, and over-emphasizing some of his features helps to do that.
Eventually, I found a look that seemed to work for me.
And daddy Bush, who needed to be made more intelligent looking.
Then, I came up with a quick sketch that seemed to capture the look that I was trying to get to. (As you can tell, I use a lot of scrap paper.)
Step 3: I liked this final image enough that I decided to try to reproduce it very closely. To do that, I used a light-box. Basically, you put this image down on a piece of glass with bright light shining through it, and then you place the true paper over it and trace the image. This method was especially helpful because I wanted the two panels to resemble each other very closely, and using the same template enabled me to keep them similar. You could also photocopy the image, but that isn't necessarily less work.
When producing the panels, I drew the images with a blue line (non-reflective) pencil instead of a normal graphite pencil. The reason for using a blue line pencil is that it basically eliminates the need for erasing the original image (and maybe marring the picture) once the inks are laid down. Of course, there is a drawback: the blueline is very slick and grainy which means that it is harder to get the ink to soak into the page. I can't decide which is better--I really hate erasing, but it sucks when you can't get the line you want. The blue line reproduction here is faint because blue line is (by design) hard to reproduce.
Inking Step 4: I worked primarily with dip pen and ink to get the outline of the characters, but I resorted to a brush for the heavy black areas and the panel boarders. I added the "background," such as it is, at the end to give the action a "place." But it was hard to tell how much scenery to add. I originally had a clock or a painting on the wall. I think the background helps to define the space around the characters so that you understand that daddy Bush is standing in front of little Bush, but it's also possible that it's simply unnecessary information. The black in the upper background is partly for relief and partly to take up space and add balance. I'm not so sure that it's successful.
Even though the characters still don't really look like their real-life counterparts, I'm fairly happy with the expressions that I was able to get. I also feel that I'm getting better with line weights in order to add a little 3-dimensionality to the image.
Lettering Step 5: I moved too quickly when lettering, as always. As a result, the wording in panel 1 is a little off. I'm still trying to find a good lettering pen. The one I use isn't fat enough, but the ones that I have that are thinker just bleed too much. I'm still not good enough with the dip pen to use those for lettering.
I really wavered on whether to add a title to this one, because too much information can make the joke not read well. I originally thought about titling the cartoon something like "Vote Re-Call" but that wasn't enough of a stupid pun. Obviously, I chose an even worse pun. I just can't resist.
Finally On reflection, I think this joke would have worked just as well with only the 2nd panel.