Chaos Theory

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Launch Date November 2000

Background This just sort of came to me as soon as I heard that there was a problem with the "butterfly" ballot in Florida. I knew that I had to knock it out quickly on the off chance that the election mess got worked out quickly (yeah, right!). I did a quick doodle on a notepad, and then I got to work on the real thing.

Original Sketch


I originally thought the two guys would be side-by-side, because it had a good balance to it. It was sort of a split decision to have them actually spinning around the center of the storm. I'm not sure, but I felt that it gave it more of a feel of how topsy-turvy the situation was.

Overall I'm afraid that the whole joke may be a little too esoteric. You have to know about the problem with the Florida ballot and you have to know the theory that a butterfly flapping its wings can create a hurricane according to chaos theory. It may be that the whole thing is a little too cerebral.

I had originally intended to use an actual picture of the ballot and then draw the butterfly around it; but I couldn't find a good enough (reproducible) image. So I went with the sketch instead. I think that drawing it was the better way to go as I was able to clean up a lot of the clutter.

Speaking of which, I'm also worried that there is too much information on this page. I had originally intended to have more visual puns, but I finally decided that they really only made the images harder to read without adding much. I did keep in the arrow that goes from the left panel to the right panel, although it's completely unnecessary (but that's sorta the point). I also think that the text in the bottom of the panels is too much, but I couldn't resist the (slight) pun on "monarch"--since that's really what this fight is about.

Basically, there's still too much information: it's not clear to me if anyone will understand that the big grey blob is supposed to be Florida, and that the yin/yang thing is supposed to be the standard symbol for a hurricane. On first glance, Jo thought the right panel was a picture of a gun, and that both candidates were firing at the butterfly.

Ironically, my joke seems to suffer from the same problem as the ballot: confusing design.

Ultimately, whatever you think of the election, you have to admit that conveying information to people in a meaningful and understandable way is not as easy as it seems. Those of us in the visual arts understand this all too well.

Lettering Again, I'm not real happy with the lettering, but I'm willing to let it go by saying that this was a rush job. Someday, I'll take it more seriously. I originally thought that I'd have even more text, but as I mentioned, I decided to skip it. Also, originally I had Bush saying "No Re-Vote," but I decided it was more in-character for him simply to be calling Gore a "loser."

Finally And here I thought I wouldn't get to draw one of these two guys again! Looks like they'll both be around for awhile.