Recent History

Click to enlarge (if you feel it necessary)

Drawing Board

Now my fellow 'Racers may argue that this meager diagram can't count as my monthly comic contribution. I agree,  but I want to point out that this image, in its own little way, is the epitome of a good cartoon.

Now I'm not arguing that this IS a great cartoon. You either like it or you don't. But as someone who writes and edits for a living, I make use of a lot of  charts and diagrams specifically because they can impart a great deal of information very quickly and easily. And as cliche as it may sound, a picture is not only worth quite a few words, it sometimes does the job better because you get everything you need to know in an immediate holistic way that sentences simply can't convey.

One of my struggles as a cartoonist is figuring out how much information is necessary to get a point across. Typically, I start with too many words and image details; and I keep stripping it down until I feel like the cartoon can't lose anymore and still be clear. (And then Mark tells me to take out even more).

So I really appreciate an idea expressed simply.

(By the way, I cut out a lot of detail in this one, too. I had more year markers, and more intricate labels, and more text, and....)

Just So We're Clear...

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I hate to even comment on the "bitter" topic, because I hate to lend it any credence. Can we please talk about some issues? I swear, even if the economy, the environment, and the war weren't tanking, I'd still find these "conflicts" ridiculous. It truly seems as if the media trying to torpedo the very idea of an honest debate. They aren't even pretending to care anymore...

Executive Privilege

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Launch Date January 2002

Background This was my chance to draw 3 presidents (and one VP) poorly. How could I resist? I was dissappointed that no one pushed Cheney to release his secret tribunal information. Now with the Enron debacle, it looks like it will become an issue again.

Original Sketch I basically looked at some pictures of the three guys to get a sense of how to lay out the image. I wasn't really sure the best way to dispay them until I thought of Nixon dropping his tapes. So I decided to make them stand up. The subtitle changed a few times. The reference to the "see no evil" monkeys came after I saw the image and relized that hear, speak, and see worked well for our criminals.

Inking I worked first with a dip pen to get most of the outlines and then followed it up with a brush. I also tried a paint pen for the border. I'm a little worried about that tool, as some markers bleed over time--some of my original cartoons are turning blue from the ink bleeding into the paper.

Inking people's suits presents a unique challenge: how to show overlapping black areas without a bunch of white outlines. I didn't really pull it off here, but I think it looks halfway decent.

I'm also not completely thrilled with the "shadows" under people's feet. The "sex" under Clinton is a little strange, and you really can't tell that Cheney is supposed to be standing in oil. Originally the book was dripping a little more, but the oil kept looking like Cheney's unmentionables, so I toned it down.

Lettering The lettering turned out okay, but JoAnn noticed that I had spelled "privilege" incorrectly, so I had to go back with white paint and some contact paper to cover up the problem. If you can't see the problem--great!

Finally I guess there really isn't much of a joke on this on, really more of a comparison that I don't think people are willing to see.

What People are Saying About Executive Privilege

Brian sez: Good gestures for Nixon and Clinton. Nice "E" on the Cheney's energy policy, and positioning of Cheney/Bush. I wouldn't recognize Clinton's face without the thumb (and the "sex," of course). Cheney's words: "whom" seems a little formal (in which case you might as well go whole hog: "with whom I met.") I thought the words in general could have served some secondary functions, something more than just to explain the idea of the cartoon, which we pretty much get from the tapes. Maybe something more personally typical, or funny, or nastier. In general, I'd like to encourage nastiness. Viciousness.

Mixed Messages: Clinton Responds

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Produced Launch #5d: March 1999

Concept This one is the only completely new one in this month’s bunch. I had to finish it quickly, since it is a fairly topical joke. I actually have several “jokes” that have two images that show a contrast (and usually a hypocrisy). I have thought about putting these together under the title “Mixed Metaphors,” but it didn’t quite work for this particular joke, so I changed it to “Mixed Messages.”

This one’s dedicated to Jo, since she pointed out the problem. Without getting on a soapbox (since the cartoon should speak for itself): why should our children act any better than the rest of society?

Layout Pretty straightforward. I thought about trying to make the title read “Mixed Messages: Do As I Say Not As I Do” but I was already taking a big step with the title, and I thought it might overdo it. So I left well enough alone.

Lettering I’m pretty pleased with the lettering this time out. I wish I had written down the spacing that I used or the lines. I did my second title for this AR. The words “Mixed Messages” is a completely separate picture all its own. Draw it, photocopy it, cut it out, and paste it. I suppose that you could always use the original, but then you couldn’t re-use it again. And as I said, I might do some more of these.

Inking I’m still learning how to use different lines to get different “greys.” That is. You can make different grey tones by using different hash lines. Basically, the closer the lines are together, the darker it is. I’ve heard that you can use zip-a-tone, which is basically pre-made grey tones, but I have yet to find it. In the meantime, I’m still experimenting , using greys to create depth and separation between objects.


  • Brushes: same as before
  • Pens: Rapidograph
  • Magic Rub Eraser
  • T-Square
  • 30-60-90 triangle
  • Avery Disappearing Color Glue Stic
  • Ridgeways Horse Hair Brush
  • Exacto Knife

Overall I happy with this one. The art is only so-so, but the overall effect that I was going for, I think I achieved. Sure, my Clinton could use some work, and my Kosovo may look bad (but hey, it is being bombed, right? how could it look good?), but overall, this cartoon is pretty close to my original conception.



 What People are Saying About

Mixed Messages #2

Mark Sez:

I’m Right:

1 Didn’t think Clinton was so bad at all.

2 liked you experiment with the greys. I think it worked well.

3 the title was good and it could be a run like Cheap Shots.

4 Good, short, to the point punch. You don’t mince worlds so to speak with is part of the point of the comic.

5 the signature bomb was a cute touch.

You’re Wrong:

1 I felt that the stealth bombers were too much like the alien crafts they have been mistaken as (too much JR?)

2 I don’t mind your Kosovo (there are a lot of mountains by the borders), but the point would be stronger if you had Belgrade as the target of words.

3 I would be careful saying “inspired” by Jo. It was dedicated, helped, reworked (?) by Jo. Inspired implies that she is a contradiction. The comic was inspired by Yosh, Wendy, Heather, or Cindy