Posts tagged Arab spring


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Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville!

Here I sit in my new Nashville, Tennessee apartment, trying out a new restaurant for every meal, and finally drawing cartoons.  I finished my second cartoon in Nashville today – a busy, crowd scene cartoon about Obama and foreign aid to Egypt.  Here is my rough pencil sketch.
EgyptAidSketch600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

I drew this first with a light, hard, #5 pencil to get the people in the crowd into the right composition, so they are interacting with each other, have expressive body language, their faces aren’t obscured, the feet and arms are on right … all those details need to be thought through for each figure; better to do it in a sketch than on the fly in in finished art.   The line art is below.  I debated whether to go with just line for the black and white version that most people see in the newspaper.

136479 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

Here is the gray-scale version.  I thought it read a bit better with tone.  I do the gray-scale separately.  It isn’t just a gray version of the color cartoon.

136480 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

I usually avoid doing crowd scenes.  When I was an illustrator, I used to do a lot of crowd scenes.  I think art directors would sit in a brainstorming meeting and come up with a list of too many things that they needed to put in an ad – so they would call a cartoonist to jam it all into one piece of art.  Cartoonists get these jobs because the lists are too long, so the art has to be crazy. In fact, crowd scenes are usually not very effective compositions.  The most effective compositions show powerful character and expression, which is better done with large figures and faces.  With too many little figures in a crowd, the power of the expressions and body language are lost to tiny details.  That said, I hate to admit that sometimes a concept calls for a crowd scene.

Here’s the color cartoon …

136481 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

This one suffers from low resolution on the web, and will look much better in print, with crisp lines and texture in the tiny characters.  Here is a detail.

aiddetail Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

One funny thing about cartoon crowd scenes; when readers send me unsolicited ideas for cartoons, the ideas are almost always for crowd scenes.  The reader wants to say so much in his cartoon idea, that he comes up with a list of junk to include, just like the sloppy advertising art directors.  Some ideas I get start with, “draw an army on the left, and another army on the right …” or the reader will write, “fill the sky with helicopters …” Not only am I too lazy for this, all the tiny details would be ineffective in the composition, and the cartoon would be lousy.  For people who think in words, not images, these list-cartoons make perfect sense; to cartoonists, they are nonsense.

The previous cartoon is another Egypt/Arab Spring drawing.  Here’s the rough pencil sketch.  Notice that I drew Obama too low and made a note to move him up.  I make lots of mistakes.  Mistakes are easy to fix.  Better to make lots of mistakes and have no fear of mistakes – at least in cartoons.  I wouldn’t give that advice to my dentist.

AmericanSketch600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

Here is the line art version that most people will see in the newspapers.  No gray version for this one.  I like to keep them as line art if possible – there is something more elegant about not having to rely on tone.

136409 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

And here is the color …

136415 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

This cartoon is similar to one I drew a week earlier, with Obama and the Republicans.  I like the yellow ochre texture background for dirty fighting scenes.

135857 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

 

Obama doesn’t actually wear pinstripe suits.  He wears plain black and blue suits, which are no fun to draw.  So I take some artistic license.  This recent Detroit-in-the-toilet cartoon also uses the yellow ochre, grungy theme that I’m fond of right now.

136000 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

Another recent one I neglected to post is this one about the chilly relations with Russia – not much of a cartoon, just an illustration of chilly relations.

135924 600 Egypt, Obama, Putin, Detroit and Nashville! cartoons

Sorry, with the move to Nashville I’ve fallen behind.  I’ll catch up soon.

Nashville is starting to grow on me.  I’ll get used to it soon – when it cools off and the humidity goes down.

 

 

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Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers!

Here are my three most recent cartoons! I just finished this one on the Republicans’ 40th vote against Obamacare and their recent attempt to shut down the government over Obamacare. They will be run over each time.  They don’t learn.

135509 600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

Since you folks like to see my messy, rough sketches, here you go …

ObamacareSketch600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

The next one is the Arab Spring in Egypt.  Here is the line art that most people will see in the newspapers.

135225 600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

I try to do enough line work in these that I get some dark and medium areas to anchor the composition.  I wouldn’t worry so much about that if I knew it would only run in color.  The color version is below.  I’m trying to use more texture in my color now, mostly with a rubber stamp pattern in Photoshop that looks like a sponge.

135235 600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

And I did this cartoon about teachers, then and now …

135351 600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

This is a refurbished oldie which has been a big seller in pay-per-use. I noticed another nice book sale on this one in our system last week, and I thought the cartoon needed to be freshened up.  Here’s the original …

77685 600 Arab Spring, Obamacare, Republicans and Teachers! cartoons

I always tell cartoonists not to put the year in their cartoons.  For some reason artists like to put the year after a copyright circle ©, which just makes the old cartoons, that should sell as evergreens, suffer for their age.  Now this cartoon isn’t dated, and I think it is greatly improved with the black and white in the first,  1960 panel.

I noticed after I posted this last week that almost every newspaper subscriber was downloading it, even though I marked it as a revision.  Some cartoons strike a chord.  I got this idea from my Israeli cartoonist buddy, Uri Fink.  Thanks again, Uri.

 

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Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare!

Here is my weekly post on my new cartoons.  My most recent cartoon, on George Zimmerman’s acquittal, was a quickie.  Here is my rough sketch – I took a scan of the Community Chest Get Out of Jail Free card, made it light in a print out, and did a rough sketch on top.

MonopolySketch Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

Then I dropped in the color.  I had it all done in ten minutes, a new record for me.  If only all of the cartoons were so quick and easy.  Usually I muddle and fiddle for a long time with each cartoon.  This one got a lot of attention in social media because it was fast.

134528 600 Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

The previous cartoon was Obama in the Arab Spring bathtub, with lots of dangerous appliances.  Don’t stick a fork in the toaster!  Here is the rough sketch – this one took some muddle and fiddle time to get the position and appliances to be the way I wanted them.

ObamaTub Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

 

Then I did the finished line art, and added a bit of gray to make it read a bit more clearly. The black and white image is what more readers see in the newspapers.

134523 600 Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

And here is the color that you see on our site, and the newspapers that print in color. I had fun with this cartoon.

134524 600 Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

The previous cartoon was about the one year postponement in the employer mandate on Obamacare.  Republicans “jumped on this” as evidence of Obamacare’s “failure” and “chaos.”  Here is the rough sketch.

ObamacareSketch600wide Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

… And here is the line art, that most people will see in the newspapers that print black and white.  I always like to black and white version better.  There is something more elegant about black and white.  Readers always tell me that color is better.

134422 600 Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

And here is the color.  I did this one a little differently, with quick, transparent colors.  I think I’ll probably do messier color like this going forward.  I really like Pat Bagley’s sponge texture – that’s the next thing I’ll try.

134536 600 Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

POSTSCRIPT: Well, after writing that, I couldn’t get the sponge thing out of my head and I added a subtle bit of Bagley texture to the background.  I should do more of that.  And more boldly.  I’m timid starting out.  Here’s the revised version, not too different, but nicely textural. Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

Here’s a detail from the revised version.

detail Zimmerman, Arab Spring and Obamacare! cartoons

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