People seem to like it when I show my sloppy drawing process, so here it is again with my last three cartoons.

The most recent cartoon has Obama in the pocket of greedy bankers.  I draw with a hard pencil fairly quickly on 11″x17″ paper.  I like a hard pencil because it encourages me not to render and get bogged down in details.  I first thought I would have Obama shaking his fist, and that didn’t work – in fact, my first Obama attempt didn’t look good at all and I drew over it with a sharpie marker (which is quicker than erasing).

Next I did the finished line art, in pencil on a piece of vellum over the rough sketch.  The black and white line art is how most people see the cartoon in the newspaper.  One thing I notice with student cartoonists that that they shy away from using a lot of black.  Heavy blacks stand out on the page and are lots of fun – don’t be afraid of black.

Then I color the image in with Photoshop, with the black lines as a layer over the color layer.  This is for the few newspapers that print color on their op-ed pages and for the web.  I try to keep my colors bright and simple – when I do anything with textures or colors that aren’t clean and bright, I get complaints from editors who say the cartoons look muddy when they are printed.  Newspapers have lousy printing and the cartoons have to work for the worst of them.

I drew the cartoon below when Scott Brown won the senate seat in Massachusetts – an unpleasant day for Obama and the Democrats.  The first decision I had to make was whether to draw Obama or a Dem donkey under the Massachusetts rain cloud – either would be fine, but since Obama’s agenda was taking a hit, and I like to bash Obama, I went with the president.  Here’s the rough sketch.  I printed out a map of Massachusetts that I found on the web and taped it to the paper.

Then I traced it with pencil on vellum, scanned at high contrast so it looks like I drew it in ink.  This is what most people see in the newspaper.

And here is the color version from our site.

This last one, from last week, is bashing the media in Haiti.  I wasn’t happy with the vultures in my rough sketch, and I drew over them in purple Sharpie Marker, quick and dirty.  Nobody is supposed to see this.

Then I trace it nicely on vellum and scan as line for the newspapers.

And I color it in Photoshop …