Sunday, September 30, 2012

Politics, Cartoons, Mediocrity

This is the Forexpros comic from last Thursday (October 27th).  It's based on a recent CNN poll indicating voters are more likely to trust President Barack Obama to fix the economy than his opponent, Mitt Romney.  This is a big deal, as the cornerstone of Mitt Romney's campaign has been his experience in business and his theoretical ability to jumpstart the sluggish US economy.

If looking at a cartoon featuring Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on my website leads you to believe I've resumed my political cartooning, here are a couple of details to consider: 1.) I'm still just an illustrator for Forexpros.  They give me the subject and I draw it up.  2.) Though there is perhaps no subject MORE political than the presidential elections, the angle here is a financial one.  The subtext of this cartoon is the effect the elections might have on worldwide financial markets.  3.) Though the subjects are political, there isn't actually an opinion being voiced in this cartoon.  It's just a visual representation of the results of the CNN poll.

If it seems like I'm going out of my way to distance myself from political cartoons, it's because I am.  Though I still have a strong interest in politics, I no longer have any interest in expressing those ideas in cartoon form.  These days, as un-fun as this opinion is, I think the political arena in this country is long overdue for rational, sober analysis and action.  My cartoons tended to be knee jerk, emotional reactions to scenarios that were often far too complex to be distilled into pithy punchlines.  I also found they did little to foment informed discussion.  They just pissed people off.

Ok, down the the illustration side of it.  This one took me about 15 hours total.  One day, 15 hours.  That's mostly because there are four subjects and a decent amount of detail.  As I've said about previous Forexpros comics, the one day turnaround is a mixed blessing.  I don't have enough time to work on these until I'm completely satisfied with them.  But that also means I don't have the time to overthink things.  I have to go from layout to outline to color as fast as I can, which is one of the reasons why the sketches for these are never very enlightening.  I just don't have time to make too many changes to the sketches.

Here's what I like about this one: The station wagon that represents the U.S. economy.  For whatever reason, the present state of the economy in this country seems to be perfectly embodied in the majestic 1991 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon.  I also like Barack Obama's face.  I think the likeness is decent, particularly since I don't think I've drawn him before.  He's got a great face for caricature.  I also like the expressions on the faces of the woman and man.  They're tired and slightly annoyed, which are common sentiments right now about the political and economic state of this country.  The man of the couple is looking at Mitt Romney as if Romney would have been his choice, but clearly his wife is the driver.

Here's what I don't like: Mitt Romney's face (my depiction of it, not his actual face).  It just doesn't look like him all that much.  Also, where are his feet?  The composition is pretty weak as well.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at.  The characters are too evenly spaced across the panel.  Better use of perspective and value (both pretty basic concepts) would have been warranted.

I don't hate it, but this one won't make the highlight reel.


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