Sunday, June 29, 2014



Here's last week's comic for  In this episode, the comic deals with the possible death of the VIX, or Volatility Index.  I only had a vague idea of what this meant before the comic (mostly from listening to Planet Money), so I looked it up:

From Wikipedia: "VIX is a trademarked ticker symbol for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, a popular measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options. Often referred to as the fear index or the fear gauge, it represents one measure of the market's expectation of stock market volatility over the next 30 day period.

Here's what happened, apparently: Janet Yellen is the head of the Fed, right?  At the last FOMC meeting, Yellen described the latest inflation data as "noisy" and that single word made the VIX collapse.  I can't even imagine what it's like to have that much power.  Because, you know, I'm an illustrator.

Anyhoo, in response to this incident, I was asked to draw Janet Yellen dressed as a priest presiding over a funeral for the Vix with the bear and bull in attendence.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Want to hear something surprising?  I'm actually satisfied with the drawing on this comic.  It was the usual short-deadline scramble, but I think it turned out pretty well.  I'm happy with Yellen's face (her features are fun to draw), I'm more or less ok with the bear and bull, and I like the background.  The composition is satisfactory.  And I added a few minor details that I think help the overall feel (the rain and the candle).

I'm not going to spend any more time dissecting this one or pontificating on anything.  I like it.  Enough said.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sing your camels to bed


Here's the latest comic for  This week's comic deals with the current situation in Iraq.  More specifically, the comic addresses the effect current instability is having on oil prices.

I was asked by the team at to draw a terrorist in the desert playing "High Striker" (the carnival game where you hit a post with a mallet and try to ring the bell at the top).  Instead of the regular points, the numbers on the high striker would be replaced with oil prices.  In the background, I was asked to include a camel and a truck.

Here's the layout sketch:

And here's the final:

This comic was pretty fun to draw.  For the record: I mean no disrespect to the people struggling with this situation in Iraq.  This is a financial comic.  It's only a metaphor for how the unrest in Iraq is influencing the world economy.

For the past several weeks the comics for have included multiple characters, which left me without much time to consider every element.  Because there was only one main character in this comic, I was able to devote more time to the craft of the drawing, composition, color, etc.  Also, I've somehow never drawn a camel before, so I can check that off the list.

This one was a pleasure to draw and I think it turned out relatively well.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Cup Financial Comic


Here's the latest financial comic, which ties in with the World Cup currently underway in Brazil.  I was asked by the team at to draw a number of people standing shoulder to shoulder the way soccer (football) players do before a match.  However, this time the team would be both soccer players and politicians.

Here's the sketch:

From left to right we have Cristiano Ronaldo, Angela Merkel, Neymar, Mario Draghi, Lionel Messi, and Mariano Rajoy.

This comic was a bit of a beast, work-wise.  Six characters is quite a few.  Even re-using some old faces (the politicians are from older comics, which I don't actually like to do), this comic took 11 hours.

I feel ok about the result.  As usual, with this many characters involved I wasn't able to put much time in to the composition or other elements that might have made it more interesting.  It was a furious fight to beat the clock, so the final product is really just a line of people standing in a row.  I think the faces of the players turned out well enough, though.

I also made a mistake on Messi's jersey, so here's the corrected version:


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Let's get ready to grumble...


Here's the most recent financial cartoon, which touches on the controversy of several large banks allegedly manipulating the price of gold.  Here's what I was asked to draw by the team at

-A boxing ring
-A gold brick/bar, beat up and sitting in one corner
-A banker/boxer in the opposite corner, surrounded by banker/trainers
-A "ring girl" holding up a sign that reads "Gold $1, 265"

Here's the sketch:

Aaaaaand here's the final:

Here are some of the parts of the drawing on which I think could have done better:
-Composition: There's no real flow.  The characters are all just kind of crammed in.
-The background: There isn't one.
-The gold bar: I should have made more of an effort to shade it to look like gold.  He just looks like a brick of cheese.
-The ropes of the boxing ring: They're too bright and distracting.  I should have made them all one color.  As it is, they're pulling attention away from the main elements.
-The bankers on the left and right: One of them looks like a baby, the other is a little too generic.

This one was around 11 hours' worth of work.  More characters take more time and five characters ate up the lion's share of the effort this week.  But I need to spend more time laying out the comic and considering every element.  However, as I've said many times, a one-day deadline mostly ends up being panicked.  Ideally, I would have plenty of time to think everything out carefully.  The rush sometimes makes the drawing feel thrown together.

Here's what I DO like:

-The ring girl's face
-The shading on the left banker's face
-The boxer/banker's face

It's a short list, I know.  Maybe if I give it a couple of days, I'll be a little more forgiving of this comic

There's another explanation for this fairly harsh review, and it's summed up nicely in one of my favorite comics ever from the guys at Penny Arcade (Warning: language).