25.3.11

Lessons I've learned about making cartoons.


I think I'll take a moment to delve into two important things that I've learned over the last week about making editorial cartoons.

Lesson 1: Making editorial cartoons is much more personal that I originally thought.

I realise that every cartoonist and/or comic artist out there has their own political viewpoints and styles of humour. It's fantastic and it makes for really exciting reading. I've got my favourites that I like to check and get inspired by. But I've also realised that when I'm making my own cartoons, I've got to be sure that it's going to make me laugh. Or effect me in some way. From the initial idea through to completion, I need to have a personal connection with everything that I make; otherwise it becomes bland and uninteresting. And following a dull idea through to a final product can be torturous for me.

Here's an example from last week: At 3:30am, the night before I had to make this cartoon, my wife Briony had to be rushed to the emergency room. Everything is alright now, both with Briony and the little kidlet. (No need to worry.) But that day, we were both sleep deprived and really worried. I sat with her in her hospital room and tried to work on my cartoon. Japan had just had its first nuclear power plant explosion. At that moment, I felt a sort of connection with them. Not that our problems were anywhere near what they were facing. But I did feel like Queensland, Christchurch, Japan and even the two of us in that hospital room were putting on a brave face in the wake of something unexpected and scary.

All I wanted was for someone, a doctor, a midwife, a nurse, to tell us that everything was gonna be alright. Then I thought that Japan probably needed to hear something very similar; especially from someone else who had recently been through disaster. And that's how this cartoon came about.

Lesson 2: Proofreading isn't just for words.

Gaddafi is an evil bully. That's about as simple as I can put it. I wanted to do a cartoon on him, but never had a good hook until this video went viral in the news about a schoolkid in Sydney unleashing all hell back on a little bully that was picking on him. (I'm not the only one to make this connection, either!)
I was pretty happy with this cartoon and sent it off to the newspaper. About an hour afterwards, I had Briony look at the cartoon and she noticed what looked like a hidden word. It was way too late to call the newspaper and change it.

I assure everyone out there that this was completely unintentional! I remember being taught in my illustration class in college to always check to make sure you haven't left any subliminal messages in the artwork.


I'm just glad no one seemed to notice on the day of publication. Really dodged a bullet with that one!


12 comments:

Matt said...

Thanks for the glimpse into making editorial cartoons. I find the whole process fascinating. It's especially interesting to me (and a testament to your talent) that, even though I know very little about Australian politics, a lot of your meanings still translate.

And your subliminal message is hilarious.

I'm glad you and Bee and the baby are doing well.

Anonymous said...

The UN makes the whole cartoon work!
I saw it immediately, and got it on that one.....

David Ano said...

Awesome comics ...

FerGil said...

Awesome post, Chris. Really liked your comments on editorial cartooning!

Sam Spina said...

pfffffffha hahahaha oh man, that's a pretty awesome hidden word. and jeez i'm just totally blown away with these comics. O dont understand how they're drawn and colored so well!

Robin Cain said...

THere is so much to love about your comics! They are so heartfelt and clever and beautifully rendered. I love your lettering style and the coloring. And just for the record, I kind of needed to hear a good word myself, so the Japan comic really touched me. Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

John said...

At first I saw "PUN," it took me a few more seconds to see "PUNT." Very strange :) Great work, as always.

Mel said...

My friend... you out do yourself again! Beautiful work!!!
Keep it up!!!

Jason said...

Man, coincidentals are the best. This is one of the funniest I've seen, though, I probably wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out.

Awesome comics work, as always

Billy said...

Yo! (To lesson #2).

Jeremy Lswson said...

Hi, Love the Japan cartoon, wife is Japanese and it sure touched a nerve,very thoughtful and hits the spot emotionally..great work.

Dan B! said...

This is awesome! The unintentional UN works fantastic in the Ghad parody!