Cartoon: An Enduring Plan


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I don’t think there’s an issue in the U.S. more crucial than voting rights. Because addressing the other big issues is contingent on protecting voting rights.

For example, making progress with climate change mitigation – as hard as that is with Democrats – will become much harder, if not impossible, if the Republicans succeed in making a permanent minority government.

With the new Supreme Court and ever more extreme levels of gerrymandering, Republican success is seeming inevitable. The only way I can maintain any optimism, when thinking about voting rights, is to remember things like the Berlin Wall falling, or (ugh) Donald Trump’s election. That is, I have to remember that things that seemed impossibly unlikely sometimes happen. We don’t really know what’s in the future, and even the smartest among us (let alone someone of decidedly more ordinary intelligence like myself) has been wrong. Sometimes that’s a good thing.


This one was really interesting to draw. Period clothing is always a fun challenge.

But by far the biggest challenge in drawing this has to do with a change in software. For many years, I’ve been drawing my cartoons in Photoshop. But I’ve begun teaching myself a different program called Clip Studio Paint. Photoshop has some excellent drawing tools, but it was created for processing photos. Clip Studio Paint was created for drawing comics, and it has tools that Photoshop lacks.

One such tool is the perspective ruler. With this tool – this explanation may not make sense if you don’t know anything about drawing perspective, sorry – I can tell the program where I want to set the vanishing point(s) and horizon line. Then I can draw freehand – but as I’m drawing, the program forces all my freehand lines into perfect alignment with the vanishing points.

The backgrounds here were improvised by me in Clip Studio Pro. It took me a long time – partly because I was teaching myself the tool as I drew – but it was also so much fun. It doesn’t make me great at drawing backgrounds – but it drawing backgrounds at my own skill level much easier and more fluid.

The Victorian street is drawn in one-point perspective (meaning there’s just a single vanishing point, which all the perspective lines point to), and the office is in two-point perspective (meaning that there are two vanishing points, one to the left and one to the right). You can see that I skipped drawing one of the decorative panels on the desk front, since I knew that part of the desk would be blocked by the judge.

Speaking of the judge in panel four, he’s what I think of as a “semi-caricature.” Meaning that I had a particular person in mind while drawing the character, but it doesn’t matter to the cartoon if the caricature can be recognized by readers, and consequently I don’t spend any time “working” the caricature to make it resemble its source – however it comes out, is how it comes out.

In this case, the face I had in mind was John Roberts.

It’s hard to tell which is the real Justice Roberts and which is a drawing, right?  :-p


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. The first three panels are colored in sepia tones, to resemble old photographs. They show two white men, dressed in upper-class Victorian suits, chatting on the street. One man has huge sideburns and a bowler hat; the other has glasses, handlebar mustaches, and a shiny black top hat.

PANEL 1

Bowler Hat has a huge grin as he lifts a hand, eagerly getting Top Hat’s attention. Top Hat cheerfully pays attention, leaning forward and steepling his fingers.  (The expression “I’m all ears,” by the way, goes back to the 1700s.)

BOWLER HAT: I’ve got a plan to stop negros from voting!

TOP HAT: Swell! I’m all ears!

PANEL 2

A close-up of Bowler Hat as he explains, his grin huge, his hands waving in the air a bit.

BOWLER HAT: We’ll make up new laws for voting which we’ll pretend are “protecting the vote,” but actually will make it harder for negros to vote. Like “literacy tests” and “grandfather clauses.”

PANEL 3

A longer shot of the two of them. Bowler Hat puts a hand on his chin and looks concerned, while Top Hat, also with a worried expression, speaks and shrugs.

TOP HAT: I have doubts… Perhaps this plan could work for a year or two. But could a plan so obviously dishonest last decades? Or even a century?

PANEL 4

A change of scene – and of coloring. Instead of being colored like old photography, this panel has bright, modern colors. Two well-off looking middle-aged white men are in a nice office (rug on floor, large window with curtains open showing trees outside, framed photos on the wall, an American flag on a pole in one corner) talking cheerfully. One man, wearing a modern suit and tie, is holding out a red folder to the other man. The other man is wearing a judge’s black robes and giving a thumb’s up.

SENATOR: Our new laws are definitely about protecting the vote, and it’s just a wacky coincidence that they all make it harder for Black people to vote!

JUDGE: I believe you!


This cartoon on Patreon.

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