Roughing it, Volume One

A lot of people like to see the rough sketches, even if those roughs never go beyond being a rough. I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting them here but I’m going to attempt to resume it.

Years ago, I saved each and every single one of them that was drawn on paper. My office at The Free Lance-Star was full of them until one day I decided they were junk and trashed them all. I never lost any sleep over it. Today, I try to save each file. My sketches for CNN have their own folders. There’s only been one week where I’ve drawn fewer than eight ideas for them. This week, not from the examples here, I drew fifteen.

The roughs I’m posting today were submitted to CNN last week. A couple of those ideas eventually made it into actual cartoons. Enjoy.


My editors at CNN will often choose a cartoon that may not necessarily be the best of the batch, but that fits their newsletter the best. They also throw subjects at me, sometimes a lot of subjects. They did that last week. This was the very first idea I drew for them and my editor liked it. He said they’d probably pick it but still wanted to see some more ideas from me. He had suggested something about or with a jeopardy theme. In the end, we didn’t go with it.


I thought there was no way they’d go with this one. I was right. I would have drawn it for my syndication but I had already done something on Jared that week. Some weeks, there are too many fish to fry.


This was Amanda’s favorite. I liked it a lot too. I would have done it for my syndication if I hadn’t already had covered the subject. I thought doing it again would have just been beating it to death.


This might be my favorite of the batch. I wasn’t surprised they didn’t choose it which I was OK with. It meant I got to do it for my clients. So, you’ve probably already seen this cartoon. The Straight Pride parade was the only subject I tackled that CNN didn’t mention.


I thought they might choose this one. I’m glad they didn’t. I didn’t love it.


I never did get around to covering this subject. I’m glad they didn’t choose it because I hate this one. It’s so meh.


This is the subject we went with, but not this cartoon. I liked this one better. I was going to draw it for my syndication, but again…too many fish to fry. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting it here because it might come back. I did draw a cartoon this weekend from an idea I had been pushing back for several days.


CNN chose this one and I was cool with it. Even though I liked the Trump in jail idea better, this was my first crowd scene for CNN. Maybe my first chance to make them go “DAMN!” I doubt they did that but still.

Which one was your favorite?


  1. Fascinating. Certainly shows that a pro must crank out a slew of ideas on a certain subject or news event. This was true for me when I was writing TV shows and many times had to come up with a funnier joke to replace a joke that I thought was funny enough or replace a whole storyline that needed to resolve itself in 22 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As one who did two tours in Vietnam, I have to go with Cadet Bone Spurs. There are many reasons why I sincerely hate IQ45 and this is near the top of the list. Fortunately, my distaste for this semi-human flotsam is buoyed daily by his verbal assaults on the English language and the hate, jealousy and intent of those assaults.

    It’s comforting to know you have the platform and put yourself out there expressing what many of us are unable to share. Muchos gracias amigo….

    Liked by 2 people

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